The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Is Food

Reading Food. Reading is like food to me. I have to do it to survive. And I love consuming the nourishing matter that it's comprised of, whether it be digital or ink on the printed page. Here's a couple of things that sated my appetite this morning.

1. We Need You Gabe Kotter. Professors/administrators involved in Tennessee teacher training programs are in a tizzy--make that Tizzy, with a capital "T." An article by Jennifer Brooks in this morning's Tennessean, "Teachers College Oppose Rankings," describes the uproar in TN that US News & World Report has created by deciding to begin ranking Teachers Colleges around the country. It's an excellent article and maintains a neutral POV. Here's where the TN Teachers Colleges stand:
In a letter to U.S. News and World Report, signed by the deans of almost every teacher training school in the state, the Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education wrote that the planned report card "is not likely to produce meaningful results and possibly could do great harm as it is conceived."
And here's a response by the group working with USN&WR on the ranking:
"Tennessee just boycotted us entirely," said Kate Walsh, president of the council, which is planning to evaluate 1,000 schools across the country. "Our intention is to identify the schools that offer the best preparation at the best price. … The good schools will have customers driven toward them."
Teachers are at least partly in the business of evaluation. After you cut through all the BS about the "criteria of the evaluation," etc., then you have to see that their refusing to be evaluated is not a good sign.

The inescapable inference to draw from this story is best summed up by this quotation, the last paragraph:
 While some schools performed well, in general, the report found that Teach for America, a program that takes non-education majors and places them in the classroom after a few months of training, was achieving better results than the graduates of most Tennessee education colleges.  
I followed the link provided in the story to the bi partisan Education Consumers Foundation info about Teach for America. Read it, and if you're a Tennessean, make that an American, concerned about the deterioration of public education in the U.S. today, you'll be very upset with these programs that turn out teachers for our public schools. Real reform has to start with Teacher Education programs, with the training of the people who end up teaching our kids.

2. Targeting Muslims? I'm also following the run up to the hearings being held this week by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., on Islamic radicalization.  A Fox News story explains that CAIR is pretty hot about this and is leading the effort to stop the hearings, accusing King of unfairly targeting muslims. Here's a quotation from the story that got my attention:
There has been a string of terror cases involving U. S. citizens in recent years. Justice Department data obtained by Fox News shows there has been a "class one" terrorism case--the highest designation for a terrorism case--involving a U. S. citizen every two weeks, on average, since January 2009.
It's pretty clear to me King should go forward with his hearings. I'd say the same if the religion involved were Christian Catholics or Baptists for that matter. If you are suspected of encouraging or subsidizing or assisting in any way, deliberate attempts by individuals or a group to harm the U. S. or its citizens, whether successful or not, then, at the very least, be prepared to defend yourself and your beliefs in a public hearing.


  1. Your last sentence, "If you are prepared to a public hearing". POWERFUL! A+

  2. Always liked King. He speaks a lost(and almost dead)language , "Common Sense"!

    As usuall, those of us in favor of these hearings are already being described as Racists.

  3. ...concerned about the deterioration of public education in the U.S. today...

    It seems like the ONLY group not concerned about the state of American education is the NEA and other orgs of its ilk. Teachers seemed to be preoccupied with defending what they have in the way of salaries, pensions, work rules, etc., etc., rather than educating our children. But mebbe it's just ME.

    Reading IS food! My problem is I do too damned much pixel-reading and less of the "curl up on the couch" kind. One isn't a substitute for the other.

  4. Thanks George. I love those A+'s!

    Cookie, Everything King's said so far about this makes perfect sense and isn't in the least racist or objectionable. To me, part of the problem is the super abundance of various and sundry minority pressure/lobby groups who respond immediately to any perceived threat. Their response is always picked up by the media who can then claim whoever they're objecting too is racist. CAIR (Council of Asshole Idiot Retards) is a good example of such a group.

    Buck, I don't think it's just you. Teachers/administrators ARE more interested in defending their status quo instead of reforming education. There have been so many "reform" strategies over the past 30 years and all of them have failed. Mainly because the people (teachers) spearheading the "reform" always protected their own interest first. I was involved in one of them in the early '90s (raising the standards/outcomes of what used to be called Voc Ed up to at least the level of the regular HS track) and it did have a few good ideas but it eventually got watered down, politically compromised, and finally disappeared.