SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Thomas Friedman in a Flat Out State of Confusion

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thomas Friedman in a Flat Out State of Confusion

All those who think that Tom Friedman of the New York Times should stop sharing his ignorance about education signal by giving me a "harumph!" Hey, one of you didn't "harumph!"

It's time for Tom Friedman to flatten his flat views of education and go back to what he does best; find a cab driver in some 3rd world country to give him the facts of what is really going on.

Wait, bad idea. He just might find a cab driver here in New York that is a former TFA or E4E suck up and take that person's word for Friedman thinks is wrong with education in this country.

To paraphrase the Kinks, Friedman is;
On planet Earth there is an illusion,
That Tom Friedman's going 'round in a state of confusion.
I picked up yesterday's New York Times and started to read Flat Earth dude's ode to what he doesn't know about education. Of course, he began with the PISA scores.

THE latest results in the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which compare how well 15-year-olds in 65 cities and countries can apply math, science and reading skills to solve real-world problems were released last week, and it wasn’t pretty for the home team.

But did Friedman read this? A true comparison with other countries involved in PISA? Gosh, he is a reporter, a columnist, he works for the newspaper that gave the world the truth about the Viet Nam War. Why is he so hellbent wrong?

In today’s hyperconnected world without walls — when more Indians, Chinese, computers, robots and software can perform more average blue-collar and white-collar jobs — the only high-wage jobs are increasingly high-skill jobs.

How can one compete against countries that pay their "middle class workers" a few dollars a day? I'll say it again. My wife has been to MAINLAND China many times on business. The factories OWN their workers. The workers live, breath, everything and anything, for the factories. They live and die there. They eat, get married, and die there. China is government run Capitalism, we can't compare ourselves to them. It's like comparing the Yankees with Manchester United.

Ten years ago a designer like my wife could make over $125k. Now that same designer is lucky to make $60k? Why? Not because those in China are better, but because they are cheaper. My wife knows Photoshop and Illustrator as much as the next person does in China, but she costs more and won't put in 18 hour days. As a country, how can we compete against this?

First, to be in the middle class, they will need to be constantly improving their skills over their lifetime. 

Isn't this the same as it always been? The problem is not the schooling but the culture. No one wants to start off at the bottom anymore. No one wants to grunt it out anymore.

When I was 16 I worked at McDonald's on Central Ave in Hartsdale. All the afternoon, evening, and weekend employees were from the local high schools. Now, a few are. I was happy to make $2.90 an hour and to work my butt off. Now, high school kids look down on McD's.

 And third, countries that thrive the most will be the H.I.E.’s — the high imagination-enabling countries — that attract and enable talent to be constantly spinning off new ideas and start-ups, the source of most new good jobs.

Not happening in the USA with all this testing. Also, not happening here with kids not being kids anymore.

It found that the most successful students are those who feel real “ownership” of their education. In all the best performing school systems, said Schleicher, “students feel they personally can make a difference in their own outcomes and that education will make a difference for their future.”

¡Uno momento por favor Tomas! Is this not what teachers, at least the cool teachers, have been screaming, shouting across your flat earth for quite some time?

“students whose parents have high expectations for them tend to have more perseverance, greater intrinsic motivation to learn.” 

Hmmm, I think what  what Friedman is saying here is that education begins in the home. 

A story if you don't mind. A month ago I received a call from my son's social studies teacher telling me that he was delinquent in several homework assignments and this was affecting his grade. Without dithering, I asked her to keep him in at lunch until the problem was solved. Teacher was happy, son was pissed. Too bad for my son. 

The highest performing PISA schools, he added, all have “ownership” cultures — a high degree of professional autonomy for teachers in the classrooms, where teachers get to participate in shaping standards and curriculum and have ample time for continuous professional development

 But we as teachers are not allowed to think independently. Like a nail sticking up we are hammered down immediately. We are made to teach to a script, listen to a failed software designer explain our jobs, incompetent leaders abound, what then Mr Friedman are we to do?

So teaching is not treated as an industry where teachers just spew out and implement the ideas of others, but rather is “a profession where teachers have ownership of their practice and standards, and hold each other accountable,” said Schleicher. 

FACE PALM TIME!
 
Look below. I copied and pasted. I am not that talented.

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 We’re going through a huge technological transformation in the middle of a recession. It requires a systemic response.

Yeah we are. So why then are the students at PS 154 in the Bronx, my school, using a $250k Mac lab only to use it for ST Math and RAZ Kids? Where is the outrage by NYC Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who generously gave the school the Reso A monies?

But Friedman of course couldn't write a column without a little dig.

Democrats who protect teachers’ unions that block reforms to give teachers more ownership and accountability, and who refuse to address long-term entitlement spending that threatens to deprive us of funds to invest in the young, are harming our future.

Please see the above Picard face-palm above.

There is no escape for the state of confusion that Friedman possess. Whichever way the wind blows is where one will find Friedman bloviating the latest

2 comments:

Village Green said...

Love the Kinks reference -- so right on! Am going to share your column on the Kinks Preservation Society list serv!

Bronx Teacher said...

Thanks. Please email me the link.