During my vacation I turned to the CNN blog comments and saw one of those "Educators 4 Excellence" (E4E) mouthpieces write how it was more important for a student to have an "excellent teacher" rather than living in poverty despite the overwhelming studies that show the opposite conclusion. I guess the E4E represents the "no excuses" crew who prefer to ignore poverty and family as the major contributing factors in a student's academic development. What interested me was her failure to define what an "excellent teacher" is. but then that is always the problem with Education Reformers who never say what the specifics are. More telling, Ms. McGurk has a Masters degree in educational leadership, is she still teaching in a classroom or is she like many of the E4E drones who fled the classroom at the earliest opportunity? Just look at Ruben Brosbe, Evan Stone, and Sydney Morris, just to name a few, they couldn't leave the classroom fast enough.
Independent studies have shown that social-economic factors like poverty, community, and family account for 80% of a child's academic development. An excellent article written by Daniel Akst in Newsday is a must read. However, the Education Reformers and their allies like E4E, with blinders on, pretend that poverty is not important or not as important as an excellent teacher. Hence their slogan of "no excuses". According to E4E an excellent teacher is whatever the Principal decides is one, along with test scores. In other words a teacher who does continuous test prep and kisses their Principal's rear end is the E4E definition of an excellent teacher. Maybe E4E would be more credible if they were more accountable, many of the leaders of E4E no longer teach in the classroom and in many cases never received tenure (Ruben Brosbe, Sydney Morris, etc.).
To me E4E is a derisive influence on teachers and a tool of Education Reformers who's main purpose is to destroy the teachers union and eliminate long held tenure and seniority rights. Worse, is that E4E is a willing accomplice in trying to destroy teacher "due process rights". In other words a "fifth column". and teachers need to stay away from this evil organization.