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Duncan and Danza? Really, now?

October 28, 2010

Danza reveals the wisdom of teaching under Duncan

This celebrity foolishness in education press releases is and has been crazy. Question for Mr. Duncan: How does having Tony Danza with you say anything about your commitment to diversifying teaching on a national level? How can you speak to the joys of teaching when you’ve never taught, Mr. Duncan?

“Addressing hundreds of high school and college students at Temple University, Duncan stressed the need to replace an estimated 1 million teachers expected to retire in the next few years.
He also emphasized the need to diversify the nation’s teaching ranks, noting that about 45 percent of American students are nonwhite while only 14 percent of teachers are in that demographic. Black men make up less than 2 percent of teachers in the United States.

‘We want our teachers to reflect the extraordinary diversity of this nation’s youth,” Duncan said.”

Let’s let the talking point sink in a bit while we deal with the reality of Duncan’s national policy on teacher recruitment. If anything should be a firm indicator of where Duncan stands on both diversifying the teaching work force and what kind of new teachers he envisions populating schools, it would be the recent discrimination ruling against the Chicago Public Schools from when Arne Duncan was CEO of CPS. A US District Court judge ruled in favor of the many veteran black teachers who were fired and largely replaced by younger, cheaper, white teachers in Chicago.

I encourage all to take a closer look at this whole TEACH effort, the national teacher recruitment campaign. Duncan says, “These alternative-certification and grow-your-own programs we think are going to help to address this” in regards to the lack of diversity in the teaching work force. This should make us raise an eyebrow and be willing to interrogate the story behind these programs.

The rhetoric is certainly there in terms of programs for alternative routes to certification diversifying and improving the quality of the teaching work force. But a lot of questions and suspicions remain regarding what the actual aggregate effect is on the types of teachers entering schools, especially high-needs schools. I’ll be researching and looking for more information, as the research I’ve looked at thus far has yielded mixed, equivocal findings.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2010 10:04 am

    Ugh…”Let’s not invest in improving serious teacher education programs, let’s just open the floodgates and get as many warm bodies in the classroom as possible. We’ll fire them all later, anyway!”

  2. Frederika permalink
    October 31, 2010 7:47 am

    I caught a bit of the Danza show TEACH last week and was appalled by his classroom demeanor, lack of preparation, lack of undertsanding of what it really takes to teach. It was as if he was playing at teaching and not doing a very thoughtful job. If this guy is being dragged around with Sec. Duncan as a model or representative of teaching, this is incredible. Apparently, he cannot even play the role of a teacher, let alone actually teach.

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