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To Understand The Impact Of Teacher-Focused Reforms, Pay Attention To Teachers

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There's one problem with surveying teachers in this way: many, if not most, teachers are dedicated to their students first and will probably stay in their jobs, working around the new systems, just to make sure their students get a good education despite the focus on testing.Teachers with some experience usually only leave jobs if the salaries drop below what they need to maintain their standard of living or if the administration makes their jobs so impossible that they can't take it any more. The latter is, of course, rare. So surveying attrition and mobility is not really effective enough. Teachers need to be asked directly how the changes are affecting their classrooms and taken seriously.

Thanks for the post. I am still waiting for the data linking high test scores with entrepreneurial or research copyright success. Too much of the current political debate about the new economy and American success inventing the technology necessary for that economy to flourish ignores the role of teaching kids to think critically while engaging their passions for learning and creating. What metrics exist for those concerns?

The issue here is that your post assumes that politicians actually care about what they say they care about: i.e., teacher quality. That's not my impression at all. My impression is that they care about a-privatizing the public schools, especially those that serve poor kids, b-creating "good" schools in urban areas, which is where the middle class now wants to move, c-breaking unions, d-creating a situation where teachers who feel passionately about social justice will feel strongly enough that education can't bring it about that they will leave (they are really the only game changers to the class system here, and the politicos don't want them around), e-put female workers in their place, f-ensuring a gullible workforce for the future, and g-most importantly, funneling huge amounts of taxpayer money to private testing and charter companies. The reason they won't monitor what you suggest is that it's not in their interests to do so. If we were a country where it was possible to have a good faith discussion about public education, your points would be well taken.

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