Monday, August 8, 2011

Arne the Disincentivizer

The No Child Left Behind law requires that 100% of children in public education are proficient in math and reading (in English) by 2014. The law is absurd, something recognized even by those with minimal contact with reality in the fantasy bubble of D.C.

Yet here we go, marching off like lemmings--and that's a royal "we." Every time I hand out number 2 pencils to comply with the state, I am complicit. You are, too. It's a wonderful word that sounds safe but exposes sins. Say it aloud:

Complicit--has a Snapesian quality to it, no?

Arne has offered us a plan to disincentivize our way out. If your state agrees to his plan, one that will cure poverty, end racism, and save corporatocracy democracy, your school will be exempt from the 100% pass requirement built into NCLB.

All you have to do is agree to Race to the Top--more tests, more central control, more privatization, more chaos.

Look behind the curtain and see the folks sitting around the impossibly shiny mahogany table--the powerful and the pale, soulless smiles for the camera, all acting in the name of good, the name of God, the name of greed.

This is a naked power grab by a man who called Katrina "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans," thought firing all the teachers at Central Falls HS was "doing the right thing for kids," and who has confounded the needs of corporations with the needs of a functioning democracy.

Say hello to Eli and Billy when they calls to say congrats this morning. Go ahead, wink at Michelle. A few teachers grumble when you take shots at our unions, but that's not where our hearts lie.

When you hurt our kids, our grumbles become growls, we become tigers.

I teach children what extortion means. When a child says "I'll be 'good' if..." that's extortion.
 I don't play that game with children, I won't play it with Arne.


Jenny said...


I think NCLB and RTTT may be two of the main reasons I stay in first grade now.

John T. Spencer said...

I'm considering moving back to teaching computers and photojournalism, because the Feds never really thought those subjects mattered. Being an electives teacher made me a glorified babysitter while the "real teachers" got a prep.

I didn't mind. I slipped under the radar with absolute autonomy. I realize this sounds arrogant, but I'm a damn good math, reading and writing teacher due, in large part, to the fact that I got to teach those subjects in the untested waters of social studies. As we move toward testing those subjects, I very well might move back into electives.

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

If every child could get the same start in school your children get, a lot of kids would tell a different tale when they finish.

Thanks for the words!

Dear John,

I felt the same way about teaching the "low" level courses--I had more freedom, and as a result was able to teach more science, real science, than I could in the more advanced classes.

Hopefully things will improve soon.

Kathryn J said...

I am still laid off and contemplating dusting off and putting my chemist/engineer resume out there again. I don't want to do it. I want to teach but... I'm scared I won't have health insurance after three weeks from now. I don't want to do this every summer.

They said they needed science teachers.