Viewing the LIVE coverage of the Network for Public Education Conference is an enlightening experience to say the least. The vast differences of experiences from teacher to teacher, age category to age category and location to location exposes an overview of the corporate education reform plan to treat teachers and teaching as mechanisms to be cheaply reproduced.
The end product has nothing to do with helping children to grow and become well educated, fulfilled adults. It’s all about corporate (Foundation) power, control and money.
Coincidentally, one letter from a teacher in Massachusetts in this month’s issue of Harper’s Magazine lays bare a slice of raw truth.
Letter of response to the Esther Kaplan article “The Spy Who Fired Me” [Report, March issue of Harper’s Magazine].
As a teacher in Massachusetts, I have witnessed a trend toward “accountability” prompted by Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, and the Common Core. Like UPS or Starbucks workers, teachers are now being electronically tracked by state education departments. Through PowerSchool, a program used for planning and grading, teachers are required to show that every lesson pertains to the assigned strand of the Common Core. If grades don’t meet expectations, teachers must provide research-based and data-driven strategies for improving them. In programs like TeachPoint, an elaborate, time-consuming self-evaluation, I have to provide evidence for twenty-five standards of instruction.
Teachers meet these new demands by disposing of creativity and flexibility. As a high school student, I wrote stories and plays in English class. Now kids learn to master the art of the state-mandated open-response question.
Now is the time to learn the lessons presented by the speakers, panelists, and attendees at the NPE Conference.