"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 11, 2011

Classroom Experience Doesn't Count?

Stephen Krashen sent this to the NY Daily News yesterday, April 9, 2011.
Andrew Wolf points out that "Dennis Walcott is more of the same: Bloomberg's new chancellor once again lacks classroom experience," (April 8).

Here is another obvious case: US Education Secretary Arne Duncan has never taught and has no actual credentials in education. He has no background in education other than administration.

His uniformed view that increased testing is the answer to improving schools demonstrates that, like Dennis Walcott, he "lacks the instructional experience to actually fix what is going wrong in our classrooms."

Stephen Krashen
I've said this before.
[Duncan] realizes that if masters degrees in education meant something then his own qualifications would be suspect. He has no educational training. He has never taught in a public school...has never worked in a public school...has never even attended a public school. It's in his best interest to imply that teachers with masters degrees don't know any more than he does with his bachelors degree in Sociology.
Who else has much to say about education...and has no credentials?

  • Eli Broad - "education reformer" Graduated in 1954 from Michigan State University in Accounting.
  • Bill Gates - "education reformer" and expert because of his money (would anyone listen to him if he wasn't rich?). He went to Harvard, but dropped out to become a billionaire.
  • Michael Bloomberg - current Mayor of NYC. Attended Johns Hopkins University and received a BS in Electrical Engineering 1964. Attended Harvard Business School and received an MBA.
  • Barak Obama - current president of the USA. Attended Occidental College, transferred to Columbia University and got a BA in Political Science in 1983. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law school in 1991.

Would Broad let a nurse do his taxes rather than a CPA? Would Gates turn over Software Troubleshooting at Microsoft to a Pharmacist? Would Bloomberg assign an Art Historian as the Chief of Police?

Let's look at President Obama's choices for his Cabinet.

Q: Would President Obama nominate a doctor for attorney general?
A: No, the attorney general is an attorney, Eric Holder (Columbia Law School, J.D).

Q: Would Obama nominate an attorney as surgeon general?
A: No, the Surgeon General is Regina Benjamin, a physician (University of Alabama, Birmingham, MD).

Similarly, the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, is a Farmer.
The Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, is a Banker.
The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was an Intelligence Officer.
The Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, is a Nobel Prize winning Physicist.

On the other hand, Education Secretary Duncan is not the only misfit. Other members of the Cabinet have backgrounds which don't prepare them for their jobs. We call this political cronyism.

I don't know if it will work for the Department of Transportation for example. Ray LaHood is a former congressman from Illinois who sat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. So we can see that he has some relevant experience from his time in the House of Representatives. However, his professional background is not in Transportation...does Mr. LaHood know what he's doing at the DOT?

Wait...according to his biography at the Department of Transportation web site, Ray LaHood
...was a junior high school teacher, having received his degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He was also director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau...
Maybe there's someone qualified to be Secretary of Education in the Cabinet after all.

When people need legal help they hire attorneys. When people are ill they go to physicians.

Education needs educators.

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UPDATE:

On April 9, I stated that the rich aren't paying their fair share of taxes...and if they did, we could solve most of the budget problems in the country and around the states. Here's some more information on that issue.

The rich are paying less and less of their fair share of taxes...

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