Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's About Time?

The Washington Post is concerned about negotiations between D.C. teachers union and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. It asserts,
Maybe it's time for parents to get a look what's going on in these closed-door talks. More than pay scales are at stake. Every aspect of classroom life - from the size of bulletin boards to teacher planning times to when principals can ask to look at lesson plans - is being decided. Given that secrecy hasn't helped Ms. Rhee and Ms. Weingarten work out their differences, why not give the public more than a glimpse and some sound bites about the competing proposals? Each side claims to have a plan that will further the interests of students. Let them prove it.
Well, great.... Except why didn't this matter to the Post during the many times in the past it advocated strongly in favor of Rhee's secret package of reforms?

Given it's history, the Post may well hope that the details of the discussion - class planning time, equipment to be provided to classrooms, etc. - overwhelms the big picture. I suspect they're hoping that disclosure will enable Rhee's supporters to try to hide the forest by pointing to trees, real or imagined - "Look, they want to have a contractual right to a large bulletin board" - rather than on the issues central to the negotiation. The devil may be in the details, but what would be most beneficial would be a point-counterpoint on the issues Rhee deems most necessary to effecting her reforms. If a dispute over the size of bulletin boards is on the list, or is even competitive for last place, I won't be left with much faith in Rhee. (But it won't be.)

1 comment:

  1. That kind of nitpicking sets my teeth on edge. There are a few things about teaching that I have learned over the past four years. First, things will never go the way you think they will (i.e. you think kids might not like the lesson and they love it; vice-versa). Next, you can't micromanage it. I mean, you can, but it won't work as well. You kind of have to go with the flow...and micromanaging a fucking bulletin board size is nuts. I have better things to do than measure a board! (Like teach Braille, technology, give a pep talk, write an IEP....)