Brooks begins by lambasting the teacher unions. Well, I have been a teacher for 33 years and have never been permitted the luxury of joining a union. Why? They are against the law here in Texas for state employees. Colleagues fortunate enough to reside in states where unions exist by and large are better off in terms of salaries and benefits and conditions.
But wait. Arne Duncan points his finger of blame at schools of education. Nice, considering he has no experience in a college of education (or in a classroom for that matter). His implications are that we are stuck in another century and turn out teachers who are not good enough for today's classrooms. Gee, I guess I have been slacking off for the past 20 yearts. Uh oh, I might actually have to work harder now? (Sarcasm is so difficult in blogging sometimes. I think we need a type face specifically for sarcasm)
Brooks says there is evidence that good teachers produce good test scores and vice versa. Really? Did I miss that landmark study? The one that finally proved that parents, SES status, school conditions, access to books, and other factors do NOT matter.
Several of the comments on the op-ed piece called for Duncan and Brooks and the rest of those critical of education to TEACH. I agree. Teach for a year. Live on our salaries and benefits based on how your students perform on tests only. And be sure to teach in a public school that is underfunded (certainly not the private schools where these folks send their own children) and understaffed. Forget photo ops and op-eds; walk the walk. Then, we might listen to you talk the talk.
And one more thing: if you want information about education, how about talking to some teachers? Do you interview plumbers about swine flu vaccine safety? The AMA is governed by doctors, the ABA by lawyers. However, boards of education at district and state levels are not governed by teachers. Nice to know we are held in such high esteem.
Now, I need to go pet Scout. My blood pressure needs lowering.