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What Matters Most by AFT President Randi Weingarten

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 12:32 PM
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What Matters Most by AFT President Randi Weingarten
Evidence Matters
NY Times, April 23, 2011

Among the many theories that have been applied to public education is the notion that business practicesand even business leaders themselveswill improve education outcomes. This idea has been used to rationalize any number of things, from a heavy emphasis on standardized testing and the use of such tests to evaluate and compensate teachers; to privatization (whether through charter schools, vouchers and virtual education or through outsourcing public functions to private operators); to "dealing" with struggling schools by firing staff or shutting down the schools altogether, and even referring to the students educated in our public schools as "products."

These concepts may work in industry, but they have been proven ineffective in the realm of public schooling. This was made clear in Education and the Cult of Efficiency, Raymond Callahans seminal account of efforts early in the 20th century to treat public education like a business. Callahans deconstruction of these failed theories has informed policy discussions since it was first published in the 1960s. Yet market-based education "reformers" continue to promote such approachesevidence be damned. But in education, as in other important endeavors, evidence matters.

Teaching children is as much an art as a scienceand more complex than a formulaic corporate stratagem. Unlike businesses, public schools dont have a niche market they can target to enhance their balance sheets. We rightly embrace all children.

There is abundant evidence of effective education strategies that can and should be replicated. We can learn much from the many U.S. public schools and districts that are helping students achieve at high levels, as well as from the high-performing countries that spark so much competitive interest among American policymakers and pundits yet whose lessons about improving teaching and learning so often are ignored.

more . . .
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tech9413 Donating Member (294 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 02:57 PM
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1. Thanks! I just found a new hero.
That was a really great explanation of what education is all about. Students are not "products". The value of a teacher can't be measured at the point of origin, it may take a decade to see the value of the education provided by any given teacher.

Beyond that, corporate model education doesn't consider all the other factors that affect outcome. The corporate model as it exists today is very shortsighted and can't see when it committing suicide.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 03:29 PM
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2. Children are not widgets
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