The Spellings Report: She Does Talk To Real Teachers!
Yes Virginia... Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings does actually talk to real classroom teachers, at least once in a while. But it remains unknown if the Secretary has ever actually had a practicing classroom teacher over for dinner...
Speaking at the Teacher-to-Teacher Summer Workshop in Bethesda, Maryland, Washington's chief-educrat-in-charge crowed about the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act and urged extending its provisions to America's public high schools as well. There were some remarks about the need to pay more to those teachers who accept teaching assignments in challenging schools (such as those in the inner city). And Spellings didn't forget to echo President Bush's sentiments that teaching is a "Calling."
Interestingly, the secretary is getting a lot of mileage out of this excerpt that she had recycled from an earlier speech:
Around the time I was confirmed by the Senate in January, my youngest daughter - typically an A or B student - brought home a D in science. What did I do? I went up to her school and met with her teachers to see what was going on.The Secretary told the same story, using nearly the exact same words, in a speech that she had given at a meeting of the provocatively-named Hispanic advocacy group, La Raza (The Race) a few weeks ago.
Afterward, my daughter said, "I hated that you were in my school." I told her, "You get your grades up, and I'll get out of your school (at least temporarily)." And guess what? She got an A in science during the next grading period.
I applaud Spellings' personal example of how she intervened to help remedy her daughter's academic deficiency, but the Secretary doesn't quite seem to be willing to articulate one of the key components of meaningful academic reform: the need for increased parental and student accountability as well as that of educators.
In all of the secretary's speeches, she continuously urges educators to work harder while neglecting to mention anything at all about the need for students and parents to also work diligently toward achieving academic success.
Educators alone can't do all the heavy lifting when it comes to positive long-term educational reform. It takes teamwork involving educators, parents, students and the community in order to score academic touchdowns. It's high time that the Educrats who sit in their plush Washington offices and travel about to far-off exotic locations on the taxpayer's dime in order to hobnob with royalty realized that.
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