|This freakin' guy|
Imagine a major convention of hospital managers and administrators, convened to discuss the critical issues in health care, the new advances in medical treatment, and during planning the organizers scratch their heads and say, "Who should deliver the major speech about current medical issues? Certainly not a doctor. Do you think we can get that guy who sells the crystals with the little copper pieces? I think he was on Dr. Oz last week--- can we get him?? Or maybe Jenny McCarthy to talk about vaccinations?"
And yet. Here comes a conference for all the top district administrators in New York State at the beginning or March. Keynote Kickoff speaker on Sunday afternoon is Glenn Singleton, founder and head honcho at Pacific Educational Group, an consulting group that was originally focused on transforming K-12 education but has since broadened its focus. Their "courageous conversations" program for dealing with systemic racism is apparently the spine of the superintendents' gathering.
But Monday, here comes another keynote address, this time by David Coleman.
Yes, that David Coleman. David "Father of Common Core" Coleman. David "Don't Know Much About Teaching Literature" Coleman. David "I Don't Know How To Teach Writing, Either" Coleman. David "I'm a Genius" Coleman. David "I Messed Up the College Board" Coleman. David "I'm an Educational Amateur and That's Why I'm Awesome" Coleman. And, of course, David "Nobody Gives a Shit What You Think" Coleman.
Why, oh why, did the superintendents of New York State think that this is the guy who needs to be invited to speak?
It is, I suppose, par for the course. Journalists rarely talk to teachers. Thinky tanks and consultants rarely talk to teachers. Policies are routinely implemented by politicians without speaking to teachers (and when teachers do speak, they're carefully pre-selected so that they won't say anything disagreeable or upsetting). And of course, sometimes teachers who try to speak just get beaten up and arrested for daring to act above their Proper Station.
I like to imagine a world where journalists have a file of teachers that they call before they get that apparently mandatory Mike Petrilli quote for an article about education. A world in which politicians declare, "We can't take any action on this education bill until we hear from lots and lots of teachers about what they think the bill would do."
Heck, imagine a world where a superintendent's conference works like this-- the parent organization says, "Every one of you supers bring one teacher from your district who really does a great job, and then we will all sit and listen to them and learn what we can do better."
But no-- I'm in this universe, where somehow David Frickin' Coleman qualifies as an educational expert to whom an entire state's worth of superintendents should listen raptly. He's never taught, and is in fact proud of his lack of qualifications. He's presided over one of the most high-profile failures in education policy of the last century. He's abandoned that failure so he can go take a cushy job selling bad assessments after "redesigning" them based on his zero expertise. Meanwhile, thousands of experienced classroom experts will continue to be ignored. Thanks a big fat lot, New York Council of School Superintendents.