Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's Random Thoughts

-If nothing else, I like the title of this LA Times story: "Controlling a classroom isn't as easy as ABC" (hat tip: Flypaper).  Speaking from my experiences both teaching and working with and talking to other beginning teachers, there are an awful lot of little things about classroom management that seem obvious to veteran teachers and aren't to newbies.

-Jay Mathews says that the achievement gap is "useless as a measure of school improvement".  I sort of see his point that a school (or school system) could get worse while, at the same time, the achievement gap shrinks.  But that's only a reason to not make the achievement gap the only measure we examine.

-A new study finds that teachers in charter schools are 76% more likely two switch schools or leave the profession at the end of any given year, and that most of the attrition and turnover is due to dissatisfaction with their school.  My initial reaction is that this is probably largely b/c charter schools tend to hire different teachers -- namely younger, more idealistic teachers who may be less intent on making a career of teaching and at the same time are more willing to explore different schools and careers instead of committing to one.

-Diane Ravitch compares the support of charter schools by social elites to "origins of free schooling in certain northeastern cities in the early 19th Century, when wealthy men decided that it was their civic duty to help civilize the children of the poor".  I don't know if the motives of many donors are quite so paternalistic, but I do share her concern that the reliance of charter schools on this funding means that "our society will increasingly rely on the good will of wealthy patrons to educate children of color".

1 comment:

Claus von Zastrow said...

I'm completely with you on the Mathews piece. I like Uncle Jay and his writings. At his best, he can see two sides of an issue. At his curmudgeonly worst, he reduces things to false dichotomies.