Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, giving his third annual
state of education speech Tuesday, called for a massive investment in boosting
teacher quality as one of several efforts to maintain the state's position as an
international powerhouse of technology and entrepreneurial innovation.
That sounds nice, but I have to ask: What are you going to do, Jack, to help make me a better teacher?
I mean, I know what might help make me a better teacher. And it's probably not the same thing as the two teachers on either side of me need to help make them better teachers. So how are you going to make this happen, Jack?
Now don't go thinking that I'm only going off on Jack because he's a Democrat. Far from it--he supports the High School Exit Exam, for example, and is working with Governor Schwarzenegger to bring California's standards and accountability program more in line with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. These are good, and I'm glad he has the personal fortitude and integrity to hold these beliefs when it would be so easy, especially for a Democrat here in California, to buckle.
No, I'm only addressing the comments about improving teacher quality. How are you going to make me a better teacher, Jack?
I'm sure that any such proposal will be designed either to help the rookies, which won't help me, or will be some one-over-the-world requirement (like CLAD) that probably won't impact my teaching in the least. Take some free advice, Jack, and listen to Darren:
1. Find ways to influence the home as well as the school
2. Sell accountability (tests aren't there to improve education, they evaluate education). Sell it to the public and the unions will have to go along with it.
3. When you hear about stupid things, try to stop them
4. Require the standards
5. Enforce the standards
6. Value the standards
7. Sound like a Republican here; most parents are traditionalists when it comes to their kids' education
Few of those will affect me directly, but you'd go a good way towards moving the juggernaut in the right direction.
See? Not so hard. Keep up the good work.