A Kerfuffle or a Brouhaha?

Don’t matter what you call it. Ricochetti are a passionate bunch, and sometimes the fighting spirit takes over. Our first guests are Andrew Gutmann (hosts of the essential Take Back Our Schools podcast) and Ricochet member Michele Kerr who’s had some strong criticisms of the fellas’ takes on public education over the years. For those of you who like a little scrappiness on the flagship podcast: this one’s for you!

Next we bring on our favorite doctor (the kind that doesn’t ask if the bruises are Covid related), Jay Bhattacharya! He explains how he became known as a fringey pseudoscientific quack and the ins and outs of Covid’s last gasp.

With Peter out, James and Rob steer the ship through a Musk-y hostile takeover, NYC’s newest madman and the latest in Ukraine. And mark your calendars so you can join Rob for the America’s Future pub crawl on May 14th! Members only: so sign up today!

Music from this week’s podcast: Adult Education by Hall and Oates

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  1. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I don’t really have a head for this topic, but I heard somebody saying that it’s ghost gun thing is just a new angle on producing de facto registries. One of the things you need to understand when studying gun policy is, the left is always trying to create de facto gun registries. The Democrats and the stupid Republicans that vote for this stuff don’t understand any of the dynamics, so they can’t defend it under inquiry.

    • #31
  2. Arnold Falk Member
    Arnold Falk
    @acfalk

    Michele Kerr:  Rarely have I heard anyone in greater denial about the problem with US schools.  And she claims to be a Republican in a California independent school district?  It is becoming clearer by the day why not only California is in trouble, but the entire public school system of the USA.

    • #32
  3. psmith Coolidge
    psmith
    @psmith

    Rob, I wish you would read the chapter “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood “ in Steven Covey’s 1989 classic Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. You’re a brilliant, witty guy, but you interrupted Michele so much that it was almost impossible to evaluate what she was saying. It would have been a much better podcast if you had let her finish trying to make her points.

    • #33
  4. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    and that a place must be made for every child in the district.

    Interesting. You want to mandate that private businesses create enough facilities for all potential customers? How does that work?

    We don’t “mandate” that “private business create enough facilities” for most things (groceries, gasoline, clothing, etc) yet somehow it keeps happening.  Weird.  

    • #34
  5. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):
    and that a place must be made for every child in the district.

    Interesting. You want to mandate that private businesses create enough facilities for all potential customers? How does that work?

    We don’t “mandate” that “private business create enough facilities” for most things (groceries, gasoline, clothing, etc) yet somehow it keeps happening. Weird.

    The Government Education Edifice adds zero value in aggregate. If you simply cut a check to the parents, the aggregate value would go straight up. Minnesota is a disaster area for education equity or whatever they call it. Decades. They never move off the ball.

    • #35
  6. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Nice try, guys, but I’m afraid Michelle has the “you aren’t in education so you have no clue” mentality. Pay no attention to all the school boards that parents have flipped or the parent groups that have sprung up in the last 2+ years to try and change what is going on in their schools. I’m sure with the number of school districts in the country, you can get that a majority do like their schools. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues. COVID forced parents to see what was going on. If they’d have been paying attention all along, I don’t think we’d be this far down the path. But, what do I know. I’m not a teacher and don’t even have kids, so I shouldn’t even weigh in, or so I’ve been told. 

    @andrewgutmann, I love your podcast. Maybe you should have Michelle on and she can finally answer Rob’s question. 

    • #36
  7. FredGoodhue Coolidge
    FredGoodhue
    @FredGoodhue

    I think that Rob Long got to the nub of the problem with the guest, and with school systems in general.  There are always excuses why schools are not performing.  And school boards/teachers will not discuss ways to improve education.  Some of the excuses are valid points, such as the increasing costs of special education and teaching non English speakers.  But these valid points do not preclude effective school reforms.

    Yes, masks have become a political totem.  Wearing a piece of cloth shows your political party, and gives the wearer a reason to look down on anyone not in the party.

    The Shanghai lockdown reminds me of the Great Leap Forward.  In both cases, the dictator decides what to do, and cannot be shaken from the directive regardless of the consequences. 

