Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why "Children First" Rhetoric is Hypocritical

If leaders who claimed to "Stand for Children" and "Put Children First" campaigned to raise wages, build more affordable housing, release non violent drug offenders from prison, and turn schools into 24 hour community centers in wounded communities, I might take their language and imagery at their word. But when the focus of their organizing is the mythical figure of the "Bad Teacher" and their remedy is to weaken unions and to impose more testing in public schools, a stench of hypocrisy surrounds their activities. A way to test their intentions is to see how much time they actually spend with children, as opposed to politicians, media figures, heads of corporations and foundations. By that standard, a cloud of suspicion hangs over their work, since it turns out that the very people who actually spend time with children are the teachers these leaders attack. Promoting teacher accountability through testing is a sure fire way to build a successful career. Devoting your life to teaching, in the current political climate, is an invitation to abuse. Children need love and inspiration more than tests. Harassing and micromanaging those who offer that love and inspiration,day in day out,is a policy that will squeeze the joy and the life out of the nation's classrooms.

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