Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who should choose?

This post follows and depends on Thursday's post, so you should probably read it first. I came across an online article in Time about allowing parents to choose teachers for their kids. While I'm all for school choice, I've got to say that this sounds like a bad idea to me. I will admit to wishing my kids didn't have some of the teachers that they did, but was I supposed to research all of their teachers ahead of time? In reality, I think class schedules are done days before the start of the school year, so there's no way that would work. Plus, isn't assigning teachers and making schedules a management task?

Let's look at it a different way - if I've chosen a school, doesn't that mean I've chosen the school's leadership? If a school is riddled with bad teachers, doesn't that say something about that leadership? If there are a few weak teachers, how will they improve without support and a chance to practice? My experience with first year teachers has been, so-so at best, but if no parent chose to let their kid attend a first year teacher's class... It seems like a disaster to me. If you're in a total disaster of a school, cherry-picking the few remaining great teachers in that school is not going to work for long. If you can figure out who those great teachers are, don't you think all the other parents can? And then what - a race to register first and get those teachers?

Beyond the incendiary headline, I guess what Mr. Rotherham is really advocating is for parents to be the squeaky wheel that demands a specific teacher and complains and whines enough to get their way. Obviously, this only works if a very small minority takes his advice. The rest are just bad parents in his book, I guess. My choice is pick a school with excellent leadership and let them do their job. I will support a school that I think needs my support, with energy spent on improving it, rather than whining to benefit of my kid and the detriment of everyone else's. If that makes me bad, so be it.

1 comment:

  1. I just blogged about this same article the other day. As teachers, we sit down and discuss who will be in which class as we best see benefits the student. To have parents choose instead of us I think would be disastrous. In addition, there are so many choices being given to anyone but the teacher these days, which in my experience (this year in particular) leads to a less productive situation. Less choices for teachers often means more workload for teachers, which equals worse test scores, worse overall educational experience, etc. Continuing to provide more and more choices to everyone but the teacher eventually burns us out which in no way benefits the students at all.


I love comments. Ads, on the other hand, will be deleted.