As an avid reader, I know about the micromanaging and unscientific teacher evaluation practices that are being instituted in our country (in cities, suburbs, and rural districts - yes, most likely yours, too.). As a parent, I can see the difference in the way my children's teachers are being told what to have kids read, what kind of tests to give, when to give them, and to collect data, data, data, in just the four years between my oldest and youngest child. Same school. Same teachers. Multiple disappointing changes. Too much test prep. Too much multiple choice format - even in math. Too little autonomy for highly qualified and educated teachers.
He writes, " ...we know that American public school students from wealthy districts generate some of the best test scores in the world. This proves that the education system’s problems are not universal — the crisis is isolated primarily in the parts of the system that operate in high poverty areas."
"...we (also) know that many of the high-performing public schools in America’s wealthy locales are unionized. We also know that one of the best school systems in the world — Finland’s — is fully unionized. These facts prove that teachers unions are not the root cause of the education problem, either. After all, if unions were the problem, then unionized public schools in wealthy areas and Finland would be failing."
I am always amazed and dismayed at the incredible spin that some people are able to put on news about our public schools. Our wealthy districts generate some of the best test scores in the world. Great. Then leave them alone and let the teachers teach their hearts out. It's not the unions. Finland, with the best public school system in the world, is fully unionized. Scratch that myth.
Hey, it's the poverty...
David Sirota adds, "....If (The US) were serious about education, then our education discussion wouldn’t be focused on demonizing teachers and coming up with radical schemes to undermine traditional public schools. It would instead be focused on mounting a new war on poverty and thus directly addressing the biggest education problem of all."