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The K-12 system is broken. Book shows subjective side of the true issues
on February 24, 2015
Okay---I need to be clear. I like Steve Perry and his tenacity for education, but I don't like this book because its educational perspective is unilateral. First of all, teacher unions may have protected poor performing teachers,but let's not overlook that it also protected highly effective teachers. K-12 education as a system is broken and it floors me that no one is addressing it. Let's look at what charter schools have done in the name of so-call reform.
1). They operate as Unitarian systems with no concern for teachers. Teachers are now at the mercy of one or two evaluators who subjectively rate their performances.Who protects the teacher who is performing the classroom but doesn't get along with her boss? No one. Teachers are now the most expendable group of professionals in the nation.
2). The COMPASS system, or the current evaluation system for teachers, is simply a joke. It gives teachers 100% accountability for learning in the classroom while students have none. Who cares if the student is homeless? Who cares if the student is on 5th grade level but is now sitting in your 8th grade class? Who cares that the student was released from jail on Monday and enrolled in your class on Tuesday? Nobody! At least not the evaluators. Their main concern is observing and rating YOU, the teacher. And if YOU, the teacher cannot help a student catch up three grade levels in nine months, then guess what? YOU, the teacher, are ineffective.
3). Most charter schools do not keep "problem"students." They do not count the ones who drop out in their success totals. They do not count the ones who they kick out or expel in their success totals. They tout success in firing so call "poor performing teachers" and in sending "100 percent of students to college." It's hype. I would love to see the ACT data, the colleges their students were accepted into, and their high school drop rates, and first year college retention rates.By the way, most community colleges are open-admissions so any student who the desire the learn to can enroll; it does not mean necessarily that students were high performing. Now perhaps Mr.Perry is celebrating the fact that got students in an urban community to want to go to college. If that is the case, then say that.
When you consider the unbalanced accountability in K-12 systems, you don't have to wonder why the school systems in GA cheated, or why some schools nationwide cheat on standardized tests and inflate test scores.
Clearly I disagree with the ill painted portrait of teacher unions. While I concede their flaws, I also admit their value to teachers who are now at the mercy at opinionated, know- it -alls passing themselves off as educational experts. Dr. Perry, you got this one wrong. But because the majority of you in education have it wrong, others will herald this work as magnificent. I know the better.