Matt Damon Joins the Fight Against Good Teachers and Poor Students

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The practical result of tenure for high school and elementary teachers was New York City’s notorious “rubber rooms.” Low-quality teachers and those accused of sexual harassment or other offenses received full salary and spent years reporting to “rubber rooms” where they waited for their cases to be reviewed. Such is the nature of the bureaucracy constructed by teacher union contracts. It’s far easier for administrators to just tolerate their poor teachers than to go to the trouble of trying to terminate them.

The issue was most memorably illustrated in the hit documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman’” in a sequence called “the dance of the lemons”:

“Waiting for ‘Superman’” was praised by conservatives but it was made by Davis Guggenheim, the left-leaning director of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

Other leftists who are not in a position to suffer any real consequences for saying so have also admitted this is a problem. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, perhaps the network’s most devoted union supporter, wrote in his 2010 book Killer Politics:

Every school has a teacher who cannot teach but who keeps hanging on because no one has the guts to deal with the issue. By and large, I support teachers union, but let’s get real. Not every teacher is competent or worth defending. The stakes are too high to allow inept teachers to retain their positions. For children, these years from elementary school through high school are their only chance to learn to read and write.

There’s no war on teachers, only a war on the bad teachers who are ruining children’s lives. Damon is right that teachers should have higher salaries. The reason they do not is union contracts that do not allow merit pay. It’s very simple: fire the bottom 10% of teachers and redirect their salaries toward increasing the income and benefits of the top 30%. This will motivate slacker teachers to shape up, and give star teachers the reward they deserve. There will be higher levels of achievement among students and no need to hit up the taxpayer for more money. Everyone wins – except the teachers unions which will no longer be able to bring in as much money to donate to Democrats.

See Andrew Klavan demonstrate this last point as only he can:

Seeing artists as talented as Damon who are duped into supporting a system which ruins kids’ lives brings to mind another quote from “Good Will Hunting,” this time from the brilliant mathematician who discovered the misguided, self-destructive prodigy:

Sometimes I wish I had never met you. Because then I could go to sleep at night not knowing there was someone like you out there.

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  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    If you remove Matt Damon from the article, this doesn't really stand up as a piece. Once you get past the celebrity pics and the movie references and the Youtube videos, there is just a paragraph saying that bad teachers should be fired. The same is true of any job. Bad columnists should be fired.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/daveswindle DavidSwindle

      Somebody didn't click the second page…

      • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

        I clicked the second page, but the thesis that teachers’ unions are just a conspiracy to keep pedophiles in a job was just plain crazy talk.

        • jbtrevor

          Apparently you didn't read or comprehend the article – the "thesis that teachers' unions are just a conspiracy to keep pedophiles in a job" wasn't the thesis.

          • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

            Sure it was. And the other part was why don’t we just get rid of teachers altogether because they are nothing but socialists who give all their money to the DNC.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/daveswindle DavidSwindle
        • wingwiper

          > That second page was about more than pedophiles being kept in jobs.

          When I first saw this episode in the daily Yahoonews, my initial and constant thought since was of my brother, a 32-year music teacher (and a good one, by all reports) in an Ohio public school. Naturally, as Wisconsin and Ohio labor organizers geared up in recent months he joined the cacophony with his own contribution to missing the point.

          Turns out, when I questioned him as to what exactly he was worried about, it was a simple case of greed. He did not like the fact that his soon-to-be-reaped retirement package might not be credited with all the overtime income he had intentionally packed into his baseline salary so as to artificially increase the total unfunded bonanza he is about to wallow in. And, he was worried that his second child might not, for that reason, get his college education paid for. That is to say, the kid might have to take care of that himself.

          This is what Socialists mean when they flog "helping the Middle Class." What they have done is to make labor Unions the enforcers of unrealistic something-for-nothing benefits which people like my brother gleefully agreed to accept and are now angry to learn it may not be as free as they had planned on it being – and are perfectly happy to bankrupt their States and even the entire nation to make sure they get what was promised.

          • trickyblain

            So expecting what is promised in a written employment contract is "greed"?

            It's "socialist" to want to help your kids?

            And, finally, how is an 18-year-old supposed to pay for a six-figure education???

          • GKC

            So you quit beating your wife?

      • waltjr

        Flipside, evidently doesn't understand modern technology of pushing his mouse button to read the second page of a posting or even pressing the "Print This Post" if he has a difficult time pressing page 2.

