"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The revolution starts . . .now

The greatest problems facing schools today are linked to a national policy that hopes to "change everything," as former Deputy Secretary of Education, Gene Hickok recently noted in a speech to a group of charter school advocates and entrepeneurs in Florida.

This space will explore how that "everything" is already changing in public education and in policy circles and the public perception. Too, this space will advocate for a reexamination of the purposes of schools that is long overdue, before that "change," now spearheaded by a psychometric blitzkrieg of
"metastasized testing" destroys a public education system that took almost 200 years to build.

Lastly, I hope to have some fun covering and uncovering the limitless supply of heartless stupidities against children and teachers and parents, all enacted to further the neverending cycles of what has come to be innocently known as "education reform." For starters, check out this site--it is the brainchild, or brainsomething, of the same Gene Hickok that began this post, and it is supported by the Dept. of Education as an alternative to those radical "diploma mills" that normally prepare teachers. Come one, come all--step right up and become a teacher today for 500 bucks. More on this later, much more.


  1. Diploma Mill? Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?

    I have nothing profound to say in my comments, they are just some mumblings in response to the information I learned from your link to the ABCTE...

    Intrigued, I checked out the website of ABCTE; fascinated, I checked out the sample questions on the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam; curious, I checked out the details of cost and curriculum; and finally, my perverted sense of humour erupted with a hearty guffaw! This whole program is reminiscent of the 'company' slogan for Larry, Darryl and Darryl (Newhart Show)...ANYTHING FOR A BUCK!

    Of all the things I learned while completing my degree in Education, the most profound 'lesson' came from observing and learning while real teachers taught. I had previously earned a degree in political science, an area that I had a lot of personal interest in so I didn't concern myself, one way or the other, about the teaching methods of my profs. However, once I became a student of education, I realized what a teacher was capable of...and lamented to anyone and everyone who would listen: "Unfortunate that all profs are not learned in teaching skills--imagine the impact on their students!" These skills cannot be learned by reading nor can they be tested by a multiple-choice exam (or the "new" essay question)--these skills need to be modeled, observed, explored and practised.

    As I said, I checked out the curriculum offered at the ABCTE. There was none. All this outfit offers is test preparation! Sounds reminiscent of what (I understand to be the case--I am a Canadian teacher and we have not yet fallen victim to this quantitative-only monster) teachers now have to do in public school under the NCLB.

    The whole thing is sad in another way. ABCTE touts accessibility to would-be teachers by virtue of the program's cost, but doesn't provide would-be teachers with a strong skill-set. I fear it will set up new teachers for failure. What will they have to fall back on when they hit a situation that drill-test-drill doesn't accommodate. They won't know any better--they will have only their education experience to fall back on. I, on the other hand, had great teachers to learn from; I had [for the most part] great curriculum and resources for reference; I had the experience of learning and working with other students; and, I had several months of practical experience.

    I'd be willing to bet that the drop-out rate of teachers certified by ABCTE will trump anything experienced by university/ college "Diploma MIlls."

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Anonymous5:57 AM

    Thanks for providing the space for altering and elevating the discourse and most important, continuing the conversation on education policy in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

    Shining a light on the people and policies responsible for the educational atrocities being perpetrated on students, teachers and parents under the banner of school reform is a great service.

    Like an odorless, tasteless poison, we can't see it, taste it or smell it -- but we can feel it. The first step is recognizing that it exists and that it is real.


  3. It's great to hear another voice in the EduSphere. I'll be looking forward to listening to more of your thoughts...