Tuesday, May 10, 2011

LZ Granderson

LZ Granderson should stick to sportwriting. He has entered the world of CNN blowhards as an opinion writer whose writing style is informal and reminiscent of his days with ESPN. But today he pissed me off.
In yet another article by an non-educator about how US schools suck, Granderson sticks with the trite. He offers nothing in the way of critical thinking, only regurgitating everything the reformists have been promoting, specifically more time in the classroom.
But when he wrote, "Cutting into summer vacation won't solve all our education problems -- most research points toward the quality of the teacher as the biggest influencer -- but more class time could help," he crossed the line.
The ad hominem attacks on teachers have got to stop. To suggest that student failure is a direct result of teacher efficacy demonstrates an absolute lack of intellectual honesty--something our President has been guilty of as well.
When teachers have a level playing field, urban and suburban districts have very little in common when it comes to student population and funding, then I will be willing to accept the criticism from sports writer to CNN blowhard.
Stick to what you know. And trust me Mr. Granderson, you wouldn't last in the schools you are criticising.


At 3:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McNanamar

Do you now disagree with your post on Sept 7 2007?

I will use the ever shaky business comparison to show why I would prefer merit pay.

At my school, only 63% of Sophomores were at or above Proficient on our state's exam for reading across the disicplines. 78% of my students were at or above proficient. I taught our middle of the pack students, not honors, not fundamental. I feel good, not great about these scores. But if in comparison, and I don't have those numbers, my students outperformed students in the same class level with a different teacher, I want to be paid more than them.

In the world of sales, it would hold true that performance matters more than tenure. In education where we are judged by our performance in the form of evaluations, we should have our ability to teach students as part of the equation.

How do you plan to combat the maligning of teachers by those who don't know?

At 5:11 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

No, I don't disagree with my previous post. I think that if a teacher outperforms his or her peers, he or she deserves higher pay.
What I do disagree with is the notion that Mr. Granderson, is not an educator and has spent little time trying to understand our practice. He merely regurgitates what he hears--that teachers are the problem.
I don't suggest that teachers are the problem. My many posts have shown that I believe parents, teachers, administrators, and local communities are at fault. So, in specific school, I do think that value added merit pay is a path we should consider. If my colleague's students are gaining more than my students, she deserves more money than me. I can live with that.
Can we combat the maligning of teachers, probably not. The moment we teachers dissent from the maligners, we are labeled as whiners who don't work as much as the rest of the free world. We have done a poor job of communicating to the masses precisely what we are expected to do, and under what conditions.
I will say, though, that my beliefs about education are constantly growing. I am quite sure that over the course of time, my philosophies have been tweaked, of not completely changed. Thus is life. We evolve based on experiences. I'm okay with that.

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