Saturday, August 05, 2006

Done and (?)Done

I have completed my position as a Framework Advisor (FA) for the 2006 Oakland City Teaching Corps (OCTC) and we will now return to our regularly scheduled summer. Things went well, the Corps Teachers (CTs) I was responsible for training learned much, feel prepared, and submitted positive feedback, which was especially gratifying from the 12-year vet and the guy with a Masters in Instructional Design. I don't have those things.

I think we did good work. Certainly programs like this represent the long-term, sustainable model for growth, where the pattern of experience leaving high-need schools and districts is reversed. One should gain experience in the suburbs, where, dare I say, many kids will learn anyway, and then take on the harder, more demanding assignments, not the other way around.

At closing ceremonies three of us involved in the program spoke, as well as a district official involved in some of the structural and formative reforms occurring within OUSD. She said something that stuck with me, and likely will continue to do so. I'll paraphrase as accurately as possible.

On NCLB and the Future:
We do not have a system of accountability; we have a system of accounting. Our failures to educate are being recorded and catalogued, but we are not held accountable to them in any meaningful way... There is this promise of equity that has come down from Brown vs. The Board of Education and I feel like we're in the end game stages. Our system of accounting has recorded our failures and I am afraid that at some point someone will say these kids simply cannot learn. Black and brown kids will never learn. And they'll have all these records of things tried and failed, the accounting record of failure to back them up, and the narrative of equity will end.


Anonymous mrc said...

That's a dramatic and striking concept, and I like the distinction between accounting and accountability. But I disagree that the record could be used to show that poor, black, or brown kids can't learn. We simply haven't tried the same things with them as with rich, white kids, and there's plenty of research showing that. If we do get to the point as a society where we have records showing that we've put equal money, time, experience, resources, and attention into educating every student, and then there's still an achievement gap... well then it's just back to your quote: "The only gap worth closing is the one that exists between the kind of teachers we are and the kind of teachers they need us to be." I just don't see the conspiracy-theory endgame. I believe that people will always want equity, and that power will always distort the truth, and that honest people will always struggle and strive against that.

2:58 PM  
Blogger TMAO said...

"I believe that people will always want equity, and that power will always distort the truth, and that honest people will always struggle and strive against that..."

Well said. Except I wonder if everyone truly wants equity. Do those who benefit from the existence of inequity want foundamental seismographic shifts? The ones that undermine their carefully crafted power platform?

11:36 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Katrina Scott-George. The woman you quoted. Been trying to remember the name all year, and serendipitously came across it here today:

2:15 PM  
Blogger H. said...

Didn’t Katrina Scott-George also, on the same occasion, tell how people would tell her to ration her efforts, as this was a marathon, not a sprint? And that she felt that that might not always be true, that there might windows of opportunity that had to be taken advantage of? I just found out that she died last year. Searched for this entry after listening to a defense of a doctoral thesis on teacher accountability in Norway, to reread Katrina’s distinction between accountability and systems of accounting.

8:26 AM  

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