Published Online: February 19, 2010
Published in Print: February 24, 2010, as Blogs of the Week

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The Kids Are Alright

It’s time to banish the phrase “It’s for the kids” from the edu-discourse. Actually, it’s way past time. “It’s for the kids” is a phrase that encourages obfuscation and posturing. It allows self-interest to hide behind self-righteousness and vapid sentiment. If I’m “in it for the kids,” and you oppose my stance on teacher licensure, desegregation, charter schooling, or merit pay, it can be easy for me to assert that you’re not in it for the kids.

And, honestly, I can’t see why motive much matters. I couldn’t care less whether my doctor loves me; I just care whether she’s any good at her job. If someone is in it for the kids, for the adoring news coverage, or for a buck, all I really care about is whether they deliver. If they do, terrific. If they don’t, their noble motives don’t matter. —Rick Hess



A state senator from Utah is suggesting that his state save money by making the senior year of high school optional. This is the first time I’ve heard of someone proposing to eliminate an entire year of school. Not that the senior year hasn’t been the target of criticism for a long time. You can hardly spit without running into a high school senior who will tell you how it’s a waste of his time. But what happens if you make it optional? One of the many folks weighing in on Utah’s idea at CNN’s blog posits that making senior year optional simply turns the junior year into the senior year. —Catherine Gewertz


On the Margins

The authors of Race to the Top—business leaders, philanthropists, and politicians—have been given virtual carte blanche to advance their agendas. The message is that those who have never taught a day in public school know better than classroom teachers what needs to be done.

No other profession looks so widely outside its own ranks for solutions. Doctors and lawyers, for example, are routinely consulted about plans that affect their work. But teachers are another story. That’s a big mistake, with serious consequences down the road. —Walt Gardner

Vol. 29, Issue 22, Page 12

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