By Greg Smith
If you like mysteries then here is one even Matlock couldn’t solve: Why do Republican candidates and leaders not seriously try appealing to teachers? The GOP needs to apply basic strategy and start putting traditionally Democratic strongholds into play. It would cost little, force Democrats to spend money where they normally don’t have to, get Republicans into a dialogue with educators who suffer a great deal at the hands of big government – and may not even realize it. Most importantly it will help give students a better education.
The shortcomings of the Common Core – the current buzzword from on high – have become more apparent to state and local officials and especially administrators and teachers who will bear the brunt of the evaluation methods. The worst part of Common Core will be felt by those purported to be those it is most targeted to help: Children in under-performing schools, particularly in the inner-city.
Under performing schools, with all the associated issues, generally have a much tougher time attracting and keeping qualified, experienced teachers. Teaching in an under-performing school normally is already more difficult. Drugs, crime, apathetic or absentee parents, ill-prepared students and high turnover of faculty and staff are just a few of what makes for a difficult job.
Since Common Core will mean loss of funding and poor job reviews for teachers in these schools, what teacher in his or her right mind is going to wade into these trouble spots when their reward may be firing or career suicide? Simple, teachers who can’t get a job anywhere else. As these teachers may have even more limited prospects after their students can’t meet the new standards, how many will wind up handing out cheat sheets to avoid being the scapegoat for society’s failures, or just stop caring as they are told they are no good because they can’t perform minor miracles 180 days a year?
The billions of dollars spent on Education Department bureaucracy – keepers of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and now the Common Core — is money that cannot be spent to lower class sizes, generally the most transparent, simple and effective use of education funds. Federal programs such as these will never, ever improve education because of the resources siphoned away from teaching in the classroom.
The GOP is unfortunately AWOL from a fight that would benefit the party, inner-city youth, teachers and society in general, as well as loosen the iron grip the Democratic Party has on the purse strings of teacher’s unions. If Republicans are waiting for a permission slip, I have one ready.
“Go do something that makes perfect sense.”
– Mr. Smith ©
Greg Smith is a freelance writer and political consultant who lives in Bantam, CT. His blog is found at www.betterfatthanfascist.com.