Valarie Strauss does an excellent job here of eviscerating the so-called “School Reform Manifesto” signed by 16 school district chiefs around the country. She points out that:
“It starts by saying that everybody is responsible for improving schools but then proceeds to bash teachers, and doesn’t say a thing about about the responsibility of superintendents.”
I think the real danger in the statements made by this manifesto is how such rhetoric is contributing to the de-professionalization of the teaching profession. Superintendents and school leaders who join into this kind of name-calling and finger-pointing are only going to make the entire education reform battle more polarized and antagonistic. What happened to the idea of trying to get all stakeholders involved in the decision-making? But I am sure if one were to examine closely how each of the school leaders who were part of this document, we would see individuals who are autocratic, and who believe that only their brand of school reform is what will work.
Superintendents and school leaders who create divisive documents like this are perhaps not interested in truly reforming schools. Maybe they are more interested in getting their names in the headlines and promoting their own marketability. I hope not. It is the rhetoric of these kinds of documents that is demoralizing teachers everywhere, not asking them to be a partner in school reform. School leaders who continue to make teachers their enemy will turn around and find no-one following, except perhaps Secretary Arne Duncan and the Obama administration.