Sunday, March 12, 2006

Public school teachers the thinnest-skinned of all

That's according to Ruben Naverette, who writes a column based on the reaction of many teachers to a previous post on the No Child Left Behind Act. He writes that he received over 100 angry e-mails following his first column, which included criticism of public schools for having low expectations for minority students. Naverette says that most teachers attacked him along the lines that since he didn't set foot in a classroom everyday, his opinion matters not.

On teachers, I don't refute Naverette's claim that teachers are thin-skinned when it comes to No Child Left Behind. I've often found that if I bring it up around school, I usually see rolling eyes and instant launches into Bush-bashing. Personally, I have mixed opinions about NCLB, but I do think its insistence on accountability is necessary.

Beyond education, I found Naverette's column an interesting examination into the art of criticism and who has the right to express it:

I'm also intrigued by this idea of having to hold your tongue unless you've walked in someone else's shoes. By that standard, the next time we're confronted with police misconduct, we can't criticize those who wear badges unless we've worn one. We can't scrutinize the work of doctors unless we've practiced medicine. We can't criticize immigrants unless we're foreign-born. Come to think of it, my critics couldn't blast away at me unless they've worked as journalists and they've been responsible for turning out a regular column. ..Now we're getting somewhere...On second thought, what fun would that be? We all have jobs to do, and others are free to challenge how well we do them. Newspaper columnists and football coaches know that better than anyone. Who knows? We might even learn from the criticism and improve our performance.

Qualified or unqualified, the critics will always be among us. Would we really want it any other way?


Anonymous Brent said...

Glad you adopted the pop up window for the blog comments. It makes multi-subject commentiong much easier.

Now, on to the topic. I find NCLB interesting legislation. It basically has no teeth as the recent proficiency deficit between the federal test and state EOG scores state. I have to say that it's like signing off when a state just says it's doing well. Well in who's scale? The way EOG scores are normed, etc. allows great leway to say that our students are proficient. In comparison to other states, we do pretty well, but that's not to say that we turn out proficient students. I agree that there must be some sort of measurement, but I think the feds made a huge mistake my not making everyone use the same scale.

Anonymous Glenn said...

I agree that some sort of national test would be a better judge of progress. NCLB at least takes the conversation about accountability up a few notches.


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