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Anti-experience reformers and the new year

January 1, 2009 am31 6:16 am

TfA, Klein, Rhee…

We know they are anti-teacher (but they have no monopoly there). We suspect they are anti-public education. But again, that hardly makes them unique. But their hostility to experience is defining. As is their partiality to power.

We’ll develop this more fully, but a few notes for now:

  • Less experienced principals. Principals who have never taught. (Leadership Academy)
  • Scores, budgets and other numbers recast so that non-education technocrats can intervene in educational decision-making. (Teacher Data and Aris benefit DoE’s central offices far more than they could benefit any teacher, school, or class)
  • Emphasis on scores over qualitative evaluations (of teachers, of students. Inexperienced administrators have a chance with numbers, not with observations)
  • Less experienced teachers (high turnover)
  • Attacks on experience (ATRs, probes against tenure, ‘open market’ hiring)
  • TfA prefers a person with a fancy degree teaching for a year or two to experienced teachers. (After which they are supposed to do anything they like, but TfA deems them qualified to run a school system.)

TfA and Klein’s hostility to experience is defining

It’s turning our teaching corps whiter and less experienced. It’s giving kids in poor neighborhoods a transient teaching force. It’s the anti-experience ed reform movement.

(and the new year? I just threw that in. December 31 and all. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachel permalink
    January 1, 2009 pm31 10:32 pm 10:32 pm

    I think you’re on to something. My guess is that in the case of Klein and Rhee (and administrators in similar positions) an inexperienced workforce is a workforce that doesn’t challenge the top-down vision.

  2. January 1, 2009 pm31 11:49 pm 11:49 pm

    What is different seems to be that they do not want experienced people beneath them at any level – not teachers, not principals, not his immediate staff.

    It would be interesting to get some idea of how many TfA get back into the system as admins here in NY (I don’t think the number is very high). DC?

    But the heavy reliance on Harvard and Princeton grads, without additional qualification, is obvious.

    It may be a bad sign that there is some consonance with the trend in Obama’s appointments.

  3. Rachel permalink
    January 2, 2009 am31 2:04 am 2:04 am

    I don’t see the parallel with Obama’s appointments, which seem pretty heavy on experience to me — in fact most of the criticism I’ve heard is that he’s relying too much on experienced Washington hands, and not bringing in enough “change.”

    It’s true that Arne Duncan is a bit of an exception to that pattern — but someone pulled out of the Ed Policy Think Tank world would have been much worse.

    My impression of Duncan is that he doesn’t bring a strong philosophical agenda to the job, which may almost be the best we can hope for given the polarized nature of most ed policy discussions. Anyone with a clear agenda also has a clear cadre of opponents sitting in wait.

  4. January 2, 2009 am31 3:24 am 3:24 am

    I meant the Harvard end (trained to rule) rather than experience. They certainly come with, composite, an amazing amount of experience.

  5. Rachel permalink
    January 2, 2009 am31 7:32 am 7:32 am

    I suppose a sense of entitlement is one of the hazards of a Harvard education — but if you take it seriously, it’s also a great place to learn to think, to question, and not settle for pat answers and dogma.

  6. Tom Burns permalink
    January 3, 2009 am31 10:48 am 10:48 am

    Hi all,
    I was just given today the article on the new leader in DC –I guess her name is Rhee—37 year old with no accomplishments in her life making judgements on people who have accomplished much with their students–what a joke–chauferred car??/ are you kidding me—–this woman has never had success in the classroom and has the opportunity to hurt those who have—reminds me of Hitler, Mussolini, Amin—on and on—-her immaturity is evident in the way she deals with adults–(does she not understand that those adults were kids at one time)—I guess when we turn 18 we become the enemy—I hate the fact that this woman has the position to hurt others —way more competent than herself—-be kind you little child REE—there is absolutely no way you will succeed in doing anything except bettering your own lot in life—please reflect on who you are so you may grow into an intelligent caring human being —REFLECT NOW–it ain’t about you honey—-by the way I have taught for over twenty years at the high school/middle school level as well as serving as an adjunct professor in the inner city—and with people like you leading –public education has no chance—-as you don’t have a clue—-SO COLLECT YOUR PAYCHECK AND KEEP MOVING ON TO YOUR NEXT FAILURE—I will still be in the trenches making very little in the way of compensation, but touching peoples lives in order to empower them to be the best thay can be—whether they are 6 years old and in first grade or they are 45 years old and teaching that 1st grader—Your childish behavior is evident and your private school education must not have helped you in the moral and ethical realms—After hearing how you never cared what other people thought while you were growing up as a child and the fact that your mom felt you were an anti-social person—-don’t you think you should check yourself before you hurt any one else in your search for self importance—I hope you change into a loving and caring individual so that when you pass someone can write something nice for your epitaph—-I wish you Love —you need it–Tom Burns –School Counselor –New Haven, Ct

  7. February 28, 2009 pm28 10:04 pm 10:04 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I guess I missed this. But thank you for the comment.

    They do not like career educators, and they do not hide this at all.

    Btw, most of my family went to school in New Haven. Hillhouse, Commercial, Cross, Troop, Southern, Edgewood. Was there once a school on Minor St, bulldozed for Yale-New Haven? An alternative school on Audobon St? I am sure there must have been more.

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