    • #37
  8. Michele Coolidge
    Michele
    @Michele

    psmith (View Comment):

    t you interrupted Michele so much that it was almost impossible to evaluate what she was saying. It would have been a much better podcast if you had let her finish trying to make her points.

    After the conversation I was likewise worried that I hadn’t gotten my essential ideas across, but when I listened to it I was reassured. Rob just didn’t like the ideas!

    Goal 1: Communicate that schools are not broken and utter failures and that presenting them as such as rationale to whatever private enterprise solution they want (solutions that aren’t popular) is a strategic mistake. I was able to say this several times so mission accomplished. You can’t have an agreement on how to fix a house if one person thinks it’s a smoking ashheap of destruction burned down beyond all recognition when in fact there’s a broken staircase.

    Goal 2: Do not get dragged down the rabbit hole of “what would you do to fix schools” beyond specifically saying I support mandated reporting for kids identifying as transgender (naturally, my fluency stopped right there and I couldn’t think of the words!) and most Republican fixes to those issues. This specifically irritated Rob and he said so so many times that James cut him off saying “don’t say that again”.

    Goald 3: Continually push back on all their false claims. This drove both Andrew and Rob crazy, but it is manifestly untrue that “everyone” thinks schools are  “failing”.  It’s demonstrably true that scores are higher now than back in the fabu days of the 60s. It’s true that  70% or more of parents are satisfied with their kids’ school performance during the pandemic.  It’s *not* true that all parents wanted schools open during the pandemic. And so on.

     

    So if that’s what you got from my talk, that’s what I wanted to say! 

    • #38
  9. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Blondie (View Comment):
    If they’d have been paying attention all along, I don’t think we’d be this far down the path.

    When my kids started school, even at a private Christian school, I referred to that block of time as the “black box”. That window of time is intensely impenetrable. Teachers would try to keep parents informed, but there is only so far you can go to find out what is going on. Only volunteering inside the school could you really know what is going on.

    The online education situation during Covid opened the black box and parents could finally see what was going on.

    • #39
  10. Michele Coolidge
    Michele
    @Michele

    A couple things I didn’t get to say in the podcast. First, Rob kept comparing teachers to pilots. But crashing a plane or endangering passengers with failure is *not* the same as being a mediocre teacher. Having sex with students, doing drugs with students, trashtalking your students on social media, abusing students physically or emotionally, violating community standards with a lesson: *these* are the equivalent of crashing a plane and, as I said, they get fired as quickly as bad pilots.

    But just not being a very *good* pilot–say, being late all the time, not following procedures, being drunk on the job–well, pilots have union protections too. And it’s pretty hard to fire a mediocre pilot, for the same reasons it’s hard to fire a mediocre teacher.

    To answer @db25db’s question, it’s hard to fire a mediocre teacher because it’s very difficult to document what makes the teacher bad. One of the things teachers value most about the job is the stability. Giving principals the ability to fire a teacher easily would change that stability and you’d have even more of a teacher shortage than you already do. Charters have even worse teacher shortages than public schools–studies show that charters have 15-40% more attrition. In fact, teacher shortages in charters are so bad that it’s extremely unlikely charter principals fire mediocre teachers because they can’t afford to!  Studies also show that when states changed laws to mandate that teachers be fired for low student performance, principals “juked the stats” to avoid firing teachers. 

    Another thing I wanted to bring up was their use of world test scores and our performance.  The biggest challenge facing American education is the achievement gap between races. Most other countries don’ have that issue. For example, back in the early oughts, everyone celebrated Finland for its great educational achievement. But Finland schools have achievement gaps between natives and immigrants that America would be beaten up over. And indeed, after 2006, when Finland topped the rankings, the immigrants test score began showing up in their PISA scores and they’ve dropped considerably. There are many studies disaggregating US scores by race, and these studies show that each American racial category tops or nearly tops a homogenous country of that race. Our black students outperform black countries (considerably), our Hispanic students top all South American countries, our white and Asian students top white and Asian countries. We haven’t fixed the achievement gap. But neither has any other country. 

