Friday, May 23, 2008

Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins Agrees With Us (almost- I think)

I got this link from Russo's TWIE.

Blogger Maureen Trantham in her "Great Moments in the Teacher Quality Debate!" reports on how Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins practically assaults former Teaching Fellow Dan Brown at the Ed in '08 conference. See the video and come right back.

But you know something? Amy is right when she is critical of Brown's being thrown as a first year teacher with the poorest, neediest kids. She doesn't go after Brown per se but the policy makers that allow this. Hmmm! Are we talking about Teach For America, here? Wilkins and the Ed Trust are part of the reform crowd that believes we close the - and do I hate these words - achievement gap without investing resources. So does she mean let's give TFA and Teaching Fellows an internship in schools so they can really learn the ropes. But that costs money. So the "reformers" want to do it this way: kill union contracts to the extent that veteran teachers can be moved around like chess pieces. Supposedly that was what Klein claimed he wanted to do - to put the best senior teachers where they are needed,which turned out to be bogus when he launched air strikes on senior expensive teachers.

Dan Brown's defense on the video is not strong enough, offering no alternatives to a system shaped by the powers for their own needs, which is to plug a poorly trained (and cheap), de-skilled (so they can interchange parts) teacher into a slot in a poor neighborhood.

Oh what to do when schools in poor neighborhoods are a short staffed? Use TF and TFA's but really get them ready to teach. Stop taking short cuts.


Anonymous said...

Hey, this is Dan Brown. To clarify my extremely brief response about teacher quality and teacher placement, this is another extremely brief response:

I like Robert Pondiscio's idea at Core Knowledge for using TFA to give fellowships/bonuses to attract master teachers to high-needs schools:

Outside of TFA, I think there are a lot of other ways to incentivize bringing strong veteran teachers to struggling schools. They all involve MONEY. Let's make the investment!

Amy Wilkins's dream of putting veterans in every high-needs class would be wonderful.

ed notes online said...

Hi Dan. Thanks for the clarification.
What is Watkin's solution to the problem? Does she take the position that union contracts protecting seniority are the problem or does she offer some solution that does not involve uprooting people from their schools at the whim of the chancellor? This is where Michelle Rhee seems to be going in DC. I'll bet that when that happend, many vet teachers for a number of reasons will evacauate ship, which is what I maintain the Rhees and Kleins want to happen so they never have to pay a pension or high salaries. Thus we have the NYTimes editorial about TFA saying: "see, new teachers can do as good a job as vets," a total contradiction from what Watkins said.

Anonymous said...

By "Watkins" I'll assume you mean "Wilkins". Close enough. Wilkins used to run Democrats for Education Reform, which pretty much means she supports all the good reforms in education and hates all the reactionary approaches with which you are so enamored.