Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Education Rant

I saw this while catching up on some of my blog perusing now that I've got the kitchen done. I especially like number 3: "You can steer yourself any direction you choose". Yes, yes you can. This came from Live Long and Prosper. There's a lot of good educational stuff there as always. The thing I found most interesting lately was the concept of tenure. Teachers don't actually have tenure, they have due process. It makes quite a difference when you hear politicians bad-mouthing teachers and their unions and how you can never get rid of a bad teacher. Yes you can. It happens all the time. It's a shame that it needs to happen but it's good that it does, if that makes any sense. It just requires due process and due diligence by those in charge. I wonder how come I've never seen that in the papers? Doesn't much matter in Indiana any more.Teachers have neither tenure or due process.

When I went out for breakfast Saturday it was with four of my former colleagues, two of which are still at the same high school I retired from. I couldn't keep from laughing when they were talking about all the meetings and the hoops they have to jump through now. I won't say it's a conspiracy, that would be giving the politicians too much credit, but if you wanted to ensure that charter schools were more successful than public schools, how would you go about it? Make sure that teachers are bogged down with meetings and paperwork so they can't devote their time and energies to teaching? Take away their bargaining rights so they can't control their working conditions or have due process rights? Give charter schools the unfair advantage of not having to pay for a building or be burdened with the very same rules and testing that you've foisted upon the public schools? Do away with local control of schools? Freeze individual raises for teachers if the school as a whole isn't performing at the level the state sees as satisfactory? Damn! Does kind of look like a conspiracy after all, now doesn't it?

I'm glad I'm out of all that. I'm just a hired gun now but I feel for those that are still in the trenches battling ignorance every day. I'm not talking student ignorance. Ignorance from the politicians, the press and administrators. Some day it will become obvious to those in charge that if you want a good educational system you will hire good people, you will pay them well, you will give them what they need to do the job, and then you will get out of their way. Why would you hire talented people and then create obstacles one after the other to prevent them from using their talents? According to Live Long and Prosper the answer might be as simple as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Someone gets elected to office and they then become an authority on all subjects that come before them. Maybe instead of working all those years to master a trade I should have just been elected to a political office. Instant authority. Would have been a lot easier.

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