Paul Horton: Will Career Teachers Be Crowded Out by Corporate Reform?

Paul Horton: Will Career Teachers Be Crowded Out by Corporate Reform?

Guest post by Paul Horton.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. 

-- Orwell

I can still remember my Econ 101 Professor define "the Crowding Out Effect." He told us in his endearing urbane twang that the "crowding out effect" prevented long term economic recovery from a recession when too much public investment did not allow private investment to rekindle economic growth. Probably the last LBJ Keynesian at a major Texas university, he defended high levels of public spending during recessions. He was endearingly folksy, someone who knew how to tell stories about New Deal price supports in historical and ethical contexts.

Lately, however, the phrase "crowding out effect" has begun to take on a different meaning for me. I am one of the dwindling breed of early seventies idealists who entered the teaching profession before teacher's unions had any clout, when one who chose to teach had to work one or two extra jobs to pay for auto insurance, a room, and food.

Many teachers who have put in at least thirty years feel as though we have made real sacrifices to remain teachers. My Econ 101 professor would call this an opportunity cost. We thought it was honorable to sacrifice the income potential that a more lucrative profession would afford us. We paid our dues, and apprenticed under master teachers. On the home front, many of us had second thoughts about the virtues of sacrifice and honor when we realized how expensive raising children could be. At least if we were poor, we could think highly of ourselves.

My how things have changed! Most of us cannot believe what is happening to our profession now.

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Comment by Dr. Michael L. Cubbin on May 26, 2013 at 10:05am

Mr Horton writes, "What is missing from this picture? The hardworking experienced teacher who is skilled enough to delicately balance knowledge based content and depth with the development of writing skills that include both the short analytical papers encouraged by the Common Core Standards, and the longer research papers that will adequately prepare students for more demanding college classes. These teachers know how to push kids to read and write more. Students need to read much more and keep reading increasingly more difficult narrative works of fiction and nonfiction (not just snippets)." And he is right. This teachers are nowhere to be found, and so people like Bill and Melinda Gates are seizing the opportunity to fill those gaps. I do not support the measures they are bringing with them, because as Mr. Horton states, "who have spent very little time in the classroom, claim to know everything that is best for Education." He is correct, but what he fails to see is that today's teachers are those responsible for allowing those gaps to be opened in the first place. "Deskilling" and "De-professionalization" are words that no one is mentioning in any of these discussions. By not learning to "delicately balance knowledge based content and depth with the development of writing skills" we are standing on the sidelines as the parade goes by. So often I hear teachers complain that there is nothing to do - no way to overcome the changes that are taking place. As long as we hear these words, then there will be no way to be victorious. We need to better prepare and take the reigns of this runaway buggy.

Dr. Mike Cubbin





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