3 thoughts on “ALEC and Corporate Reformers Make It Hard for Teachers to Cement Gains from Last Year’s Strikes

  1. If C.S. Lewis were writing The Screwtape Letters today, I am certain he would have his character, Screwtape, advise his mentoree and nephew, Wormwood, to learn from ALEC and how to do evil throughout the country. Oh, yes, ALEC would receive high praise from Screwtape and perhaps even from His Father Down Under! I’m just sayin’.

  2. It is inevitable that policy makers, politicians, and activists focus on funding because it is measurable and because of the inevitable linkage with the ingrained American notion that you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, none of these conversations deal with this unfortunate reality that there is no evidence of a direct correlation between funding and student achievement. There are studies correlating things like poverty levels with student achievement, but there is also research that years ago found a CAUSATIVE relationship between TESA and student achievement. Policy makers do need to be conscious of funding: the lights need to stay on, instructional resources are important, and we need to be able to recruit and retain teachers; HOWEVER, they need to be equally concerned (in my mind, MORE concerned) about things like teacher expectations, research-based instructional practices, and human motivational theory (e.g. Self-Determination Theory) about all of which my non-scientific sample of one is convinced American teachers are significantly ignorant, especially in schools that teach our neediest students. Where teachers are not up to speed on such things, it does not matter how much you pay them, students will not learn at the level of which they are capable. Anyone doubting this can check out the failure of the Kansas City School District from 1985 to 1997 (https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/americas-most-costly-educational-failure). Also note that the Cato Inst. summary finds fault with how the money was spent and does not identify the fact that there were NO INITIATIVES TO TRAIN TEACHERS REGARDING TEACHER EXPECTATIONS, RESEARCH-BASED INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES, OR HUMAN MOTIVATIONAL THEORY. If policy makers and politicians understood the latter, they would understand how money is a demotivator and would look into those things that would truly motivate our colleagues in the classroom to improve their practices.

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