Blog of a Million Dreams

Thursday, October 14, 2010


You may have heard of the latest documentary, "Waiting For Superman". I haven't seen it.

But I heard about it.

On Oprah. With guests pontificating about the state of education in the U.S. From Oprah herself, to Michelle Rhee (Washington D.C. dame who has delivered an enema to the Teacher's Union) to Bill Gates, everyone has something to say.

However, since Oprah and Bill are hugely wealthy, they both know so much more than the rest of us about how to teach and it's lucky for us that they've decided to inform us about how shitty our teachers are. And how much better people can teach at, say, a Charter School.

The definition of a Charter School (and explanation for its success) is that a Charter School can choose it's students and still receive a public schools budget, along with other special funding. If you think public schools can choose their students, you are living under a rock or smoking some potent stuff.

Do you know how a Charter School works? First, many teachers at a Charter School have not completed the amount of education a teacher at a regular comprehensive school receives. But, do not despair, the Charter School makes up for this by issuing their teachers cell phones. The teachers are instructed that they must take phone calls from their students up to 10 p.m. every night. These same teachers are expected to be in their classrooms at 6 or 7 a.m. every day until late, very late at night...often 9 pm or 10 pm.

At a Charter School, a teacher's work hours can go long. He/She is expected to be on campus until late at night (and take phone calls until 10 p.m.). Without a teaching credential or extensive graduate school education, many of these teachers are young, enthusiastic and naive. They do as they are told. And they burn out. Many don't last more than a few years. And that's okay. 'Cuz the Charter School Motto is to burn through one generation of college grads to the next. There's always a new crop of college grads looking to make connections, work hard for a couple of years until they find their real life calling.

But Bill Gates and Oprah have some special smarts the rest of us don't have. They know more about teaching and education than the rest of us. They want to reform education and replace lifetime educators, reform tenure and destroy the teachers union. 'Not to worry,' Oprah assures her audience, 'I'm not talking about the teachers who are good...just the crappy ones'

And how does Oprah/Bill/Michelle Rhee/etc., know about teaching, education and learning? What's their great expertise?

Oh, I remember now! They made millions of dollars off of monopolizing certain industries (software, media, government) so they must be better prepared and more knowledgeable than the rest of us.

One question, however.

If these most brilliant of brilliant... if these smarty smart pants know so much about learning and teaching and the state of education....why aren't they teaching?

After all, they do have all the answers...oh! No, I got that wrong...they just have all the money.


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