        As far a Damon, he has the same speech pattern his Hero B. Hussein Obama has when he is not in front of a teleprompter, Uh, Um, Um, Um, Ah…..I especially love the line Damon used "See you take this MBA-style thinking" My MBA-style thinking is really a Elementary School style of thinking, if a teacher is sexually harassing a student, you fire their ass, if a teacher is not able to get through to their pupils because they lack the necessary tools to teach then you fire their ass…

        • Jim_C

          Damon was talking about the notion that you can use the metrics of standardized testing to determine teacher competence. This has no real educational value and hurts the kids. Everyone knows who the crappy teachers are–we just need a simpler way to fire them.

          • GKC

            BS

        • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

          I understand modern technology. David Swindle is a blogger and if you don’t absolutely agree with him, he censors you.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/daveswindle DavidSwindle

            I have not censored you. By all means post your dissenting views. If your comment is being blocked then perhaps it's because of profanity.

          • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

            Ahhh! Finally my post cleared moderation after two days. Perhaps it was just a glitch. Maybe DNC is a swear word.

    • sononthe_beach

      Leave it to a raging-partisan lefty to walk down his talking points while wearing a pair of blinders. The larger story is the idiotic no-commonsense mind-set of liberal Hollywood. Damon is a Howard Zinn groupie. For anyone who understands Zinn, that is all that needs be said about Damon's irrational mental state. Damon is living proof that most, if not all, lefties think with their emotions. They don't need to document sources or quote statistics, because for them it is all about what seems right. Only rarely does the concept of unintended consequences get a hearing in the mush swamp liberals use for a brain.

  • gray man

    flipside
    bad commenters should be fired. your fired

    • guest

      It's "you're" fired. Idiot.

    • Roger

      HAW! Now THAT.. is funny.

  • Snorbak

    Those responsible for firing those who have just been fired, have themselves, been fired.

    • StephenD

      So long as they take that Dolt Damon with them! Don't let the door hit them in the ass on the way out. Don't let them leave without the Howard Zinn book of lies on American History either.

    • JDknotts

      So says Monty Python

  • Amused

    Yea , and what about those "bad politicians " ? The highest crime demographic in the country goes to that group of 500 or so in Washington . Their "tenure " involves after serving two terms , lifetime healthcare [the best in the country ] and a pension that's more money than the average workingman's yearly salary . And what about them bad CEO's .and CFO's that ruin companies , they usually "get fired ' with huge severances and "stay in the club " turning up on another board in another company . LOL….and they dont need a union to do that . And they get to VOTE THEMSELVES A RAISE ! But lets focus on the lowest paying vocation /job , and blame all our woes on them , the overwhelming majority of which are good and commited teachers .

    • davarino

      Except these lowly workers work for us and they are doing a terrible job. Why are our kids less educated than almost everyone else in the world? Its not because we arent giving the unions everything they want and more, like that woman who thought it was worth a billion dollars to educate a child. This shows that these people think way to much of themselves.

      By the way, CEO's work for private companies. I dont care what they do with their own lives, I do care what these other numbnuts do with my child's life.

      • paddydonovan

        Well,c'mon, Davarino. Some of them are doing a piss-poor job but the rest of us care and do a good job.

        • davarino

          Ok then why are we behind other nations in education? I agree there are good teachers but they are hamstrung by the NEA

    • Chris Nichols

      If your politician is "bad" he can be voted out of office, usually they are bad because they are enjoying the benefits you listed while lavishing same said benefits on public sector unions who contribute to their campaigns. If a CEO or CFO is making bad decisions you can vote with your dollars and not buy their products, or their stock. Other than that, that money they take home doesn't effect you at all, they can't tax you and their salaries are not paid with taxpayer money, like say a member of a teachers union who you can't vote out of office. Also, don't don't try to paint people against public sector unions as anti-education troglodytes. The article states our intent to week out the bad teachers collecting taxpayer salaries and reward those who perform well instead of paying every teacher the same regardless of performance.

  • Amused

    Hmmm, the article's just another vehichle for union bashing . Quite typical around here , a trademark ,as it were .

    • davarino

      Yikes, we wouldnt want to bash anything around here that doesnt meet with your bashing approval. So what is worthy of bashing, other than FPM, Foxnews, Conservatives, average Americans?

    • tony

      Grow up. No one's bashing unions. Did you even read through the piece, or are you simply channeling Damon's low watt brain?

      • Jim_C

        Did Damon actually say anything that was wrong?

