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January 31, 2011
February 02, 2011
In case you missed them, a few notable events from the last month (or so):
An amazing story from Erik Robelen at Education Week begins…
Robelen quotes Fordham’s curriculum guru, Kathleen Porter-Magee, leaning toward parents:
This is certainly not the first shot fired in what will be a prolonged battle to decentralize education, but it surely brings the fight to the curriculum trenches.
Teachers really really do count. Kudos to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times for appreciating the stakes of the debate over the Chetty-Friedman-Rockoff study called The Long-term Impact of Teachers.
Kristof called it, “a landmark new research paper [that] underscores that the difference between a strong teacher and a weak teacher lasts a lifetime.”
For those of us who have seen teachers in action—the good, the bad, and the ugly—the research confirms what we all know. It is now up to our policymakers, as it has always been, to provide us a system of governance that gives us great teachers.
Here are a few things that I think we need to do:
It is not enough to sing the praises of great teachers. Our policymakers must do the heavy-lifting that will train them and retain them.
Michelle Rhee is pretty smart. Though this video by a DC group of parents and teachers is unabashedly anti-Michelle Rhee (“the sad legacy under Rhee”) and meant to “contradict her simplisms,” it did lead me to this exchange between Rhee and Ida Lieszkovszky for State Impact Ohio:
Seems a very un-simplistic statement about a complicated issue.
A curriculum tussle in Tucson. And, finally, another curriculum tussle pitting local interests and state authorities. According to this Associated Press report, “Arizona's schools chief ordered that a portion of a Tucson school district's state money be cut off after he issued a decision Friday that the district's ethnic studies program violated state law.”
Apparently, Tucson’s sin was to create a Mexican-American Studies program, which an administrative law judge, supporting the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, ruled against because the classes were designed for one ethnic group and, according to the AP, “promot[ed] racial resentment and advocat[ed] ethnic solidarity instead of treating students as individuals.”
The case poses existential governance questions, but they are nothing new. As someone once said about America, “E pluribus unum,” which, roughly translated, means, let the fight continue.