At one underperforming high school in our state, the administration got to the point where they fired all of the high school teachers. (They wanted more money.) It recently made national news and even Obama commented on it. Only 7% of the 11th graders met minimal proficiency on the state math test. (Just today, it appears that this leverage has worked and they will come to some sort of agreement with the union.) Ironically, the superintendent of this school system was the one in charge of bringing MathLand to our schools (a different town) years ago. She left to go to this job when my son was in first grade. My son left for a private school after that year and the school started the process of switching to Everyday Math.
I feel that many of us parents are over on the sidelines with our hands raised and asking "Can we say something here?"
At a recent board meeting, when the topic of whether our teachers could 'handle' Singapore Math came up, I raised my hand and asked whether I could say something.
The Interim Director for Curriculum and Instruction said, "No!" Teachers and building principals sitting in the audience were invited to speak; parents had to follow the rules and wait until the end of the very long presentation to make 3-minute comments.
The Interim Director also told us she is recommending that we soldier on with Trailblazers because "there is no perfect curriculum." She said that several times over the course of the evening, with an air of gravitas: There is no perfect curriculum.
Also, we need a math coach, to complement the ELA "teaching learning facilitator" we have now. Plus we need to hire back the teaching-learning facilitator whose position was eliminated last year during the budget fracas.
coming soon to a school district near you
To those of you living in affluent suburban towns: this is the future. Public schools are committed to hiring tenured teachers to teach tenured teachers, and tenured curriculum specialists to "develop" curriculum. Absent tax revolts, there is no conceivable limit to the number of instructional coaches and curriculum specialists affluent schools will attempt to hire in the coming years, because there is no conceivable limit to the amount of "in-house professional development" classroom teachers require and no conceivable limit to the amount of "curriculum development" imperfect curricula require. A whole new tier of administration has been invented and is now in the process of being hired.
This story about Seattle administration tells you where we're headed. Here's Meg Diaz' report. (pdf file)
Do our policy elites have any idea this is going on? Do our newspapers and media outlets?