May 3, 2011

Why the elite bash teachers

Matthew Yglesias defends the popularity of teacher-bashing among liberal and corporate elites:
"Indeed, evidence suggests that quality of teaching is the most important non-demographic contributor to student learning."

Okay, but what has been most responsible over the last generation for changing the demographics of public school students? The answer is the elite conventional wisdom that celebrated mass immigration and denounced immigration skeptics as racists. (Matt, for example, wants to import another 165,000,000 immigrants.) 

Bashing teachers (a huge group of people who are, not surprisingly, pretty average and thus, on the whole, non-miracle workers) is just the inevitable reaction of ruling class elites as they attempt to elude responsibility for their immigration policies by blaming the teachers for not eliminating the racial gaps in student achievement. If you don't believe that teachers can wholly eliminate racial gaps caused by "the soft bigotry of low expectations," then, obviously, you are a racist. So, don't blame George W. Bush or Ted Kennedy or Matthew Yglesias for America's immigration policies, blame teachers for being bigots.

The sanctity of education reform is a by-product of the sanctity of diversity. Since we all know that diversity is the highest social value, therefore, increasing diversity by allowing in tens of millions of illegal immigrants and their descendants is an unquestionable good.

Unfortunately, the test scores don't support that.

So, "all we have to do is fix the schools." That must be easy, because if it's not easy, that would call into question the goodness of diversity, and that is unquestionable.


Wes said...

It's just so ironic. As an average person I have been bashing teachers my whole life. They were always overpaid, pampered, low IQ dummies where I went to school. And they always had that air of moral superiority. But now I suppose they are the scapegoats for the performance of even lower IQ students.

Svigor said...

"Why the elite bash teachers".

Same reason a lot of them bash whites - convenience.

The the policy-making and -disseminating elite? No, that's who gets to do the bashing.

The kids? No, that would be like crediting blacks with their own problems - taboo.

The parents? Ditto.

So who's left? The schmucks on the assembly line. It's the whi- er, sorry, the workers!

Anonymous said...

For whatever reason they're doing it, great! Teachers have been coddled long enough.

Bill said...

Nah, they bash teachers for the same reason everyone else does -- they're still POd about how Mr. or Ms. so-and-so treated them back in the old days.

Svigor said...

And they always had that air of moral superiority.

It's all government employees, in my experience. It's surreal, Bizarro. The thief-bureaucrat thinks himself a humanitarian hero.

Arturo said...

"Since we all know that diversity is the highest social value," says Steve ..... but then, what? Put two and two together man.

Why do you think diversity is the highest value? Could it have anything to do with the reason the Holocaust (tm) is the Worst Event in World History?

Haven't you gotten the memo? Preventing even a .0000001 chance of another Holocaust (tm) is So Far above any other consideration, that any price we pay to minimize the risk of another Holocaust (tm) occurring, even by .0000001%, is worth it?

Chief Seattle said...

Well, at least blaming the teachers might be responsible for overall improvement. It's when the elites get really desperate and start blaming "institutional racism" that we all have to watch out.

I saw a comment to a newspaper article on tech recruiting complaining about how the good software jobs were only for white men. Yeah - time to end the white monopoly on software engineering.

Crawfurdmuir said...

That immigration is lowering the average IQ in public schools is no reason to exonerate the teachers' unions, which well deserve censure for their role in destroying what was one a well-functioning public educational system.

It is a constant trope of the teachers' unions that criticizing them is "bashing teachers." This is a clever piece of misdirection. There are bad teachers and good teachers, just as there are bad and good people in any trade or profession. It's the union that prevents the bad ones from being fired, and the good ones from being compensated according to their merits. That is one of many failings of the public educational system, and would be so even if there was no immigration.

Inkraven said...

Blaming the teacher because little Juan or Da'Quarius can't read is akin to blaming your spatula when your soufflé falls.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think diversity is the highest value? Could it have anything to do with the reason the Holocaust (tm) is the Worst Event in World History?

Well, except for the Holodomor.

[For those of you who don't know, "Maxim Litvinov" was the nom de guerre of one Meir Wallach-Finkelstein, born to a family of - I kid you not - wealthy bankers].

PS: And then there's the whole Soros collaboration thang.

PPS: Not to mention the untidiness involving a certain Leopold Frankenberger* and some recent DNA testing results.

*Who, to this day, still does not have his own Wikipedia entry...

