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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Will Duncan Offer Students, Parents, and Teachers a Refund for Buying a Phony Product?

This week found the Dunc at Teachers College, again bad-mouthing schools of education for not doing a better job at preparing the 21st Century classroom teacher. As Stephen Krashen suggested in a post at ARN this morning, perphaps we should begin to acknowledge it is the fault of business schools for the catastrophic collapse of the American economy. I think we may even draw a correlation between low life expectancy in poor neighborhoods with the quality of M.D. preparation in America. Damn those med schools!

It remains a mystery to me how the Dunc can criticize teacher preparation programs with a straight face and, at the same time, embrace entirely the kind of teacher non-preparation that occurs in the 5-week positive psychology "Fishful Thinking" creepy camps that Teach for America puts on to pretend a preparation for prospective Ivy League resume builders who are being sent in droves into the KIPP chaingangs. Where is the outrage about TFA's lack of methods courses, student teaching, history of ed courses, child development, classroom management, educational philosophy, etc.? Perhaps if schools of education followed TFA's lead and spent more on marketing and recruiting than on instruction, then their reputations would be much more unassailable.

Those ironies are entirely missed by the newspapers and magazines that love to talk about the mediocre ed schools and the crumby public schools. These are the same newspapers and magazines that are moving into their third week of ignoring a National Research Council warning to Duncan and his Gates-Broad-Walton lawyers and economists about the stupidity of their pay-per-score plan for teachers. Perhaps the story will never surface in the mainstream. Perhaps, in fact, we will have to wait for a few years for a lawsuit from disgruntled parents and school systems, who have finally come to realize that the education reforms they were sold by the Duncan and the Business Roundtable made their kids less attentive and dumber and their teachers more depressed and ineffective, much like Disney's Baby Einsteins, Mozarts, and the rest of the junk merchandise sold to parents looking for an edge in the dog-eat-dog world of elementary school test scores.

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