Teaching is not a business

| 18/08/2014

(New York Times): Today's education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology. 

Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, and with good reason. It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If it was treated like a business we would have better results.  Too many hippies, liberals and do-gooders involved in wasting public money on their crazy schemes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The piece you have referenced offers little in the way of substantive evidence, less still in solutions for problems most agree on and much in the way of straw men arguments and circular logic.

    Furthermore, nothing that David Kirp advocates is incompatible with teacher accountability.  He writes about teachers (as many anti-reformists do) as though they are all angels from on high who care for nothing but the welfare and learning of the children in their care, rather than human beings.

    "Firing teachers, rather than giving them the coaching they need, undermines morale."  This is a classic straw man argument.  What school reform advocate has ever said that teachers should not be coached?  And what to do if all the coaching and training and investment in teacher improvement fails?  (And why would we expect it to change teacher behaviour if they did not have "skin in the game?").

    While there is no perfect way to assess teacher or school perfomance, anti-reformists like Kirp and the teachers unions want us to give up even trying, attempting instead to persuade us that the real value of teachers is solely in their nebulous and immeasurable attributes of "community, "love" and "trust".  According to their circular logic, any attempt to measure results that might identify shortcomings is unfair (as good a reason as any to doctor a damning report).

    Yet he seems quite happy to denounce charter schools and voucher systems based on the metrics of their achievements.  Oh David, why even rely on such misleading metrics?  Isn't it enough that the policy-makers that dreamt them up are good people that care deeply about the welfare of our children?  Why do you insist on passing judgment on what they have done using arbitrary, controversial, self-serving metrics?

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    The vast majortiy of the population do not have a significant stake and a significant minority will be no more than cost centers for the state.  Wasting education resources on the future underclass harms society and the economy as a whole since those who can make a difference have resources diverted from them.

    • Anonymous says:

      and where exactly do you plan to live when the 'underclass' is coming through your window at 3am?  For lack of vision the people perish.  Continue to ignore the poorest, most vulnerable and most in need of suppot and see the society it builds… or perhaps you think that gated communities is something that can work in Cayman?!

      • Anonymous says:

        More gated communities are needed. 

        • Anonymous says:

          Cayman used to be one. The immigration law was the gate that was engineered to protect Caymanians including by ensuring only those that benefitted Cayman would be let in. To those responsible for controlling the gate, I have nothing but disdain. I hope you feel incredible shame for what you have done. Were you asleep on your watch, or did you betray our people and their future intentionally?

          • Anonymous says:

            Your moaning ain't helping the lack of gated communities problem.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think thre is an abundance of evidence to suggest that we dont have criminals moving here as our prisons are filled with our own. I do however believe that our people have adopted some ciminals as role models via TV. Of course we never know with polices ablity to catch criminals in the first place.

            • Anonymous says:

              You plainly have not seen all the evidence.

              • Anonymous says:

                Evidence of what? 

                • Anonymous says:

                  The numbers of criminals from foreign.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Go to the prison and see the percentage of caymanians versus expats. You will see that the prison is full of locals and not just because of expats being deported. We love in the Cayman Islands, the majority of prisoners will be from cayman. If we lived in the USA, the prisoners would be majority Americans. Same with the uk etc. 

                    The problem lies when the percentage of prisoners against the resident population is high. That is when there is a problem. Every country and culture will always have a small percentage which end up in jail. Look through the history of cultures over the past hundreds of years. If the percentage is steadily increasing, then maybe there is a severe breakdown in society. 

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Go leave a purse in a car on Eastern avenue. The expats there will keep it safe for you. 

                    • Anonymous says:

                      If I am behind nice high gates and there are cameras and a security guard or two the criminals can come from Alpha Centauri for all I care.

            • Anonymous says:

              The Criminals originated from poor parenting. Interview all the criminals and look beneath the surface. "Daddy wasn't around and ignored me" "mommy didn't have time for me" "they didn't care if I did homework or not" "I was home alone by myself a lot" "no one paid attention to me"  "I skipped a lot of school" etc

               

      • Anonymous says:

        Gated communities are a good idea provided that the elite are allowed to have proper security to protect them from the unwashed on the outside.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you plan to live in a community with that mindset. The underclass will have the upperhand and where will educated fools like you hide??

      • Anonymous says:

        The underclass never have the upper hand because most of them are drunk, stoned or spend their lives staring aimlessly at TVs or social media sites.

        • Anonymous says:

          I should have thought from reading the dismal crime news these days that the underclass does indeed already have the upperhand despite being drunk and stoned and watching their no doubt stolen TVs..

        • Just Commentin' says:

          Jeezum peace! If being drunk or "staring aimlessly at TVs or social media sites" is indicative of being a member of the underclass, den a helluva a lot of people roun' yah are members. Who woulda thunk?

        • Anonymous says:

          And you are here.  And this is a…social media site?

    • Anonymous says:

      So you mean, that if everybody was like you, there wouldn't be any underclass ?

      To the top 500 wealthiest people in the world, YOU are their underclass.  And they thank you for the work you do for them.

       

      • Anonymous says:

        You seem to be confusing class and wealth.  The underclass are the stupid masses with no education. 

        • Just Commentin' says:

          Huh??  WHO is confused here, Bobo? Check out the most commonly accepted definitions of "underclass" and you will discover that economic status is a defining attribute. Definintions aside, relative poverty is an almost universally shared characteristic of that segment of the socioeconomic strata. Long-term poverty is a basic metric. Causality, however, is part of the debate involving the "Poverty Trap".

          Here's a hint for ya: Go get a decent non-underclass education, learn to think critically before you spew criticism, and perhaps you can escape being a party to the "underclass" as you define it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hear, hear.  The truth is being surpressed by wooly liberals espousing their wasteful ideology.