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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Disturbing State of Education: SC to Follow Template from LA and TN

Two news articles from South Carolina capture the state of education currently:

Zais: Put failing schools in single district

Charleston County school leaders promise to leverage local control into improvements at Burke, North Charleston High

SC State Superintendent of SC Zais exhibits many of the flawed patterns driving claims about public schools and arguments for policy and reform:

• Zais has no experience in public education, including no experience as a classroom teacher—the same that holds true about Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

• Zais persists in many sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that schools are failing because of the adults running those schools:
“'These schools are failing, and failing persistently,' he said. 'And it’s not the students who are failing in these schools. It’s the adults on the boards, in the districts and in the schools who are failing the children.'”
"He told the board that all the options were too limited. He wanted another alternative — to create a statewide school district for failing schools. It’s a similar concept to what exists in Louisiana and Tennessee, and its sole purpose would be to turn around failing schools, he said."—
without offering a shred of evidence.

• Zais's claims and proposals reinforce the federal push to link teacher compensation and retention to student test scores, despite the overwhelming evidence that such practices are ineffective and even corrosive.

The irony is that we can take Zais's own words and make an accurate claim, unlike the vacuum of experience and evidence behind Zais's leadership:

“These schools are failing, and failing persistently,” we must say. “And it’s not the students who are failing in these schools. It’s the adults without experience in the state department of education, in the USDOE and in the elected offices who are failing the children.”

How?

By turning educators into scapegoats to hide the real sources of educational failure—social and education inequity.

1 comment:

  1. If he gets his way, he can be like ACTING NJDOE Commissioner Cerf, who is pushing through all kinds of unproven and disproven nonsense without anyone stopping him.

    This is all about acquiring as much unchecked power as these people can. If it were about superior ideas and policies, they wouldn't have to turn themselves into czars.

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