I wanted to share links to some of the smartest things I’ve read online recently about education. Here ya go.
The war on teachers is real. This article in the Atlantic describes the rhetoric about bad teachers as a “moral panic,” demonizing an entire group based on the actions of a few of its members and blaming a large and complex social problem on them. It’s totally divorced from reality, in addition to unfair and illogical, but it’s the dominant rhetoric in education today.
As a prime example of that moral panic, Time magazine had an offensive cover story recently that called teachers “bad apples.” Here’s an amazing response to that. Again, the problem is poverty, not schools or teachers.
Schools are not businesses, and should not be treated as if they are. So many people make analogies comparing schools to businesses and teachers to factory workers without realizing the problem with that rhetoric. The analogy doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny because there are fundamental differences in the purpose of a school and of a business: public good and private profit are
The hardest part of teaching: there is never enough. Never enough of any of the things necessary for success. I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I don’t think that makes me unique among teachers. Accepting “good enough” is painful for a perfectionist; how much more torturous is it to have to accept constantly falling short through no fault of one’s own?
I’ve written before about how teaching is a female-dominated profession, and the effects that has on retention. Here’s an examination about why that is, and what it would take to change it (hint: mostly just more money). I’m convinced that free on-site child care would attract lots of fathers to the profession as well as keeping highly skilled women in the classroom.
And, most exciting of all:
Diane Ravitch, my favorite education policy guru, is coming to Nashville today and I have plans to see her speak! I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about our specific situation here in our district. Here’s her latest article online, a review of Yong Zhao’s Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World. It’s mostly a criticism of standardized testing, showing how an overreliance on testing throughout history has made China less innovative and creative, and produced a culture of cheating.