    Finally, Rob kept bringing up “private enterprise”. Well, private enterprise won’t fix school unless they’re allowed to reject students and parents are allowed to reject school entirely (ie, no home school). That won’t happen. It’s no panacea.

     

     

     

    • #40
  11. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Someday, this conversion should be repeated with people listening to each other. 

    I’ll share a story about immigrants.   A middle school math teacher recently told about one of the students who is a new immigrant.  This child just arrived from the Middle East and spoke zero words of English.  That stuff was uncommon 50 years ago, but is commonplace today. 

    • #41
  12. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Michele (View Comment):

    After the conversation I was likewise worried that I hadn’t gotten my essential ideas across, but when I listened to it I was reassured. Rob just didn’t like the ideas!

    Goal 1: Communicate that schools are not broken and utter failures and that presenting them as such as rationale to whatever private enterprise solution they want (solutions that aren’t popular) is a strategic mistake. I was able to say this several times so mission accomplished. You can’t have an agreement on how to fix a house if one person thinks it’s a smoking ashheap of destruction burned down beyond all recognition when in fact there’s a broken staircase.

    Goal 2: Do not get dragged down the rabbit hole of “what would you do to fix schools” beyond specifically saying I support mandated reporting for kids identifying as transgender (naturally, my fluency stopped right there and I couldn’t think of the words!) and most Republican fixes to those issues. This specifically irritated Rob and he said so so many times that James cut him off saying “don’t say that again”.

    Goald 3: Continually push back on all their false claims. This drove both Andrew and Rob crazy, but it is manifestly untrue that “everyone” thinks schools are “failing”. It’s demonstrably true that scores are higher now than back in the fabu days of the 60s. It’s true that 70% or more of parents are satisfied with their kids’ school performance during the pandemic. It’s *not* true that all parents wanted schools open during the pandemic. And so on.

     

    So if that’s what you got from my talk, that’s what I wanted to say!

    Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for a response, so please forgive any missed steps of argument. For level-setting purposes, I taught high school math in a middle class suburban school district for 8 years before going to law school. We had decent student achievement in general (including some very high achievers), but I also saw plenty of problems in achievement, the blame for which could be placed on, variously, students, teachers, parents, “the system”, etc. However, two things I became convinced of during that time are (1) the system stinks (starting with education laws as written and the various state and federal mandates); and (2) teachers (including the influential unions) hate accountability (in large part because their hands are tied behind their backs by those previously mentioned laws). 

    Your arguments above especially show (2)—hatred for accountability. In so doing, you’ve structured the argument so that you won’t really discuss anything until your opponent concedes your premises. My suggestion—FWIW—view the “other side” as saying the schools have major problems. That way, when you see the problems as minor, you and your opponent can at least work on problems you both agree exist. Don’t interpret “major problems” as a heap of ashes. 

    • #42
  13. Michele Coolidge
    Michele
    @Michele

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment)

    Hi–if you taught suburban middle school math, you have a serious restriction of range issue, and if you think schools have “problems” even so, then you have pretty ridiculously high standards. Not much point in our debating on that point.

     

    As for “accountability”–we just had 20 years of it with NCLB and the public ripped it out. So you don’t have to worry about my opinion of accountability one way or another (and for the record, I said nothing pro or con on the subject). You’ve got to convince the public to buy in first.

    • #43
  14. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Michele (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment)

    Hi–if you taught suburban middle school math, you have a serious restriction of range issue, and if you think schools have “problems” even so, then you have pretty ridiculously high standards. Not much point in our debating on that point.

     

    As for “accountability”–we just had 20 years of it with NCLB and the public ripped it out. So you don’t have to worry about my opinion of accountability one way or another (and for the record, I said nothing pro or con on the subject). You’ve got to convince the public to buy in first.

    A couple quick thoughts. First, I wasn’t giving my credentials to suggest expertise. Rather, to disclose potential biases.