Luke Lea said...

Yglesias seems to be bashing teachers' unions, not teachers. Teachers' unions lower the quality of teachers, which is probably a valid point.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about court-ordered busing. And maybe integration itself.

RKU said...

Another important factor is that the corporations want to privatize the secondary schools so that they can get the same sort of amazing profi---er, I mean amazing academic results they've been getting with all their for-profit colleges like University of Phoenix and Kaplan Academy, which are currently helping to reduce most of the next generation to permanent debt-peonage.

Now in theory, it's just the conservatives who support this. But the billionaire who owns University of Phoenix is one of the biggest liberal donors and the Washington Post is only kept alive by the profits from Kaplan, and other things along those lines, so the issue tends to cross ideological lines. Also, liberal DC elites and conservative DC elites all tend to hang around together and are generally the best of friends, so views on these sort of topics tend to osmote back and forth.

And don't forget that all the black ministers want to set up their own voucher schools for their loyal flock and thereby become instant millionaires. So there's actually quite a bit of honest-to-goodness grassroots support for "educational reform" in the inner cities.

kurt9 said...

Where does Matt say thinks we should import another 165 million people? Is there a link?

Garland said...

Yglesias' demographics reference is even more chutzpah-ish because when people complain about teachers what they are mostly complaining about is just the performance of certain demographics. When we are told we have to "fix the schools" it means "fix the minorities"/educate them, assimilate them, etc. There wouldn't be any education crisis to necessitate teacher-bashing if liberal elites werent concerned about the failure of some demographics.

Garland said...

I mean, what does he think all this "education crisis/"fix the schools" stuff is about? the crisis of white people not doing well enough? Demographics arent a contributor, they are what we are actually talking about when we talk about bad schools.

Anonymous said...

What we supposed to do Steve? Look, we all know - except for the kool aid drinking left - that Blacks/Hispanics don't do as well as whites because they ain't that smart.

But we can't say that. And anyway, We WANT to believe if we tinker around with the system, or hire better teachers it'll change. Because if it's really genetics and unchangeable, that means we'll have to think a lot of unpleasant thoughts and we don't want to do that, do we?

And of course, the blacks and the browns don't want to hear the truth either, why would they? Better to blame Terrica's or Jose's bad grades on "racism".

The elites of course, love diversity. To them its cheap labor and 'Divide and conquer'. There's no real downside to THEM. The only poor blacks or browns you'll see in Beverly Hills or Marin are the gardeners and maids.

Throw in the fact that most Goys would rather run away than fight, I don't see this changing in my lifetime.

DCThrowback said...

Steve commenting on Matt Yglesias' site reminds me of Florida or LSU football traveling to a down-state rival for an early season tune up. Three comments in and it's 52-0. A shame Matt probably thinks he's too big to "slum" it in his own comments section.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see how the left comes complete around the circle to join the right when it comes to bashing teachers, look at the reception Gov Christie got at the Harvard School of Education:

Nothing on the left has anything like the power of diversity as a goal; all alliances can be remade in service of that ideal.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem now is that the fiscally conservative wing of the GOP has now joined the chorus of teacher-bashing. So now you you have elites of both parties plus rank and file Republicans punishing schools for not making all kids above average. In my home state of Ohio, Gov. Kasich was planning to disproportionately gut suburban school districts of state aid while barely touching inner-city schools with cuts.This is particularly stupid because suburban schools often have to compete with parochial and private schools in their own districts which of course reduces the number of voters willing to pass levies.

This difficulty when combined with say a 50-60 percent cut in state aid would be disastrous for some of these schools. Luckily for the state and the GOP, several legislators have pushed him to cap all district cuts to 20% instead of cuts as high as 60% or more in some cases. Oh, and by the way, Kasich apparently is a big fan of both Michelle Rhee and Waiting for Superman. This is the man who goes around complaining all the time about employers leaving the state in droves and yet he wants to punish successful public schools at the expense of unsuccessful ones, bet that will lure Google, Microsoft, and Intel to the state!

agnostic said...

"Evidence suggests" sounds way more convincing than "bullshit suggests." Fine Ivy League writing there.

Also, in the real world "teaching quality" responds very highly to "demographic factors" of students. Anyone who can teach stays far away from the dummies, druggies, and delinkies.

