If you favor hiding evidence and quashing open inquiry with regard to public questions of the most urgent interest, what does that say about your philosophy of education?
Teachers’ union officials in Los Angeles have been in a tizzy because the Los Angeles Times, a liberal bastion, published a detailed series casting controversial light on the quality of public school education in the city. The articles include a database of scores assessing — gasp! — the effectiveness of teachers.
This is a disturbing development for union reps demanding ever greater pay and job security for even lackluster instructors. To be sure, it’s not the negative evaluations that most intensely disturb them, nor even any debatable aspect of the methodologies used to assess effectiveness. It’s that the data has been publicized and discussed at all. The Times should not have published the database, complained one union official, Randi Weingarten. Another union honcho, A.J. Duffy, even called for a boycott of the paper, as if it were morally turpitudinous to give parents even an inkling of teacher performance.
Slate.com contributor Jack Shafer concludes that the Times has “done its readers a great service” by exposing Duffy and his cronies as “enemies of open inquiry, vigorous debate, critical thinking, and holding authority accountable — essentially the cognitive arts that students are supposed to be taught in schools.”
Is there any way to bypass the dilapidated and authoritarian educational regime altogether? You homeschoolers out there: Any ideas?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.