Monday, March 05, 2012

School reform: reality vs. distortion

Rebeca Nieves-Huffman, director of the Illinois chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, with a great op ed about the Chicago Teacher Union's laughable attempts to claim the reform mantle:

The Chicago Teachers Union is for smaller classes and a massive pay raise. They are against closing or overhauling struggling schools, and their union bosses this week advised teachers to play hooky from school so they could help block Mayor Rahm Emanuel's controversial reform plan.

Yet CTU President Karen Lewis wants us to think that she and the union's top brass are the real reformers, and that Emanuel and Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard are the ones who would do anything to preserve a culture of school failure.

Pure genius. This is the kind of "reality distortion field" that helped Apple's legendary founder Steve Jobs convince himself that up was down, and that black was white. It is hard to imagine that anyone is going to fall for it, but for the sake of Chicago's schoolchildren, here's hoping that Lewis is as brilliant at pulling it off as Jobs was.

In a glossy 46-page manifesto called "The Schools Chicago's Students Deserve," Lewis argues — repeatedly — that what Chicago schoolkids need more than anything right now is more teachers. More teachers for traditional classrooms, more teachers for art and theater, more teachers for physical education. And teachers should have their own assistants. On top of all that, Lewis argues, kids need more counselors, nurses, social workers and psychologists.

There's nothing in the CTU propaganda about improving the quality of classroom instruction. There's nothing about a longer school day to give teachers and students more time to catch up. What we see are multiple proposals that seem designed to do little more than add more than 1,500 new dues-paying members for the CTU. It's good for the union's bottom line, but is it good for kids?


School reform: reality vs. distortion

By Rebeca Nieves-Huffman February 25, 2012 11:12AM

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