These strikes are not just about teacher benefits, tenure and career security. They are often about availability of:
- Manageable Teaching environments
- Facilities (Libraries, laboratories and gymnasiums)
- Supplies (books, writing materials, utensils)
- Fine Arts, Phys Ed and Extra-curricular activity
- School safety and security
- Student Health Services (mental and physical)
- Professional growth
- Career security
Mr. Farmer quotes Director David Magill’s September 2nd Address to Returning Faculty of the University of Chicago Lab School where Penny Pritzker and Rahm Emanuel send their children to be educated:
I believe that the “business model” of improving education will fall on its own sword.
It is unfortunate that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation developed primarily by politicians and enacted in 2002 morphed into what many refer to as a “business model” of improving education. Measuring outcomes through standardized testing and referring to those results as the evidence of learning and the bottom line is, in my opinion, misguided and, unfortunately, continues to be advocated under a new name and supported by the current administration.[…]
Listen to this from Ms. Ravitch:
We must honor those teachers who awaken in their students a passionate interest in history, science, the arts, literature, and foreign language. Such teachers (if acting today under NCLB) would be stifled not only by the data mania of their supervisors, but by the jargon, the indifference to classical literature, and the hostility to their manner of teaching that now prevails in our schools.
Without a comprehensive liberal arts education, our students will not be prepared for the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy, nor will they be equipped to make decisions based on knowledge, thoughtful debate, and reason. . . . Not everything that matters can be quantified. What is tested may ultimately be less important than what is untested, such as a student’s ability to seek alternative explanations, to raise questions, to pursue knowledge on his own, and to think differently.
And to that, I say AMEN and thank you, Ms. Ravitch, for seeing the light and for cracking the armor of the “business model.” Because of her and others like her, I believe this disturbing chapter in American education history is coming to a close.