I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why Newspapers Are Dying

The Daily Record, April 14, 2011:
Under Christie's new proposal, hundreds of highly political local school boards would determine standards for teachers. How is that going to work and how it can it possibly be fair? It won't and it can't be. [emphasis mine]
The Daily Record, April 15, 2011:
Does anyone really think that if tenure goes away, suddenly masses of good teachers across New Jersey will be fired by vengeful principals and school boards? That's fantasy. [emphasis mine]
Remember that under Christie's proposals, there is no appeal to an outside arbiter if a tenured teacher is ultimately dismissed. All removal of tenure and subsequent dismissals happen solely within the jurisdiction of a local board.

So: school boards can't be trusted to determine standards for earning or losing tenure, because they're too political. But they CAN be trusted to impose those standards when dismissing teachers, because... well, they're not going to act politically.

Or something... it's confusing...

Editor's note: it's stuff like this that makes me really regret giving up drinking for Lent.


calugg said...


Lovely deconstruction of the Cerf interview. Please take a bow.

BTW Mr. Cerf uttered a real stat howler. In the interview, he states, "the effectiveness of the teacher and the principal is "the most important single variable in advancing student learning."

Uhm. He's actually invoking two very different VARIABLES. The teacher can be one variable, the principal another. But in 20 years of reading quant research on teacher and leader effects, I've never seen "principal" and "teacher" reduced to a single variable.

Even the attempts at sounding rigorous quickly fail.

PS: Nice shout out. Thanks!

Duke said...

Thanks. His direct quote is pretty mangled, so I made a paraphrase to make the point clear. I believe he did conflate principals and teachers like you said, but I invite others to view the video and judge for themselves.

Have you read Harry Frankfurt's "On Bulls***"? Cerf is a bulls***ter to the double tee. He really doesn't care about getting this stuff right; he only cares about using what he needs to make his pre-determined point. That he contrasts himself with a real researcher like Bruce is laughable.

Glad to shout out - I'm enjoying your blog. I will admit to being guilty - as we probably all are at some point - of dwelling within my own little world and not seeing how issues that don't directly affect me might affect others.

Since I'm not GLBTQ, it's easy for me to sort of gloss over stuff important to that community because it's not as important to me. The problem is, we live in an interconnected world - it ALL affects ALL of us.

So I like your blog because it keeps me in the loop - especially as an educator. We teachers are the second most important adults in most kids' lives, and we need to do the right thing as young people discover and struggle with their identities.

Long way of saying: what you're doing is important. Thanks for doing it.