Remember Sweeney? That character who was lampooned across the nation for his nonfactual support of Kinder-Morgan’s taking over our port? Instead of being objective, his editorial board pieces are that of a pinch hitter for an administration again caught on the wrong side of an issue! Remember the jokes? The aside comments that he has lost his touch? Remember all the snide references that he must be on crack?
It is to those references (sincerely I doubt he does crack) and the acknowledgement that in popular culture today that phrase is often applied to everyone who tries to reform facts into a fairy tales, that I attached his name to it in the title…
In Sweeney’s defense through the manipulation of language, one can say anything. Granted. Romney certainly tried that tact. And the truth came out to hurt him. “Jeeps in China”, my ass. “Benghazi was all Obama’s fault”, my ass.
So as old as Sweeney is, (he seems to mean well ), the facts he uses are simply not true… If you put bad in, you get bad out. Now if I were an aged,old authority figure, and if you were deemed childlikely to accept what I say is true, … I can tell you about a jovial man living at the North Pole, who has nine reindeer that fly and travels the world in one night delivering presents to every boy and girl in the world,… and of course you are going to look up at me with wide big eyes and go “wow, so that is how its done…”.
Alas, poor Sweeney, he doesn’t have the same beguiling audience. Instead we have facts that show the opposite….
One of the facts WE the People have, is that the tests results coming from districts using this plan that show great results, were all obtained through cheating by high officials changing the answers over to correct ones after the students had taken them.
Two: teachers under this system are spending too much time explaining to their superiors everything they do in order to be evaluated, instead of teaching. More time is spent in evaluation, than on lesson plans. This hurts teacher. This hurts student.
Three: the curriculum being forced upon these classrooms is far inferior to what teachers themselves are able to dole out. Education only works when a student’s interest is held. These corporate templates are as interesting as your corporate financial meetings. Teachers do a much better job.
Four: low income students don’t have technology the rest of us take for granted. Broadband costs money. Computer power costs money. Software costs money. Laptops cost money. Notebooks cost money. The best way to raise low income students scores is to put them on par with students who have technology. You can’t just tell someone how to log in and expect them to remember it whenever they next see a computer. They have to do so to learn how.
Five. Testing at the beginning, the middle, and the end, is a great tool. It evaluates a student’s progress over time. BUT! Holding a teachers job accountable to results over which they have absolutely no control, means… a) all teaching by that teacher is geared to only what will be on that test… and b) since poor scores demand the loss of one’s livelihood, rampant cheating is bound to occur…. We saw this in Atlanta, Texas, and DC.
Six. The only proven and effective way to improve teaching, is to increase the number of teachers so there are 11 students per teacher. Teaching is a personal science, like counseling, psychology, and doctor’s visits. Without a personal relationship between teacher and student, there is no incentive to learn. Studies as well as our personal experience, show that if we aren’t psyched to learn, we don’t….
Seven. The students who do the poorest are the ones who have the largest social dishevel in their lives. A person from this background can learn from a teacher just as easily as anyone else, if he believes the teacher is pulling for them, and they don’t want to let that teacher or their peers down. That can and does happen with a 11-1 ratio…
Eight. Teachers DO NOT GO into teaching to get rich. They go to help children learn. If you don’t know this, you have no human right to ever write another editorial on education. That is just plain stupid not to know. If you want to motivate teachers, the best way is to give them MORE resources with which to teach…. More maps, more books, more software, anything to provide more excitement to their classrooms.
Nine. We all incorporate what we learn, into the categories we already have inside our heads. Being an inner city child with no mother (on crack), no father (never knew him), living with grandma (forgets who I am sometimes), dodging getting beaten up by the drug lords every time you walk home from the bus to porch (its safe in the morning; they’re still asleep), disappearing when the molesting uncles happen to drop by, … reading about Sally having to choose between buying a candy bar or putting all her cents into a piggy bank, doesn’t cut it. You’d think Goldman-Sachs created the curriculum (they paid for it)…
Enough background….. At least you know Sweeney is on metaphorical crack just like he was with Kinder Morgan. (Panama Canal ships sailing up the Delaware, Sheesh)….
