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, August 14, 2011

"A widely read teacher blogger"

The Courier Post's Jane Roh has two articles out today: one in print and on-line, the other only on-line. Yours truly is quoted in both, which is a first for me as Jersey Jazzman.

I give her a lot of props for reaching out to me and @StoptheFreezeNJ; teachers' voices are not being heard in this debate, and I appreciate being able to state my case. I think Jane was fair to me in both pieces; however, we spoke for about an hour, so you can imagine a lot of context gets left out of my quotes.

If there is one thing I wish Jane would have changed about her pieces, it's this: there is no real discussion of the policies B4K wants to implement, and whether or not they will actually work. Yes, I know Jane is a political reporter, and the politics here are interesting. Yes, the influx of big, big money into the debate colors everything, and it's worth reporting on the issue.

But the real focus, to me, should be on the fact that the "reformers" are pushing "reforms" that research shows do not work:

- Charter schools: sorry, they don't do any better at teaching kids than regular schools.

- Teacher evaluations tied to test scores: sorry, it's wildly inaccurate.

- Merit pay: sorry, there is no Merit Pay Fairy.

- Eliminating tenure: there's no evidence it will improve the teaching corps, and lots of evidence it is sorely needed to keep our schools from becoming patronage factories.

This stuff not being discussed nearly enough. None of it was touched on at all today during MSNBC's Stronger America show. It's not being discussed in the editorial pages. Yet it's the key to the entire debate: what's the point of making huge changes if there is no evidence they will work? Again, I wish Roh had spent more time on this and less on the politics.

Still, at least she thought to talk to some teachers about all this - that's a step in the right direction, and far, far better than way too many of her colleagues. I hope she stays on this beat and really delves into these issues. She's using Bruce Baker as a resource, so she does have the opportunity to really explore this and get it right for her readers.

One final thought: I won't speak for STFNJ, but I've already blogged about why I remain anonymous. I know Jane didn't have enough room for my full explanation, but I want you to be able to read it and make up your own mind about my motivations.

Also: @StoptheFreezeNJ remains the lynchpin of the New Jersey teacher-based push back on the corporate "reformers." You need to follow STFNJ if you care about this issue.


Lisa said...

Well-deserved Kudos, Duke!! The first step in reframing the debate and reclaiming the lexicon is the intelligent, cogent, well-researched, clearly analyzed, and smartly crafted writing that drew me to you. The second, but perhaps more impactful, is being heard. And you are.

"And that's why I fell for the leader of the pack." Vroom vroom. ;-)

Duke said...

Lisa, if it were possible to blog blushing, I'd be doing that now... ;-)