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October 06, 2010

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And to James, I understand you don't care about "grammar people" but I must assert that your point would carry a lot more credence if you attempted to appear intelligent. Grammar is the primary way to imply intelligence through pure text communication. You clearly cared enough to type your response, at least do yourself the favor of spell checking it so people will consider your opinion.

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And to James, I understand you don't care about "grammar people" but I must assert that your point would carry a lot more credence if you attempted to appear intelligent. Grammar is the primary way to imply intelligence through pure text communication. You clearly cared enough to type your response, at least do yourself the favor of spell checking it so people will consider your opinion.

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The problem with teachers' unions is not that they're getting in the way of progress. They do get in the way of unfair labor practices, and that's what they're there for. But they are also doing the bidding of powerful forces contrary to the aims and goals of teachers as professionals. Their complicity in Race to the Top competition is proof of that.

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Brock Brady

Fabiana,

I would be interesting to hear about what similar perspectives you have heard in South American countries. We are trying to enhance our language planning, policy, and use capacity at TESOL and if this is a broader phenomenon, it would be good to research it more.

I appreciate your posting,

Brock

Fabiana

I have not watched the movie yet, thanks to this discussion I know more about it. I am in South America and it looks as if many countries around here are having the same perspective towards teacher's practices and education.
Mr Brady's review of the film is great and the additional information from the discussion too.
I Want to see the movie

Myles Hoenig

And it is hard to get past the neo-liberal media. They are the spokespeople for all things corporate and military. It just shows that there is no real divergent views on our airwaves. One can only find it in the alternative press or outside of the US.
It's hard for teachers to push back when we have so few allies.
But that's what 'struggle' is all about!

Brock Brady

Myles,

Thanks for your additional critique. One of the problems I found with the blog was that "Waiting for Superman" can be attacked from so many different angles that I had to pick just one for the blog!

The reaction to Superman is a sign of the incredible ignorance about what constitutes good learning and assessment of that learning. Politicians, opinion leaders, billionaire computer moguls--in general intelligent people are laying down and buying these ridiculous arguments.

How in the world does Gates really believe that teaching to narrow focused multiple choice tests will create the kinds of computer engineers that he needs? It's baffling!

Of course the big problem is that teachers (and our unions, as you note) haven't been able to find a voice that will give our point of view traction.

Or one could be paranoid. Certainly the neoliberals have a lock on the media.

I hope we can create more anger and more push back. Otherwise, the education system of American will genuinely be in crisis.

Myles Hoenig

This was a good review of the movie's main points.

Missing from this, however, is the political angle. The Obama/Duncan educational administration is squarely behind the teacher bashing, union busting, charter school movement.
What is needed is a call from teachers to openly denounce the propaganda heaped on us by movie moguls, TV tycoons like Oprah, and even the teachers' unions who often are too afraid to take these people on (as well as their Democratic Party puppeteers)and who do work with 'management' to 'work over' the teachers.

As a MD teacher of ESOL, our union in Prince George's County is squarely behind merit pay without member consent, and the Baltimore Teachers Union has 'negotiated' a contract dictated almost exclusively by the school board. The corporate takeover of public education is near complete.

The problem with teachers' unions is not that they're getting in the way of progress. They do get in the way of unfair labor practices, and that's what they're there for. But they are also doing the bidding of powerful forces contrary to the aims and goals of teachers as professionals. Their complicity in Race to the Top competition is proof of that.

On the issue of our ELL's, no where in the movie does it say how the charter schools do their best to keep them out of their schools, so as not to hurt their scores. Although I have not seen it and do recommend a teacher-wide boycott and protests, our learners are forced into staying with the public school system that is treated in a very hostile fashion by the public.

We are seeing how curricula is collapsed in order to get our students out, and the likely result is early out-- that is to say, dropping out. We see how our students are taking the equivalent of a 9th grade English curriculum in order to take the 10th grade English High School Assessments (for graduation purposes).

All of these attacks on our English language learners, public school children, and teachers is an attempt to privatize our schools, and it's working.

This must stop now.

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