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Bus Shelters and Meritocracy

I may only get downtown twice a year but where the hell did the bus shelters go.  Good thing my bus came with no wait time because the new shelters are smaller than an outhouse. The message was heard loud and clear, do not visit downtown Madison.

Every now and then liberals and Neo Crybabies need to whine about how merit pay will save our fragile education system. I honestly have to wonder how many of these meritocrats have been inside a classroom. Most models of educational reform floating around today are based on collaboration at both the classroom and school level.

It seems to me these meritocrats think at 8:00 each morning the teacher bolts the door with children inside and does not unbolt it until 4:00. This certainly is contrary to models of best practice. I can’t think of an educational reform – except maybe for DI (Direct Instruction) – that is based on the person solo model.

For those who have never been in a contemporary school it is rather socialistic in nature. Using a vulgar capitalistic method to reform makes as much sense as chasing flies away with shit on a stick.

In the beginning of the school year you are likely to see ESL, Title, and Reading Recovery staff all chipping in to assess children in reading. You are also likely to see Title staff in your room delivering instruction along with the classroom teacher. It is also highly likely that in order to meet the academic needs of other students, a teacher will send students to other classrooms, and other students will come to yours.

This sort of collaboration is not limited to reading, but also occurs in math, science and social studies. It is that old Vygotskian proverb that the interaction or process of H20 can not be explained by isolating the individual elements. Isolating a classroom teacher from their larger ensemble or school culture is akin to examining a fish out of water. Meritocracy will discourage all the behaviors that educational school reform has been based on for the last ten years. Teachers will become resistant to collaboration with other teachers and staff which has been so essential to student progress.

The biggest irony, in the illogical world of meritocracy, is it can’t solve the problem it claims to. One of the most popular rallying cries is merit pay in minority, working class schools. If you are a teacher receiving merit pay which school do you choose, a middle class school, or a working class one? If teachers are nice little capitalists that the meritocracy model would have us believe, is there really a choice.


2 responses to “Bus Shelters and Meritocracy

  1. Dickey47

    How about extra pay in title I or poorer schools?

  2. I think measures like paying lump sums of teacher’s loan would be much more worthy. Until the so called student loan reforms under Clinton such programs were common.

    Getting more money from working in a Title school seems like a good idea. The big question is from where. Personally, I have no problem with a Title school with teachers in short supply paying more money as an incentive.

    I do think motivators for teachers go much deeper than a pocket book. A strong PTA is certainly more worthwhile than a few thousand dollars.

    Most teachers leave schools because of the principal. A principal moving to a low income school could bring a following or create an exodus.

    Here’s my point, if we had school A with a high working class population, there are many reforms I would put before financial incentives.

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