This blogger just can’t get any rest, because the hits just keep on coming. There were two education policy pieces at the Globe on Saturday, March 6, one semi-surprising, one utterly predictable.
No, regrettably, they did not involve Diane Ravitch. There was no miracle and she did not suddenly become newsworthy to the editors of the Globe. The trivia of her ed policy turnaround continues to be relegated to news columns of lesser papers like the Washington Post and NY Times.
The semi-surprise came in the form of Jeff Jacoby column in which the Globe’s favorite ideological conservative came out against national standards in math and English on the grounds that “one-size-fits-all,” centralized, national standards and curriculum cannot really be imposed on such a pluralistic society, where people want so many different things for their children.
His solution: less government and more parental/community empowerment. Naturally, my rare Jacoby high crashed to earth like a lead balloon when he essentially came out against public education. Jeff, it was nice while it lasted. We just weren’t meant to be.
On the no-surprise side of the tally sheet was an unusually cruel Globe editorial approving of the firing of the Rhode Island teachers. Yes, the Globe admits, this wasn’t quite fair, as the teachers were being judged as a group, and yes, this might make others prospective educators more hesitant to take jobs in such challenging districts, but, hey, it’s all good and necessary to help “the kids.”
So let’s forget, apparently, that parents and students have spoken very highly of the teachers and their dedication; let’s dispense with individual evaluations and the principle of personal accountability; let’s put aside the rising test scores in this extremely poor and transient district; let’s even put aside simple facts such as that the union wanted to negotiate the proposed changes, you know, like unions do. (And I might add, like the Globe union wanted to do, in its hour of need).
And so for the sake of the kids, the Globe put all this aside and concluded the firing should go ahead anyway. It was a useful tool, the editors called it. Wow, this was cold and cruel even by Globe standards.
Here is the classic Globe sanctimonious posture: no one cares about “the kids” except its writers. All those teachers are so callously uncaring about students, why they probably even neglect their own kids. Not true, Boston Globe. And if these editorialists would simply bestir themselves, forgo that lingering cup of coffee in the Globe café, rise from their chairs, and visit some public school classrooms-not only their favorite charters-they would see this is not true. But maybe they understand that their rigid ed reform ideology just couldn’t sustain an encounter with actual reality. Rigid things do tend to shatter on impact.
This editorial is shameful. This is one reader who is calling upon Globe editorial writers to identify themselves and have the courage to state publicly what you so prefer to write anonymously from the safety of your masthead hide-away. After all, it’s all about accountability.