Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Schools and unions: Peter Schrag carries on

Schrag carries on.
Writer Peter Schrag has an interesting commentary in the Sacramento Bee of Jan.3. Mr. Schrag, for those who do not know, has a long history of writing on schools and education. He is a recognized contributor to the Nation. He has written a number of books on California politics. He is a recognized liberal, favoring some progressive issues and opposing affirmative action and bilingual education among others.
This essay is well worth reading. He claims unusual expertise on the activities of CTA. A couple of pieces require translation.
Shrag says, “Because of Nunez’s board votes against some liberal attempts to water down the state’s academic standards,”
Translation…. The proposition was to provide text books and teachers manuals which the students could comprehend. The current law requires a uniform curriculum even for the students who do not yet speak English. Schrag, Schwarzenegger , and the Board majority believe that saying a sentence in English and repeating it is a strategy for English learning.
Next year perhaps they will continue with this theory. If the student does not understand the teacher then the teacher should say it louder.
Schrag praises CTA for supporting a new funding system which allows money to allocated to low performing schools. You do not need Schrag’s long attempt to tie this to a change in CTA. It is just a good idea. Most teachers – most CTA members- will support this. The remainder of the essay about union intransigence is mostly political pretense.
See: Collective Bargaining in Education 
Negotiating Change in Today's Schools, Edited by Jane Hannaway and Andrew J. Rotherham
Harvard U. Press.
Duane Campbell
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