The “raising-the-bar” for grades, license scores, admission scores are advocated by policy-makers, like those who sponsored and voted for Bill 51, because they think that doing so will eventually improve teaching. This “raising-the-bar” approach for the prospective teacher, however, has another serious weakness. It overestimates the influence internal personal characteristics (like ability, disposition, knowledge, motivation, personality, etc.,) have in accounting for and explaining teaching behavior and it underestimates the influence of external situational factors and actions. This bias leads education reformers to focus on the characteristics and traits of the teacher and not directly on the features of teaching acts themselves, the very things the reformers seek to influence. The shift in focus from the teacher to teaching entails the study of, and the subsequent improving of, the routines, artifacts, lessons and methods of teaching a particular subject.
In my opinion teachers without that special passion and creativity as an individual don’t have a chance in preparing children for the working world and more importantly productive members of society. Many of us can recall that special teacher from our days as a student and the ones most harmful. Though some claim Common Core Standards broadens education the fact remain it tries to squeeze teachers into one mold and the same for children. Preparing children for college or careers leaves out the arts and sports. Teachers are not social-workers nor can they replace absent parents. However a good teacher with that special personal formula does positively spark the self-esteem of students. I think Red Clay’s 50% lowest possible grade score is meant to not demoralize students self-esteem beyond hope. No where does Common Core or the Rodel’s of the world support this worthwhile concept.
The wrongheaded reform goals meant to purge undesirable teachers out of the system takes the approach to demoralize all teachers whereas those with the strongest characters will rise to the top has made education less desirable as a career. Many business leaders who subscribes to a seven-year employee turnover business model may see this as healthy. This concept rotates stale old employees who’s productivity may have peaked with fresh eager young employees helps keep the profit margin healthy. Teach for American model does the same for education. However, they too burnout within 3 to 5 years. Teaching is a craft and motivating students is an art. There is a clear distinction between a “teacher” and an “instructor”. Many businesses fail because they went from having seminars to webinars where face to face human interaction is no more. Telling new teachers you have 2-3 years to provide the skills of a master teacher is wrongheaded! Sure teachers need to reach certain benchmarks in their teaching skills but that is where intervention needs to take place! We need staff development to be lead by master teachers not wall street developmental coaches. Reading student data doesn’t require data coaches! This is something that should be taught to those pursuing teaching degree!
The Rodel’s of the world fails to see the distinction between a teacher and an instructor. Like in business, micromanaging employee rather than empowering employees leads to failure. And this also happens in government re: the failed Markell administration. No one dares to look Markell in the eye and say, “governor I think you got this one wrong”. Not even Matt Denn! Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy joins Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change! Why? Should he use his time doing his job?
Traditional public school teachers are people too! But if they join a charter school they become innovators even if that charter school fails to meet the same standards.
Every time there is another agenda to improve public education a new layer of administration and consultants are added and nothing is done to reduce class sizes. As this happens more money leaves the classroom and reduces “tangible” classroom resources.
If we can only create a more effective local control environment giving parents and the community the tools and transparency will we ever truly reform public education. Do notice the word “public” in public education. It’s there for a reason and a reminder!
Crucifying 100% of the teachers to weed-out the 10% that might be in the wrong profession is pretty much immoral. Sure somebody will say more like 25%! But surely there are many young teachers in needs of quality teacher mentoring programs.