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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Decloaking Superman

From the blog Education Next

by Diane Hanfmann

I wish there was a hero that possessed the superpowers to fix what ails education in America, truly I do. Would they be able to sneeze and end poverty? Could they blink and make bad policy go away? Would a twist of their wrist send a message into the heads of bad teachers that they should leave the profession? Could a simple slap on the knees serve as a barrier keeping all persons without appropriate background from entering policy making? Perhaps a magical ring could detect political motive trumping student benefit and emit a purple ink onto the face of the perpetrator regardless of distance. We don't have that.

I reject the substitute. Her vision is blind to poverty and the very lives of the children for which she portrays herself as savior. Her voice is not used to reflect the enormous bulk of literature which correlates poverty to low static achievement measures. You can't fix a leaky pipe by adding Kool Aid to the water. The woman the media portrays bypasses the leak. That is not super thinking, imho. Her strategy is flawed from the start. Yet she is hyped by the media. I must be missing something.

Interestingly, her vision is eagle sharp on teachers as the blame for bad things. I am reminded of missing the gaping

gunshot wound in the chest of a man but notice instead his pale skin on his toe. Focusing on and coloring the skin via the world's best dermaologist won't solve the problem at hand. A hero with the wrong focus should only be called misguided.

I reject the substitute. Her presentation to the public is irksome to me. I am reminded of media handlers and words which sound good but beneath them lie a whole new plan. I can't say she knows what she is doing as she has no background in education. I do and I am aware of her use of placing static achievement measures in the face of the public, who is ill equipped to place such information in context. Certainly. this plays to her advantage. Wouldn't a hero teach the public and work at fairness in presentation of information?

Her visual field is missing the evidence of looking at policy which dictates teacher behavior. Why not look at NCLB and . in my state, the A+ Plan? Even I , a mere mortal, can show this supposed hero detriments of such policies.

She doesn't look. She is no hero and she has the glory. More worrisome, she has power.

Her rise is fraught with question but one certainty I found is her connection to bilionaires. Her test score claims are

uncertain. Erasures and other events during the time of her leadership add to the mystery surrounding the boost of this lady into stardom. Her choice to fire 266 teachers and then discover a budget surplus does not point to super powers of investigation.

I reject this substitute. She pushes merit pay and vouchers.. Why call someone a hero when their platform includes implementing practices research shows ineffective in education? Do heroes suggest wastes of energy and damage on thier mortal neighbors? Would Robin crusade that Batman should walk to the next crisis and leave the Batmobile in the garage? Would Spiderman shoot his web at the good guys t o immobilize them and their aid efforts? Would Superman give his crusader outfit to a mortal person and send them to the phone booth without instructions on flying? Did Batman protect Gotham by holding and promoting checker tournaments ? How little is her concern with our nation's children that ineffective practice is touted?

I guess there actually may be one tie in with superheroes. Ms. Rhee used tape to keep all her class's mouth shut, somewhat reminiscent of a Spiderman web shooting. Imagine the teachers who haven't done so. Imagine theteachers who advocate for better things for our students and schools. Imagine the teachers with appropriate background to address issues in education? Imagine teachers with a visual field that includes a larger scope?

If Ms. Rhee is the best example of a hero for America's teachers, parents, and policy makers, we are in more trouble than even she states.

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