Flawed Logic

In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Obama addressed education reform, including this statement about teachers.

Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.

In the Post’s Answer Sheet blog, a veteran educator points out a huge logical flaw in what the President had to say.

The second problem is a glaring contradiction, a logical flaw that is huge even though it has been overlooked by almost every journalist apparently too polite to challenge the administration on it. If you do not wish teachers to teach to the test, if you want them to be passionate and creative, then how can you insist that their performance be measured by the use of test scores?

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot tell teachers to be creative, you cannot pretend you are “flexible,” when you mandate the use of test scores for teacher and principal evaluations, and continue to use them as the basis by which schools are condemned as failures. [emphasis mine]

I suspect the President, and many other education reform “leaders”, will continue to miss the disconnect between what they say and what they do.

They will produce even more lofty speech about the importance of teachers, while still demonizing the profession and implementing policies that marginalize the practice of teaching.

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