Comments: A Letter From The Teacher, #18: Who Gets The Blame?

Here's my proposal; if Businessmen for Business wants to present a program on the glories of business, they can do it after school. And attendance will be voluntary. Do it that way and watch how the eagerness of running that sort of program dies faster than a butterfly in Hell.

Posted by Alan Kellogg at September 13, 2011 04:29 AM

Yes, blame the 'public', it's easy.

But who are the ones alternatively leading the public to support the idiotic policies you describe or keeping them in the dark about those programs?

It isn't as if the public rose up and demanded self esteem seminars. I don't remember any marches in favor of not holding kids back. Nor do I recall begging my kid's teacher to show movies for the last five days of the school year.

I think blame is better placed on the professional education lobby... the administrators and outside 'experts' and, yes, teachers. They're the ones who are pushing these programs and who sneer at parents who dare to ask questions and push for changes. They're the ones who object to establishing standards for holding teachers and schools accountable. They're the ones allocating money and time to what you and I would probably agree to call non-essential programs.

They're the ones running the program. And while you argue that individual teachers don't have a lot of power, who comprises a good part of the education bureaucracy that holds power? Former teachers.

You don't speak up because you don't want to be labeled a trouble-maker. Imagine a parent who doesn't like the way things are going but is afraid the establishment will take things out on their kid?

There are enough problems and people to blame. The question is thus: what happens next? As you know, I argue for allowing people to opt out, to let them use their 'education dollars' to purchase the education for their kids as they want. Leave public education for those and to those who don't care.

Posted by steve at September 13, 2011 07:52 AM

Dear Steve:

Hello, and welcome back. Actually, blaming the public is neither easy nor difficult. It's simply factual.

Actually, as I pointed out, interests groups out there in public do push a wide variety of programs and seminars, and in most communities, such things are hardly a secret. Certainly, teachers aren't keeping anyone in the dark; they're quietly exposing this kind of idiotic waste of time in the hope that the public will make enough noise to change things. Professionals love to have parents around and asking questions. Of course, not everyone is a pro. And standards and accountability are just fine, but I operate under them every day. The kinds of things some folks think produce accountability in reality waste time and produce nothing but data useless to teachers and students.

Steve, while it's true that most principals and administrators are former teachers, you have to remember that the gulf between teachers and principals is very wide, and the gulf between teachers and administrators takes on proportions best expressed in light years. That said, teachers virtually everywhere have little or no power to make or influence policy. Hold me accountable for what I can control, not for what I can't.

What happens next? I would hope that parents and the general public would become much more interested in what's happening in their local schools. I can guarantee that if even 50 people began showing up at school board meetings on a regular basis, boards and administrators would become very, very nervous and concerned. Citizens have power they can't imagine, but it's not, for the most part, being used.

Steve, I just hope to inform readers of the realities of the schools so that they know who is responsible for what, and I hope they won't abandon what we've all worked so long and hard to build. It isn't necessary—in most places—yet.

It is conservative principle to fix what is broken (not what isn't) and to demand proper methods and management. Liberals run away and use public money to enact their elite preferences.

Posted by Mike Mc at September 13, 2011 10:04 PM