Saturday, August 7, 2010

In Education, Bright Ideas Most Likely Are Not

It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. —Baudelaire

Americans tend to believe that the right kind of politics – whatever that is – will help improve schools – whichever they are. But politics in the United States most often pushes for bare majority consensus resting on fuzzy slogans and seldom specified commitments. Think politics will improve education? Would you trust it to improve teen-age (or anyone’s) clothing styles?

Colleges each year turn out a glut of teacher candidates. Special “alternative track” programs expand this glut. It is only because on-the-job teachers quit in such great numbers (12 to 13% per year) that those surfeits are transformed into a “teacher scarcity.” No number of transfusions will save a patient with multiply severed arteries.

Then there are the Teacher Board Certification people, replacing seriousness with solemnity, whose first and second pretenses are that the concerns mentioned immediately above, politics and job-abandonment, are of little consequence. These are not their last pretenses.

To examine these issues further, see Political Support, Smaller Classes & National Board Certification:Three Good Ideas?


--- EGR (for WAC)