A recent article in The Seattle Times is entitled “What’s the Matter With Teachers Today?”
The title is an obvious ploy to gain readership and increase online comments; however, it’s not an accurate title at all. The article itself contains a brief history of teaching and mentions a few issues teachers must face, and the conclusion is surprisingly teacher-friendly for a Seattle Times article; however, it would be nice to see a positive education headline instead of the typical claptrap that dominates today’s papers.
Why not title the article more accurately? Is positivity failing to sell papers?
The Tacoma teachers’ strike is over! 99% of the teachers voted “yes” on the contract agreement.
Check it out here.
One article in the L.A. Times compares the “blame the teacher” movement currently popular in the U.S. with the “blame the worker” movement that failed in the 70s and 80s.
A great section has this:
Recall the reaction of domestic manufacturers in the 1970s as Japanese competitors began to take market share: Many managers and an army of experts blamed American workers. They denounced workers’ “blue-collar blues,” lackadaisical attitudes and union job protections as the chief impediments to higher quality, productivity and competitiveness.
It took nearly two decades for manufacturers to realize that this diagnosis was deeply flawed and that the recommendations that flowed from it were leading U.S. industry further into decline. Recall the success of Japanese-run auto transplants operating in this country during the 1980s: They reached world-class quality levels with a U.S. workforce, in some cases a unionized workforce, while domestic auto companies continued to blame American workers and saw their quality levels stagnate.
Another key line is: “…schools are collaborative, not individual, enterprises, so teaching quality and school performance depend above all on whether the institutional systems support teachers’ efforts.”
Another good article is in the NY Times and centers on student success needing character and individual failure. An interesting line from a headmaster is this one:
People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”
Basically, the premise of this headmaster is that students need to develop character in order to overcome obstacles in life. It’s a lengthy but interesting read and worth the effort.
I may have created a monster…well, maybe 95 of them. I gave my students the assignment of choosing a school issue and then use the rhetorical triangle to organize their ideas. They loved it!
Now they want to flood the administration with their proposals, and I am proud to admit that some of them are quite good. Woe to the administrators when they get these kids flooding their mail boxes and offices.
What a great few days!
Well, a school district has decided to strike. Sigh.
Right or wrong, legitimate concerns or not, I don’t foresee a groundswell of public sympathy. It could be ugly.