Jay Mathews has a guest columnist for his Class Struggle column this week and he offers more common sense than I’ve read in quite a while. The essay comes from Richard Chapleau, a chemistry teacher (a career switcher and California Teacher of the Year in 1995) who wants to be the Emperor of Education. As Emperor, he would implement three sweeping acts to change American education and, after reading the proposals, I’m ready to second his nomination!
My first two imperial acts would be to fire one-third of American teachers and then to give every parent a one-question quiz.
I’d fire the teachers who have stopped trying in their rooms, who use their training and intellect to belittle the kids. There’s no place in our schools for teachers who pass out endless worksheets or show non-stop videos.
Next, every parent of a two-year old would have a one-question quiz… The question would be "One Fish, Two Fish." Any parent who didn’t write "Red Fish, Blue Fish" would be required to sign a Universal Release of Liability and Parental Promise Not to Whine Statement. A parent who can’t spout Dr. Seuss or Mother Goose, but who can name 10 movie stars, pro sports players or rock idols is ruining their child’s future.
My last act as emperor is the only one I know could really be achieved in the "real world" I hear so much about. I would take teacher evaluation away from administrators. Who is in charge of the American Bar Association? Attorneys. Who runs the AMA? Physicians. Who watches the teachers? People who haven’t been in a classroom in many years. Administrators, criminally overworked administrators.
Read it all for some refreshing ideas from inside the system.