Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We need a good competing metaphor...

I'm curious to know what you all think about the two premises in this article from the New York Times: first, that "Race to the Top" is a good model of school reform, and second, that the biggest roadblock to reform is teachers' unions.

Personally, I (Kim) get the heebie-jeebies from the whole competition-is-the-way-to-improve-everything implications of something like "Race to the Top." That name invariably makes me picture a big pile of schoolkids and teachers, all climbing over and smushing each other as they race to be the ones at the top of the pile. And it seems that no one is longer questioning the validity of standardized tests as a measure--the operating assumption of all education reporting lately seems to be that the only way we can know how students are "really doing" is through standardized tests.

What's the alternative for teachers to push? A good counter-metaphor to "race to the top" would sure help in making our case. "Education for all--not just those at the top of the pile"? How about "students don't come in standard sizes"? Thoughts?