The problem with education, according to most of the education-reform articles I'm reading, is the following:
1) bad teachers
2) strong unions who protect those bad teachers
The solution most often proposed seems to be charter schools that don't need to answer to the teachers union. Megan McArdle (via 11d) wants to be able to fire all the teachers. (Rhode Island, evidently, is a big fan of hers.)
Am I missing something? In my entire experience in the Madison public school system, we have yet to run into a bad teacher. Most of the time, we have amazing rock-star teachers. The kind of teachers who change your life. Is Madison an anomaly? Is the rest of the country dealing with bad teachers?
Seriously, I can't talk about our teachers without getting rather emotional. They go above-and-beyond their job description on a daily basis. Last weekend, one of our amazing teachers spent her entire Saturday taking our school's spelling bee champion to the district competition because our school winner couldn't get there on her own. Almost all of our teachers do this stuff ALL THE TIME.
Our school serves a low income population, (67% of students qualify for free/reduced lunch) so perhaps we attract a more dedicated professional. (Although conventional wisdom in the media often spouts that poor schools like ours get dumped with the so-called bad-teachers.)
I don't see the bad-teacher problem. Am I missing something?
My favorite school-board blogger, Ed Hughes had a great post about teachers today. And the NYTimes had a scary article about how we measure a good teacher.
I'm worried that the conservative education "reform" movement (and I include our President in that group) is creating a problem that doesn't exist in order to promote the solution they'd like to see: the privatization of education.
Am I living in a bubble? Is Madison that far from the norm? Do you all really have bad teachers? (And if you do, may I recommend that you move to Madison - our teachers are pretty damn amazing.)