Wow, here’s a shocker! As the NY Times so expertly points out, poor schooling leads to poor economic circumstances that negatively affect both the kids who are ill-served as well as the nation as a whole.
No duh? I mean the next thing they are going to tell us is that the iPhone has become kinda popular.
I have absolutely nothing against self-evident journalism. In a way, it’s good that the Times is drawing attention to this reality. But isn’t this just oh-so-obvious? I mean who doesn’t recognize the negative impact of poor schooling? The poorly-schooled, the well-schooled, the old-school and the new… really, who doesn’t know this!? From the homeless to Harvard, U.S. citizens understand the importance of education. We see it more and more every day.
Of course, stats like this about the dismal Achievement Gap between Latino/Black kids and Whites/Asians — straight out of the article — are great to hear…
The report concluded that if those achievement gaps were closed, the yearly gross domestic product of the United States would be trillions of dollars higher, or $3 billion to $5 billion more per day.
But they also smack a little of “No shit, Sherlock”, don’t they?
And then, of course, the politicians try to spin it as if “all we need are good teachers and everything will be honky dory.”
Well, yes, we do need good teachers. (I, for one, will never defend a lame educator.) But we also need good tools, strong support, wide-ranging involvement and a more fiercely concerted effort to improve things on a variety of fronts. I mean when a kid ditches class, gets no encouragement from home, hangs out with the wrong crowd and on and on, this is self-evident to the front line teacher. But really, how much can they/we/I do? I face it all the time. Yes, I sweat this stuff!! I, contrary to what you are supposed to do, take this stuff home with me. For example it’s Saturday and I am really concerned about a girl named — I’ll change her name — Ree because she is on her way to just becoming another drop out stat. Ditching, hanging with the wrong crowd, Boys, Boys, Boys on her brain, thinks she smarter than any kid who has ever walked the halls of Lynwood High and all the “schemes” aren’t going to catch up to her. I mean, I hate to say it, but unless she turns her ship around and fast, I give her 18 months before she’s just another inner-city statistic.
She’s smart enough not to have this happen to herself but she ain’t acting that way. She ain’t acting that way at all and as the old saying going, “If you play with fire long enough, you are going to get burned.”
Ree, you have no idea. None at all.
And I’ve told her this to her face. Many times. I’ve tried being nice, overextending myself, flipping out, bringing in counselors, contacting parents — and nothing has worked. And right now, I feel all alone in my quest to “save” Ree from herself.
So when Mr. Klein says all we need is a good teacher, I say, well, I try to be a good teacher but hey, what more can I do? Those stats you are using to demonize the members of my profession kinda hurt when circumstances like this are such a big part of the equation for the front line teacher.
Yes, good teachers are SUPREMELY important. But there’s more to it… a lot more.
Wow, what a shocker.