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

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weingarten on the CC$$: teachers just need more time and "training"

AFT President Randi Weingarten does not criticize the Common Core; we just need to give teachers more time and "training" to make it work. She attacks our "test-and-punish" fixation, but that is exactly what the Common Core is. Her solution appears to be more testing: the problem with evaluating teachers by test scores is that the measures are faulty and narrow.  In other words, we need more and better tests!

Her letter is in the New York Times. August 16, 2015.

To the Editor: Re “Across Country, a Scramble Is On to Find Teachers” (front page, Aug. 10):
We applaud you for shining a light on the economic forces that helped create the national teacher shortage: low pay, higher student loan debt and recession-linked layoffs. But if you ask teachers why young people are shunning the profession, and why so many abandon it after just a few years, you’ll get an earful.
We have always asked teachers to be a combination of Albert Einstein, Mother Teresa, Mom and Dad. Now, we judge them by a faulty, narrow measure — one standardized test in English and one in math — and then blame them for not being saviors. Teachers are used to the pressure cooker but are stressed out because they aren’t getting the support, resources, time and respect they need to do their jobs.
Educators have been hit with a barrage of new mandates but given little or no support or training to make them work. Think of the debacle in New York: testing kids on content covered under the new Common Core standards before giving teachers the time, curriculum or latitude to actually teach that content, and then using those tests as the basis of teachers’ evaluations.
Thanks to our test-and-punish fixation, high-stakes test prep has eclipsed teaching and learning and is sucking the creativity and joy out of classrooms. New and seasoned teachers want careers that allow them to make a difference, grow and effect change. Sadly, for too many, the profession today appears not to offer these essentials.
Nationally, we must get our priorities straight and do what’s necessary to recruit, support and retain great teachers — in good economic times and bad.
President, American Federation of Teachers


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