Well then, All We Have To Do is pay the good teachers a billion dollars a year in order to lure those selfish bastards into schools with students who poorly perform.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile heads are starting to roll at the Frogs Soccer Federation for its blatant racism.

Admittedly, allowing just one minority to join the U-18 national team was not the smartest move in these enlightenment times. . .

Fortunately, this hateful lack of diversity was denounced and condemned by this righteous newspaper.

Dennis Dale said...

It might have been you who pointed out that Davis Guggenheim felt so guilty about driving past all those nobly oppressed NAMs with the windows up on the way to Jr's Montessori every morning that he had to go out and make a movie about how it's not his fault, and of course it's not the little dears' fault (Davis thinks as he sits at a stoplight studiously avoiding eye-contact with a pair of them), so it's the system as personified by the teachers.

That same impulse in the aggregate, representing the behavior of the class that Davis Guggenheim represents, accounts for an awful lot of bad policy. Everyone without means, including those NAM children, must endure some degree of absurdity to perpetuate the Noble Lie and unfurrow those delicate brows.

I just love how those paying to watch "Superman" are doing it for the same reason the director made the film, to sublimate their frustration and transfer their guilt onto another; it's so religious.

Anonymous said...

If the most despicable person ever to walk the planet says 2 + 2 = 4, does that mean it ain't so? The teachers' unions are a featherbedding racket for PC multiculti indoctrinators and incompetents. Good riddance to 'em.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Not to say that all the various components of the general demographic are identical.... but how do we determine that "the teachers" are separate from (or orthogonal to) "the demographic?"

Anonymous said...

The elite bash teachers because its the only excuse they can come up with to explain why their own kids are in practically all-white private schools and not wonderfully diverse public schools.

Youve been very good this year Steve. Whatever you are taking or eating is working.

Anonymous said...

It's the argument that the mess they're making with mass immigration of the uneducated can be fixed by the school system. It purports to fill in the gap between the immigration policy, on the one hand, and the claim that our economy needs more and more skilled workers, on the other.

And for the people who fall behind? The message they get is that they're poor because they didn't get degree X from institution Y, even though what's really impoverishing them is the rising cost of a home in a decent neighborhood, the need to commute farther and farther to work, and labor's lack of bargaining power.

The fact that most average Americans, blue collar or white collar, fail to grasp the threat immigration poses to their interests does not give me hope for the future of this country. They've all been had, not least of all by the public schools, where they learned that immigration is GOOD! GOOD! GOOD! while being taught that a statue named "Liberty" somehow is meant to symbolize "Immigration." I wonder how many grade school American history texts don't have that Emma Lazarus poem in them. Probably not one, I'd wager.

tommy said...

It's just so ironic. As an average person I have been bashing teachers my whole life. They were always overpaid, pampered, low IQ dummies where I went to school. And they always had that air of moral superiority. But now I suppose they are the scapegoats for the performance of even lower IQ students.

You are right. They are scapegoats for today's failures and they are overpaid, pampered, low IQ dummies.

Even within the past ten years teachers have gotten worse. I remember most of my teachers staying after school for a few hours on an average day. Recently, when a younger relative and I tried to find a teacher at his school about 30-45 minutes after final classes were dismissed, we could not locate a single teacher in the entire building. There were admin personnel in the front office, but literally every teacher had left for the day. Unreal.

This same relative has told me of teachers who aren't in the classroom more than half of the teaching year. He's also regaled me with the tale of one teacher who spent 20 minutes of class time unashamedly handling personal business on Craigslist.

One elementary school teacher I met confessed that she hated kids and only went into teaching because it was a slack job that offered decent pay and benefits. Obviously, we must hike pay even more to get this level of dedication!

It also seems as though teachers today are less prompt in grading and returning homework than in the past even though they have more teacher's aids and parental help than ever before.

centrifuge said...

"(Matt, for example, wants to import another 165,000,000 immigrants.)"

Is this really true? Is he one of those corporate globalists? He wants to import hundreds of millions more "immigrants" into a country already staggering and with no industrial base? Already in free-fall decline?
I think this person must be in the pay of someone--perhaps a "globalist." I don't know what else to call them and don't want to resort to words like "illuminati" or "satanist."
There must be some rational reason that Americans want to destroy their own country. There must be.

Mitch said...

It's mildly annoying when "teachers" are lumped together in one group. Elementary teachers might be called average, although the MSUB CSET (California's elementary school competency test and no, that's NOT the CBEST) probably requires an IQ of slightly over 100 to pass.

