More on Framing


I see The New Republic (TNR) has accepted a conservative frame for the struggle for the life of our nation’s public schools as a contest between so-called “reformers” (the conservatives) and the so-called “establishment” (teachers who want to teach as professionals and who still believe teaching should be a matter of children’s learning). The article is called, “Why Obama Gets an “A” for Choosing Duncan.”

The deception comes from framing the struggle around “the union” which is then labeled as “the establishment.” Meanwhile, the actual conversation among teachers and administrators with knowledge of teaching and concern for it (rather than simply for management of a business or institutional survival in the current test-and-blame culture of public education) revolves around good, effective teaching that engages students in their own learning, meeting them where they are and enabling them to move forward.

One critical assumption of the TNR article awarding President-elect Barack Obama an “A” for his choice is that the high-stakes standardized tests validly measure the student’s learning and abilities. I would argue they do not. But they do provide scads of data points that can easily be used to cover up their inadequacies. So, we get impressive graphs and decisive percentile breakdowns, signifying very little but seeming to validate a gigantic hoax that will cost our children and, therefore, our society dearly.

For an introduction to a different view of children’s learning and a different frame for conversation about