Friday, January 20, 2012

Michelle Rhee

In my humble opinion...most education reformers today are "band-aiders"...the ones that think they can fix the problems of education by putting a band-aid on it, thus "fixing" the problem. These people look at education and say, "well, that's easy, here's what you do....". And viola! It's done!

Michelle Rhee wrote an article in the paper this week. The more I hear about her, the more I'm starting to think that perhaps I should run far away screaming from her brand of reform.

In her article this week she, first makes education seem like a means to an end...just a way to get people educated so they can just get a job. Personally, I believe we do more than that. Teachers don't just know their curriculum. We are the listeners. Kids actually come to us with issues and problems. We help them talk through their thoughts and issues...we sometimes try to make them better people. We understand that these guys are just pegs we're trying to put into holes...they are complicated and have issues just like any other human being.

My second issue with the article and the biggest issue, is with her belief that teachers should be paid based on students' performance on tests. I don't know how I can get people to understand how ridiculous I think this idea is. I still have not yet found a universal analogy that helps everyone understand this I just stick with one from the past. "Why hello, Doctor So-and-so! It's so nice to see you. We called you in today to let you know that as of next year, we will be basing your pay on how many of your patients have above average teeth (or blood sugars, or cholesterol or blood pressure). Have a wonderful day!" I'm sure the that medical profession will be happy to just turn over their pay raises to their patients.

My final issue with Ms. Rhee is her belief that charter schools are the end all be all. Studies are beginning to come out about how well charters are doing. For the most part, their outcomes are no different from the public schools. I'm sure that there are some exceptions to this...but most of the testing scores aren't any different and it seems that these are supposed to be the "savior" of the educational system. To me...they're just more expensive.

I'm still waiting to hear something coming from reformers that makes me sit up and take notice...not just shake my head and think, "here comes another one"!

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