Thompson: "Insiders" Voice Disregard for Educators
The Whiteboard Advisor’s latest Education Insider survey provides the best news for public schools since the 2012 election, which was the best news for teachers and students since the Chicago strike. A survey of policymakers, thought leaders, and association heads found that only 12% on these insiders believe that the teacher evaluation laws that were passed in the last three years will be implemented intact.
Rather than asking themselves why they ever thought test-driven evaluations was a good idea, however, many of these “reformers” blame teachers for successfully opposing policies that we (and most scholars) believe are wrong. Some of the insiders made Mitt Romney’s response to his defeat seem gracious. They blamed their defeats on the "NEA and the rest of the blob,” unions that “speak out of both sides of their mouth,” “educrats and knownothings,” and unions that “get the uninformed out.” Another commented, “Sad to see all the defeats for reform… Reform is show politics for candidates. It’s not serious, even for Obama and Duncan. For the folks with special interests, it’s all serious business. This is why unions and educrats are beginning to run the show.”
One insider exemplified the argument for continuing to fight for value-added evaluations, “The problem is not implementation, but implementing well. …The systems pose technical challenges, but they can be overcome if educators, policy leaders and thought leaders do not make a fetish out of precision. In the long run, though, especially as the new systems are put into action, people will find them either rewarding or not as harmful as worst case scenarios predicted.” (emphasis mine)
A self-identified reformer was more reflective, saying that reformers “talk too much to ourselves. We need to better understand 'real' people who don’t support the status quo, but also don’t want their kids doing more test prep or don’t want public funds going to for‐profit or religious schools or trust what they hear from their children’s teachers or teachers in their neighborhood or family more than what they hear from us reformers.”
Another said, “the DC‐based, ed‐reform echo chamber just doesn’t understand how much anti‐reform animosity exists outside of the beltway.” Then, as if he was trying to illustrate the wisdom of the above statement, an insider argued, “The Common Core has always been a Trojan horse to get out of accountability.”
The survey also includes numerous other insights that would be valuable if they would give the blame game a rest. Teachers do not have an animosity toward Common Core, even though its advocates need to start listening to teachers. Most people do not see charter schools as the enemy, and they could become an area where educators and "reformers" start to communicate. Only 33% of insiders believe that education funding will not be cut. If they want to improve schools with less money, they should heed the professional judgment of educators. And, yes, there is a lot of “anti-reform animosity.” It would be nice if the insiders would ask why that is so.-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.