Belaboring the Obvious

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This morning's NPR story on education funding...

... makes much of a $400 million teacher incentive program begun by the Bush administration, but, the reporters simply don't run out the numbers. There are about 3.7 million public school teachers today, and that $400 million translates to, at best, $110 per teacher per year, not subtracting any money for administration of the program at the federal, state and local levels.

Even if that money were devoted to rewarding the top 20% of teachers for what they do right already, it would only be about $500 per teacher, without subtracting administrative costs.

Something's seriously wrong with this approach, just as Boy Bush's NCLB was a horror, even before it was underfunded, and before we found out that his first Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, had fudged the numbers in his own school district to promote a pig in a poke.

Teachers won't admit it, most of the time, but, in the grades most closely tracked by the NCLB testing regime, they teach to the test, which is a kind way of saying that they're making our future citizens stupider by the minute.

If Mr. Obama wants to improve education in this country, radically and quickly, then he should, forthwith, pitch out his current Secretary of Education, his Chicago buddy, Arne Duncan, who never met a military guy he didn't want to run a public school, and then beg Jonathan Kozol to replace Duncan, and promise Kozol, scout's honor, that he'll convince Congress to quadruple the Dept. of Education's budget (even if it means defunding the Villagers' favorite wars) and give Kozol the authority to put that money where it's most needed.

NCLB's a massive cock-up, and a failure.

Want great teachers? Make corporations pay their fair share of local, state and federal taxes so that school systems can attract and keep great teachers (corporations damned well ought to be paying their share and more for public education, because, by god, they need well-educated people to keep them afloat--one CEO does not a corporation make). Put federal money into programs that don't micromanage testing, but, rather, provide incentives for teaching, not administration, or testing services. Put the emphasis on critical thinking, not mindless testing that reinforces class distinctions.

Good education requires good teachers, paid well, good infrastructure and up-t0-the-minute equipment (and that doesn't mean just a few snazzy-looking computers in each classroom). Want to teach science? You need science labs. Want to teach plumbing? (Hey , we still need plumbers, not Sammy Joe the plumber's apprentice, who doesn't know one end of the wrench from the other, and didn't learn a thing in school about, fr'instance, democracy.) You need plumber's equipment, and some people who know how to teach water works theory, and a few other good teachers on the side to teach those plumbers about being good citizens.

It ain't rocket surgery. Other countries do reasonably well at education, and don't have the hissy fits we have to put up with when some religious right-wing pouch of horse piss in Texas decides that their school books aren't religious enough, or conservative enough.

Want well-educated kids?

Try not fucking around with teachers, for a start, and second, start funding education like you want well-educated kids who can think for themselves, instead of Jesus-humping automatons.


  • Not to belabour the obvious...when you look at the pattern of what is being done, 'Jesus-humping automatons' is exactly what they want.
    Here's some futile pushback

    I'm at Opit's LinkFest! on Blogger and My Opera both

    By Blogger opit, at 10:34 AM  

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