Monday, March 21, 2011

Crimes Against Testing

Well, this pretty much encapulates every wrong priority about public education these days. Let us count the ways:

1. The Atlanta Public Schools are accused of withholding teacher contracts in order to intimidate teachers not to testify against possible APS wrongdoing under state investigation. This is not the first time state investigators have raised concerns that the APS is conducting a campaign of witness intimidation.

2. In the "PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONZ ARE TEH EBIL SOCIALIZMS" narrative, the APS here represents "the taxpayer" and the teachers being intimidated represent the leeches on society. Georgia is a right to work state, with a teachers' association, but with no rights to collectively bargain.

3. The narratives say that the main thing wrong with public education is the existence of all the "bad teachers," who the unions and labor laws protect against being laid-off without cause. Systems, as narrated representatives of "the taxpayer" should be able to hire and fire at will. The narrative trusts the systems to make the right decisions and not to abuse these powers. Until they don't.

4. Also representing "the taxpayer" are the state investigators, who might seem concerned that teachers - as witnesses to a crime - are being intimidated into silence by the APS. But make no mistake, the investigators are not interested in the well-being of these teachers, they are interested in the well-being of high-stakes standardized testing.

5. But don't worry, this news does not violate any tenet of the "bad teacher" narrative, as the state investigators are looking for "bad teachers" to take a plea deal and roll on the "bad APS."

That means representatives of "the taxpayers" are fighting other representatives of "the taxpayers" and using the employment of public sector employees as part of their interagency competition. This serves as proof that, in the new educational-industrial paradigm, the only time it is NOT OK to hold teachers' contracts or get rid of teachers without cause is when the teachers might be witnesses to crimes against testing.

Because you'll notice that the high-level state investigations only started in response to a scandal involving the testing. I cannot, however, recall any serious investigations into why so many public schools in Georgia are unable to get the resources and support necessary to adequately educate their students.

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