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

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Physician Group - A Role Model for Teachers

Given the existence of an idealized vision of the community, movements of protest are likely to occur within the political nation when the discrepancy between the image and the reality comes to seem intolerably wide.-- J.H. Elliott
The myths that have been perpetuated over the past several decades about school reform are wearing thin as teachers, parents, students and even some of the most fervent supporters of No Child Left Behind are beginning to see the light. Even Diane Ravitch has taken off her rose colored glasses and is speaking out against NCLB. The title of her article is Obama Gives Bush a Third Term in Education:
The great mystery of education policy today is why the Obama administration is embracing the Bush program. I recently wrote in Education Week (June 10) that it is time to kill the Bush-era No Child Left Behind program. The overwhelming majority of teachers agree with me. Those who educate our kids know that NCLB is a failed program that is not improving our schools but rather turning them into test-prep factories and dumbing down our kids. Bush's main advisor Sandy Kress reacted with outrage on the website of Education Week, and Tom Vander Ark on Huffington Post called me an "edu-curmudgeon" for speaking plain truth.
Anyone who is interested in REAL education reform, not the education reform that has been manufactured by business interests and politicians, should look to a group of doctors mobilized to action who have taken on the American Medical Association and are standing up for their patients by honoring their hippocratic oath. Teachers need to do the same.

The National Physicians Alliance is only a few years old but they have managed to effectively organize and lobby on a variety of issues over the past several years and will continue to be an important voice for physicians. These doctors are sick and tired of having insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and business interests strip them of their professional integrity and dictate how they should practice medicine. The NPA, along with many other organizations and individuals, will be marching on Washington and meeting with members of Congress this Thursday, June 25th, at a rally for universal, affordable health care.

Teachers must begin to speak out against dangerous and irresponsbile rhetoric like "The Race to the Top." It is disgraceful, immoral and plain wrong to frame education reform in this language. It is especially egregious in the midst of an economic depression.

Wasn't it the race to the top gotten us into this mess? What kind of message is the Obama administration sending to the next generation when his title for education reform implies millions of children who won't make it to the top will be left at the bottom?

I'm afraid the image and the reality is intolerably wide.

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