Thompson: Rethinking The War on Teachers
Alexander writes that NSVF president Ted Mitchell gave "a pretty good speech about the need for reformers to do things differently, and better."
Indeed, many or most "reformers" regret that their attacks on teachers have spun out of control, but teacher-bashing has always been one of their core principles. The neoliberal education accountability movement came of age during an age of the "triangulation," and "Sister Solja" tactics of "New Democrats." The political wisdom of the day was that progressives had to find a post-New Deal "status quo" to attack. They did not have to lump teachers and unions into the status quo, and I bet that many reformers would like to have that decision back.
My theory is that reformers believed they had to sound tough and distance themselves from the seemingly soft-hearted progressives. They chose to beat up on teachers, but they did not necessarily mean to demonize us. Reformers were in too much of a hurry to produce transformational change, so they did not listen to the professional wisdom of practitioners. When their rushed reforms did not pan out and they faced resistance from teachers, the blame game was stepped up. After NCLB, an unintended war on teachers became acentral tenet of reform. Some true believers in test-driven accountability seem to be more committed to settling scores with adults, but the time has come for most reformers and most educators to negotiate a peace treaty for the good of the children.-JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.