Thursday, April 03, 2014

Teachers Aren't Stupid--D.C. Policymakers ARE

Let's be honest for a change. Ivy League schools are worshipped mostly by those in the Beltway and northeastern United States. The rest of us in the rest of the country don't give one hoot about how "great" these overrated schools are. The ONLY things differentiating between these overrated schools and the rest in the country are the facts it is hard to get in those schools since they limit enrollment like medical schools do, plus they are the schools of the rich and powerful. They really aren't better academically. What people pay the outrageous tuitions for is getting the connections, which are important.

The vast majority of college students in this country don't even bother to apply to those schools. More than a few adolescents have never even HEARD of the "Ivy League." Most enroll in colleges close to home or pick colleges more in line with their interests and talents.

Having a high SAT score isn't an indication of anything other than telling admissions officers what courses students took in high school. Given the outrageously low quality of people in government and business who graduated or attended Ivy League schools, these schools aren't anything to brag about.

Case in point is Arne Duncan, a Harvard sociology grad, perhaps the stupidest person in the country in a position of power. who is illegally dictating education policy and has nothing but contempt for teachers. Same is true for his boss.

The idea that "content knowledge" is the most important thing in teaching is profoundly ignorant. Teachers don't waltz into a classroom and regurgitate college material from years ago. They have resources, including textbooks and supplementary materials, to rely on. Specialists in secondary education have to major in the subject area or areas they teach because their certification is in that particular subject area, and they must have courses in that subject area to get licensed. Furthermore, elementary teachers are generalists, not specialists, so they aren't going to be majoring in math and science when they teach kids from K-6.

For ALL teachers, they had better know about child psychology, pedagogy, organization, and, above all, classroom management if they are going to survive in the field. TFAs don't have any real training at all to have a chance at it. A handful survive to become real teachers, but they are in a minority. The rest couldn't care less about being teachers for the long haul or they are looking to be administrators or policymakers, thus furthering the disintegration of this country.

I for one am sick and tired of the denigrating of teachers by non-teachers. Much of it is sexist at its root and why "reformers" are getting away with murder on this rather than being marginalized as they should be.

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