Brooks champions Rhee and Klein as sunny "reformers," but that's code for scorched earth ideologues. He takes a shot at Barack Obama's chief education adviser, Linda Darling-Hammond as their ostensibly gutless, obstructionist rival.
He writes:Darling-Hammond, a professor at Stanford, is a sharp critic of Teach for America and promotes weaker reforms.Many are still steamed at Darling-Hammond, a teacher quality expert, for her 2005 study "Does Teacher Preparation Matter?" which pointed out that Teach For America corps members leave the teaching profession more quickly than other teachers. Actually, Darling-Hammond has a great deal to offer as a reformer, not a smasher, of the American school system.
In the conclusion of her essay "From Separate but Equal" to "No Child Left Behind", she writes:...Although there is a strong privatization instinct in Washington at the moment, the American people reiterate in poll after poll that they support public education, are willing to invest in it, and expect it to be a leavening agent for society-- in fact, some might argue, the only one left in America. While there are improvements to be made in schools, schools... will meet the aspirations Americans hold for them only if they are given intelligent guidance and the critical supports they need, while children are assured the health and family supports that allow them to be ready to learn.
Darling-Hammond sees value in nurturing and supporting teachers, not running them out on a rail based on high-stakes test scores. She sees collective bargaining for teachers as fundamentally fair. She understands that while our situation is urgent, we don't need to resort to shock doctrine-caliber panic and blow up our whole system. President-Elect Obama made an excellent choice in bringing her on his team.
David Brooks offered Americans a false choice. Here's hoping our new president will sweep aside that brand of discourse.Dan Brown is a teacher in Washington, DC, and the author of The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle. He is not a member of any teachers' union.
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Friday, December 05, 2008
More on the David Brooks's Sliming of Darling-Hammond
Dan Brown has a nice post at HuffPo that takes David Brooks down another button hole. All of it deserves reading, but here is my favorite part: