Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Murderers' Row: The Sequel, Sort Of

Apparently this week I'm writing sequels to some of my previous blogs. Today, I'm tackling a fresh, if quick, revisitation of the Life at the Morton School classic Murderers' Row. The gist of this post was that, despite the relentless (some might say obsessive/self-aggrandizing/obnoxious/all of the above) drive of the New York Yankees to win the World Series every.single.year, they still have only done it 25% of the time--which is still far more than any other team in the league. And as far as this has implications for teaching and schools, you can't do reform (real reform, not what folks like Norm Scott charmingly call "deform") on the cheap or overnight. The Yankees organization, quite the bastion of unapologetic capitalism, knowa this, I note, so why not Mayor Bloomberg, he who believes that the free market will solve everything?

Then today, via GothamSchools, I picked up this delightful blog posting that also uses sports metaphors to get the point across. Most sensibly, this blogger, Sam Chaltain (with whom I was unfamiliar before but is becoming a very fast favorite!) points out that while there are certainly superstar teachers and teachers who might nicely be described as not-very-superstar-like, the vast majority lie somewhere in between on the competence and effectiveness scale. These teachers, he argues, need investment and support, not scorched-earth policies that force them to narrow their curricula, pedagogy, and (I think) their own spirits, interests, values, and talents in the classroom to what Chaltain calls "40 times"--reading and math test scores.

I don't know why I think people like Klein and Bloomberg will listen to Chaltain any more than they'll listen to me, but I would like to encourage him to keep talking.