When I was little the first time I asked my mother where babies came from she said, the hospital. A few years went by and when I asked her again, she said, when a man loves a woman he lies with her and nine months later a baby is born. When I was five and ten both of those answers were good enough and they were correct. However as an adult I learned the answer is a lot more complicated than that and there were a whole lot of factors, like unwanted pregnancy, stds and birth control among others that needed to be considered. The real answer became very complicated
Fixing the problems in education are likewise more complicated than saying, the hospital, but that’s what the powers-that-be and our state legislature will have you believe when they say merit pay and charter schools will make everything better.
Merit pay isn’t as simple as fire bad teachers/reward good ones. First of all reputable studies say merit pay does not work and I have yet to find one that says it does. It sounds seductive though doesn’t it? Pay the better teachers more, get rid of the worse teachers and things will improve. The thing is, do we want simple solutions that sound seductive or do we want solutions that work.
Then there are charter schools the darling of the right. Well friends study after study has shown charter schools, who get to pick and choose who they let in and keep and who often don’t play by the same confining rules that public schools do, don’t do any better. This means they get the best kids with the most involved families and don’t exceed what is happening at. P.S. this or P.S.. That says to me our public schools must be doing something right.
They do this while at the same time trying to limit the one reform that has proven to work and is on the books, the class size amendment. Why because the class size amendment costs money, whereas merit pay believe it or not and charter schools make money for corporations and big business. This is not about what’s best for the kids it’s about money and we know this because they ignore the number one thing that is known to affect how children do in school.
At no point do theses powers-that-be mention poverty, which is what study after study points to as the leading factor in determining how well a child does in school. In fact they marginalize it by saying things like, poverty is an excuse hoping that allows them to maintain the status quo.
Look there are more high performing teachers at the high performing schools and they draw a correlation from that. That’s their proof that it must be the teacher’s fault. They hope we don’t notice that that the lower performing schools with the supposed lower performing teachers are in the neighborhoods hit hardest by poverty. It must be the teachers right?
That is what they say, that friends if their ultimate, from the hospital, answer and it’s just as accurate as my mom was.
We have problems in education and we need serious solutions, not off the cuff ones designed to placate five year olds, which is what the legislature and governor must think most of us are and line the pockets of corporations while ignoring what’s best for our children.