Friday, February 4, 2011

Behind the new push against teachers' unions

FOX in full bashing mode
Paul Thomas, writing for the British Guardian, reveals some of the motives behind the current assault on teachers and their unions. He points out that the new push against teachers' unions, cloaked in discourse about the damage done by "bad" teachers, comes from the right and ironically from some Democrats, like Arne Duncan. 
But the political attacks on teachers and unions, which come from both the left and the right, would likely not resonate as much as they have done, if it were not for the celebrity tour on the back of the documentary Waiting for "Superman", whose message has been perpetuated by celebrity reformers. Two of those, Bill Gates and Geoffrey Canada, share an entrepreneur status that suggests expertise on everything simply because they are wealthy.
Ultimately, writes Thomas, this PR campaign by corporate and political leaders has been effective, even if it remains inaccurate.
That the evidence-based inequity of teacher assignment is ignored, while the myth of the bad teacher is perpetuated, is evidence of the motivation behind the new reformers – an unspoken commitment to the status quo of this social inequity that benefits the very people so keen to lay charges against teachers and unions.
John Merrow, who seems to have shifted somewhat from his earlier support for the L.A. Times' teacher-bashing scheme, follows up with a pretty good post on Huffington, "More on Teacher Bashing -- Getting Proactive.
Stopping teacher bashing is not enough. Nor is "better communication" between labor and management. What's needed is a proactive effort to make teaching a better job. 

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