    Second, you didn’t address the main point of the comment—namely, you accused Rob of arguing that the system is a heap of ashes and that you refuse to discuss solutions to problems until he (or those like him) agree with your premises. A more charitable view of Rob’s position is that he sees major problems. You disagree. Fine. You think the problems are minor. So why would you not answer the question of minor improvements you’d favor? Something like “Rob, we disagree as to the extent of problems, but here are some things that would make a good system better….” A number of times Rob acknowledged your position arguendo and and asked what you were willing to change about the system. You apparently refuse to engage even that far, which is a shame. Rob is correct that the perception on the right is that there are major problems. You don’t help change that perception (even if it’s wrong) by refusing to engage. 

    • #44
  15. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Michele (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment)

    Hi–if you taught suburban middle school math, you have a serious restriction of range issue, and if you think schools have “problems” even so, then you have pretty ridiculously high standards. Not much point in our debating on that point.

     

    As for “accountability”–we just had 20 years of it with NCLB and the public ripped it out. So you don’t have to worry about my opinion of accountability one way or another (and for the record, I said nothing pro or con on the subject). You’ve got to convince the public to buy in first.

    Just to be clear, I taught high school math in a middle class suburban district. 

    • #45
  16. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Michele (View Comment):

    psmith (View Comment):

    t you interrupted Michele so much that it was almost impossible to evaluate what she was saying. It would have been a much better podcast if you had let her finish trying to make her points.

    After the conversation I was likewise worried that I hadn’t gotten my essential ideas across, but when I listened to it I was reassured. Rob just didn’t like the ideas!

    I don’t think anybody got their ideas across very well.   Maybe because that one guy had ADD couldn’t flow the conversation. 

    Goal 1: Communicate that schools are not broken and utter failures and that presenting them as such as rationale to whatever private enterprise solution they want (solutions that aren’t popular) is a strategic mistake.

    I heard that schooling is broken, but not that schooling is an utter failure.  “Broken” is subjective, but so are letter grades.  Let’s say that schooling in the USA gets a “D-“.  Tax payers deserve an “A-“.

    I was able to say this several times so mission accomplished. You can’t have an agreement on how to fix a house if one person thinks it’s a smoking ashheap of destruction burned down beyond all recognition when in fact there’s a broken staircase.

    Goal 2: Do not get dragged down the rabbit hole of “what would you do to fix schools” beyond specifically saying I support mandated reporting for kids identifying as transgender (naturally, my fluency stopped right there and I couldn’t think of the words!) and most Republican fixes to those issues. This specifically irritated Rob and he said so so many times that James cut him off saying “don’t say that again”.

    This is not a rabbit hole, but a gold mine!   What to fix is the only discussion worth having. 

    Goal 3: Continually push back on all their false claims. This drove both Andrew and Rob crazy, but it is manifestly untrue that “everyone” thinks schools are “failing”. It’s demonstrably true that scores are higher now than back in the fabu days of the 60s. It’s true that 70% or more of parents are satisfied with their kids’ school performance during the pandemic. It’s *not* true that all parents wanted schools open during the pandemic. And so on.

    This was a disaster of Rob saying “X” and you saying “not Y”.  Nobody took the time to listen, before trying to score an argument point.  We have time to do that on this blog site.   I don’t know if scores are higher or not, but I Google tells me “In 2017, only 7 percent of Detroit public school eighth-graders performed at or above the proficient level in reading“.   In a world where “no child is left behind”, we have entire cities of kids being left behind.

     

     

    So if that’s what you got from my talk, that’s what I wanted to say!

     

    • #46
  17. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Michele (View Comment):
    Hi–if you taught suburban middle school math, you have a serious restriction of range issue, and if you think schools have “problems” even so, then you have pretty ridiculously high standards. Not much point in our debating on that point.

    I don’t understand your argument.  If he sees problems in a  middle-class suburban school, just imagine what the problems must be like in the really cruddy schools.

    • #47
  18. Michele Coolidge
    Michele
    @Michele

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    A more charitable view of Rob’s position is that he sees major problems.

    Rob said, look, teachers, if you want to teach ideological crap, how about you teach math, english, history first?

     

    Presumes a) teachers are teaching ideological crap–like, all of them. Like this is a universal problem. And that’s insanely stupid. b) that teachers aren’t teaching math, English, history, etc.

