Reported from Mercedes Schneider's blog. For the entire article or more from Dr. Schneider, go here:
Decades ago, my mother had to have surgery for varicose veins. Though some people are prone to such maladies, I am sure that her giving birth to six children complicated the issue. What I learned years ago about varicose veins is that the blood flows backwards and produces the bulging, dark masses that I had become accustomed to seeing on the backs of my mother's legs.
I think it is easy to conceive that blood flowing backwards in the human body could cause problems. The same holds true when the lifeblood of an institution such as public education is forced into corporate-induced counterflow.
Aside from the corporations themselves, many groups are currently contributing to the corporate-induced counterflow. One such group is the National Council on Teacher Quality.
I would like to perform a little surgery of my own in this blog. A dissection of sorts.
Don't worry. I'm a doctor.
Having reviewed the members of the advisory board of the National Council on Teacher Quality, I will now review NCTQ in general and grade its performance.
Let us first consider NCTQ's background and position.
NCTQ Background and Position
NCTQ was founded in 2000 by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation as "a new entity to promote alternative certification and to break the power of the hated ed schools." As former Fordham board member Diane Ravitch notes,
We thought they (traditional teacher training programs) were too touchy-feely, too concerned about self-esteem and social justice and not concerned enough with basic skills and academics. In 1997, we had commissioned a Public Agenda study called “Different Drummers”; this study chided professors of education because they didn’t care much about discipline and safety and were more concerned with how children learn rather than what they learned.
Thus, NCTQ was created in opposition to traditional teacher training. Its website byline notes that NCTQ "is committed to restructuring the teaching profession."
NCTQ is undeniably biased in favor of corporate reform. Consider their slant on the ruling that Louisiana's Act 1 is unconstitutional:
A headline a couple days ago certainly caught our attention: Louisiana teacher tenure changes ruled unconstitutional. This is big!
Well, turns out, the only big thing about this is apparently the scope of the bill in question. Jindal's ed reform legislation from last year was thrown out Monday for containing "too many items." No judgment was made on any of the actual contents of the bill. [Judging contents was not the suit.]
This technicality refers to the 'one object provision,' in place in most states to protect against legislative logrolling and free-riding. To our knowledge, this procedural card has not been pulled before on any other states' ed reform bills, many which are quite comprehensive in nature. [Perhaps other states will follow Louisiana's lead.]
Jindal's team [Go team??] is appealing the decision. Even if the appeal is lost and the bill ultimately has to be subdivided and reintroduced, it's unlikely any of the reforms will be squashed. The tenure and compensation bill passed 64-40 in the House last March and 23-16 in the Senate last April. The support margin here is large and legislator turnover has been small, which frankly, makes this look like a stall tactic. [This legislature is not as pro-Jindal as it was last year based upon Jindal's disregard for the budget.] [Emphasis and commentary added.]
Everything about the tone of the above "report" is pro-reform. And the writer seems certain that she knows Louisiana, and Louisiana law, and Louisiana legislative voting stability enough to call a future outcome.