The heart of the matter lies in the News Journal’s phrase….Teachers that have earned highly-qualified credentials..
One would think that having a master’s degree or a doctor’s degree in education would qualify… But no. Mr. Sweeney, it does not. Mind if WE, the People interrupt for a second to ask if you happen to have a masters degree? A doctor’s degree? Is it in education? No? So, tell us again, what makes you such an expert can we ask? We, the People are dying to know.
Now get this. To be one of these “teachers that have earned highly-qualified credentials” you have to first have attended a corporate seminar, one from a pandering company to which the state paid $180 dollars a person; you have to sit through 6 hours of power-point presentations; your know-it-all instructor was just hired out of college by this corporation, and they proceed to tell you everything ever known about teaching without ever having been in a classroom. After this, you then take a test, having been given the answers ahead of time by clues of where the instructor casually says “this will be on the test”, and then, if you passed, you get a certificate saying you are a teacher with highly-qualified credentials. Just like that. You are now a highly qualified credential teacher; so who needs a masters, who needs a doctorate, who needs to read a stinkin’ Gannett publication? You got all the knowledge anyone ever needs to know. You got a certificate that cost the state $180 dollars!…. You are now, eligible for a bonus… (if we (the DOE) like you enough we choose to give it to you…
So if there are 8640 public school teachers in Delaware, at a cost of $180 per teacher, over time this company that originated out of nowhere, helps itself to $1.5 million dollars of our annual budget… Now, not counting for the printing I can buy 8,000 sheets of 8 X 11 pieces of 24 lb. paper for around $71 dollars at Wal*Mart. It would only take 20 sheafs of printer paper. So to dole out $71-80 worth of pieces of paper printed with the words “Congratulations, You Are Certified“, our state is investing $1.5 million of your dollars… Why? Can you say umm … kickback? Personal favor? Thanks for all you did back then?
In case one hasn’t been paying attention to the educational field, one would know that in the Christina district primarily due to our economy there are very few vacancies open from year to year. One would also know, that in the Christina district we have really good teachers practically in every classroom, who do better than the job that is expected except when they have to pull themselves away to do RTTT paperwork and explain to their evaluators how they are reinventing the wheel of teaching, or are on a pilot program teaching the Common Core agenda and cannot deviate.
So the Christina Board says this is ridiculous. The Christina Board recognizes that teachers with a lifetime of experience, with masters and doctors degrees, know more about education then some punk out of college who passes the corporate litmus test. After all, one would think, right?
The DSEA representing ALL THE TEACHERS IN DELAWARE, and the Christina Education Association are fully backing the Christina Board on this. As stated, teachers primarily want to teach. This state program is very, very bad for teaching…. Although Mr. Sweeney might think otherwise, what teachers think, matters. Especially if they are the ones teaching our kids.
Teachers are our most valuable resource as a society. They are more important than our President. They are more important than our Governor. They are more important than any Mark Murphy or Lillian Lowery. They are more important than the head of Goldman Sachs. What? You scoff?
Tell me, Mr. Sweeney? When you look in the mirror in the morning… what president do you thank for making you who you are? “Aww… Richard Nixon… Thank you so much for your leadership which was soooo inspiring, it made want to be like you…. I’m eternally grateful for all you did to inspire me, coach me, teach me, and give the the building blocks to make me as I am” But sincerely, like all of us, I would damn well bet that somewhere in your growing up, there was one teacher or two, who is responsible for everything you’ve become.
In the book of We, the People … that teacher out ranks any governmental official…. any day…
I’ll close with an analogy to a story told long ago… A woman was brought before Jesus accused of adultery. They asked what should be done to her. Jesus asked who was condemning her… knowing they too would be guilty of adultery if they admitted. They left. Jesus asked her, “who has condemned you?” She looks around, and says ” no one Sir.” “Then neither will I condemn you. Arise, Go, and sin no more…”
It would be wise for Mr. Sweeney to remember this, before he goes writing his next editorial condemning the wrong people………..