     

    There’s no basis for a conversation. 

    And of course, I know that people here agree with Rob. That’s my point. Out in the real world, Rob’s favorite solutions of vouchers and charters barely break 50% with *Republicans*, much less the public. It’s not even a given among Republican voters that schools suck. And you guys are blind to this.

    • #48
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Michele (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    A more charitable view of Rob’s position is that he sees major problems.

    Rob said, look, teachers, if you want to teach ideological crap, how about you teach math, english, history first?

     

    Presumes a) teachers are teaching ideological crap–like, all of them. Like this is a universal problem. And that’s insanely stupid. b) that teachers aren’t teaching math, English, history, etc.

     

    There’s no basis for a conversation.

    And of course, I know that people here agree with Rob. That’s my point. Out in the real world, Rob’s favorite solutions of vouchers and charters barely break 50% with *Republicans*, much less the public. It’s not even a given among Republican voters that schools suck. And you guys are blind to this.

    Can people think their schools are “good” because there aren’t a lot of shootings and bathroom rapes etc (at least not that are being admitted…) while still recognizing that they aren’t doing all that well at teaching what the kids need to learn?

    • #49
  20. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Michele (View Comment):
    Presumes a) teachers are teaching ideological crap–like, all of them. Like this is a universal problem. And that’s insanely stupid. b) that teachers aren’t teaching math, English, history, etc.

    A) exclusively teaching black history is ideological crap

    B) my kids not doing spelling past 2nd grade and never having a writing assignment or learning grammar is not teaching English.

    My current school system is better than that, but the writing aspect is still very questionable. Math seems to be the only subject that is being consistently taught.

    • #50
  21. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Michele (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    A more charitable view of Rob’s position is that he sees major problems.

    Rob said, look, teachers, if you want to teach ideological crap, how about you teach math, english, history first?

    Presumes a) teachers are teaching ideological crap–like, all of them. Like this is a universal problem. And that’s insanely stupid. b) that teachers aren’t teaching math, English, history, etc.

    There’s no basis for a conversation.

    And of course, I know that people here agree with Rob. That’s my point. Out in the real world, Rob’s favorite solutions of vouchers and charters barely break 50% with *Republicans*, much less the public. It’s not even a given among Republican voters that schools suck. And you guys are blind to this.

    It’s not about the “teachers”, it’s about the “curriculum”.  There have been many stories reported about school districts in major metropolitan areas (Seattle comes to mind) putting very politicized content into the district curriculum – “racist math”, for example.  it doesn’t matter if 99.9% of the teachers want to teach it straight if the curriculum dictates otherwise.

    • #51
  22. Michele Coolidge
    Michele
    @Michele

    I heard that schooling is broken, but not that schooling is an utter failure. “Broken” is subjective, but so are letter grades. Let’s say that schooling in the USA gets a “D-“. Tax payers deserve an “A-“

    Great. Define A- in a way that gets everyone to agree with you. And when you can’t, welcome to the real world.

    This is not a rabbit hole, but a gold mine! What to fix is the only discussion worth having!

    When you can’t agree on what’s “fixed” no, it’s not. 

    Google tells me “In 2017, only 7 percent of Detroit public school eighth-graders performed at or above the proficient level in reading“. In a world where “no child is left behind”, we have entire cities of kids being left behind.

     There are white and Asian kids that don’t hit that standard. Do you think their teachers failed? Or do you think, well, you can’t get *everyone* to proficient and then without pausing to think demand to know why only 7% of Detroit kids are at proficient (and by the way, if it’s NAEP “proficient”, then please. That’s an absurd standard).

    Is it your position that if you took the teachers from Grosse Pointe and gave them to Detroit that they’d all learn at proficient levels, or that if you took the Detroit teachers and put them in Grosse Pointe that suddenly all the kids in Grosse Pointe couldn’t read?

    I got news for you which shouldn’t be news: there will be kids who will not be reading at grade level no matter how great their teachers are, no matter how fabulous their curriculum is, no matter now involved their parents are or, as Andrew so horribly put it, no matter how much their parents “value” education. 