        • William_Z

          In the first clip MD’s negative comments are off the cuff. The teachers in charter schools are educated by the same institutions as all other teachers and each state certifies all the teachers in their states the same why. His comments show that he doesn’t understand the process.

        • intrcptr2

          Not so much wrong, as not right.

          My single biggest issue with his position has to do with his question to the interviewer, why take a job with such poor pay?

          JOB SECURITY

          After less than five years, even the worst teacher will gain a virtually impregnable sinecure. In my education classes, my one prrofessor related stories about teachers getting canned for various things, some frivolous. I think though, on balance, tenure at this level merely functions to perpetuate mediocrity. I never did understand the application of tenure at this level.

          • Jillian

            I certainly did not go into education for the pay or security. I do it because I love it. The idea that all of a sudden we begin working less because of tenure is completely off-base. I find the opposite is in play. The longer one stays in a school, the more experience pone gains. I used to think being a young, energetic new teacher gave me an advantage over older, tenured ones. Now I fully understand-the longevity in my position has not only made me a better educator, but increased my knowledge-base, widened my perspective, and helped me to navigate difficult situations. Through this, today I provide ten times the education to my students that I did as a hungry, hard-working new teacher. I am better for it, as are my students and their performance. Testing fails to measure a smidgen of the true aptitude students attain in the class of a seasoned teacher. Often, we are counted on not only to provide academic education, but life skills as well. In a world where parents “parent” less and less, we must also act as role models, mentors, and guides. This is taxing, difficult, and often reaps little to no rewards. However, it is the life of a tenured teacher, one whose day does not end at the bell. After correcting and advising arts activities, I am lucky to put in less than a 12 hour workday. I suppose this must seem “lazy” or “mediocre” to some. Then again, I’ve only spent an entire Friday night correcting tests, planning a new unit, and keeping tabs on the political state of teachers in the media. What do I know?
            Chastising Matt Damon over the true disconnect-that the war on teachers is often fought by those who spend little time in actual schools, let alone functioning ones, is at its core a bit sad. It’s Matt Damon. Who cares. How about we interview real teachers on the matter versus looking to the words of irrelevant celebrities to further the cause.

    • Chris Nichols

      Because unions usually deserve the bashing they are getting. Case in point, you were probably educated by the public school system with unionized teachers and it shows. You lack the basic reading comprehension skills to understand that the article demonstrates that unionized teachers cannot get fired due to their lack of performance.

  • jacob

    There are two factors :bad teachers and the fact that school authority has been
    taken over by the students…

    In my day and age, pupils wore uniforms and nowhere the ridiculous fashion
    parade seen nowadays in school on account of the contrary being "damaging
    to their personalities"

    How about the way they grab the pencil ??
    How about their caligraphy ??
    How about their supine ignorance in matters other than the last record MOLTEN
    METAL came out with or knowledge of each and every one of the stupidity shown
    on TV ???

    And as to this Hollywood "genius" , to this day, people believe JOHN WAYNE did
    all those things depisted inhis pictures….
    Does anybody agree something is very rotten in kingdom of USA ?????

    • Questions

      One actor's opinion doesn't speak for all film people. This article is just cherry-picking to "prove" the villainy of an industry where glamour, ambition and talent rule — and where Mark Tapson is a frustrated C-list bit player. I don't agree with Matt Damon's politics either, but I grudgingly confess: He's a marvelously gifted actor, far more natural and focused than actors of distant days of yore.

      • Questions

        OK, mea culpa. Stupid me. (Slap, slap). Mark Tapson didn't write this piece. I'm hurried for time. I stand by the other words, though.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/daveswindle DavidSwindle

          My piece wasn't about the villainy of the industry. It was about how we need to fire the bottom 10% of teachers. If you want to read my writings on that subject then check out the first part of my series The Hollywood Revolt where I talk about Ben Shapiro's new book which proved the widespread anti-conservative bias in Hollywood: http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/dswindle/2011/0

          Mark isn't a frustrated C-list bit player.

          • http://marktapson.blogspot.com MarkTapson

            Thanks David, no way am I a frustrated C-list bit player. I'd say I'm a solid lower B-list.

