Posted in Corp Interest, Teaching Career

Disrespecting Educators

I just don’t get it.

Can someone explain to me why education is the one area where “anyone” and “everyone” can be an expert no matter what their training?

This is the same kind of thinking that has the Indiana legislature remove all career education requirements for superintendents, or the Indiana School board not require pedagogical training for teachers.

It’s the same thinking that allows the President of the United States to appoint a Sociology major/professional basketball player to the office of Secretary of Education. It’s the same sort of thinking which gives people like Bill Gates power over education policy when his only qualification is money.

David Catania, the chair of Washington D.C. Council’s Education Committee, has decided that the “reform” of the city’s schools isn’t working well enough so he wants to hire…

…get ready for this…

Lawyers!

…an outside law firm to help him craft a package of school-related legislation that would aim to lift student achievement and address points of friction between the city’s traditional and charter schools.

Catania hires law firm to help craft D.C. school legislation

Major targets for Catania include streamlining enrollment lotteries for parents, adjusting how schools are funded and allocating more dollars for poor children, setting performance targets for schools and consequences when they consistently fall short, and outlining a way to decide the fate of vacant school buildings…

“What I’m looking at is how we have reforms cascade into classrooms,” said Catania, who has been critical of the pace of school improvement under Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).

Yes. You read that right. In order to expand the “reforms” so they actually effect children in classrooms…he’s asking for help from a team of lawyers.

He wants to set performance targets — read: test scores — for schools. He wants to set consequences for schools — read: punishment — when the students can’t reach the required scores. Do the “consequences” include any professional development? Do they include any social safety nets or wraparound services for students? Or are the consequences the “reformer’s” “status quo” options of blaming the administrators, teachers and students?

How many of the lawyers on the team have any experience teaching kindergarten, special education or middle school? Have any of them ever sat on a curriculum committee or a report card committee? How many have ordered books for a school library? How many times in the past 10 years have any of those lawyers had to have a parent conference to discuss a child’s academic and social progress? How many nights have they stayed up till 1 AM grading English themes, or carried a stack of math papers with them in the obligatory teacher’s tote bag so they could grade them while standing in line at the license branch, in the airport, or while waiting for dinner at Applebee’s?

A team of lawyers?

The lawyers are from an…

international firm with wide areas of practice in government and industry, including K-12 and higher education.

Who is he going to get when the school system is sued for malpractice — a team of architects?

He has support on the council for this, too.

Council member David Grosso (I-At Large), a member of the Education Committee, said he will push for strong community engagement but supports Catania’s approach.

“I’m really supportive of getting experts involved, making sure that we’re really digging in and understanding all of our options,” said Grosso, who plans to send one of his staff members to sit in on regular meetings with the lawyers. [emphasis added]

Say what?

Experts?

I should be used to this by now, yet once again I’m astonished by the sheer stupidity…the gall…the slap in the face directed at professional educators everywhere.

Why do we stand for this?

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.