Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who is Really in Charge?

This recent post by Head Start Director of Portland, Ron Herndon, outlines serious concerns about who exactly is making education reform decisions in Oregon. Clearly, not teachers or educators as only one of the OEIB members has actually taught in the classroom. Herndon also wants citizens and taxpayers to follow the money.

Doctors bring in doctors to improve their craft and policies. Lawyers bring in those with law experience. Why is our state bringing in little if any educators, parents, or students into the decision making process? Is it because they have all sat in a classroom as a student at some point in their lives and that seems to be enough? Well, that's ridiculous.

The job of a teacher can't be quantified like this OEIB business model would like it to be. Teachers are craftsmen and women. I was reminded of this at the Thursday night OEIB public input meeting as a teacher next to me stated how our job is really a craft and that people need to be reminded of that. Teachers are constantly working to meet the needs of our individual students, and it takes a lot of know-how and experience to do that. We are educating human beings, not manufacturing a new product on an assembly line. But that's the way the new OEIB waiver plan is heading with its focus on competition, high-stakes testing, narrowing of curriculum, Achievement Compacts, and receivership for low performing schools...and that is just for starters.

As Herndon states:

"Composing an educational panel with a makeup of members holding less than a proven record of success is a disservice to taxpayers and makes a sham of professed intentions regarding achievement gap and school readiness."

Thank you Ron Herndon, for raising more important questions that we need to be demanding from those in charge.

“The foundations demand that public schools and teachers be held accountable for performance, but they themselves are accountable to no one. If their plans fail, no sanctions are levied against them. They are bastions of unaccountability.”

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