Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gates And Ravitch

Valerie Strauss has Diane Ravitch respond to an attack Bill Gates launched against her in a Newsweek column by Jonathan "Not To Torture Is So Pre-9/11" Alter.

Read the whole thing.

Here is a part where she responds to Gates' demonizing of teachers:

If we follow Bill Gates' demand to judge teachers by test scores, we will see stagnation, and he will blame it on teachers. We will see stagnation because a relentless focus on test scores in reading and math will inevitably narrow the curriculum only to what is tested. This is not good education.

"Last week, he said in a speech that teachers should not be paid more for experience and graduate degrees. I wonder why a man of his vast wealth spends so much time trying to figuring out how to cut teachers' pay. Does he truly believe that our nation's schools will get better if we have teachers with less education and less experience? Who does he listen to? He needs to get himself a smarter set of advisers.

"Of course, we need to make teaching a profession that attracts and retains wonderful teachers, but the current anti-teacher rhetoric emanating from him and his confreres demonizes and demoralizes even the best teachers. I have gotten letters from many teachers who tell me that they have had it, they have never felt such disrespect; and I have also met young people who tell me that the current poisonous atmosphere has persuaded them not to become teachers. Why doesn't he make speeches thanking the people who work so hard day after day, educating our nation's children, often in difficult working conditions, most of whom earn less than he pays his secretaries at Microsoft?"

I just had a discussion with another ELA teacher about the upcoming Regents exam.

We think that they are going to do to the ELA Regents exam scores what they did to the 4th-8th grade scores last year.

They have already said they're going to recalibrate them.

That means the rampant inflation of scores the state has seen the past few years is going to disappear.

Which means the scores will drop - a lot.

When the scores plummet, guess who they'll blame for the drop?

Uh, huh - teachers.

And of course as Accountable Talk has pointed out, you'll notice that they're doing all this recalibration of inflated test scores AFTER they have changed teacher evaluations and tied them to test scores.

No mistake there.

It's the fault of the teachers.

Let's fire those "bad teachers," especially the expensive vets, and replace them with those "great teachers," the cheap newbies.

And in a few years, when the newbies make a little more money, we'll call them "bad teachers" and fire them too.

And soon, if Gates and Klein and Bloomberg and other ed deformers get their way, most K-12 education will be done online anyway so it won't matter.

And that's really when you should fear for the future of the Republic.

A handful of billionaire oligarchs making all the policy calls - what do they call that again?

Is it democracy?

No, wait, it's on the tip of my tongue...oh, yeah - an oligarchy.

Or Bloombergville.

Whichever you want to call it, it's the same thing.

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