Teaching With the Enemy – NYTimes.com

9 Nov

The teacher’s union isn’t evil, and charter schools aren’t THE answer.

To put it another way, you simply cannot fix America’s schools by “scaling” charter schools. It won’t work. Charter schools offer proof of the concept that great teaching is a huge difference-maker, but charters can only absorb a tiny fraction of the nation’s 50 million public schoolchildren. Real reform has to go beyond charters — and it has to include the unions. That’s what Brill figured out.

He figured out something else, too. He saw that the whip-smart, politically savvy Weingarten was not the villain he had first imagined. He watched her cut deals with Gates to establish important pilot programs. And he saw her inch toward reform, including measuring teachers on the basis of performance.

The reform movement has long demonized Weingarten and her union — sometimes with good reason — and that is reflected in “Class Warfare.” But Brill himself is now where the reform movement needs to go, if it hopes to change how kids are taught.

Randi Weingarten can’t be the enemy anymore. She could be the reformers’ best friend, if only they’d let her.

via Teaching With the Enemy – NYTimes.com.

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