WHEN I STARTED BLOGGING IN 2011, I said I planned to speak up for good teachers. I would not defend bad ones.
I began by trying to debunk the myth that something was wrong with America’s teachers as a group.
I mocked the idea that U. S. teachers were stupid again in: America’s Teachers! We’re Dumb! And We Suck!
I loved life in the classroom, loved working with teens, and taught for more than three decades. Today, I’m worried about what might happen to young teachers. When I look at current education reforms it appears to me that self-appointed experts (who never teach) are pushing disastrous policies.
My most successful posts, and some of my personal favorites:
4) Corporate Public Schools! It’s Going to be Great! This one is new; but every ridiculous example is true.
8) Hiking in Glacier National Park. This one has nothing to do with education. I just love the park; and if I was still teaching, I would try to convince students to go there someday. Not standardized education, of course.
9) How Many Reformers Does it Really Take to Fix a School? If you are a real teacher you already know the answer to this question.
10) Michelle Rhee’s Perfect Ponzi Scheme. Speaking of reformers, the lady is a fraud.
13) R.I.P. No Child Left Behind. Ten years of reforms and SAT, ACT and PISA scores have all declined. Even NAEP reading scores are flat. (If you’re a real teacher you start to wonder: Do the experts who keep telling us what to do have a clue?)
14) Sham Standards: Governor Kasich and the Standardized Testing Fetish. What happens if we line up fourteen veterans from five different wars to talk to 700 Loveland Middle School students. Is that good education? How do we measure what students learned???
18) Yellow Brick Road to Nowhere: Teachers and the Tea Party Movement. This is probably my personal favorite, of all my posts. I like the story of the boy who earned a standing ovation from peers in my class.
19) Confessions of a Bad Teacher: Okay, I admit it. I was a no good, rotten, terrible teacher. I didn’t believe standardized testing did much good. Seven thousand teachers seemed to agree when I put up this post.
20) Teachers Anonymous: A 12-Step Program for Bad Teachers: Follow up post to the post above. I explain how bad teachers can recover from their delusions and embrace the virtues of standardized tests.
21) 2014: The Year Teachers Became the Enemy: When did school reformers decide teachers were the biggest problem in U. S. education? And were they right?
Coming Soon: Two Legs Suffice: Lessons Learned by Teaching
I KNOW GOOD TEACHING IS extremely hard. I know even the best teachers face victory and defeat in the classroom, oftentimes the same day. I am currently putting the final touches on a book titled Two Legs Suffice: Lessons Learned by Teaching.
The title relates, in part, to two bicycle rides across America, one at age 58, the second four years later.
If you’re interested in reading about my first ride go to viall4diabetes2011.com. I transfered the story of my first ride, in 2007, to that blog not long ago. So that story now shows up at the start. (My youngest daughter is a type-1 diabetic and I pedaled to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Students helped raise more than $13,500 for that great cause.)
My second ride—including my temporary arrest as a bank robbery suspect—is documented next, at the same site: viall4diabetes2011. I was able to prove my innocence and pedaled 4,615 miles in 58 days, again raising more than $10,000 for JDRF.
|Tioga Pass, leading into Yosemite Park. I cycled across the USA twice for a cause.|
AMERICAN or WORLD HISTORY, TEACHING OF
(This category keeps growing.)
|Allison Wyatt, one of the victims at Sandy Hook.|
Michelle Rhee: Reformer with a Broom. (See also: RHEE, MICHELLE.)
Thanks to Fox News a video of a student ranting against his teacher went viral (What One Student Rant by Jeff Bliss Doesn’t Tell Us). Based on ninety seconds of tape people weighed in on what they felt was wrong with all teachers.
CHARTER SCHOOLS (See also: CORPORATE SCHOOLS)
COMMON CORE STANDARDS/STANDARDIZED TESTS
An auxiliary post provides even more examples.
Finland Has Better Teachers, Better Colleges, Fluffier Kittens! What if all the test scores comparing various nations never add up?
George Stranahan (who taught for half-a-century) addresses a number of critical issues in his book, A Predicament of Innocents. He shares my disdain for standardized testing.
EDUCATION EXPERTS (See also: RHEE, MICHELLE.)
EDUCATION, KEY TO SUCCESS
GOOD TEACHERS, EXISTENCE OF
Why Teaching Matters: What’s the Square Root of Inspiration? Former Loveland students fill a whole series of posts with heartfelt comment.
Also: January 31, 2012. January 15, 2012. January 13, 2012. January 10, 2012. January 5, 2012. July 12, 2012.
GOOD TEACHERS; TEACH FOR AMERICA
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
Skip these if you are conservative.
Far-Right Conservatives Invent New Language was “liked” more than 100,000 times when posted repeatedly on AddictingInfo.
A number of posts in August, September and October 2012 might also be of interest to those who like to argue liberalism vs. conservatism, and everything on the fringes and in between.
PRAYER IN SCHOOL
Freedom of religion is fine. Using tax dollars to support schools that debunk modern science might not be wise. See: Christian School Lays Smack Down on Science.
No school reformer has done more to damage the image of public school teachers than Ms. Rhee. Rhee’s claim to fame rests on raising test scores in miraculous fashion. Unfortunately, certain ugly facts undercut her claims: Michelle Rhee’s Perfect Ponzi Scheme.
Michelle Rhee, a leading education reformer, promised to use a broom and sweep out all the bad teachers in Washington, D. C. She failed to say what she would do about the students carrying knives. See: Michelle Rhee: Reformer with a Broom.
The argument that U. S. public schools are failing (compared to schools in Finland, Japan, etc.) rests on tenuous comparisons and flawed logic. So what if our students rank 25th in math? What if the same kind of lists prove that America ranks 24th in life expectancy? Are hospitals in America failing?
I’m Facebook friends with almost a thousand former students. They keep me up to date on what they’re doing and remind me why I liked teaching so much.
Class of 2000, The (This entry focuses on the students I had in class in 2000, who would have graduated from Loveland High School five years later.)
TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
These two stories go together:
Frank Bruni, writing in the New York Times, laid blame for the failure of school reform on recalcitrant teachers and their unions: The Big Evil in U. S. Education: Teachers’ Unions.
Time RunsA Incredibly Stupid Story. (that title should include an “an.” My site settings do not allow me to correct titles.
WAITING FOR SUPERMAN
In recent years, insulting teachers as a group, has been a fad. Want to know why this movie was stupid? Consider what director Davis Guggenheim and critics who loved it missed: A Fairy Tale Called Waiting for Superman.
|Teachers make a difference in a thousand ways. |
Note to a young teacher and former student of mine.