Monday, February 23, 2015

The end of the teaching profession?

This is a very thoughtful and insightful post by a fellow blogger. Might be worth a look. -Dr. Petrosino 

"No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up." - Lily Tomlin.

Anthony Cody has posted an interesting (and chilling) vision of the future of education, predicting that by 2018 all teaching will be strictly controlled, with frequent testing, classes monitored and taped for regular inspection, and teacher evaluation based, among other things, on value-added analyses of student test scores, and videos evaluated by outsiders.

I wonder if Anthony is being too optimistic.  There may not be any professional teachers left in the schools in 2018.  I suspect that the plan is to vilify and push out teachers, and replace them with temps, part-timers, and technology. The goal, the only goal, is to make a lot of money for the .01%.

The details:

The goal of the war against teachers is to eliminate the concept of teaching as a profession, to be replaced by temps (eg Teach For America) and eventually be replaced largely by technology (ultimate goal of flipped classrooms). The reason is 100% financial – so that the .01% can grab nearly all of the money teachers earn as well as profit from electronic/virtual teaching.

The .01% want as much of the (at least) 500 billion we spend yearly on education as they can get.  

The .01% plan
1.     Keep pressure on teachers by making their lives as difficult as possible and their task totally impossible. The common core standards and tests are a major part of this.
2.     Continue to attack the teaching profession: The message will continue to be that the US is in economic trouble because of bad education, which is because of bad teachers.
3.     The public, media, and politicians will have no sympathy for teachers’ pointing out how difficult teaching has become, This will be seen as whining, and teachers will then resign/quit in greater numbers.
4.     Continue to stress the importance of teacher evaluation, This sends the message that teachers are not doing their job and that there are a lot of bad teachers out there who must be identified and fired. 
5.     Continue to push the idea that TFAs as just as good or better than experienced teachers. 
6.     Do not reward teachers for experience, for years of service. This will also encourage more experienced teachers to retire/resign, creating more room for lower-paid temps in the system.
7.     Gradually increase the percentage of teachers who are temps as teachers retire and as they leave the profession because of frustration, This releases money because experienced teachers cost much more than temps. The result is more money for technology. 
8.     Continue to convince the public that all technology is wonderful. Use this to push  flipped classrooms and glorify the Khan Academy.  The role of teachers will then be diminished to the equivalent of TA’s. This reduces time spent in classrooms (lowers salaries even more), and lowers the status of teachers even more, as well as saving more salary money and increasing teacher frustration.  Hire part-timers (no benefits) to serve as supplements to virtual teaching. This will be promoted as expanded opportunity for jobs, no teaching credential required.  The public will accept this because they will have lost all respect for teacher credentials. 

Look for even more attacks on teachers and teachers unions. This makes sure there is no sympathy for teachers when they complain and no public outcry when teachers leave the profession and are replaced with temps and part-timers.

The above is a reasonable and likely scenario. My conjecture is that in addition, the reformers will continue to expand testing, will charge students for taking the required tests, and in fact make it illegal for students not to take the exams.