          • trickyblain

            But at least you're a lower B-lisk player with a healthy sense of humor :)

  • jbtrevor

    Hmmm, I guess I'm reading this differently than the previous comment makers:
    The post begins & ends w/ the subject in the headline, the body of the work deals with portraying why the author is drawing the conclusion he does (Damon is duped), but in reality is using multimedia to portray a message to all of us. That's the kind of writing I like to read, whether I agree or disagree w/ the topic.
    The only thing I disagree with is the 10% number of ''bad'' teachers. I find it difficult to believe that 10% can have as devastating an effect on the education system as do.
    I also don't get why good teachers don't help get rid of the bad…it certainly doesn't work that way in other professions. Experienced & qualified nurses are well-known to eat their young (who are screw-ups).

    • http://twitter.com/#!/daveswindle DavidSwindle

      Thanks Julie.

      "I find it difficult to believe that 10% can have as devastating an effect on the education system as do. "

      Think about the consequences of getting one of those 10% of bad teachers. For elementary school students it means they can get as much as a year behind because they're stuck with a lousy teacher for a year. For junior high and high school students it means that in important subjects they can end up being a whole semester behind. What happens when a student who struggles with math gets a lousy math teacher for Algebra I? They'll get behind.

      Good teachers (and even good administrators) are limited in what their options are for firing a tenured teacher. Many hoops have to be jumped through. It's so difficult that already overworked good teachers and administrators often don't have the will to do it.

      • jbtrevor

        I agree with all of the above which leads me to another point…if a student has an incompetent teacher & is "behind", why are they promoted tot he next grade? When they get to the next grade, why aren't the good teachers screaming at the top of their lungs about how unprepared the students are?
        This happens in NO other profession. If a patient is referred to a specialist, the specialist is going to insist their time/talent not be wasted on doing the basic workup that should be done by the primary care provider.
        And if the primary care provider doesn't do their job, they will soon get a ''reputation'' they care not to have.
        Apparently, the good teachers don't mind having their reputation smeared by the bad ones or they'd do something about it.

        • intrcptr2

          Actually the next teachers, I can't necessarily say good simply because they are found everywhere, do scream about it. Typically the refrain runs along the lines of just how poorly elementary teachers do to prepare kids for middle school. Then of course the middle school teachers do an equally poor job of remediating those errors, and the students are poorly prepared for high school.
          There are many problems here, a few of which Julie asked about and David taouched on. ALL teachers are part of the same union, they are thus, might I say, in cahoots. Both union and professional in-group discipline is incredibly well entrenched

          Developmental psychology has dissected the mental life of children even farther than academic subjects are, thus there is an intellectual and pragmatic divide between those who teach different grades. This is compounded, though. Not only are teachers handicapped by pedagogies from collaborating across the grade levels, but on a practical level, they simply do not; we teachers are separated into warring factions, often pointing our fingers at each other rather than trying to bridge those instructional gaps.

          All this is exacerbated by the financial pressures piled on top by Federal programs, to which administrators tend to rush to bow down to.

          • jbtrevor

            Let's start by ridding ourselves of the US Dept of Education

          • intrcptr2

            I should prefer to also. I think though that we are too well into it for that to happen.
            If this is indeed true, then we who scorn the idea need to discover ways to turn this necessary evil to good. Perhaps unfunded mandates (We want students to be so-and-so, but you states have to figure out how to do that, and how to pay for it) would do the trick?

  • davarino

    Matt Damon worships at the feet of commies Howard Zinn, Noam Chumpsky and thinks hes some kind of genious. He's a real tough guy when he is surrounded by all his supporters. If the reported had pushed further Matt would have started quoting from Zinn's book as though it were gospel, rather than using logic.

    Oh well, eventually we wont have any more money and the system will collapse and then everyone will have an epiphany and logic will come crashing in like an avalanche, but it will be to late. Greece is about to have an epiphany regardless of those who wish to deny it now, it will come.

  • myomy

    Hey Matt, if tenure is good for teachers it's good for actors too. What if when you were trying to get a job as an actor there were thousands of bad actors already in those jobs with tenure and you couldn't get your chance to prove you could do it better? If tenure had existed in acting back when you were starting out you'd be a nobody today probably driving a cab or waiting tables instead of shooting off your stupid mouth in front of cameras as if you had something profound to say. Bad teachers should lose their jobs and be replaced by good teachers and tenure prevents that from happening. TENURE IS UNAMERICAN. IT PROTECTS BAD TEACHERS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE FIRED AND REPLACED WITH SOMEONE BETTER. Tenure prevents accountability. How can that be a good thing?

    • effemall

      Good analogy.

