July 2015 Archives

The teachers' union helped us to obtain a living wage by doing what we do best; teach. It is not a perfect entity. It is made up of fallible parts. However, we each contribute the best of what we can--and that is what has made us strong advocates for our students and this educational system.


It's important for educators to read widely, about common issues--with a kind of radar for books and articles written for general audiences that contain important nuggets of wisdom, related to schools and learning. Why? Because general audiences aren't reading your favorite teacher blogs or books on the Common Core. Education takes place in the middle--between research-based expertise and unexamined habit.


Does "differentiating" teacher pay (beyond the usual salary schedule) result in Better Teaching and More Learning? Can we use financial incentives to build the teacher force every school leader dreams of: bright stars relentlessly pursuing the all-important data, working 60 hours a week, cheerfully compliant?


Haven't we had enough blue-ribbon commissions, slick data-rich presentations and spurious happy talk about soaring scores and college enrollments?


Here's the thing: you can be a superb, meticulous, demanding music teacher without being a hostile jerk. You can also be a driven, determined, even obsessed music student, bent on creative brilliance and perfection, without being inhuman or ruthless. In a movie supposedly about "what it takes" to achieve true excellence in performance, we never saw Fletcher teach, or drummer Miles Teller's ambitious character, Nieman, learn anything about music via guidance, example or instruction. Everything that was accomplished happened via psychological manipulation: Terror. Lies. Tricks. Bodily abuse. Even, God help us, suicide.


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