Required Readings

Do teachers make kids more valuable? OR I’m not here to make widgets! It’s Required Reading Mayday 2014!

Well, let’s see what’s been bugging me this morning:

For  “Value Added Teacher Evaluation”, which is part of the trinity of corporate educational reform ( along with charter schools and Common Core), Houston teachers are saying No Thank You. 

The terminology is disturbing to me. It seems to indicate that students are products, widgets, and teachers are machines to shape them into devices useful for someone else to make a buck off of. So, teachers are measured by whether or not students are worth more, somehow, in May than they were in September.  So if teachers don’t measure up the kids must be worthless?  If you can quantify what teachers do, is that what “value” is?  And kids with better teachers become more valuable? Don’t the most valuable things actually have worth beyond measure? Isn’t that why “priceless” things are uninsurable? I think teachers are professionals who should be highly paid, hugely respected and help to high performance standards, but language can shape perception powerfully.Corporate reform hype  and lingo have dehumanized the people most intimately involved in formal education – teachers and students.Teaching is messy and hard to judge and  massively important. School reformers coming out of industry, or finance, or their own private moneypot see the mess and want to wipe it out. But the mess is the best part, that’s where the action is for real learning, and if you truly want to help teachers and students you’re gonna have to grapple with that. I hate to end so down , so here’s a letter from Albert Camus thanking his elementary teacher after he won the Nobel Prize.

Required Readings are a list of links that you might find interesting! Look for them to appear every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday morning.Have some links you’d like to share? Submit them on our contact form!

Image by Speecharella




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Speecharella is a speech pathologist at a small public school district in a one of those states that is suspicious of teachers and other people with an unnatural fondness for taking courses and such.

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