  • paddydonovan

    An extremely bad and unbalanced teacher in my school was just transfered and he cussed out the principal of the new school, the staff and superintendents secretary. I heard he could get fired for that.Why not for years of being batsh## crazy and incompetent in the classroom? Looking forward to seeing what they actually do because if he's not fired, than i guess murder is the only thing it takes ( and he would get union representation for that ).
    I officially quit the teachers union 2 weeks ago. Was asked why and told them I don't want my money going to obama and democratic politicians and I'm never given a choice about that anyway. Union prez said we are in heavily regulated industry and we need these people. I asked " at what cost? The country's economic health is in the toilet but we make out well? The answer: Yes!

  • aharris

    One of the big problems with the teachers unions is that they're organized like all the other big labor unions as if the teacher is the last link in the chain. They leave the student out entirely as though the student is just an inanimate product the teacher produces like a factory worker produces a car or steel. It dehumanizes the student and doesn't give them any thought in terms of the educational process. A car doesn't care if there's a slacker on the line, but a child can be damaged for life. And, every teachers' meeting I attended spent more time worrying about Union issues of contracts and grievances than it ever did on how we could try to improve things for our students.

  • tanstaafl

    Damon is just an actor. You don't have to be smart to be an actor.

    Yes, bad teachers should be fired. But what about bad principals and bad superintendents? Mark Twain once remarked that "God made an idiot for practice, and then created a school board." As far as incompetent parents, don't get me going.

    There is enough blame to go around, but the bottom line is – the public doesn't value education. I don't mean that we need more money, what we need are parents who realize that when Junior comes home with a bad report card it is not because "the teachers are mean".

    There is one sure fire method to ensure student academic success. If they have parents who care what they do at school.

    • effemall

      You are now touching on the sad truth. America may have the most anti-education culture in the world. Too many Americans buy the Wizard of Oz scenario – get a diploma and you've got brains. Too often Hollywood depicts academics as dolts – and sadly, too many of them have BECOME dolts.

    • Jim_C

      Ah, someone gets it!

      I actually have no strong feelings on tenure for teachers, but there are good arguments for it: without it, experienced teachers who have put in the time and dedication can be readily replaced by cheaper, non-experienced teachers. Lousy principals can settle personal scores capriciously. A miffed, entitled parent can ruin someone's life. If we think schools are bad now, imagine what they'd be if this were feasible.

      • aspacia

        Yes,

        I worked at an empowerment school, and the new principal and our supervisor are both science majors, who have zero English or History background. They transferred 30 seasoned teachers and kept most of the first and second year teachers who are cheaper.

        Please don't give the the bad teacher b/s. I was one of those transferred and I hold an M.A. in English and a B.A in History 3.56/4.0 gpa. My 50% of my ninth grade students scored a 6 or higher on a mock writing proficiency test, the real test will not be given until eleventh grade.

        I arrive on campus at 6:00 a.m. and often do not leave until 4:00 p.m. or later.

        Current administrators are politicians who push the pedagogy b.s., at the expense of our society. I told the prinipal that his pedagogy is destroying my country; consequently I was transferred regardless of my students' test scores.

  • tagalog

    If Matt Damon doesn't believe that tenure is an incentive to teachers to lay back and coast, he hasn't been paying attention.

  • S Hall

    Time for Spanky, Alfalfa and Darla to have a play and save the teachers, or just close the Dept. of Ed because without nationwide standardization testing they serve no purpose.

  • aprilnovember

    His movies have been flopping lately. Are we supposed to care what this useful idiot has to say? Go away buddy.

  • Ann

    Who care about this guy—sooooo he's an actor and what he's smarter than the average bear!!! ya, don't think so!!!

  • A. Mazor

    I agree with some of the points being made here. It should not take years to fire an incomptitent teacher. But I also want to know why in all the discussions of teacher/school responsibility, there is never one word said about parental and student responsibility? Ultimately, isn't the parent/student most responsible for their own education? Those parents/students who truly care about their education will succeed regardless of who their teachers are!

    • Jim_C

      I'll tell you exactly why: while it is the truest thing said here, today, there is absolutely nothing to be gained POLITICALLY from saying so.

    • NoMoreTenure

      This is a brilliant idea! My children succeeded in school and college (and my son at work after graduation) because we motivated them to study and sent them to catholic schools (obviously: paying tuitions for 12 years out of pocket in addition to property taxes). Let the parents worry about their children education. If you do not have money for private school, home school the children. No need for schools free of charge and degenerated tenured misfits calling themselves teachers. All those "Education Ph.D." superintendents making $235,000 a year go to useful jobs in McDonald.
      Cut property taxes by 50 – 60% (used for education)! In some states, it will revive the economy. Very simple: no public schools for free!

