Arne just announced an exciting new program to create teacher leaders to help promote the Ugly Mess O'Reform backed by the USDOE these days.
it's the same ugly mess that they've been promoting all along, but
someone in the Messaging Office has sent out the memo that we have to
call it something else. So these days only Bill Gates has the nerve to
say the words "Common Core." For ordinary bureaucratic mortals, the
Voldemortian "Common Core" has been replaced with references to raising
standards, higher standards, super-duper standards. etc.
whatever it is, Uncle Arne (and Bill Gates) would like us to help him
sell it. He would like to team up with the National Board to raise up a host of High Standard Teacher Warriors to make the sales pitch he would
like us to make.
I would make fun of Arne for having
the epiphany that the whole reformy crapsicle might go over better if
authentic teacher voices (and not paid-for TOY's paraphrasing
pre-written press releases) were involved-- I would make fun of that
epiphany, except that he keeps having it.
The pitch for Teach to Lead acknowledges its predecessor, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, which had similar hopes and dreams:
The purpose of the RESPECT Project is to directly engage with teachers
and principals all across America in a national conversation about
RESPECT was going to transform the
teaching profession. Today it's a website with a link to a year-old
youtube clip that has only been viewed 9,700 times. Its press release
tab simply brings a list of USDOE's press releases. There's a pdf of the
"Blueprint for R.E.S.P.E.C.T." which contains the same old bureaucratic
baloney that the USDOE has been cranking out like a prize heifer with
Or we could go back to the TEACH campaign, now about
two years old, determined to recruit and retain super-duper teachers who would express
their teaching joy by telling the world about how wise and correct the
USDOE is. Over at teach.org, you can find all sorts of techy gold, like a
blog that hasn't had a new post since November of 2013. TEACH also gave us the strikingly ill-chosen motto "Make more. Teach" and the attempt to co-opt the work of Taylor Mali, allowing the program to make fun of itself with a deeply sweet obliviousness.
sort of foolishness extends all across the high stakes test-driven
accountability status quo landscape. NEA put its logo on the "Great
Public Schools" initiative, generally acronymated as GPS (you know--
that thing you use when you've lost your way). You can check it out at
gpsnetwork.org, where you'll find a large discussion board community
consisting largely of CCSS shills periodically trying to start chirpy
"So what are YOUR favorite ways in which CCSS has facilitated fully
actualized pedagogical blurgy blurgy blurg" conversations and failing
because there are next-to-zero actual teachers participating.
It didn't work. None of them worked. They have never worked. They set up the tables with donuts and pretty brochures and wait for us to stop by so they can "engage" us and get us to pick up the talking points and carry them out into the world. And they end up feeding the donuts to the crickets and pasting new logos onto the brochures for the next round.
I'm trying to find a witty way to phrase this, but I can't-- these people are so damn stupid!
we keep seeing are repeated attempts to involve teacher voices without
actually having to listen to teacher voices. "We would like teachers to
lead, and we would like them to do what we tell them to. We want
teachers to be empowered, but only with just as much power as we give
them (and can take away if they get unruly). And in all cases,
pretending to listen to teachers should work just as well as actually
listening, right? I mean, they can't tell the difference, can they?"
these guys just uniformly terrible managers of other human beings, or
do they think we are as dumb as they keep insisting we are? I don't know, but I'm surely going to wait a bit before I rush to sign up for Teach to Lead.