Arne loves to hear himself talk in his “aw shucks” kind of way. With his fingers on the pulse of public education and the teachers he leads, it puzzles me how he can just be so wrong, so often. Aw shucks Arne is very accessible to Bill Gates, but to teachers, not so much. I’d love to school Arne. If I could, here are a few of the claims he’s made that I’d really like to discuss:
Arne: “More and more, teachers, parents, and union and business leaders want a real definition of teacher effectiveness based on multiple measures, including student growth, principal observation and peer review.”
Me: No. You want to judge teacher effectiveness primarily by one test score. We assess our effectiveness daily by authentically assessing student learning. BTW, how do you define "effective teacher" anyway?
Arne: “School districts and their local partners in inner cities and rural communities are overcoming poverty and family breakdown to create high-performing schools, including charters and traditional public schools.”
Me: Name those schools, please.
Arne: “Today, American students trail many other nations in reading, math and science…”
Me: No. American students attending schools with <10% of children living in poverty score at the top on international assessments. In fact, American students attending schools with 49.9% of children living in poverty still score above the international average!
Arne: “Some districts have reshaped labor agreements around student success - and teachers have strongly supported these groundbreaking agreements.”
Me: No. Teachers do not support merit pay or denial of due process rights (tenure). FYI, teachers generally don't support any of your policies. They pretty much failed in Chicago but you're committed to rolling out failure across the nation??? What's up with that?
Arne: “The urgency for reform has never been greater.”
Me: No. I mean, seriously, what planet have you been living on? Teachers have been advocating for real reform for decades. You just haven't been listening. We’re just teachers. What do we know,right? But if you'd really like to know what real reform would look like, I'd be happy to enlighten you!
I’m sure you were a proficient basketball player (not advanced though, otherwise you’d have played in the big leagues), but you don’t know ‘crap’, to quote Ms. Rhee, about education. You’re not qualified to teach in a public school, nor have you ever experienced one as a student. If you’re sincere about applying the highest academic standards in public education, then you really need to fire yourself. Arne, you are just so Far Below Basic.