Thursday, October 22, 2009


I get a news alert daily that rounds up stories for me that mention Arne Duncan. I get preemptively irritated upon seeing it arrive in my mailbox. And for good reason.

For a guy who's spent, well, zero time as a student in a teacher ed program and zero time as a teacher - the amount of teacher bashing he engages in is mind-bogglingly amazing.

There's always a year's worth of irony in any given speech Duncan gives.
Now the fact is that states, districts, and the federal government are also culpable for the persistence of weak teacher preparation programs. Most states routinely approve teacher education programs, and licensing exams typically measure basic skills and subject matter knowledge with paper-and-pencil tests without any real-world assessment of classroom readiness.
Somehow he seems to miss the fact that these tests he's criticizing, these standardized tests, (that, I might add most of us taking them recognize as essentially meaningless) - are no different than the tests he loves so much for our students. And! The solution! Link up those student test scores to teacher ed programs! Except in this case, these tests are apparently not "paper-and-pencil tests," but "student achievement data."

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