Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Governor Malloy Must Just Show Up for Four Years

Now, I am an advocate of school reform. However, I am not an advocate of school reform being led by people who can't even follow a basic line of reasoning, and thus completely misunderstands the statements of the very people he disparages. That Governor Malloy did not understand the speaker's premise or the speaker's ultimate conclusions is an embarrassement to the State led reform.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Socialist Experiment

The motto of my new, state run education system will be, "from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need." My father won't be happy with this new socialistic leaning, but Governor Malloy and other reformers have inspired me to join the movement.
In our new education system, the state, presumably me because I will have that kind of authority, will determine who the best teachers in the entire state are, and where they teach. I will clearly begin my search for the best by heading to Avon and Simsbury and, well, Fairfield County for sure. Those commodoties, the best teachers, will be delivered to the neediest schools in Connecticut, those in Hartford, Bridgeport, and Windham.
Once those needy schools have the best teachers, I will then transfer the crappy teachers, the ones I've replaced in Hartford, Bridgeport, and Windham to Avon, Simsbury, and most of Fairfield County.
The middle of the road schools found in Tolland, Mansfied, and Torrington will get left alone because while their scores are good, they aren't great and thus don't have any teachers to move up or down.
I would clearly have to force all of these transfers because those really good teachers (the capitalists I guess) are only concerned with their well-being--that is why they don't teach in those terrible and failing schools.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Teach for America, Poverty, and Governor Malloy

In today's Hartford Courant, which if you are asking me, has a terrible education section, three opinion pieces appear that have me feeling ambivalent at best, aloof at worst.
The first one praises the possibility of bringing in Teach For America into my school district. The second, written by a teacher at one of Connecticut's wealthiest districts, West Hartford, cautions that poverty is the true underlying issue in school success or failure. And the third gets at the constant demoralization of teachers that seems to be at the heart of our Education Governor, Dannel Malloy's, and our Secretary of Eduaction, Arne Duncan's education reform movement.
Teach For America promises more than it can deliver. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have some merit. Tough schools need teachers who can pretty much sacrifice their life to find a modicum of success. But even with TFA'ers in place, they still have to confront the realities of a poorly run school and poorly run district--which is run by a highly over-rated Special Master who accomplished very little in Hartford Public Schools.
Never-the-less, adding TFA'ers to the mix can't hurt, and I'd be glad to help them acclimate to my building.
Poverty is debilitating if a person allows it to do just that. That a teacher in a ridiculously wealthy school district recognizes this makes me feel supported. Unfortunately, Governor Malloy and his Blame the Teacher Tour doesn't care much to listen to real educators, instead taking his marching orders from President Obama and Arne Duncan in their lofty rhetoric that sounds really good when read off of a telemprompter--in all three cases, they would be rated as ineffective teachers and lose their jobs if they were held to type of standards in their current positions as they want me to be held to in mine.
But the reality remains despite poverty, some schools are finding success. KIPP, SEED, Cristo Rey, and others examined in David Whitman's Sweating the Small Stuff, prove that with the right format, and the right support, we can do better with students of poverty.
At the moment, I pretty much hate teaching. Not because I hate interacting with students, or because I care one whit what some moron commenting on any of the listed articles thinks about me or my profession. I hate teaching at the moment because educated people are buying into the demoralization. That the governor of any state, especially one of the most well educated ones in the country (Connecticut), could ever utter the belief that to earn tenure "the only thing you have to do is show up for four years."
Quite frankly, the whole mess is absurd. So why care? Why bother getting worked up and angry about what Governor Malloy and his ignorant cronies think? Why care whether TFA or some bum off the street walks in next year to teach at my school? Why concern myself with the income level of my students? I think I'll just show up, or not. In the end, I serve no greater purpose than providing talking points, both good and bad, to people wishing to get elected.


UPDATE VIA jonathanpelto.com this image of how Connecticut (Malloy) is spending 1 million dollars to "help" Windham Public Schools:



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fire the Police

Recently, I came across the crime data for the fifty states and the District of Columbia for 2010. The five most dangerous states are (excluding D.C.): Nevada, Alaska, Delaware, Tennessee, and South Carolina. What does this mean? It is time to fire all of the poorly rated State Policemen and Policewomen from those states.
We clearly need to put the interests of the citizens above those of the officers and their unions. How can we stand for such a crime gap in our country? Nevada had 660 incidences per 100,000 people; Vermont had 130.
If we are not going to tolerate teachers whose students do not perform up to par, why would we tolerate police officers who do not protect their citizens?
It is time to fire the underperforming police and replace them with a new group of police: Police For America. This group of graduates from prestigious universities, with a few weeks of police training, will clearly benefit the community.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The Lord of the Education Flies

The American education system really hit its first bit of turbulance back in the 1980's, but was able to ride it out until the late 90's when the turbulance returned. That's when the crash happened. Our system was left dazed and confused and in need of a leader. President Bush spoke first, declaring that our government had a responsibility to hold the shell and speak. It all seemed utopian at first. No child left behind; politicians and teachers coming together to create a more perfect union.
But soon the politicians and their followers grew jealous of the teachers and their unions. The teachers and the unions began to see that the politicians weren't keeping up on their end of the deal--to fund the mandates. Grumbling began.
The politicians decide that the teachers union should not, or could not, lead the way. They begin to entice the private sector, the donors, to join their side. Their thirst for blood grows until finally the teachers become the enemy, and they swear to destroy them.
Currently, those politicians and their followers are in a full fledged, mouth-frothing, trance-like frenzy to ridicule and demoralize the teachers. With the help of the New York Times and the L.A. Times, the politicians have succeeded in pushing a few boulders off the cliff of decency, striking many a decent teacher.
It is all quite savage in the end. It comes just a little too close to that cautionary tale of The Lord of the Flies.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

You do it

People who have read my blog over that past seven years will know that I am an adovocate of school reform, including diminishing the strength of teacher unions. But lately, I find myself getting a bit defensive about my profession.
Here in Connecticut, Gov. Malloy has joined in the new national anthem, "Oh, Teach' its your fault." This state has given former Hartford Superintendent Dr. Steven Adamowski unprecedented control over a failing school system without providing the taxpayers any transparency to how he is spending their money or their time. Dr. Adamowski is best know for "turning around" Hartford schools, despite their continued poor performance in relationship to the rest of the state. Dr. Adamowski and the rest of today's reformy types want to get rid of teachers when their students don't perform. Yet, Dr. Adamowski turned his failure in Hartford into a $225,000 a year position with seemingly no oversight.
So to all of the education reformers who sit in an office and have no, or very little, experience in a classroom of the 21st century, I say "you do it."
No, really. I dare you to spend a week, a month, a quarter in this state's most failing schools. I beg that you try to do what you are demanding of us to do, with the pay that we get. Come on. Put your rhetoric where your mouth is, Gov. Malloy.