My educational background is somewhat different from that of Time magazine writers or millionaires seeking to alter the manner in which schools operate. I taught junior and senior high school for ten years ranging from positions in a Harlem all boys junior high school to a suburban school in a wealthy district and a high school in a small town. After that experience I taught 10,000 teachers about how to teach. It is so ironic that people with my background sit in the back while men and women who never taught a day in their lives now are prepared to explain how to improve teaching and learning. Heck, the US Secretary of Education, Mr. Duncan never taught a single day in his life! Imagine an Attorney General who had no experience in law! The American Federation of Teachers is furious at this week’s Time magazine cover which depicts how wealthy millionaires will end the rule of “rotten apples” in our schools. Time believes the problem in schools stems from an inability to fire incompetent teachers.
1. If Time and wealthy millionaires are concerned about incompetency how about firing those in Congress who passed the fewest laws in history?
2. The real problems in schools stem from an outdated curriculum which has nothing to do with the needs of young people. They are presented a boring curriculum which has no relevance to what they need in modern life.
3. There is not a single program in any college in America that provides training for department chairmen in schools on how to provide leadership in schools.
4. Principals are controlled by state mandated testing which hampers their ability to stimulate teachers to come up with new ideas.
5. The most successful schools in the world such as in Finland give teachers control of what they teach. There are no government tests to control teaching.
Yes, there are incompetent teachers. My estimate, after working with 12,000 is that ten percent do not belong in schools. This is the same percent as who work on Wall Street or as cops or doctors or lawyers.