Jack Schneider’s Ten Reform Claims That Teachers Should Know How to Challenge provides a powerful framework for educators to mobilize our much needed roles as teachers for the wider public.
In this post, I repeat his ten claims as a basis for including evidence that supports teachers (or anyone) anticipating and then challenging the flawed claims and policies coming from the reform movement, primarily driven by political leadership and advocacy without experience or expertise in education. [Each claim is posted below verbatim from Schneider.]
Claim 1: American teachers need more incentive to work hard.
- Incentive plans for teachers have never worked, and failed in a large study from Vanderbilt University.
- Alfie Kohn on merit pay and flaws of cash incentives.
- Daniel Pink has refuted incentives in business and education.
Claim 2: Schools need disruptive innovation. The status quo is unacceptable.
- If this is true (and I suspect it isn’t), the current accountability/standards/testing approach to education has its roots in the 1890s, and thus, the reform movement is simply more of the status quo.
- The problems with innovation: Saving DC Schools with Catastrophe Innovation!, The Assault on Public Education in SC Continues: More Innovation!, Innovation? No Thank You, and Innovation Like 1954!: The Technology Khan Continues.
Claim 3: The public schools are in crisis.
- Orwellian Educational Change under Obama: Crisis Discourse, Utopian Expectations, and Accountability Failures
- Admiral Hyman Rickover shouted this same baseless claim in the 195os.
- Extra! Extra! Schools Not Cause of Current Economic Crisis!, Gerald Bracey
- The Education Celebrity Tour: Legend of the Fall, Pt. II
- Fire teachers, reappoint Rhee: Legend of the fall, pt. III
Claim 4: It should be easier to fire bad teachers. Tenure is a problem.
- Meditating on Teacher Unions and Tenure Post-Vergara
- What We Tolerate (and for Whom) v. What the Rich Demand: On Teacher Quality
- Devaluing Teachers in the Age of Value-Added
- Unions? We Don’t Need No Stinking Unions
- Academia and the American Worker: Right to Work in an Era of Disaster Capitalism?
- Facts: High-poverty and right-to-work (non-tenure) states have low student test scores while unionized states (often more affluent) have higher student test scores. This claim fails basic logic.
Claim 5: Schools need to teach more technology.
- CAUTION: Technology! — This is an embarrassingly old and fruitless claim …
- Technology in education, the research
- A Misguided Use of Money
- Should schools use as much digital technology as they can afford?
- Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products, USDOE
Claim 6: Teachers should be paid for results.
- As code for value-added methods (VAM) of teacher evaluation, the evidence is clear that VAM is deeply flawed as a mechanism for teacher pay. Teachers should be paid for teaching, but measurable student outcomes is not a valid proxy of teaching.
- Will Free-Pass Mainstream Media Clean Up Their Chetty Mess?
- VAMboozled by Empty-Suit Leadership in SC
- VAM Fails Test, Again: The Bizarro World of Education Reform
- What We Know Now (and How It Doesn’t Matter)
- Conservative Leadership Poor Stewardship of Public Funds
- NFL again a Harbinger for Failed Education Reform?
- VAM: A Primer
- Review [UPDATED]: “How to Evaluate and Retain Effective Teachers” (League of Women Voters of SC)
Claim 7: We need more charter schools.
- Charter schools are not distinguishable from public schools in most measurable ways, and share with public schools the rising problem of segregation.
- Why Sending Your Child to a Charter School Hurts Other Children
- Endgame: Disaster Capitalism, New Orleans, and the Charter Scam
- Charter Schools: A Primer
- Segregation and Charter Schools: A Reader
- Should SC Increase Charter School Investment?
- Explaining The Consistently Inconsistent Results Of Charter Schools, Matthew Di Carlo
Claim 8: We’re falling behind the rest of the world.
- Again, see above about this wild and baseless claim from Rickover about Swiss schools in the early 1960s.
- Test-Based Accountability, International Comparisons, Standards-mania: Lessons Ignored
- PISA Brainwashing: Measure, Rank, Repeat
- Among the Many Things Wrong With International Achievement Comparisons, Gene V. Glass
- More Things Wrong with International Assessments Like PISA, Gene V. Glass
Claim 9: Teacher preparation is a sham.
- NCTQ: “their remedies are part of the disease” — Actually, that claim and organizations making that claim are the shams.
- What’s Wrong with Teacher Education?
- Conditions v. Outcomes: More on What’s Wrong with Teacher Education (and Accountability)? pt. 2
- Smagorinsky on Authentic Teacher Evaluation
Claim 10: Teachers only work nine months a year.
- How Many Hours Do Teachers Really Work?
- Teachers Work the Same Number of Hours as Average U.S. Worker
- US Teachers Work Longer Hours Than Anywhere In The World, While Earning Less
- Teacher Pay Around the World