Education — A BiteMe Manifesto

At BITEME.ME,we have been covering education news for some time, and our loyal readers have been clamoring* to know just where we stand on this important issue. Here then is where we at BITEME stand on some key education policies:

  1. We’re pro-testing. The only way to measure the success of our students and our schools is through objective testing.
  2. We’re pro-tracking. Teaching homogenous classes is more efficient than teaching heterogeneous ones.
  3. We’re pro-teacher. Vilifying the teachers or their unions won’t make the schools better. (We’re also pro-management. Management must set objectives and policies, provide resources and help the teachers do their jobs.)
  4. We’re anti-voucher. We don’t actually have any facts for this, but we think that the conservative Heritage Foundation is behind the movement for school vouchers because they see it as a way to get taxpayer funding for religious schools.
  5. We’re anti–social promotion. We think a diploma should attest to a student’s academic achievement.
  6. We’re anti–student loans. Government-funded student loans have inflated the cost of tuition.
  7. We’re pro–free state colleges. A free college education helps a state’s citizens become smarter and more employable, and the cost to the taxpayers is reasonable.

We think this is a pretty satisfying list. Conservatives will hate numbers 3, 4, and 7. Liberals will hate numbers 1, 2, 5, and 6. We must be doing something right.

*= in our dreams

10 thoughts on “Education — A BiteMe Manifesto

  1. Pingback: Education Manifesto, Redux | BiteMe

  2. Pingback: How to improve NYC schools | BiteMe

    • It seems that Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy students perform better than public school students.

      Perhaps the public schools should adopt some of SA’s methods. Here is how those methods are described in Wikipedia: ‘Discipline, social pressure, positive reinforcement, and suspension are applied to the students. Parents are called in if a student has problems or is disruptive. There is a remedial program, “effort academy,” which is used freely. Ample school supplies are provided. Teachers are monitored closely and rewarded for better student performance. Teachers whose students perform poorly may be demoted to teaching assistant or removed from the classroom and limited to tutoring if their performance does not improve.’

  3. Moskowitz needs to train her teachers to handle their own pressures and frustrations better instead of communicating them to students.

  4. Looks like the teachers, who are also under a great deal of pressure to perform up to standards, need some training in how to handle the pressure and their frustrations. A teacher communicating disappointment without empathy or encouragement might damage students’ self-confidence. Competition and expectations are good motivators but need to be supported by constructive, not destructive, criticism.

    • I’m not so concerned with students’ self confidence or, for that matter, self esteem. I’m more interested in educational outcome. So let me climb out on a limb here and say that demeaning children could be a useful teaching technique, and making them cry might help drive home a lesson.

      My biggest problem with Success Academy utilizing such coercive techniques is that they emphatically disclaim them. Their own training materials say that teachers should never yell at children, “use a sarcastic, frustrated tone,” “give consequences intended to shame children,” or “speak to a child in a way they wouldn’t in front of the child’s parents.”

      Nice sentiments, but Success Academy showed their true colors when their teacher, Charlotte Dial, got caught in the act. All they did was minimize her misbehavior and suspend her for a few days.

      It seems that Success Academy finds the browbeating of their students to be an effective motivator, but they don’t have the courage to admit it to the City which funds their program and to the parents who entrust their children to the Success Academy schools.

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