  • Raymond in DC

    The 10% figure may be too disruptive, so let's look at a very successful company: GE under Jack Welch was known for dismissing the worst performing 5% every year. I agree, there's no place for tenure in K-12 teaching. (But heck, I'd say there's no justification for it in higher education either.)

    The difficulty of firing isn't limited to the teaching profession. I worked many years in a technical position with a branch of Treasury. We had one young fellow who failed to show up almost half the time, and did sub-standard work much of the rest. It took at least 8 months to get rid of him, what with the paperwork, reviews, reports, etc. When I was young and working in an electronics shop, I showed up one morning and was asked about my failure to attend a mandatory off-hours meeting. I'd forgotten about it. "Turn in your keys," I was told. That's an experience teachers and government workers never know.

  • susan wolfiq

    truly been a fan but are you kidding. unions, over compensated lazy teachers, lausd 50% dropout rate. and all this not wanting to pay his poker bets rich actor can do is stick up for his work 9 months a year fat pension mom, common.

  • mrbean

    Government controlled schools with unions can’t hire quality teachers. Government schools can also afford to maintain a sub-standard workforce. Tenure is a system that rewards teachers who have seniority and play office politics. Tenured educators have an enormous amount of job security regardless of their competence. Terminating a tenured teacher’s contract is an elaborate, costly process as teachers’ unions invariably litigate the decision. Not only does this encourage retention of mediocre teachers but this also removes the incentive for educators to continue to develop new skills. Moreover, the current near monopoly also cripples employment opportunities for educators. Not only are positions limited, but salaries are also dictated by bureaucrats and lobbyists, not the market. Public schools cannot offer merit-based salaries to attract more qualified professionals so standards drop to a level of medocrity or worse.

  • Ferret

    What would be better is schools that work on the basis of "headmaster gives his brother in law a job as a favour" or "headmaster receives bribe from ambitious would-be teacher, fires a good teacher and replaces the good teacher with the one who bribed him". That's gotta work better than an actual legal process….surely. The dodgy teachers can easily bribe their way back into favour. Nothing wrong with that. If you were an underperforming headmaster why would you hire good teachers? They would take your job.

  • Fred

    So called merit pay is a myth in education. There are no objective ways to determine good teachers from bad. Every class and subject is different and the learning potential of students to learn within a given class are innumerable. Judging good teachers from bad is a subjective process that invites discrimination based on cronyism, favoritism and preferential treatment by administrators. If there is no objective way to measure good teaching then there can be no rewarding of so-called good teachers. It's a boondoggle.

  • scum

    That's it, David. Keep attacking the poor. There's alot of money to be made in it. Horowitz is a great example.

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  • Jim_C

    Because many of us look at schools as glorified daycare, have no idea what teachers actually do, and have allowed our political leaders to actually dictate educational policy, turning into a football game of back and forth 4th down punts.

    There is NO sense in which "teaching to the the test" is good. There is no educational value in it, whatsoever, and yet precious class time is wasted on it because of a completely misguided idea about "accountability" which somehow fails to include parents. Yet our politicians insist on it.

  • tagalog

    Personally, I wander down the street of the city with fashion.

    But the girls still won't give me a second look.

    Sigh.

    Maybe it's because I All fashion.

  • intrcptr2

    I might suggest that you tone down the charge against teaching to the test. I suspect you would prefer that your auto mechanic is.

    I will agree that it is less valuable the lower one goes in the school system, but at the same time, it is not the irredeemable evil so many make it out to be. If I am teaching the Bill of Rights, my test will strongly parallel the unit. Same goes for trig functions, cooking ratatouille in Home Ec, and Shakespeare (Of course, one cannot "teach" an apprecation for any of these, nor exactly just what they mean).

    One of the major problems with our current arguments about testing and accountability is in fact an odd result of our failure to teach proper history; both have been a central aspect of formal education forever. We today have convinced ourselves that they are somehow destructive of education. I disagree. They are clearly not the magic bullet to our problems. But they likewise are not the problem.

  • GKC

    Great commentary there.

  • intrcptr2

    Thanks.

    I actually have no truck with Jim's points about the politics.
    Although I would also argue that teachers tend to dislike testing because it provides solid evidence of teaching competency, or incompetency.