To the Editor:
Regarding the article “New Breed of Advocacy Groups Shakes Up Education Field” (May 16,2012), many of these new advocacy groups do not stand for children—they stand against teachers and disadvantaged children. Their tactic of using tests to hold teachers in line also has the effect of diminishing the education of minority students because teaching to pass a test (to keep their jobs) is more like piecework in a factory, and doesn’t necessarily require inquisitiveness, creativity, thinking, ethics, values, and all the other factors that make an educated child and a real teacher.
In all the countries that are successful in education, teachers are respected, and the culture that makes them effective is one where students believe that if they fail, it is not because they had bad teachers but because they have to work harder. In our country, the new advocacy groups have managed to make people believe that teachers are the reason children don’t succeed. If a child gets out of his seat and refuses to go back, the teacher has failed. If the student understands the work but does not study, the teacher has failed.
These new education advocacy groups want to make education into a business; profit is the prime motive, and just like in the marketplace, they want education to compete. The truth is these new advocacy groups are not interested in universal education.
A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2012 edition of Education Week as Students Are Responsible For Their Own Learning