Friday, March 26, 2010

Punishing the victims

While Barack Obama blithely goes about blaming teachers for the children who do poorly in their schools - all the while cheering the destruction of those same schools, Diane Ravitch goes about her lonely duty of debunking the Washington consensus on education. In the words of a blogger whom she quotes, citing poverty as a key reason for poor educational performance:
"We can't fire poverty." Since we can't fire poverty, we can't fire students, and we can't fire families, all that is left is to fire teachers.
Indeed. Ravitch concludes:
It would be good if our nation's education leaders recognized that teachers are not solely responsible for student test scores. Other influences matter, including the students' effort, the family's encouragement, the effects of popular culture, and the influence of poverty...
This strategy of closing schools and firing the teachers is mean and punitive. And it is ultimately pointless. It solves no problem. It opens up a host of new problems. It satisfies the urge to purge. But it does nothing at all for the students.
Of course the morons who control our discourse - including the self-satisfied assholes at Morning Joe, will have none of this.

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