Education Roundup: Pink Slips and Protests
Thousands of teachers face layoffs while a report urges the US to raise teachers' status, plus other national education news.
| Mon Mar. 21, 2011 6:00 AM EDT
- How do top-scoring countries like Korea, Singapore, and Finland treat their teachers compared to the United States? Well, those countries recruit only high-performing college graduates, support them with mentoring and other help in the classroom, and take steps to raise respect for the profession, the New York Times reports. On the other hand, "successful, dedicated teachers in the US work long hours for little pay and, in many cases, insufficient support from their leadership."
- Speaking of respect, mass teacher layoffs have hit California, resulting in 7,300 pink-slips handed out in Los Angeles County alone. Hoping to overturn the state's "last hired, first hired" layoff approach, L.A. middle school students filed a lawsuit last year (since settled) that shields 45 L.A. schools from teacher terminations. The court agreed that high teacher turnover in schools does damage educational quality. Meanwhile, there's a freshly pink-slipped instructor in San Francisco deciding whether to job-hunt or spend his off-hours prepping students for Symphony Hall, MoJo's Kristina Rizga reports.
- Also in a hurry to pink-slip teachers is New York, once it decides whether to fire them based on seniority or a soon-to-be-created teacher evaluation system, NY Daily News reports. But what does an ideal teacher evaluation even look like? Education historian Diane Ravitch schooled Mother Jones on good teacher evals, whether Finland really is a poster nation (yes), and why she changed her mind about charters (hint: they're not all the same).
- Also not all the same are black, male students, who at Price T. Young Middle School in Texas were the only students called to the cafeteria by the principal who then blamed them for the school's low standardized test scores. The principal later apologized, The Root reports—hopefully for depriving the low-performing non-black students of his "pep talk," among other things.