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30 November 2014 @ 08:11 pm
I should know better  
I should know better than to follow a link (http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-teacher-prep-20141129-story.html) with this headline: U.S. proposes new guidelines on teacher education programs. I should know better. I should know that this will be one more instance of Arne Duncan (he who has never taught) once more pontificating about the sad state of education and teacher preparation. I should know that every sentence will make me flinch or wince or weep. I should know better.

I should know better. I should know from the opening sentence of this "news" article (and I must use quotes because there is so much that is news and NOT in this piece) that it will be one that pounds teachers and teacher prep programs: "Arne Duncan on Tuesday announced new guidelines to improve the preparation of the nation's teaching ranks that will require states to rate the performance of training programs and shift federal funding to those that receive high marks."

But you know what? Arne Duncan should know better, too. He should know that VAM has been discredited. He should better than to contradict himself within the space of two sentences. First he bemoans how ill-prepared teachers are and then recommends placing them in some of the poorest performing schools.

He should know better. He should be able to see that the achievement gap has not been narrowed by NCLB or by CCSS for that matter. He should know better than to suggest he has the answers. He should know better. He should know better than to continue to talk about alternative certification programs that limit preparation to weeks instead of semesters and years. He should know better.

You know what? I. DO. KNOW. BETTER. I attended NCTE last week. There I saw teachers dedicated to kids. Teachers bucking the system or trying to work within the handcuffs and leg cuffs of regulations, test prep, CCSS, and more. I do know better. I know there are excellent teachers out there. I know there are terrific teacher prep programs as well. I have been a part of the College of Education at my university for 25 years now. I DO know better.

I do know better. You see, I can "unpack" the meaning of this sentence from the article: "Many education reformers praised the proposed regulations as long overdue."

I do know better. So do you. Let's let Arne Duncan know as well.
 
 
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