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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Race Till They Drop

March 3, 2010 (GBN News): In a last ditch effort to help their states qualify for “Race to the Top” funding, a growing number of school districts around the country have begun summarily firing all of their teachers. The strong public support by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama for the recent Central Falls, Rhode Island school board decision to fire every one of the district’s 100 teachers has apparently spurred a nationwide effort to do likewise in order to secure Federal stimulus funds.

At last count, GBN News estimates that over 253,000 teachers have already been fired in 34 states, and the number continues to grow by the hour. This is causing parents to begin to wonder just who will be teaching their children. But Utah State Senator Chris Buttars says not to worry. The Senator, who recently proposed eliminating the senior year of high school, has a simple solution. “Just use high school seniors to teach the younger kids,” he said to reporters in Salt Lake City. “They’re doing nothing but playing around anyhow.”

Secretary Duncan, for one, thinks the Senator is onto something. “That’s the type of creative thinking we need to turn around schools in this country,” he told GBN News in an exclusive interview. “They’ll be new, fresh faces that won’t be wedded to the status quo. They won’t cost a cent, since it would be like an internship. And they won’t even demand tenure, because it would only keep them from going on to college.”


Leonie Haimson said...

Brilliant as usual Gary; but this is not so far-fetched. Recently Chris Whittle of Edison schools fame (or infamy) wrote a book recommending a new kind of system in which teachers would be paid more but the teaching force radically downsized, by getting older students to do alot of the work, by teaching the younger kids and/or helping out in other ways.

Gary Babad said...

And to think all this time I could have been working for Edison and making a fortune on ideas like this. Oh, the price we pay to be ethical!

josh karan said...

The idea of having older children help teach younger ones is to me a valuable idea, amongst many others for re-structuring schools.

Native speakers of languages other than English can assist native English speakers in learning those languages. Students from blue collar families whose parents have taught them trades can assist those from white collar families, like mine, in which we grew up with 2 right thumbs.

My daughter was in an alternative public elementary school which had bridge classes K-1, 2-3, & 4-5, where students who were more advanced in some areas helped others and vice versa. She learned how to appreciate difference and to share what she knew.

The satire in Gary's piece is that none of this is what will emerge from any anti-union re-structuring that may occur as a result of the combination of political posturing about education, and a fiscal crisis of the states and cities.

Gary Babad said...

Exactly, Josh! They'll take a good idea and distort it beyond recognition. Just like, while it may make sense to use public transit in some cases instead of yellow buses, a couple of years ago they tried giving 5-year-old's metro cards. Of course that was right after Donald Rumsfeld was named head of pupil transportation ...

caroline said...

Edison Schools, desperate to make a buck, has been proposing the use of child labor for years -- both older students teaching younger ones and also child-labor support staff (custodians, secretaries). It's only a little more surreal than the other s#!t they do.

Great, great post!

caroline said...

...It wasn't just a little mentoring and assistance, Josh -- Edison proposed adult-free classrooms.