Jumat, 20 April 2012

White town hall meetings

Superintendent White announced yesterday that he will host a series of town meetings . (click on the link above to see the schedule.) with teachers and superintendents across the state to discuss the new reform laws and the No Child Left Behind waiver request. The new initiative announced by the Superintendent is titled Louisiana Believes! Apparently the superintendent, fresh from major legislative victories that destroy teacher tenure rights, ban the use of seniority in personnel decisions, order local school systems to revise teacher salary schedules that may freeze many teacher salaries for years and diminish the importance of experience and degrees in calculating salaries, rip students and much MFP funding from local school systems causing increases in class sizes and decreased funding for education supplies, and impose a punitive new teacher evaluation system, believes that he will be able to enlist enthusiastic teacher and administrator support for this damaging program!

The gall of this guy is truly amazing!

I hope many teachers attend these town hall meetings in their areas and ask a few critical questions of our new czar of education. Here are some I would suggest:

  • What makes you (Superintendent White) think that teachers are going to embrace a reform program that blames teachers for all deficiencies in student's performance and makes teachers responsible for correcting some of the ills of society over which they never will have control?

  • Why does the new superintendent assume that teachers are not already trying their best to help students succeed? Does he really believe that he who has minimal qualifications for his job and zero experience dealing with Louisiana public education can motivate teachers to do the job that they have always tried their best to do?

  • Since the legislative reforms have not given teachers one additional tool for improving instruction, apparently White believes that all that has to be done is for teachers to teach harder or stop being so lazy and incompetent and students will automatically succeed. Don't the reforms just assume that teachers have not being doing their job and that threats and incentives will make them more effective?

  • Suppose the theory that teachers have to be whipped into shape to improve education is not correct. Suppose that classifying 10% of all teachers as ineffective each year does not improve student achievement on the state tests or on the NAEP tests. What will White do then?

  • Since White believes in firing ineffective teachers and administrators, will he resign if his reforms fail to make any significant improvement in student achievement? What if the schools taken over by the state continue to rank second to last in the state? Will he resign then?

These are just a few of the questions that popped into my head when White announced that he would hold these town hall meetings with teachers. I'm sure my readers have good questions of their own and that many will attend these meetings.

If you would like to read something positive about the work teachers in Louisiana do for a change, please click on this link to Teacher in a Strange Land. Its good to read about real education reform in Louisiana.

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