Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Your Call 031709 Who is Arne Duncan?

How will President Obama change American education policy? On the next Your Call we'll continue our series, the Transition in Realtime, and look at the state of the Department of Education as Margaret Spellings hands over the reins to incoming Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. For the last seven years, Duncan was the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools where he was known as a supporter of charter schools and higher pay for teachers who work in urban schools or who teach math and science. But Chicago schools have ranked very low among urban school districts and critics of No Child Left Behind have severe doubts about Duncan. Will Obama and Duncan give us the school reform we need? It's Your Call with Rose Aguilar and you.

Pauline Lipman in Chicago
Professor of policy studies at the College of Education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her books include High Stakes Education: Inequality, Globalization, and Urban School Reform. She is the founder of Chicago's Teachers for Social Justice.

Andy Rotherham in Washington
Founder of Education Sector, a left-leaning but independent national education policy think tank. Rotherham served as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy (Education) during the Clinton administration, launched the Progressive Policy Institute's 21st Century Schools Project and writes the widely read blog Eduwonk.com.

Alyson Klein in Maryland
Staff writer for Education Week, where she co-authors the Politics K-12 blog and covers Congress & the Dept. of Ed. She covered the presidential election for Ed Week and has interviewed new secretary Duncan.

Click to Listen: Who is Arne Duncan?

1 comment:

poe asher said...

Who deserves "merit" pay is fraught with problems. I have known teachers who cheated on students' achievement tests even with no reward involved! How rampant would it become if money enters the picture?

With the emphasis on testing, as a science teacher I had classes of 36+ while math and language arts teachers had a maximum of 20. With program issues at my school, that left some math teachers with class sizes of less than 20. I had 170 students to deal with, grade, check work while they had 60. They were not paid less than I.

As a science teacher and woodshop teacher I also taught skills that contribute to success in the tested areas but would not be eligible for "merit" pay. I am a teacher coach at the Exploratorium and as such stress critical thinking, hands on experiences, working in groups, questioning, etc. All of this requires a great deal of time, organization and preparation as well as cost (not reimbursed) to provide these kinds of experiences for students. Often their experiences with activities don't relate to immediate testable skills until they encounter the material again, often in high school or college. I have had many students go on to areas of science careers because of the "fun" they had in their middle school science class.

Who would determine the worthy teachers if test scores were one factor among others? Principals? OH, PLEASE!