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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Recently, I had an opportunity to appear on NBC Bay Area’s show,  Class Action, a local take on issues of national importance in public education. I’ve appeared on the show several times, and it is an honor to be offered the chance to be a spokesperson for our profession.

Most recently, I was asked to discuss Michelle Rhee and her organization, Students First, which recently graded American schools on their ability to “elevate teaching”, “empower parents”, and “spend wisely and govern well.” If these criteria sound hollow, it’s because they are. You can check out the Students First rubric here.

Want to hear what I had to say about it? Watch the video:

I could spend all day talking about this, but the rest of the bargaining team and I are doing the real work of public education tranformation: empowering teachers to educate, inspire, and change lives. We are doing that in conjunction with our district by sharing our values and our priorities, finding common ground, debating vigorously, advocating passionately, and in the end, coming together to do what’s right for our students, families, employees, and communities.

You see, what Michelle Rhee doesn’t understand is that there is no other way.  We got here together, and we must find our way together. Our sense of shared purpose, community, and perseverance doesn’t show up on her rubric. It may be hard to quantify, but it’s the only thing that counts.

Comment (1)

  1. Nick

    Nice work, Jennifer! You are so well-composed and professional on screen, you represent us very well. I would have loved to hear an analogy to correct common misconceptions: the interviewer suggested that teachers are not currently evaluated, which is completely false. The suggestion about standardized testing is analogous to whether or not her salary as a newscaster should be based on voter turnout in the counties she broadcasts to – presuming that she’s informing the public on civic issues, of course.

    I love the discussion of Rhee’s experience in the classroom – I think it’s difficult for many people to understand teaching when many other jobs have an introductory learning phase of only a year or two. Teaching is so incredibly complex (involving significant and deep understandings of child development, human psychology, pedagogical methodology, brain research and its applications in learning, counseling, interpersonal communication, game theory, stage performance, document production, and publishing) that it routinely takes teachers 5 years or more to “get the hang of” our profession, let alone excel in it. I’m on the early side of that line myself (with more experience than Rhee already) at the moment, and no one should ask me to lead a school district anywhere – I simply don’t have the experience in the profession needed yet.

    Well done!

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