Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Mary Elizabeth Williams Doesn't Drink The Kool-Aid
Last week, or the week before an interesting view of the firing of teachers appeared in salon.com written by an actual, true to life NYC public school parent, Mary Elizabeth Williams.
In her article, "Fixing Schools By Firing Teachers," Williams asks a question that no one has dared to ask or consider, are we hurting the children? A few things stand out to me.
Monica Teixeira de Sousa of the Providence Journal wrote, ""It’s politically expedient and far less expensive to blame schools, blame teachers, and propose privately run charter schools as solutions."
That's because it is easier and cheaper, but not better. It also sounds good. Sounds like the know nothing politician is actually doing something. Keeps the politicians from actually getting to the root of the problem, the poverty, the dysfunctional homes.
Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. blabbered, "The firings worked. Score one for accountability and common sense."
No they haven't. You did to find 93 new teachers, teachers that probably never taught before. How is that better. Of course it is better for the superintendent of Central Falls because she now will have 93 new teachers that will ask how high when told to jump and will earn a lot less money.
Williams writes, "But who's really responsible when kids can't meet achievement goals? And whose interests are best served when educators are shown the door? Even a cursory examination of the Rhode Island disaster neatly illuminates one of the real central issues: money. Teachers are expensive. Tenured teachers even more so. " Want to know Mary Elizabeth? See yesterday's blog posting with Bill Maher for who is ultimately responsible. As far as whose interests are best served, it is not the children. As we can see in NYC there is no such thing as "Children First." Just lackeys, cronies, and sycophants in line. But the real problem with tenured teachers is not just the money, but the experience. Why would a principal want am experienced teacher around when that teacher will take the spotlight away from the principal. Mediocrity and compliance are what is rewarded in NYC.
I mean this is a good, well written article. Williams has clearly thought this through, and is looking at the larger picture. Yes, there should be accountability, but what we have here in NYC are just teachers forced to be accountable. Principals, administrators and Tweed staff are not subject to such provisions. This is the problem we have. This is the problem that Mayor for Life Bloomberg created.
But Mary Elizabeth, don't look for the school leadership teams to come in and save the day. Remember has his Holiness said, that parents should have no role in making decisions in their child's school. That is because no one is as smart and wonderful as Bloomy.
The one issue I have with this entire article is this; "At my children's school, several teachers are currently under review for a variety of alleged infractions, almost all of which were brought against them by a newcomer principal working within a system whose imperative is to raise test scores and lower costs. Or, to put it another way, a newspaper reporter recently informed me that a fellow parent told him he doesn't understand why there isn't more support for administrative efforts to just "get rid of" our educators.
What is the key word, and/or words? Yep. Newcomer and principal. Put those two together and you have a Leadership Academy principal or someone that has only been in education for 7 months. Their job? To get rid of any teacher over 40 and making over $75K. This way you fill all the positions with inane drones. What are the infractions? Farting in a non DOE prescribed manner? Carrying a coffee cup? Being smarter than the principal?
Mary Elizabeth, want to do a real mitzvah? Dig into the belly of the beast that has become the DOE. Expose it. Write the truth about the Rubber Rooms. But not the DOE's perception of the truth, the real truth, the truth how the RR's have become gulags. Someone needs to, someone who can't be bought off my Tweed.