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

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The goal of the war against teachers: A conjecture

VILIFY and PUSH OUT TEACHERS, replace with temps and technology, make a lot of money for the .01%.
S. Krashen

"No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up." - Lily Tomlin,

The goal of the war against teachers is to eliminate the concept of teaching as a profession, to be replaced by temps (Teach for America, or TFAs) and eventually be replaced altogether by technology (ultimate goal of flipped classrooms). The reason is 100% financial – so that the .01% can grab nearly all of the money teachers earn as well as profit from electronic/virtual teaching.

They want as much of the (at least) 500 billion we spend on education as they can get.

1. Keep pressure on teachers by making their lives as difficult as possible and their task totally impossible. The common core standards and tests are a major part of this. In addition, continue to attack the teaching profession: The message will continue to be that the US is in economic trouble because of bad education, which is because of bad teachers.
2. The public, media, and politicians will have no sympathy for teachers’ pointing out their difficulties, which will be seen as whining, and teachers will then resign/quit in greater numbers.
3. Continue to push the idea that TFAs as just as good or better than experienced teachers. Gradually increase the percentage of teachers who are temps through retirement and teachers leaving the profession because of frustration, along with new hiring of temps. This releases money because experienced teachers cost more. The result is more money for technology.
4. Continue to convince the public that all technology is wonderful. Use this to push flipped classrooms and glorify the Khan Academy. The role of teachers will then be diminished to the equivalent of TA’s. This reduces time spent in classrooms (lowers salaries even more), and lowers the status of teachers (saving more salary money and increasing teacher frustration). Hire part-timers (no benefits) to serve as assistants to virtual teaching. This will be promoted as an expanded opportunity for jobs, no teaching credential required. The public will accept this because they will have lost all respect for teacher credentials.

Look for even more attacks on teachers and teachers unions (biased reporting of Chicago situation a good example). This makes sure there is no sympathy for teachers when they complain and no public outcry when teachers leave the profession and are replaced with temps and part-timers.


  1. Thanks for these stages. I read them over the phone to a good teacher friend of mine.

  2. When graduate students are being told that scripted reading programs are "scientifically proven" to work well with inner-city minority students there is an obvious agenda for selling out our naton's most vulnerable children. Why are we allowing this to happen?

  3. 5. Technology will be seen as wonderful because it will allow mothers to work from home while their children go to school online. A digital working-poor class will evolve. Their material poverty will be hidden behind their colorful Pinterest pin boards. They'll be socially and politically isolated--homesteaders on the new frontiere.

    I work in the thick of it, in public education at least, but still it's ugly. I'm ethically challenged.

    I point out how technology does "not work". I let the faculty I work with know what I think about the technology we make them use, about how poorly designed it is and how that makes their work more labor intensive. They're teachers, learning designers, not mechanics.

    I selectively critique the rhetoric and propaganda in my network. But you know how ideology works.

    I talk about the walmartification of education, and have called online education a dehydrated experience.

    But people in my neck of the woods--mostly committed educators, don't have a political orientation to education as a rule. They don't see technology as suspect, as a mechanism of a larger neoliberal agenda but rather as providing solutions.

    It's all about solutions, not about what's perceived as a problem and why.

  4. This is already nearly achieved as you must know. These "corporatizing" methods are already IN public schools: Superintendents are on board and have instigated Tech Officers that are no longer "network security" but are in charge of tech curriculum as well (they have their own association, don't you know); there are "digital coaches" to train teachers; as well as "literacy coaches" to train teachers in Admin-approved content and methodology (one assumes these "coaches" will become teacher-supervisors and assessors); there are "preventionist" positions which pay less than WalMart and offer less job security and brook no ideological dissent (and "reduce" student/adult ratios in class); in short, it will not be 5 years before school is entirely tech training.

  5. As a career educator, I never thought that I'd see the day when educating our youth would become so unessential. It is as if though, the driving factor is "funding", or lack of it. So far, nobody has come up with a viable solution to this crisis. The recession seemed to have green-lighted lawmakers to begin this lay off path for teachers. And now new methodologies and pedagogues seem to be the quick fix. I say less testing and more training for the existing teachers, as we ascertain to teach these new digital learners.