The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates

Sadly, the following words ring hollow among education reformers who believe teachers are the primary factor influencing student achievement, and that privatizing education is the way to close the achievement gap.

‎”…As educators, you simply cannot remain uninformed and silent about the social and economic context of your work.

Nobody knows better than you what the consequences of economic hardship are for children’s ability and opportunity to learn.”

Richard Rothstein, Commencement Speech, Loyola University Chicago School of Education, May 2012.

From my perspective after one year in a high school classroom, truer words have not been spoken.  Kudos to Richard Rothstein for calling it like it is…

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About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Secondary math teacher teaching math intervention, algebra 1, honors precalculus, and AP Calculus AB. I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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2 Responses to The fantasies driving school reform: A primer for education graduates

  1. My third year of teaching eighth grade Science in a high poverty middle school I had Tevin in my class. Tevin had come from an alternative school after “doing his time” for something bad enough to get him kicked out of regular public school. He was a real character–all gang colors and street talk. It was well-known that half his family was in jail. But he loved my class. He would get so excited he would jump out of his seat and run up to the front of the class to answer my questions when no one else knew the answers. And he was smart. Test scores revealed higher than grade-level aptitude in math and reading. I begged him to join the mentor program. I even offered to join it myself to be his mentor. He refused. Three years later I read about Tevin in the local paper. He had been shot dead on the street.

    For all the stories of a special teacher positively influencing the lives of their students there are the tragedies you saw coming like a train wreck you were powerless to stop. My heart still breaks for this gifted young man and the waste made of his short life. And this is one of many stories I could tell. It is hard enough to bear this cross of touching the lives of hurting, neglected, abused cast-offs, going home at night aching for their plight and near powerless to fix it. But to be blamed for their lack of achievement on top of that just adds insult to injury.

    Effective teaching can’t be legislated or privatized. Teaching is a calling not for the faint of heart. It is an art, an inherent ability to reach inside a child and pull out the good while identifying and shedding the bad. We don’t teach science or math or language arts–we teach children. This is what the politicians and social scientists are missing, because they are not on the front lines dealing with the good and the bad every day. Instead of vilifying teachers perhaps we should utilize their expertise and experience to mold the educational system into what it should be. No doubt we need reform. But the current call to turn education into big business is not the answer.

    Like

    • “Effective teaching can’t be legislated or privatized. Teaching is a calling not for the faint of heart. It is an art, an inherent ability to reach inside a child and pull out the good while identifying and shedding the bad. We don’t teach science or math or language arts–we teach children. This is what the politicians and social scientists are missing, because they are not on the front lines dealing with the good and the bad every day. Instead of vilifying teachers perhaps we should utilize their expertise and experience to mold the educational system into what it should be. No doubt we need reform. But the current call to turn education into big business is not the answer.”

      Beautifully stated…if only the politicos got it.

      Like

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