Thursday, February 13, 2014

More on the animosity of the education reform movement toward professional teachers

Following up on Joseph's post on Jonathan Chait and the education reform movement and on the ensuing discussion..

I've talked before about the inevitable tension between profession teachers (particularly highly competent and experienced teachers) and movement reformers like Chait.
First, because, pedagogically, the system has a reactionary bias, made worse by the fact that the most effective teachers, the ones you would want in your corner, are also the ones who are most reluctant to trade their methods in for something new and unproven.
I'm afraid, though, I've only discussed the point tangentially and I may have left readers with the idea that this was some sort of a hypothetical particle, that theory predicts reformers might occasionally want to get rid of teachers, not because they were incompetent but because they were reluctant to adopt untested methods (some of which can strike outsiders as a bit flaky).

Not only does this sort of thing happen, but, as pointed out in this Boston Globe story (via the invaluable Edushyster), it sometimes constitutes recognized policy.
But in most cases, the teachers at Dever and Holland should be of high quality. Principals of those schools were granted enormous flexibility to hand-pick their staffs under a 2010 state law that aims to rapidly overhaul failing schools. That hiring flexibility enables principals to get rid of any teacher, including those who perform well but disagree with the turnaround methods.

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