The other night I came across a link to this article from the Opinion Page of the New York Times. In the article, Dave Eggers compares the way policies address the educational system and the way in which we address the military, with the teachers being equated to the soldiers on the front line. He writes that if a military operation is not going as efficiently as hoped, that the soldiers are never blamed, but the strategy, the coordinators, and the planners are blamed for it, however in the educational system, if a school is not performing as well as hoped, than the teachers are blamed for the failure, and not the system that they are involved in. As a result, those teachers are almost disciplined by having their resources lessened and are still expected to out-perform their previous years' scores. Comparing this to the army once again, that would mean that if an operation failed, than the soldiers would then be blamed and have some of their resources stripped away, and then get sent back into the exact same conflict using the exact same strategy and expected to overcome...
To me that doesn't make sense, and I applaud Dave Eggers for this comparison, but I challenge him to take it a step further.
If a military operation fails, then the strategy and coordinators are blamed, not the soldiers. In other words, the larger system that the soldiers are involved in is modified to increase their performance. In his article, Dave Eggers is calling for an adjustment to the salaries of teachers, as if handing the soldiers larger guns will increase their likelihood for success if their strategy is flawed. I say that the system that the teachers are working within should be addressed, and that perhaps outside assistance should be considered for those teachers in the form outside of the classroom assistance such as tutor/mentor programs If the soldiers on the front line are struggling in the face of opposition, it is very beneficial for them to call in outside assistance in the form of an air strike or satellite imagery, but in the conversation of addressing the struggles that our educational system is facing, why is the topic of tutor/mentor programs not being brought to the table as a viable form of assistance for teachers and schools who are victims of a larger system that is setting them up for failure?