FROM Carol Corbett Burris
The Most Noble Profession of Teaching Is Now the Most Embattled America's "failing education system" has become a cliché of contemporary journalism — and it's most often blamed on the teachers. Union rules are said to protect the worst, while low salaries, crowded classrooms and unequal resources make it hard to retain the best. Disputes about standardized testing and the Common Core Curriculum have teachers caught in the middle. Teaching was once seen as a noble profession. We hear how that view has changed over time. (This discussion originally aired on September 2, 2014.)
The Most Noble Profession of Teaching is Now the Most Embattled No institution is more important to the US economy—or America’s role in the world—than public education. But no profession is more of a battlefield than public school teaching. As another school year begins, are reforms desperately needed? Are teachers getting a bad rap? Public school teachers are on the firing line—not just in the classroom, but in public controversies about tenure and other job protections, standardized tests and, of course, the Common Core curriculum.
Should Teacher Evaluations Be Public Information? Evaluations of teachers based on student test scores have been made public in New York and Los Angeles . Will that make public schools better or worse? Warren Olney explores whether teachers will be shamed, fired or leave the profession for the wrong reasons.
Should Teacher Evaluations Be Public Information? Two years ago, teacher evaluations were made public after the Los Angeles Times filed a Freedom of Information request. Last year in New York, education officials asked reporters to do the same thing. They did and, after a legal battle, teacher rankings have been made public there too. The teacher rankings -- based on student test scores -- are highly controversial. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says, "silence is not an option" in getting rid of substandard teachers. But Bill Gates warns that, " shame is not the solution ." Even developers of so-called "value added" assessments say the tests are "inaccurate, unstable and unreliable" as predictors of future performance. Do parents still have a right to know? Are teachers being scape-goated for the failures of public schools?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.