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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Eli Broad slams teachers, must be Wednesday (rough draft)

First who is Eli Broad and why should we care. Mr. Broad is to education policies to what the Koch brothers are to extreme right wing policies. He donates millions to anti-teacher, anti-union and when you think about it anti-kid organizations. He loves standardized tests, thinks anybody could be a teacher and would probably try to drown public education in a bathtub if he could. Several of Duval County’s former school board members, Nancy Broner and Betty Burney are disciples of his too. Which helps to explain the hole we are in.

He penned an anti teacher piece in the Las Angeles Times that I will now debunk during the commercials of an Arrested Development marathon. 

Broad starts, If America's medical schools were failing to offer their students the academic content and practical experience necessary to provide high-quality healthcare, we would be outraged.

The main problem with that is teacher colleges aren’t doing what he suggests. He sites a thoroughly debunked National Council on Teacher Quality study as an authority about how well Teacher Colleges are doing. You might remember the study because Florida State College wondered why they graded a program that they didn’t have. Diane Ravitch wrote: Bear in mind: NCTQ is not a professional association; it is not a research organization; it is not a think tank. It is an advocacy organization that promotes alternative ways to become a teacher, that is, alternative to going to an education school.

If you aren’t doing anything later lets meet for drinks and form a think tank about string theory, our study will have as much validity as the Councils. 

Broad then complains how teachers don’t get training and support, and this from the guy who funds Teach for America which offers their non education majors just five weeks of training before placing hem in schools. As for teacher support shouldn’t that come from the districts teachers work in? I don’t know many colleges that once somebody graduates from them the college tracks them down and supports them. Maybe it’s different in Billionaire school.
Broad then bashes college admissions standards for being to low. Well since only 30 percent of American’s over the age of 25 have a college degree and all public school teachers do I think that’s a moot point. But lets make it a little mooter, hmm is that a word, anyhoo, only 10% of Americans have an advanced college degree where 52% of Teachers do. This means if going to and finishing college is a mark of excellence then teachers have excellence in spades. 
How we should follow the Finland and China model is his next point. Arne Duncan says Finland, Singapore and Korea are the places to be. They must have gotten their talking points from different anti-public school meetings.
I can’t imagine many American’s wanting to emulate china, thanks for the thought though. And like Duncan doesn’t like to admit, but Finland is highly unionized, they don’t believe in standardized tests, they have multiple tracks to graduation that serve more kids interests, they pay their teachers well and they invest in education.  Sure they might recruit from the top third of their graduates but how can he dismiss all those other factors, cognitive dissonance anyone? I guess he is in good, err bad company because Arne, Rhee, Bush, Klein, Bloomberg, Chartrand and the list goes on and on and…. The truth is those things are inconvenient to the narrative he is trying to sell.
He thinks raising the bar for college admission is a first important step, I say addressing poverty is a better one. Potatoes, potatoes I guess, except poverty is the number one quantifiable measure for how a kid does in school. The teacher’s class rank falls somewhat further down the list. 
Next he suggests teachers develop content expertise by requiring them to study math, science, English and other core subjects for three years, and then provide top performers in each subject area with the training and support they need to learn how to teach the content.
Forgive me but don’t history teachers study history and math teachers study, you get it, his whole point is so laughable, and not arrested Development laughable. 
Gaining momentum he says, we would never allow a medical student to perform surgery without participating in a high-quality residency program and studying under the careful eye of an experienced physician. We shouldn't force new teachers to enter the classroom without the same type of support and training.
Unless they are Teach for America teachers then they are good to go. Does anybody else feel his hypocrisy bleeding from his words or is it just me?
He is right, sorry sit down before you read this next part, he is right, every student in America deserves a great teacher (and informed philanthropists), however demonizing the ones we have, marginalizing them, forcing many to leave and by being an ignorant hypocrite who showers anti teacher organizations with money is not the way to make sure that happens.  
Back to my marathon.
To read his piece, click he link:,0,1984429.story

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