Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back off

I've had just about enough teacher bashing the last few days.

First, from Congress, to Arne Duncan, to media, it's open season on teacher unions. Clay Burrell has pointed out the free swings everyone seems to be taking at teacher unions - as the supposed cause of problems in the US education system.

Then there are those who just blame teachers directly. This one really bothers me because it lays the blame for failure to use new technologies in classrooms at the feet of teachers.

This incredible article in Education Week reports on a study - and leads with this - that teachers are the reason new technologies are not being used in our schools:
Teachers, for the most part, are not taking advantage of the tools that middle and high school students have widely adopted for home and school purposes,....
Wrong. We teachers are, by and large, not allowed to use new technologies in our classrooms. Good grief, people, look at school district policies. They are set by administrators and school board members, not by teachers.

Guess what, they're not set by teacher unions, either.

So I say back off, and get to work fixing what's wrong. Do not start by trying to fire teachers. We are not the problem. That's like trying to pin the world financial crisis on bank tellers.


Clay Burell said...

That's one fine analogy at the end, Mark. A quotable.

Sharon Elin said...

All I can say is Thank You and well said!

vario205 said...

Teachers are to blame because they have the technology provided to them. District standards do not limit the usage of technology and if they paid for the technology in the schools they most likely want it in use. Teachers hold students back from technology if they are provided it and don’t use it.

Mark Ahlness said...

Having the tools and being allowed to use them in 21st century ways - are two different things. District standards do indeed limit the use of technology.

Ann said...

I teach in PA and couldn't agree more. If we could get the technology we would use it!!! There is so much talk about how digital kids learn but not much money put into the districts to help us educate them - the Dept of Ed is too concerned with NCLB testing.

Allen said...

Well not bank tellers, how about middle managers? But your cause is understood. I am working on my Sixth Year in Instructional Technology at UConn and have been using technology since the Apple IIe, but there is so much more. Yes, the standards and requirements are the limiting factor. Many teachers do need to get the exposure however.

There are many using the ICT's just fine out there.