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The P in public education

The P in public education

Policymakers are fond of noting that teachers are the number one school-level influence on student learning outcomes (note: non-school influences are far more significant). Despite politicians’ claims that they value and appreciate teachers, however, we are seeing the following from legislatures all across the country:
rhetorical attacks on teacher unions
rollbacks of educators’ collective bargaining rights
elimination of teacher tenure
public disparagement of educators, teacher preparation programs, and colleges of education
scripted lessons, lockstep behavior management techniques, and other attempts to ‘teacher-proof’ the education of children
underfunding of public schools
underfunding of public universities
legislation favoring of – and spending of public monies on – alternative teacher preparation programs, charters, vouchers, homeschooling, and other non-public school options
mass firings in so-called ‘failing schools’
enactment of ‘parent trigger’ laws
teacher evaluations based on statistically-volatile (and thus unfair) ‘value-added’ assessment systems
public shaming through publication of teacher evaluations
school evaluations based primarily on bubble test scores
public shaming through publication of school ‘letter grades’
repeated attempts to institute ‘merit pay’ systems (despite decades of research-proven failure)
double-standard school and educator ‘accountability’ provisions that apply to public schools but not charter or private schools
acceptance of policy proposals, money, and political influence from seemingly anyone other than actual educators
public disparagement of parents, researchers, and others who speak out against harmful ‘reforms’
and so on…
As a result, states now are seeing big drops in teacher morale, teacher turnover that’s even greater than historically-horrible rates, and often-severe teacher shortages. 
All of this is simple, really. If we keep pissing in the public education pool, don’t be surprised when no one wants to swim in it.
Image credit: Welcome to our ‘ool, Delwin Steven Campbell

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