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Up Front - January 27, 2014 at 7:00am

Up Front, for January 27, 2014 - 7:00am

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Some teachers have

Some teachers have internalized oppression and are willing to work for free. After our 7.0 hour workday, teachers themselves assign each other and themselves homework. There's a long list of homework, including checking email. I wish our union, UESF, would encourage everyone to use Automatic Reply- Out of Office after the official 7.0 workday, but they say it creates unnecessary friction. They prefer we just don't reply as a sort of silent protest. Given that we are negotiating a new contract, this would be an ideal time to Work-to-Rule and use the Out of Office Automatic Reply.

Actually, the first priority

Actually, the first priority was improving the education system and the first thing mentioned there was substantial pay increases for teachers (long awaited, long deserved). But while they don't want to extend that pay to the bottom 30% of teachers that they consider underperforming, after they get rid of that 30%, there will still be a bottom 30%. Perhaps they think they can keep getting rid of the bottom 30% until there is no bottom 30% to be rid of. That certainly would be true in Lake Wobegon, where all of the children are above average. But then, after enough iterations of eliminating the bottom 30% all of the teachers would be average. Then we could say that they don't deserve the merit pay that is often mentioned in these contexts nor would they deserve the big pay increase that is supposed to justify getting rid of the first bottom 30%. Perhaps we would all be better served if we just supplied pay & benefits to the extent necessary to allow food, shelter, and a future to the teachers and supplied the teachers with enough quality materials and a fit place to teach, and then let the bottom 30% self select out because they aren't happy there anyway.

Hi Brian, Very interesting

Hi Brian,
Very interesting show this morning with Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. I teach at a middle school in Oakland, and would have liked to hear you ask something like this (and am hoping that you will at the event with them tonight):

You seem to be promoting the changes in education demanded by BIll Gates and other CEOs frustrated with the "shortage of workers with skills for the new economy." For example, the first priority you identified was to make it easier to get rid of the "bottom 30%" of teachers, but you didn't say anything about drastically reducing class size, the single education reform shown to have the greatest long-term improvement to student achievement. Are you echoing those who attack teachers' unions (as protectors of "bad teachers") and tenure? (By the way tenure does not guarantee teachers' jobs for life, only due process. And in Mexico, teachers have correctly identified these "education reforms" as "labor reforms.")
Thanks, Brian. I enjoy your show very much and would love to be there tonight, if I didn't have so many papers to grade and lessons to plan.

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