Diane Ravitch, an education professor at New York University, has been a vocal critic of recent reform efforts promoted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Her critique continues in her latest book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. Teacher Tim Clifford has this review.
"If we have a problem recruiting top college graduates to education, we should fix that problem. Testing doesn't fix anything, and in this case, a teacher bar exam disguises the need to do something more meaningful to attract and retain the best teachers by creating the illusion of action," says an English teacher. What do you think about a bar exam for teachers? Weigh in.
SchoolBook's regular contributor, and English teacher, lays out the educational landscape in New York City, replete with competing candidates and unresolved issues that will define 2013, and beyond, for the city schools.
In an opinion post in response to a recent New York Times essay, a city English teacher writes: "If algebra can be tossed by the wayside, why not Austen?" And he laments, that is already happening. "Bit by bit, the body of English language instruction has been dismembered over the last 15 years or so."
A Queens English teacher writes: Dear education reformers, I humbly submit that teachers are not the Zeroes you make us out to be. Nor are we all Heroes. We rarely confront fire-breathing dragons, but we do face off against hormone-engorged adolescents. We don't pull swords from stones, but we do pull thoughtful answers from reluctant learners. And we do face off against 'poverty, hunger, discrimination, abuse, bullying and neglect. Sometimes, we even win.
An English teacher in Queens writes: "Great teaching, like great writing, is nuanced, complex and much larger than the sum of its parts. Good principals and administrators 'know it when they see it.'"
A Queens English teacher writes: "The feeling when your teacher data report arrives by e-mail is akin to going over the crest of a roller coaster, realizing you’ve lost your wallet, and stepping where the last stair ought to have been, all rolled into one nauseating package. It’s an event that you know may have drastic implications for your career, but you also know the result is as random as a scratch-off lottery ticket. "
An English teacher writes: "The first salvo in the war on pronouns was fired several years ago when teachers were advised that we should have students steer clear of using pronouns in their writing. Despite 20-plus years of hearing dubious dictates from the Department of Education, I nevertheless assumed that writing teachers were being told to make sure students avoided the overuse of pronouns. I was wrong. Or, as the pronoun police would have me say it, the author of this essay was in error."