Sunday, July 6, 2014
Coleman Dictates Teaching Methods
If you were an experienced pilot, engineer, architect or surgeon, whom would you look to for guidance in building your expertize and generally improving your profession? If you were an experienced pilot, do you think you could get useful tips on flying a plane from person with only a college degree in philosophy. . . . or could someone who had a degree in government and public policy help you to be a better pilot? If we wanted to improve the operating rooms of our hospitals, would we hire operating room managers whose main connection with surgery was that they had been surgical patients?
Well the examples above are very close to equivalent to what is being done to the management of public education. In the video included with this article, middle school reading teachers are expected to be tutored in how to teach close reading techniques by three persons who have never set foot in a middle school classroom. The video in the article is a training video on the Engage NY website, a special website set up to help teachers learn how to teach the Common Core. The training session is a discussion of the techniques used in a reading teaching method called "close reading". The trainers are none other than David Coleman, the chair for the development of Common Core, John King the chancellor of New York state public schools, and Kate Gerson, who is now a Senior Fellow of the New York Regents Research Fund (a semi-official reform pressure group funded by Bill Gates). Of course none of them have ever actually had experience as middle school reading teachers (Gerson did work for a short time as a high school English teacher). But like the guy who stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, they have all attended middle school, so they must be experts, right?
Having these persons run a training session on teaching reading is like asking frequent airline flyers serve as trainers for airline pilots. Well they have had a lot of experience flying, haven't they? It does not impress me that David Coleman who was born to a privileged family once did a little volunteer work in inner city schools. We all know he is not qualified to retrain experienced teachers in how to teach reading! Neither are the other two people in this video. Coleman was once turned down for a job as a public school teacher in New York because he had no teacher credentials. So he started working for a company that provided consulting services to education and from there somehow became the supreme expert in education reform for the entire nation! And now he has chaired the writing of the supposedly great new education standards (the CCSS) and even smugly performs in a video proporting to show teachers how to teach. If I were a teacher who was being forced to watch such vidoes, I would be insulted and even humilated that my profession has fallen to this level of abuse.
It is the same thing with John White and many other so called leaders of the education reform movement in this country. Education is the only profession that I know of that is in the process of being taken over by rank amateurs and non-professionals. My gut tells me that this will not end well.
If you are a professional educator, please don't be fooled by the false credentials of these people who dispite the fact that they have never done the difficult job of educating children, intend to impose their fantasy world about education on the entire profession. There is no evidence whatosever that you can teach all kids the same exact things, at the same rate, no matter their background just by having "high expectations". This is pure hogwash! These mostly self appointed education leaders can teach you absolutely nothing about teaching. But they can destroy the teaching profession and turn educators into test teachers who spend most of their time rehersing students for tests, and they can turn major portions of our education system over to greedy profiteers who will systematically destroy public education. Wake up people!
It you are a professional educator who believes as I do that that our public schools are in great danger and that schools must remain free of privatizers and the influence of the new amateurs who happen to be rich and influential, you must become active in the fight for public education. Stay tuned to this blog and give me feedback from your point of view by sending me emails or commenting on my blog posts. Together we can make a positive difference for education.
As you can see from this well researched article in the Washington Post, it was the money and influence of Bill Gates that got David Coleman appointed as director of the Common Core project. First Gene Wilhoit and David Coleman approached Bill Gates and sold him on the idea of state of the art standards that would unify all K-12 teaching in the U.S. and make our students competitive with the rest of the world's students. Then when Gates decided to fund the whole project by buying off every group in the country that had any influence over K-12 education, Coleman as the salesman for the Common Core became the natural father for the whole project.
The Gates Foundation got to choose most of the writers of the Common Core, and the decision was made that apparently classroom teachers should have no part in the actual writing of the standards. Then the CCSS were copywrited and limited in such a way that they cannot even be revised or rewritten to correct the lack of age appropriateness, and numerous other errors that are poping up as the untested program goes into full implementation without so much as a single field test.
Posted by Michael Deshotels