Today's Los Angeles Times has a feature story that is sure to upset everyone involved: parents, teachers, and school administrators. While purporting to analyze teacher effectiveness, in fact it will simply embarrass many excellent teachers who DON'T TEACH TO THE TEST and continually try to find ways to motivate children to learn. Are there bad teachers? Yes -- just as there are BAD administrators, newspaper columnists, rich men (ELI BROAD) who think they know everything and really know very little, doctors, nurses, etc. Are any of these others being graded, IN PUBLIC, and in such a demeaning and hurtful way? No! Are workers in private industry really paid according to their productivity? Not really. The goal of this article as well as Bill Gates, Antonio Villaraigosa, Secretary of Education Duncan, and many other rich and powerful people is to bring down the unions, make hiring and firing of teachers an arbitrary and punitive process. It has already begun without visible success.
And yesterday I heard an interview on KPFK with the CEO of Green Dot about their work at Locke High School, one of the worst schools in Los Angeles. What have they done? Spent millions, ejected the worst kids (something regular public schools CANNOT do), and still have not made obvious strides in "student achievement". The saddest part of this to me is that student achievement ONLY means test scores and nothing else. This is not the world of schooling that I want my granddaughter to face, yet she will be starting in September at a presumably high-scoring school in our neighborhood. I only hope that she does not get completely turned off of learning.