Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another Clueless Non-Educator Who Thinks He Knows What's Best For The Classroom


In an editorial in the U.S. News & World Report, Editor-in-Chief Mortimer B. Zuckerman has embraced the pseudo education reform movement by blaming the problem of student academic achievement on teachers. He stated in the editorial that "better teachers are the key for student academic improvement". Mr. Zuckerman, like all educational reformers, ignores, smaller class sizes, teacher innovation, and stringent student discipline codes as major factors in improving the classroom academics. Instead Mr. Zuckerman states that technology is the key to increase teaching effectiveness. He calls it technology teaching.

While I do agree that some technology is good to aid the teacher, it is not the answer in making a good teacher. To show how ignorants Mr. Zuckerman is about the urban classroom, he assumes that the classes should have large flastscreen monitors with whiteboards on either side. Further, the technology will be set up to interact with a school server that can access all the lesson planes for every subject. This would also include video presentations, dramatizations, and an Internet interface. Nice idea except for one important fact. Who pays for it? And where is the large amount of money coming from? As for technology making a teacher a better teacher? IMaybe it can make a teacher marginally better. On the other hand, many teachers will use technology as a crutch and weaken their teaching abilities.

The characteristics for a "quality teacher" is quite simple. First, the teacher must have small class sizes, Second, the teacher must know the curriculum like the back of their hand. Third, let the teacher be the master of his or her classroom, not the administrators. Finally, the teacher must demonstrate skills in classroom management and punish misbehaving students with reasonable penalties. For a teacher to be a quality teacher, the above skills must be mastered and that takes a minimum of 3 to 5 years and in many cases longer. Is it any wonder that in New York City 50% of the new teachers quit within the first five years?

Time and again teachers are excluded in education forums and policy decisions. Both the AFT and NEA must ensure that classroom teachers are represented in all National issues that affect the classroom. Education policy should be left to educators who understand the classroom not politicians, journalists, or lawyers who are clueless when it comes to the academic needs of the students.

10 comments:

A Teacher In The Bronx said...

Will someone, somewhere for once mention the quality of the home in how we educate children?

Anonymous said...

If I were to pontificate on the problems of disease and infection in the nation's hospitals wouldn't you expect me to be a doctor or a scientist?
Let's laugh these non-educators off the stage as they pontificate on all that ails education.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been trained in education technology, I totally agree that technology is just one aspect, not even a major one, of education improvement. It is very much similar to the attempt to improve the growth of a tree, if you do not improve the soil condition near the roots, you waste your time and effort to care about its leaves.
A good education are mostly rooted in children's homes, good school can help but not replace a good home or a bad home. it is not too complicated, but you have to have lots of courage to say it as it is.

Anonymous said...

The field of education reform looks like a fertile ground for phonies and frauds such as Klein, Rhee, Duncan and many others at lower levels. The truth can not be told. Anyone who dares to tell or even deal with the true cause of low quality education will be taken out of his or her moral high ground. no wonder whoever survives can not be a truth teller just like the current bunch.

Chaz said...

Teacher in the Bronx:

I agree with you about the home environment. However, the school cannot control that situation. Therefore, I left it out when writing my post.

Ready2RetireIn5 said...

Anonymous, there are people who pontificate about the problems of disease and infection as well.They are the insurance company clerks who determine whether you are eligible for certain procedures, totally overiding doctors' decisions about your care. They are also the politicians believe they can cure the nation's health care system through "preventative care" - in other words, cutting back on costs by delaying or denying true care.

A Teacher In The Bronx said...

Chaz. WHitney Tilson is another Non-Educator douce who thinks he knows what he is talking about.

Just wanted to get that of my chest.

Anonymous said...

Why do you need someone with educational background to be the heads of school systems? As they never intend to deal with the reality on the ground, it is much better to have someone who does not know or respect education to be a reformer in schools as they probably are less likely to be bogged down, and at the same time more likely to keep their eyes on the ball, which is to control the cost.

Anonymous said...

It is really the educator's fault for a bunch of non-educators to step in and take over the schools. Non-educators show up to explore the weaknesses of educators who really have been having lots of trouble running a functional school system in inner cities. I have never noticed the similar trend in suburban school systems to be taken over by non-educators.

Chaz said...

Anons:

Really? You both believe that non-educators understand the inner workings of the classroom? I guess you wouldn't mind having a non-surgeon operating on you.

I can only say that if you really believe what you say then you are truly clueless of what goes on in the classroom.