professornana (professornana) wrote,

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I often leave the TV on for background noise when I sit down at the computer. It is white noise and generally does not distract me from the task at hand. But today, somehow, an old Law and Order rerun gave way to one of the new (to me) talk shows. What distracted me was not that people would air their filthy laundry on TV (though that still puzzle me a bit). No, what distracted me was that the host kept exhorting one of the people on the stage, "Look at me." He said it over and over and finally I had to get up cross the room and turn off the TV. It was annoying, but then it also gave me some grist for the mill today along with a piece I read in the National Review Online bashing Jill Biden for using her title Doctor. Here is the link, but do be prepared. It raised my blood pressure immediately.

What we have here is a discussion of pretentious behavior. I can think of no bigger example of pretentious behavior than what I see happening with education today. And the behavior is not from inside but from outside of the classroom. It centers on all those from outside who purport to know what is wrong with education and how it should be reformed (and there is another term that is irksome; reform calls to mind reform school associations; more about this in a future post perhaps). We have folks who have not taught telling teachers how and what and when to teach. We have politicians closing down schools in impoverished areas 6 weeks before the end of the school year (Michigan). We have our own Secretary of Education equating shadowing a teacher for an entire day "walking in the footsteps of an educator." We have multi-kajillionaires using their funds to create charter schools and learning academies where they can ignore what we know about kids and their needs and interests and development and instead try out their ideas for how to fix schools so they run like well-oiled businesses.

So, I guess perhaps to level the playing field, we should eschew titles, degrees, accomplishments (like being as associate editor of NRO, maybe). Call me Teri (or Ishmael).
Tags: outsiders, pretention, reform
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