Sunday, June 5, 2011

Talking Points #3: Conglomerate of Formats- Karp "Who's Bashing Teachers and Public Schools?"

                                                         Website for Rethinking Schools

                                                                    editor Stan Karp

The article/lecture "Not Waiting for Superman" by Stan Karp is all about the politics of education.  Personally, I have always turned away from any sort of politics because it makes my head hurt and I tend to live in my own bubble.  After reading this article though, I found that I had become a victim to the central argument that "public education is failing because of bad teachers and their unions and that charter schools are the solution." (4)  As an educator in today's public schools, this statement directly threatens the accountability of my peer teachers and myself saying that through the results acquired through testing that we are doing a shitty job as teachers.  I support Stephen Krashen who says that, "If we spend as much on protecting children from poverty as we are willing to spend on testing children and evaluating teachers, we can reduce the problem considerably." (7)

Stephen Krashen

The problem is that our democracy, who collectively operates the public school system, has been slowly weathering down on our system- demanding more from us teachers and giving us less resources to work with, which is due to their dysfunctional financial system.    As I hear from many non-educators, teaching is probably one of the hardest jobs in the world.  It is very demanding and yet they keep wanting more.  With the government on the Oh-Snap side, they see wealthy individuals with money like hedge fund managers,  like Whitney Tilson, who is interested in investing their money to make a profit, to start up charter schools as a way to help out.  Those in support of charter schools see this as a corporate business, where they are in control of the policies and pay based on merit (merit pay)My principal can be quoted as saying, "you get what you pay for."  Charter school teachers get paid less and only later realize the benefits of working in a public school system, where your voice is heard and backed up by a union and the pay is based on step/seniority not merit.  It was interesting to learn that 1 out of 4 charter school teachers resign every year.
                                                                    Whitney Tilson

Image of Michelle Rhee on the cover of Time in the year 2009.  "Her weapon was a broom to sweep away all those lousy teachers and their unions." (3)

Obviously, we all connected to the Central Falls HS portion and how it IS the poorest community in our state and how LOW these students are..  I related Karp's comment to Kozol when he states, "(A)nd it's the kind of punitive test-driven policy that the Administration is proposing to impose on over 5000 schools in the nation's poorest communities." (5)  Will the test results be any surprise when 65% of the learners are ELL?  Honestly, who benefits here?  Its wrong to use testing data when there are other factors that belong in the picture.  It's not just the teachers.  We are a part of it, but not the only ones accountable.  Parents have to have a place in this equation also.  Karp agrees with me that this is the key to improving a school. (7)

Karp also goes on to say a universal daycare/preschool system would benefit ALL to get the necessary start to an education.  This definitely relates back to Kozol also.

I want to tell Bill Gates and his foundation to screw for proposing that class sizes should increase to say money, and to end paying teachers so that they can advance to higher degrees, close down schools, and have more virtual high schools or online classes.  It is obvious that I am a "defender" of this "education reform(ation)" who "support(s) increased school funding, collective bargaining and control of school policy by educators."


  1. You make sense of this is an integrated way that show how your real life as a teacher is connected to this... great connections to Kozol as well. Hoping the film itself will offer more food for thought!

  2. I just want to say I totally agree with your last paragraph on tell Bill Gates and the rest of them to go -------. You made some great connections in your blog. It is amazing how close to home this hits.

  3. You made a lot of great points in your blog. I used your post for my "extended comments." You have some really great hyperlinks too.
    -Jen S.

  4. oops... I may have made two comments because I wasn't sure if I did it right. Sorry!

  5. Michaela:

    I couldn't have said it better myself. I remember when I was still an undergrad (many years ago). I, too, fell victim to that way of thinking for a very short time. I used to think
    "If only teachers would stop being so greedy and not attach a payment to everything they do." Was I naive! It's true--many problems could be solved if the teacher bashers would use their time differently.