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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Duncan Came to Neither Bury NCLB Nor to Praise It?

Based on the testimony offered at today's confirmation party, Arne Duncan is already deep into his new role in the post-partisan and aggressively-neutral political drama unfolding in Washington: He came to neither bury NCLB or to praise it. What did he come to do?

Libby Quaid, the heir apparent at the AP's education desk to the obsequious stooge, Ben Feller (will he retire with Bush in Dallas?), ascribes to Duncan a plan to "lure more people into teaching." How will he do this?
. . . .Duncan praised an idea unions have resisted, the idea of teacher pay raises tied to student performance. Duncan started a performance-pay program in Chicago with federal dollars from the Education Department.

"That's something that I want to look at, to not just support but also potentially increase," Duncan said. "We can't do enough to reward and recognize ... excellence."

Duncan said he intends to travel the country recruiting new teachers and to take steps to keep teachers on the job.

"Given the tough economic times, that actually helps our chances of recruiting great talent," Duncan said.

Duncan also said kids should spend even more time in the classroom. Kids in 200 schools came to class on Saturdays last year, Duncan said, and he brought 15,000 freshmen back to school a month early on a voluntary basis.

"I think our school day is too short, our week is too short, our year is too short," he said.
There are numerous good and bad reasons that people go into teaching, but longer school days, longer school weeks, and longer school years are not among the reasons--the good reasons or the bad ones. Nor will competent and caring professionals be "lured" into teaching by the prospect of being evaluated and paid according to the results of high-stakes standardized tests. Good luck on the recruiting tour.

1 comment:

  1. NPR's Morning Edition yesterday had a story about Duncan and NCLB. The 'Gosh, if we could only throw more money at it, NCLB would work!' crowd, headed by George Miller, were in full force! Are these people completely out of their minds?