Monday, November 20, 2006

Closing The Achievement Gap, Guerrila Style

The New York Times today published a feature on the lack of progress made toward closing the achievement gap. I'm sure many blogs will reference this as evidence of any number of factors, from the ineptitude of federal intervention, to the invisible hand of the IQ gap. The real problem revealed by the Times article is the fact that for years we've been attacking this issue from one side, allowing the enemy to limit the battle to a single front. Attempts to improve the educational environments and instructional quality of predominantly low-income, Black and Latino schools are all well and good, but to truly close the achievement gap we must not only improve those schools, we must damage highly successful, affluent, White and Asian schools in equal measure.

I hereby declare a sweeping initiative to relocate ineffective teachers into the richest schools. In so doing, we do not seek those who will merely refuse to work hard or show movies in place of instruction; some of those kids would insist on achieving anyway. No, we need teachers who will actively mis-teach. The capital of the U.S. is Topeka. The order of operations is SADMEP. Good topic sentences always include "Hi, my name is Janie, and today I'm gonna tell you about..." Homework is optional or unimportant, and Columbus discovered America.

We need teachers committed to doing an awful job with America's best and brightest, those proud few who are willing to put aside years of below-average service in pursuit of the much loftier goal of actively imparting instructional damage. A pedagogy of impairment.

By opening this second front in the battle for educational equity, my brothers and sisters, your apathy, unprofessionalism, and complete lack of perspective will no longer lay foundational proof that the perception of inadequacy hung around the neck of your community and District is more factual accuracy than imagined albatross. Your inability to grasp any ideas outside the shoe-box paradigm you have constructed, coupled with your self-important delusions of grandeur will no longer provide eloquent illustration as to the causation of many societal ills -- both great and small. Under your slip-shod guidance, we expect our otherwise accomplished young Americans to feel a sense of frustration, despair, and creeping nihilism. Whereas you once embodied the cure for idealism and hope, you may now become the antidote for that most destructive of gaps.

Vox populi, vox dei.


Blogger KDeRosa said...

This war has been on for some time now. You don't think, fuzzy math and balanced literacy happened by accident do you?

What was that famous line in the Coleman report (I believe) about having an education so bad it's hard to believe that wasn't imposed on us by our enemies?

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you're sending this to an editor too; with a little shorter sentences, maybe. Just curious: How often do you encounter Latino students who will say that Columbus discovered America or who believe that the Native Americans spoke Spanish?

5:06 PM  
Blogger Got Thoughts? said...

You mean Topeka isn't the capital of the United States?

When did that change?

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could we maybe set up some kind of short-term thing, so that when we get tired of good teaching, we can spend, say, a week or so, in one of these over-achiever places?

Cause then, see, we could add the disruption of many, many teachers who all do things differently, and that would also decrease achievement. Right?

Oh, and we'll all get paid for that week what those districts pay, OK, instead of our regular salary.

4:15 PM  
Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Topeka's just the RELIGIOUS capital of the US. Intelligent Design for all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

3:16 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I received this from a teacher friend who received it from a teacher friend who...and we have continued to pass it on. It originated (on my email) in California. I live in GA. I do not know who wrote it.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND - The Football Version
> 1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the
> championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on
> probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held
> accountable.
> If after two years they have not won the championship, their footballs
> and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.
> 2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the
> same time even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities
> to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of
> interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic
> abilities or disabilities of themselves or
> 3. Talented players will be asked to workout on their own, without
> instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their
> instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football,
> have
> limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.
> 4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in
> the 4th, 8th, and 11th game.
> It will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to
> have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum
> goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind. If
> parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for
> vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the
> non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with
> bad football players.

11:41 PM  

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