What It Means to 'Believe in Teachers'
Last month, in his much-lauded speech to the Republican National Convention , New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made "we believe in teachers" one of his central themes. This prompts the questions: What does it mean to believe in teachers? And, do we?
In the frenetic hunt for ways to fix K-12 public schools, the solution that policymakers and many other education leaders currently embrace is to tell teachers what to do and how to do it.
Those in power, irrespective of their political affiliations, are standardizing curricula, tightening licensure requirements, offering merit pay, and tying teacher evaluations to student performance. Governors across the nation, and most recently Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic mayor of Chicago and President Barack Obama's former chief of staff, are taking aim at the rules established by teachers' unions—policies governing teachers' tenure, pay, role differentiation (what they will and will not...
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