George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers (Newsweek)

Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers (Newsweek)

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Whoa there. Has anyone checked out this article recently on Newsweek? It's worth a read: What's even more worth reading is educator, Larry Ferlazzo's blog post in response to this article. In Larry's words: "These kinds of magazine covers and articles might help sell copies and contribute to feelings that complex problems have simple solutions, but they certainly don’t contribute anything of value to public discourse that could lead to positive change." Kudos to Larry for such a great response. What are all of your reactions/thoughts to all of this?

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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's picture
Bonnie Bracey Sutton
Teacher Agent of Change, Power of US Foundation

Many of us who have been long in teaching have been through the maze of educational change. Change comes for different reasons, the school board, the principal as leader, the philosophy of the neighborhood, and the current political situation.. the world of education has many
variables many that are unseen. Diane Ravitz did a great job of deconstructing the edutalk.
Often, as someone said before, the magazines want to sell copies, not tell the truth.

The stories in Washington DC are amazing. The way in which teachers were treated was as if they were criminals and that the problems of society did not exist. The problems of the society include drugs, poverty, the effects of segregation and parents who had little or no education and who were therefore not able to share much knowledge with students.

Books, and educational materials were often not a part of the poor family homes , in places in Washington where I taught. I taught across the street from a large welfare building. Children were often hungry, and sometimes parents went missing. The library in the neighborhood did ot let the kids take the books home, and there were few resources in the school. I had taught in overseas schools that had a lot more resources.

But DC was really different. Depending on the political situation, funding could be good or bad. The political parties played tennis with the school as a ball, bouncing ideas and policies back and forth.

No one ever tells the story as it is.

Sherrie Kephart's picture
Sherrie Kephart
8-12 Computer/Art/Journalism teacher from the deep east Texas Piney Woods

I came to education from industry because I thought I could make a difference. I have discovered that you can only do what your individual administration will allow you to do. Larger schools often have the resources to let teachers build programs which challenge and inspire students. Smaller schools are limited by funding and some are intimidated by teachers who will write grants to get funding to be able to do more for their students. Administration can support what you are trying to do, or be insulted by the fact you are trying to do it. There are times when you are damned if you do anything that is not "their" idea. Politics seem to be everywhere, and often interfere with what you can do. Social issues often interfere with you students as well. The missing parent thing is real, and kids are trying to raise themselves. Their education is suffering. Educators are also suffering for what we are trying to deal with.

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