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Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Union? Disapointed

I am a pretty liberal guy and I have found myself very disapointed with the presidents education policies and if the president loves South Korea so much why doesn't he move there. The excerpt below from the blog Modern Schools echos my feelings. -cpg

From the Blog Modern Schools

by Mike Dunn

The State of Education

We Need to Respect Our Teachers, Like In Asia (Micah Sittig)
Obama had more of the same when it came to education. He blamed parents saying only they “can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done,” without acknowledging the incredible impact that poverty has on student achievement, something that parents have virtually no control over. Parents who are working two jobs or evening shifts are not in fact able to ensure that the TV is turned off and that homework is completed. Often, the homework is not completed because the kids themselves are working to help keep food on the table.

He also blamed schools, saying that many do not have “high expectations and high performance.” Of course he has no way of knowing how many schools lack high expectations, as this is not currently measured by NCLB or by Race to the Top (RTTT). While NCLB tests do measure student performance in math and English, they tell us very little about the performance of the school. Nevertheless, he had a solution for this problem that may or may not exist: More RTTT which, in a moment of self-aggrandizement (or acknowledgment that there has been no meaningful reform), he called “the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation.” He also called for merit pay and an end to tenure: “We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.”

In a truly twisted bit of double speak he suggested that the South Korean education system was superior to ours because of their great respect for teachers. “In South Korea, teachers are known as nation builders. Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect.” Aside from the fact that Obama, Duncan and all the other Ed Deformers have had plenty of time to treat us with respect and failed, this quotation is particularly eerie in its candid admission of the true role that teachers play in the capitalist economy: pumping out more workers and consumers who can enrich the bosses. This can hardly be seen as a show of respect.

So important is the role of teachers in keeping the corporate machinery running that he made a special plea to young people to go into the noble profession, appealing to their patriotism. “If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child—become a teacher. Your country needs you.” Uncle Sam says, Your Country Needs You to Make a Sacrifice, a big sacrifice since that degree and teaching credential may result in a debt of $20-30,000, while teaching wages have stagnated or declined in most districts, making it all but impossible to repay that debt. Even if money is no object, there are the increasing demands of RTTT and NCLB, the pressure to make low achieving students suddenly achieve, and the increasingly vitriolic attacks by pundits. It’s hard to see even patriotism being enough to encourage someone to go into teaching under these conditions.

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