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August 04, 2009


Catherine Johnson

oh my gosh, this is hilarious!

tour de force

Bob Ballentine

Re: "...hire teachers with Masters degrees in the discipline they are to teach and then coach them on being effective teachers." I agree; there's only one barrier: the NEA, its affiliates, and the bureaucrates at the various state Departments of Education. No problem there...

As an English Department Chair, I have had, for many years, the honor of approving and supervising student teachers from the local colleges...Education majors with a "minor" in English. They are strong on "social justice" but don't know grammar or MLA research conventions. They haven't read Moby Dick, and are insufferably weak on Shakespeare. They are deer in the headlights if you mention Plato. Their degrees (B.S.) are aptly named. Give me a true English major, with real courses in English, and I'll teach him how to teach in eight weeks.


Good intentions only get one so far. I do sincerely doubt anyone in the education arena is out to make our schools worse. There are certainly those with vested interests such as many on the writing team for the national so-called math curriculum, but one can easily dismiss financial conflicts with the Gates Foundation.

However, the Gates Foundation, not only well endowed financially, is also academically advantaged and has a track record of putting its money where its mouth is. Take malaria. This foundation has done more than any government alone in decreasing this serious killer.

However, the Gates Foundation has done nothing ,enless to make the situation worse, with regard to education. Perhaps it is taking the initial step forward to state that the educational path we are on is not in the best interest of our children. If the Gates Foundation had not taken the steps it did with malaria, we might not be applauding the Foundation's efforts. So, too, must this powerful Foundation step to the plate and make the necessary effort to develop an internationally competitive curriculum, incentivize teachers and develop better measures of success. Anything less is just talk.


Susan Stack

I have taught in the inner city for 20 years. I have seen and heard just about every idea for "fixing" what ails our urban schools. I truly believe that my idea, "English Matters: Dot", would be a crucial step in that direction. This idea is so simple, yet would require many changes in educating our teachers to be and in those already teaching, regardless of content.

I think it's time to take a simple step in the right direction. Let us not make change so difficult, let's do it right!


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