Duncan's speech today will invoke Dr, Martin Luther King in an effort to end the reform debate, which he called "tired arguments" against merit pay, standardized tests, and privately-managed charter schools.
"Let's build a law that respects the honored, noble status of educators — who should be valued as skilled professionals rather than mere practitioners and compensated accordingly," Duncan pleaded.But so far his policies, combined with massive state budget cuts threaten to reduce teaching professionals to the level of delivery clerks, tens of thousands of whom are losing their jobs. Many are being replaced by lower-paid TFA novices.
Diane Ravitch--Falling in love...
Our policymakers have fallen in love with the idea that incentives and sanctions can "drive" educational improvement. They believe that if we promise rewards when test scores go up, we will see test scores go up. So they commit hundreds of millions of dollars to give "merit pay" or "performance pay" to teachers and principals, even to students—if the scores rise. Simultaneously, they threaten to inflict serious sanctions on those schools, principals, and teachers if their students' test scores do not go up. They don't dock their pay, but do something worse: They threaten to close their schools, fire the staff, and tarnish the reputation of anyone who taught there. (Bridging Differences)Pedro Noguera--Bored dropouts
Not all students who dropout are behind academically. Many are simply bored because they don't see the relevance of what they are learning in school to what is happening in their lives. This suggest that we need to create stronger ties between the curriculum and he lives of our children so that they can see how what they learn 9 in school can be used to solve real problems that they and their families face. Strong vocational programs with links to real jobs are one way to do this. Problem posing education that encourages children to thiink critically about what they learn and apply to real problems is yet another. (RethinkLearning)