Wednesday, April 08, 2015
The Governor's Blame Game.
Its very interesting how Governor Cuomo has blamed teachers for his punitive education agenda that will hasten teacher retirements, bring about a teacher shortage, and hurt struggling schools in districts in high poverty communities who cannot attract or retain quality teachers due to the fear of the new teacher evaluation system. Some bloggers like DOENUTS believe that the Governor overreached and when the general public realize that the new requirements not only hurt teacher quality but resulted in disappointing student academic outcomes, the blowback on the Governor will be intense. His reputation and poll numbers will suffer and his Presidential ambition will be a pipe dream. While I agree with that assessment, the problem is until the Governor's education agenda blows up in his face, the collateral damage done to the teaching profession and to the students will be devastating.
Already, the Governor is spinning the reason he changed the teacher evaluation system to make it more punitive by claiming that educators conspired to manipulate the present teacher evaluation system so that very few teachers could be ratted "ineffective". In other words, he was more interested in how many teachers he could terminate than the students he professed to care about. The new teacher evaluation system was opposed by Superintendents, school board members, principals, teachers and parents yet the Governor and his education deformer buddies didn't care. To them its about how to terminate as many teachers as possible and not what's best for the students.
The Governor claimed that he could not understand how only 1% of the teachers in the State can be considered "ineffective" while only 30% of the students met the State testing standards. This flawed comparison placed the blame on the student academic outcomes squarely on the teachers, despite studies that showed that the teacher has little effect on the student's academic ability. Its like a person who has stage three or four cancer who finally shows up for treatment and the doctor who is newly assigned to the patent is rated on how many of these late stage cancer patients he or she can save.
The Governor does what all education deformers do, that is to ignore the effects of poverty, family, inequality, and community, that contributes to over 80% of a student's academic development. Add that to the lack of accountability by politicians who starve the schools of resources, and cause large class sizes and you have a recipe for poor academic outcomes. Better to blame the teachers than to tackle the social-economic factors that are primarily responsible for a student's academic ability. That and the failure of politicians to be held accountable for approving badly flawed high-stakes tests, and using "junk Science" in calculating the VAM that have resulted in the poor student outcomes.
In the Governor's blame game, its easier to blame the teachers than to admit that the problem lies beyond a school's ability to control.