MY RESPONSE TO A LESSON PLAN FOR A+ TEACHERS BY JOEL KLEIN IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

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I save The Wall Street Journal and read it when I have time, which explains my delay in responding to an article that was posted five days ago. The article A Lesson Plan for A+ Teachers by Joel Klein grabbed my attention.

First, Klein says,

“Harvard economist Raj Chetty noted that good teachers aren’t only “effective at teaching to the test and raising students’ performance on tests”; they also have a long-term impact “on outcomes we ultimately care about from education,” such as encouraging students to avoid teen pregnancy and putting them on the path to college and middle-class earnings.”

This starts the article on some assumptions that will directly affect the direction of his argument. Since when are these the goals for education? And if they are for some, that doesn’t mean the general population should be spoke for. Our goal for education is NOT to avoid teen pregnancy OR aimed for the college path OR the struggle of middle-class. We want more than this. I want my kids to challenge and be challenged, to enjoy themselves, to find new ways of living that include a deeper human connection.

My second issue with Klein’s essay is his advice is to create yet ANOTHER exam. Pierson is making millions of dollars on our education system. This is privatization going on right now, while everyone is crying about charter schools, it’s happening. We’re all screaming to get away from testing and he’s saying to require more testing. I believe his intentions are well founded, however, I think we must walk away from testing as validation for ourselves. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have any testing, we just need to have higher quality tests and higher quality analysis of the tests results that we have collected over the years.

Thirdly, the reform argument is just another bullet on the list of ways to improve a large complex representation of our social values. Yes, education or schools mirror our values as a country, and there it is folks, the starting point. Now let’s discuss shifting our values in such an out-right finger pointing manner as we do education and see how effective it is at change.

Kiein’s article is just another to throw in the pile. It offers no realistic plan, just another White-male perspective on a social construct that could go away if we as individuals and a community were able to identify ourselves as just that. Good luck!

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