I have almost no details, just that I ran across two of our best math teachers late yesterday frantically waving a slick folder from some outfit called “American Schools” (or something…all I know is the logo was quite American, quite Red, White & Blue, and quite corporate), and saying something about district mandated scripted math instruction.
I didn’t learn much detail in the ten seconds I heard the two teachers wailing about this development, but I’m pretty sure I did learn this: good teaching is being killed because of bad teaching.
Just as No Child Left Behind has disregarded high-achieving students in order to focus all energy and funding on the academically weak, scripted teaching is all about discouraging the creative work of good teachers while trying to crudely prop up the bad. It is like performing brain surgery with a rusty shovel. It is exactly like death.
There are a ton of scary phrases and acronyms in public school education, but I can think of none that compare with the death knell finality of “scripted teaching”. You might as well just drop a one-page memo in every teacher’s mailbox that reads in 92 pt. Comic Sans:
GOOD TEACHERS! THANKS FOR YOUR YEARS OF SERVICE, NOW PLEASE FIND ANOTHER LINE OF WORK
Done the “American Schools” way, of course, scripted teaching also means the privatization of K-12 public schools by Blackwater-type firms whose sole purpose is to maximize profits while meeting meaningless academic criteria developed by their lobbyist and paid-off legislators. It means vouchers without the vouchers, cookie-cutter intellectual banality and a firm kick in the butt out the door to any student/parent who values accelerated learning.
Put more simply, it’s an intellectual death sentence. I was in the hall outside my classroom late yesterday hearing that something had died. That something almost already dead had finally been killed.
As I learn more about the cause of death and the results of the autopsy, I’ll pass them on. Meanwhile, Happy Friday everyone!
P.S.: I realize (and have heard from several folks) that this “year in the life of a teacher” theme has become quite morose over the last few weeks. Well, maybe I’m a depressive personality, but honestly I think we’ve caught my school, school district, profession, country, world in a particularly downer period here. Maybe things will pick up, but for now it’s nothing but solid bleak stretching out well past the horizon. Sorry.