Monday, February 11, 2013
Life Changing Teachers Ignored
My Department at Fordham has over the years housed great, life changing teachers- among them Dr Claude Mangum, Dr Irma Watkins-Owens and Dr Mark Chapman- yet I have never about any of them being asked to speak about how they inspire students inside and outside their classrooms and build lifelong relationships with those they have taught. The same is true, perhaps even more so, for all the great elementary and secondary school teachers I know and their counterparts around the nation. Instead, we rely on people like Bill Gates and Arne Duncan, who have never taught at all, or Michelle Rhee, who taught for two years, to shape education policy and determine what constitutes great teaching. This inevitably leads to measures of teaching effectiveness which erase the impact teachers have on the lives of their students outside the classroom and the effects of great teaching over time. And to assuring that our most effective teachers will be pushed out of the profession and that idealistic young people who become teachers will be demoralized and beaten down.