    If you want to blame schools for not closing the achievement gap, get in line. But let’s not pretend that the racial achievement gap, which exists everywhere in America, is getting fixed in Scarsdale–or those fabulous charter schools you all worship–is somehow evidence of “failing schools” just because there are more of one particular race in one particular city.

    And by the way, the data on charters vs public schools is: they’re tied. Data on vouchers is, if anything, worse. 

    • #52
  23. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    Michele (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    A more charitable view of Rob’s position is that he sees major problems.

    Rob said, look, teachers, if you want to teach ideological crap, how about you teach math, english, history first?

     

    Presumes a) teachers are teaching ideological crap–like, all of them. Like this is a universal problem. And that’s insanely stupid. b) that teachers aren’t teaching math, English, history, etc.

    Rob is saying that before we have a discussion of allowing any teacher to spend class time on CRT and queer life, we need to spend all available class time on the basics (read, writing, arithmetic).  It is unfair and unproductive to change or interpret his words in a way that he doesn’t mean. 

    There’s no basis for a conversation.

    And of course, I know that people here agree with Rob. That’s my point. Out in the real world, Rob’s favorite solutions of vouchers and charters barely break 50% with *Republicans*, much less the public. It’s not even a given among Republican voters that schools suck. And you guys are blind to this.

     

    • #53
  24. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Michele (View Comment):

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    A more charitable view of Rob’s position is that he sees major problems.

    Rob said, look, teachers, if you want to teach ideological crap, how about you teach math, english, history first?

     

    Presumes a) teachers are teaching ideological crap–like, all of them. Like this is a universal problem. And that’s insanely stupid. b) that teachers aren’t teaching math, English, history, etc.

     

    There’s no basis for a conversation.

    And of course, I know that people here agree with Rob. That’s my point. Out in the real world, Rob’s favorite solutions of vouchers and charters barely break 50% with *Republicans*, much less the public. It’s not even a given among Republican voters that schools suck. And you guys are blind to this.

    Wow. Ok. I’m out. 

    I’m struggling to understand why you bothered to engage at all. I actually don’t fully agree with Rob, and I suspect you would have some helpful things to say on the merits, as it were. But saying “I’ll engage once you agree with me” seems to negate the purpose of the conversation. 

    • #54
  25. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    l. Schools of Education are a problem. They are open about their goal of creating teachers who are social justice warriors promoting equity. This was birthed from critical theory.

    2. The federal government is a problem, from trying to mandate policy to encouraging the uneven application of discipline.

    3. Some home environments are a problem. Some teachers are a problem.

    4. Many bad ideas exist and schools seem to be a magnet for them. My children went to school in four states during my Air Force career. I saw a lot. Examples of bad ideas include eliminating honors programs, lack of discipline, mixing high performers with low performers to pull up the low performers, teaching sex to young children, eliminating Shakespeare, no more memorizing math tables , no more cursive..

    5. Teachers have too much administrative work.

    6.  She is right about the cost of non-English speakers. Also, she is right about the cost of special education programs.

    More to come later, on to baseball.

    • #55
  26. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Michele (View Comment):
    There are white and Asian kids that don’t hit that standard. Do you think their teachers failed? Or do you think, well, you can’t get *everyone* to proficient and then without pausing to think demand to know why only 7% of Detroit kids are at proficient (and by the way, if it’s NAEP “proficient”, then please. That’s an absurd standard).

    Are you claiming that the NAEP standards are so off-the-wall that 7% should be considered acceptable?

    Seems to me that even if the NAEP standards are too high, maybe we should still expect… oh, maybe 50%?

    Maybe what teachers should do, if they really believe they aren’t getting enough parental support etc, is to quit.  Lots of people who find they can’t accomplish what they’re supposed to be doing, for reasons outside their control – especially if they feel unfairly blamed for things outside their control – quit.

    Claiming to be there “for the kids” while at the same time effectively admitting that they can’t do anything about it, is just  – as a friend’s father used to put it – shuffling air molecules in front of their faces.

