Monday, October 25, 2010

A Caste System for Students and Teachers

I got a lot of interesting comments both on this blog and on Reddit concerning my post about my lousy Teacher Data Report, or TDR (I received many condescending comments, including some from people who may have actually used utensils before, about how I should have explained all the acronyms in my post, despite the fact that the majority of my regular readers are NY [New York] teachers who already know them. I stand corrected.) For those who don't know, TDRs are calculated using VAD (Value-Added Data) which most researchers have concluded is BS (Bull Shit).

One theme that emerged throughout the comments is that good teachers should be assigned to the good students, and bad teachers (like me, judging from my TDR) should be assigned the bad students. For too long, say these commenters, we, as a nation, have neglected the top echelon of students and concentrated most of our scant resources on the under-performing ones. It's high time, they say, that we worked on developing our brightest minds, so that the USA (United States of America) can once again lead the world in rocket science, computer science, and other technologies, and the Chinese, who are, after all, a bunch of Commies, can go back to manufacturing Kewpie dolls. I have to say, these commenters present a compelling argument.

The statistics in movies like Waiting for "Superman" support their position. Of the 793 countries that outperform the US (United States) in math and, surprisingly, even English, most of them tend to fudge their statistics. They do this by chucking bad students out of school at a young age so they can go to work in coal mines and have mistresses, like the guys in Chile. Their top students get blanketed with praise and attention, while the ones who don't do their homework get blanketed in anthracite ash. What could be fairer?

I'm proposing that Obama's DoE (Department of Education) mandate a similar caste system for all school systems across the nation, including the NYC (New York City) DoE (Department of Education, no relation). We need to give our top students only the very best teachers, who can catapult them (the students), figuratively we hope, into the educational stratosphere with countries like Finland, which has produced almost two Nobel Prize winners this century, compared with the dismal American education system that has produced just seventy-three.

Of course, some will say this system is unfair, as it will most likely result in a disproportionate number of minority students getting the worst teachers. To which I can only respond--so what? Chile isn't the only country that has coal mines, you know. These kids may end up with lung cancer, but at least a mistress will be awaiting them as they emerge from their collapsed mines.

Besides, it's time we stopped coddling children just because they come from extreme poverty, abusive households, or disinterested parents. With all that stacked against them, having a crummy teacher isn't going to make much difference, is it? And speaking of crummy teachers, why allow them to ruin the minds of our best and brightest when there are future miners to be educated?

As for the teachers with the lowest TDR scores, I think I have an equally satisfying solution. They claim to want to help children, so I say, let them. They can be the first into the coal mine to check for CO (carbon monoxide).

Think of all the money we'll save on canaries.


1 comment:

Michael Dunn said...

We've always had a caste system. In San Francisco, all the richest kids go to private schools or Lowell. The schools west of Twin Peaks have a much higher percentage of middle class kids; those east of Twin Peaks are the "ghetto" schools. Similar dynamics play out across the country. Middle class schools are much more effective fundraisers, too, bringing in lots of donations from parents and alumni.