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?
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.