    • #56
  27. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    Rob is correct that the perception on the right is that there are major problems. You don’t help change that perception (even if it’s wrong) by refusing to engage. 

    There is the rub. Do Americans schools suck or not? If they don’t suck, why are they so wrong. Rob did interrupt alot but he wasn’t wrong to zero in like a sniper on that question. 

    • #57
  28. OwnedByDogs Coolidge
    OwnedByDogs
    @JuliaBlaschke

    Arnold Falk (View Comment):

    Michele Kerr: Rarely have I heard anyone in greater denial about the problem with US schools. And she claims to be a Republican in a California independent school district? It is becoming clearer by the day why not only California is in trouble, but the entire public school system of the USA.

    Indeed.

    I thought that public schools and teachers sucked way before the pandemic. The teachers themselves all seem to have barely a nodding acquaintance with the English language. The ones I knew couldn’t get through a sentence without 4 or 5 “likes”. I remember being told that my kids were doing “real good”.  I remember having to teach my son math because the “teacher” thought that telling them to do the exercises on page whatever was all that was required and if they had any questions to go to tutoring on Thursdays after school. I always felt like an interloper if I had to visit the school for any reason. Got the impression they believed they could run a really good school if it wasn’t for those pesky parents and kids. And I live in northern VA.

    My husband is in his 60’s in what was considered to be an essential job. He deals with classified materials and apart from 2 weeks in the thick of lockdown stupidity, he went to work with a useless mask on his face for 8 hours a day. Grocery store workers, truck drivers, nurses, doctors, people like my husband, all went to work while teachers sat at home getting paid, ordering Door Dash and whining. Complaining that parents “just wanted their babysitters back”.

    When the babysitters did come back many decided they required worthless masks on kids and to teach them they were all racists or victims or that there are 57 genders and don’t talk to your parents about any of it.

    I don’t know why this woman is defending teachers. 

    I don’t believe that parents are happy with all this.

    I don’t want Michelle to reply. I don’t think she is honest about what she is saying. I think Rob was far too easy on her.

    • #58
  29. OwnedByDogs Coolidge
    OwnedByDogs
    @JuliaBlaschke

    psmith (View Comment):

    Rob, I wish you would read the chapter “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood “ in Steven Covey’s 1989 classic Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. You’re a brilliant, witty guy, but you interrupted Michele so much that it was almost impossible to evaluate what she was saying. It would have been a much better podcast if you had let her finish trying to make her points.

    She had no points.

    • #59
  30. OwnedByDogs Coolidge
    OwnedByDogs
    @JuliaBlaschke

    Michele (View Comment):

    psmith (View Comment):

    t you interrupted Michele so much that it was almost impossible to evaluate what she was saying. It would have been a much better podcast if you had let her finish trying to make her points.

    After the conversation I was likewise worried that I hadn’t gotten my essential ideas across, but when I listened to it I was reassured. Rob just didn’t like the ideas!

    Goal 1: Communicate that schools are not broken and utter failures and that presenting them as such as rationale to whatever private enterprise solution they want (solutions that aren’t popular) is a strategic mistake. I was able to say this several times so mission accomplished. You can’t have an agreement on how to fix a house if one person thinks it’s a smoking ashheap of destruction burned down beyond all recognition when in fact there’s a broken staircase.

    Goal 2: Do not get dragged down the rabbit hole of “what would you do to fix schools” beyond specifically saying I support mandated reporting for kids identifying as transgender (naturally, my fluency stopped right there and I couldn’t think of the words!) and most Republican fixes to those issues. This specifically irritated Rob and he said so so many times that James cut him off saying “don’t say that again”.

    Goald 3: Continually push back on all their false claims. This drove both Andrew and Rob crazy, but it is manifestly untrue that “everyone” thinks schools are “failing”. It’s demonstrably true that scores are higher now than back in the fabu days of the 60s. It’s true that 70% or more of parents are satisfied with their kids’ school performance during the pandemic. It’s *not* true that all parents wanted schools open during the pandemic. And so on.

     

    So if that’s what you got from my talk, that’s what I wanted to say!

    Hogwash. Schools are a hot mess. 

    • #60
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