A quick anecdote: I was at the MVA yesterday getting a new license and plates. Out in front of an institution that everyone loves to hate, a man was posted with a bunch of political literature and, here’s the piece de resistance, a giant poster of the President with a Hitler mustache. So I saunter to the door, can’t avoid him, and ask politely, “Is that a picture of our President with a Hitler mustache?” He replies, “It sure is, he’s earned it.” My reply, “Well, that has to be the stupidest f***ing thing I’ve ever seen.” We proceeded to argue a bit, I was joined by another supporter. After about 15 minutes, I said that I have to go in and get in line, but someone should come out here at some point and “kick his f***ing ass.”
I feel bad ending the conversation that way, and perhaps I should not be sharing it here for all to see. But you know what: I’m tired of being bullied by these people. I’m tired of seeing their hateful tirades on the news. I’m tired of seeing all of their ridiculous signs, and I’m even more sick of the constant comparisons to Hitler. Someone needs to toughen up and fight back. Sure, what I said is not dignified, I’ll admit that. But I feel that progressively-minded people roll over in the face of conservative aggression because, and rightly so, they don’t want to stoop to another’s low level. For once I wanted to go down to that level, and on that level, it felt good.
Now, onto business. The President is speaking today on education, particularly on RTTT. There’s some good information on the speech here. I admire his appeal to accountability and I don’t hear too much about standardized tests in his speech, although testing is a major part of the evaluation of teachers. Here’s a telling quote:
So, for anyone who wants to use Race to the Top to blame or punish teachers – you’re missing the point. Our goal isn’t to fire or admonish teachers. Our goal is accountability. It’s to provide teachers with the support they need to be as effective as they can be. It’s to create a better environment for teachers and students alike.
In getting that accountability, however, all we hear about is the firing of teachers. Sure, that makes good copy, but what else is actually happening? Additionally, how does firing or evaluating based on test scores actually support teachers on the job? Seems like that’s taking them off the job and replacing them with someone who can tow the party line. More to come on this.