Former Connecticut Commissioner of Education Gerald Tirozzi has a book out questioning the direction in which education reform has taken our public schools. In Stop the School Bus: Getting Education Reform Back on Track, the long-time education practitioner addresses problems with Race to the Top, charter schools, merit pay, and more — and offers recommendations for improving the initiatives.
Below is one Q. & A. with Tirozzi from the book’s Amazon page.
Q. You go so far as to say that many reforms are backfiring, sending us in the wrong direction. Can you give an example?
A. A good example is the effort to improve the quality of teaching. Policymakers rightly point to teacher quality as the major factor in how well students learn. But in an effort to make teachers accountable and to improve teaching, they have created policies that are so punitive and burdensome that they are driving some of the best teachers out of the profession. A few examples that come to mind are pay-for-performance based on the results of a test administered once each year; publicly ranking teachers based on student test scores (with no other information given about the value these teachers contribute to their students’ lives); the removal of teacher tenure and seniority in some districts; and the ever-reducing benefits offered to educators. These policies are rapidly taking the soul out of a once proud profession.