Monday, October 29, 2012

Are We Asking Too Much From Our Teachers?

Though the Chicago Teachers’ Strike is well behind us, the issues that led to it continue to exist in many ways and in many parts of the country.  While every community and every teaching staff is different, there are certainly some common threads.  It would be to our advantage to reflect for a moment on the situation in Chicago.  Like teachers everywhere, Chicago’s were looking at more cuts, larger classes, frozen salaries and ever-increasing scrutiny.  In fact, they often felt blamed for the dismal state of the schools and the city itself.  But how fair is it to blame teachers?  Ronald Ferguson, a researcher specializing in the achievement gap from Harvard, suggests that teachers only account for about 13% of performance gaps.  What we have today is a combination of issues ranging from the economy and outdated school systems, to cultural problems and inadequately prepared and supported teachers.  No single entity is to blame; we are all to blame.  I think this article captures the issues well…

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