IT'S TIME FOR THE HOWARD BEALE SHOW.....
'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'
Apparently many of us need to say more and say it out loud and in public. I am so fed up; I am even willing to quote Spiro Agnew. “The nattering nabobs of negativism” who influence education policy need to be halted. Teachers teach. Well-trained teachers teach better. Great teachers change lives. Tests don’t. Why then are we so linked to tests (and poorly devised ones at that) as the sole measure of accountability? Several authors have theories. Many (like Diane Ravitch) point out that over the past two decades education policy has fallen into the hands of policy makers bred and influenced by major corporations and the foundations they support. The Gates Foundation (Bill today called for the end of master degree requirements and pay increases for gaining more knowledge and expertise. Of course, isn't he a college drop out?) and The Fordham (not University) Institute are two good examples.
They still live by the standard of industrial America developed a full century ago by Frederick W. Taylor. Captains of Industry (Robber Barons) supported Scientific Management, as it was called, in order to make their employees more productive. Sound familiar? Today’s policy makers want to turn teachers into industrial employees churning students out like Ford workers churned out model T’s. Taylor and his followers turned efficiency into the justification for such changes. The industrial leaders of the day believed implementation of scientific management would benefit both workers and society at-large. Today’s policy makers have bought it hook line and sinker. Look at today’s best example. New York City schools are totally controlled by a financial “Captain of Industry” and his henchman, Joel Klein. Nowhere more than in NYC is “Taylorism” being used to run schools.
I see two notable problems with this approach. First, kids aren’t identical mass produced Model-T’s. They aren’t PCs either. They are human beings. Second, teachers aren’t industrial machines. They are professionals like doctors, lawyers, accountants, and yes, even MBA granted businessmen. They need to be treated as such. Is this just another Industrial disease?
(with apologies to Mark Knopfler and DIre Straits)