FSP’s Definition of Accuracy: Name Calling
Part of Eric Luedtke’s response to GA Harrison’s argument in favor of merit pay for teachers is quite silly. Luedtke doesn’t really engage Harrison’s point so much as he misrepresents it to create a straw man.
Not surprisingly, the limit of analysis consists of insisting that a few quick things (merit pay, ending teacher tenure, charter schools) will magically fix education, and calling teachers unions socialist. Because calling the other side names makes you right.
Of course merit pay is not a silver bullet. If we are serious about providing quality public education to our children we must demand merit pay as one part of a serious approach to reform the public schools. Other actions than need to be adopted include abolition of teacher tenure (a polite term for civil service protection) and school choice.
I’d like to add to Harrison’s list of remedies the instructivist arguments that favor changes to curriculum and pedagogy in order to raise educational outcomes. Our colleague Matt Johnston has covered that issue with aplomb.
Just because there may be funding issues with merit pay does not mean that conservatives are tying to have their cake and eat it too. As Brian Griffiths has argued, ad nauseum, there is a lot of money in education budgets, which instead of going to students or teachers goes into the black hole of the educrat bureaucracy. Why not cut the fat of useless administrators to pay for merit increases. Luedtke may think his swipe at the Bush administration andNCLB is a hit, but really its no skin off our noses.
Luedtke’s caterwauling about Harrison labeling the NEA socialist or left wing is simply inane because that label is accurate. Socialism and leftist thought inform NEA’s imperative.
If the NEA doesn’t hold socialist or leftwing policy views then Luedtke needs to convince us that it does not.
If Harrison is wrong, then I’d like Leudtke to explain why the NEA featured fellow travelling historian Ellen Shrecker’s shriek filled screed about so-called New McCarthyism in the Fall 2005 issue of its journal Thought and Action. Luedtke probably has no idea that Schrecker laughably labeled Julius and Ethel Rosenberg “non-traditional patriots,” and said of their delivery of atomic secrets to the Soviets, “were these activities so awful ?”
It is fairly accurate to say that the professional and academic educational establishment tilts way to the left. Personally, I’ve had a courtside seat to this phenomenon. For Leudtke pointing out this very salient fact is “calling the other side names.” Some of us choose to call it what it is: accuracy.