An Independent Voice That Advocates For The Classroom Educator Without The Corrupting Politics Tied To Our Union And DOE Leadership.
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Accountability Is Only For Schools And Teachers Not For The Government.
Accountability! How many times do we hear the word when it comes to student academic achievement and when too many students fail to achieve the benchmarks, who gets the blame? Right the schools , the teachers, and their unions. If only we can simply fire them at will? Yet the real villains are the government bureaucrats who set unreachable goals, implement questionable policies and programs, and demand that the schools and their teachers be held accountable when they are not met.
During President Bush's tenure, he and Senator Edward Kennedy came up with "No Child Left Behind". (NCLB) The final goal being that 100% of all cohorts be academically proficient by 2014. Oops, we missed that one didn't we? Part of the NCLB was that every school has "highly qualified teachers" in every classroom. However, thanks to Iowa's Democratic Senator, Tom Harkin, that was watered down to allow the two year wonders from "Teach For America" (TFA) to be hired for the classroom with all of a five week training regime. The result was that the schools that struggled with academic achievement found themselves with inexperienced and TFA teachers and suffered the destabilizing effects of high teacher turnover. Worse was both parties were being influenced by the education reform movement that blamed teachers and their unions for the lack of student academic achievement rather than the reduction of education funding, larger class sizes, and ignoring the effects of family and poverty as the main factors of poor student outcomes. As education reformer and ex Chancellor Joel Klein liked o say "poverty is no excuse for student learning". Boy, has he been proved wrong! Were any of them held accountable for the failure to attain the unrealistic and every changing goals? Of course not, just blame it on the teachers and their unions..
At the State level Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed a Charter School advocate and education Reformer John B. King as NYSED Commissioner and he tried to force the badly flawed Common Core high stakes tests and wanted it used to evaluate teachers and principals despite the "junk science" assigned to it by all statistical associations. When parents, administrators, and teachers came out in droves to complain about the flawed incrementation, his response was that they represented "special interests". while approving a carefully organized charter school rally to support him in a Manhattan meeting as representing the majority. John King was a lightning rod and ended up having NYSUT issue a "no confidence vote" against him.
Finally, there is the good old Governor, who becomes more unpopular daily. He has decided to veto his own bill that would give teachers a two year stay, until the teacher evaluation system is fixed. He wanted a 10% ineffective rate as the Rttt suggested but ended up with a 1% "ineffective rate". He now wants the entire teacher evaluation system strengthened to achieve his 10% teacher "ineffective rate" and wants more charter schools to appease his hedge fund contributors.
Let's not neglect Mayor Bill de Blasio who ran on lower class sizes, more funding to the public schools, and a change in tune for the teaching profession. None of these have been realized to date. In fact his disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina has frozen school budgets in her first year and saw no reduction in class sizes or a more welcoming attitude in the classroom.
Accountability, is for teachers not for our politicians and their failed policies that have resulted in little or no student academic achievement.