Sunday, June 15, 2008

Randoph Ward's SDCOE forum on education: here's what you missed, Mr. Ward

Randy Ward has asked the public to tell him if he's "missed something" regarding needed reforms in San Diego schools.

An Open Letter to Randolph Ward from Maura Larkins:

Dear. Mr. Ward:

Give the best teachers more responsibility for key instruction and big decisions--not in one classroom, but in several classrooms.

At the same time, give the less-skilled teachers the responsibility for reinforcement exercises and routine classroom chores, with one of these regular teachers in each classroom.

Teacher unions are often criticized, and rightly so, for blocking reforms to education, but the unions get plenty of help in the fight to keep the status quo from school boards and the education establishment.

Everyone knows that there are bad teachers, but school boards and admininstrators don't like to fire them as long as they remain passive and politically loyal. They pretend to be opposed to poor teachers, but they more often go after teachers who push for reforms.

If you go down to the office of administrative hearings and look at the files, you'll find that most teachers were fired for speaking out, even though the district involved admitted that they were good teachers.

Most district administrators are go-along-to-get-along folks. They want to keep everything calm and under control, even though that means that they are creating a population of undereducated citizens.

Mass firings of bad teachers is not what I propose. That would be costly, disruptive, harmful to morale, and could lead to teacher shortages. A better solution would be to give the best teachers more responsibility for classroom decision making and more instructional time, while giving the less-skilled teachers the responsibility for reinforcement of learning and routine classroom chores.

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