High school teachers in most states have to pass competency tests in their subjects that require the low level of "high IQ"--115 or so. By no stretch of the imagination could that be called average when discussing the entire population. I'm not arguing for genius, merely accuracy.

As for the IQ level of newer teachers, it's purely ignorant to say they are less intelligent than ever. NCLB pretty much required higher level competency tests, which had never been required before. The Cal States are credentialling far fewer elementary teachers since 2003 (the year testing requirements went into effect), and it's almost certainly because the test weeds out the dummies. But high school teachers in most states have always had competency tests, I believe.

So probably the most accurate group of teachers to call "average" would be pre-NCLB elementary school teachers.

Anonymous said...

A great failing of communism was Lysenko-ism. Marxists wanted to believe that they could create a "new man" with socialism. They actually believed that their farm policies could alter the genetics of plants. To outsiders such an idea seems preposterous but millions of lives were lived and billions of dollars were spent promoting this wildly loony idea.

America has had its own form of ideological dogma - racial equality. We like to believe that our political and social institutions will alter the genetics of the population. We too are trying to create a "new man" but in our case with democracy rather than socialism.

It hasn't worked. How could it?

The Soviet Union fell at least in part because its ideology was at odds with biological reality. I suspect that the US will likewise fail for much the same reason.


kurt9 said...

Matt believes we should import another 165 million people into this country. Judging from his website, Matt also appears to be the kind of liberal-left who believes in global warming, carbon foot-prints, reducing energy consumption, blah, blah, blah.

Would this not be an argument for reducing the number of people in this country, not increasing it?

I think there is some philosopher who talked about the ability to believe in two completely contradictory beliefs at once.

Anonymous said...

Hate to burtst your bubble but diversity has been proven to trump ability.

Anonymous said...

agnostic - I have a high IQ, I can teach, and I ONLY work with dummies, druggies, and delinkies. (Btw, I don't know where you get the idea that good teachers in public schools can avoid those kids.)

I work in an alternative high school because I value personal freedom, which simply does not exist for teachers in traditional education anymore. The strangle hold on "approved curriculum", aided by education publishing houses who actually consider it a selling point to mention that their program "spoon feeds teachers every step of the way", grows stronger every year.

For example, when I taught in a traditional middle school, I asked to teach "The Silver Sword" in response to our requisite Never Forget the Holocaust April dictat. No dice, even when I offered to bring in enough paperback copies for the class myself. It was Anne Frank, or nothing.

The students I teach now have all dropped out or been expelled from "regular" high school. The regular high schools love programs like ours, because they can palm off their trouble makers on us, and they don't have to count the kids as drop outs on their records, which makes their drop out score look much more acceptable. Their parents love us, because Junior's probation officer insists that he must be in school full time, somewhere.

Once the kids are in, no one particularly cares what they are taught. Most of their lessons are on computers. I enjoy sitting with a small group and reading aloud to them while they follow along - usually short stories like "A Crush," or "The Scarlet Ibis." (The latter is one of the best American short stories ever written, hands down.) My students have never heard of or read any of them, they enjoy being read to, and can really follow the story. I can spend a couple of days on "The Monkey's Paw", another classic which went out of vogue in traditional classrooms long ago, with no one to stop me.

Unfortunately, the only way to teach the way I want to teach is to teach the vibrant. I do so of personal choice, not because I'm stupid.

Marc B said...

"So, "all we have to do is fix the schools." That must be easy, because if it's not easy, that would call into question the goodness of diversity, and that is unquestionable."

It used to be the crumbling urban schools that were to blame, so now that they have largely modernized the school facilities, the gap persists. Than it became an issue over funding, and since inner-city schools have been out-spending suburban districts for the last couple decades, a new bogey man had to be created: the bad teacher.

Once the majority of public school teachers meet "Waiting for Superman" levels of quality assurance it will be apparent to all of those not suffering from a deep level of cognitive dissonance as to why why NAM students are still lagging. Despite being taught by teachers from prestigious universities inside of ultramodern facilities in the best funded school districts and with the newest socially conscious text books. Until several decades of every single other variable being accounted for, NAM IQ/Temperament gap will still only be acknowledged by those former NWP that have had all the concern for the downtrodden students sucked right out of them during their prime earning years.

TGGP said...

Anonymous teacher, you should start a blog.