Επειδή το συνδικάτο μου είναι συμβεβλημένο με την Αμερικανική Ομοσπονδία των Δασκάλων (AFT), λαμβάνω το περιοδικό τους που λέγεται American Educator. Στο τελευταίο τεύχος είχε ένα αρθράκι για τον Al Shanker, ηγέτη του συνδικάτου από το 1974 μέχρι το θάνατό του το 1997. Μερικά αποσπάσματα:

While teacher unions were being reviled as special-interest groups that blocked promising reforms, Shanker let loose with a flurry of his own reform proposals that one newspaper said made the AFT look as much like a think tank as a union

Eliminating tenure was out of the question, but defending teacher incompetence was equally intolerable and politically unacceptable. Was there a third way? In 1984, Shanker embraced an explosive one: peer review.

In the January 1985 speech at the National Press Club, Shanker proposed a rigorous national exam for new teachers, something that “no national organization in American education” had ever done, Shanker noted.

In April 1985, Shanker delivered his second major address of the trio at the NYSUT convention in Niagara Falls. In the hour-long speech, Shanker argued for a “new professionalism.” Just as the AFT had revolutionized teaching by introducing collective bargaining 25 years earlier, he said, it was time for “a second revolution,” in which teachers would “take a step beyond collective bargaining” to improve education.36 Limiting action to collective bargaining made teachers appear unprofessional, he said. “We tend to be viewed today as though we are acting only in our own self-interest, wanting better salaries and smaller classes so our lives can be made easier. That image is standing in the way of our achieving professional status, for not only must we act on behalf of our clients, we must be perceived as acting that way.”

In a July 11, 1985, address to the AFT’s Quality Educational Standards in Teaching (QuEST) conference in Washington, D.C., Shanker again made front-page news by backing an innovative compromise on the merit pay issue: a system under which excellent teachers could receive national board certification, akin to doctors—and extra pay. He told the conference: “We’ve heard the arguments about merit pay for at least 50 years, and the issue does not go away. Most people in this country believe hard work and better work ought to be rewarded, and opposing this makes us look like we are not interested in quality. So we ought to think about ways of handling the issue while avoiding the pitfalls.”

Θα ήταν καλό κάποιος να το μεταφράσει και να το στείλει στις ηγεσίες της ΟΛΜΕ, της ΔΟΕ, και της ΠΟΣΔΕΠ. Θα ήθελα πολύ να τους δω κάποτε να μιλούν για κάτι πέρα από την αύξηση των αποδοχών και την υπεράσπιση των προνομίων τους. Να μιλούν για τις υποχρεώσεις τους, και όχι μόνο για τα δικαιώματά τους. Να αναζητούν τρόπους να βελτιώσουν την ποιότητα της εκπαίδευσης που παρέχουν τα μέλη τους.

ΥΓ. Στο ίδιο τεύχος υπάρχει και ένα ενδιαφέρον άρθρο για την αξία της διδασκαλίας του Πλούταρχου σήμερα:

http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/fall2007/sewall.htm

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