The bigotry of low (teacher) expectations

See all posts
Newly chummy, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the AFT have just co-written a very nice outline of Six Steps to Teacher Development.

However, we want to quibble with something that's said in Step 5, where districts are encouraged to "Align teacher development and evaluation to the Common Core Standards." It states:

..while most teachers are adept at classroom management skills, teachers have long been taught to fit a lot of material in a short period of time, not to ask high-level questions or to engage students in rigorous discussions.   


I taught secondary math for 13 years and no one ever did as this statement suggests and advised that I ask low-level questions and avoid rigorous discussion. Now it's another issue as to whether anyone ever helped  me to improve either my questioning or discussion techniques. That's something I had to figure out on my own. And here I hope that the Common Core Standards will fill some real vacuums.  But I'm also worried that districts will fall into the same old professional development trap they're in now, paying some pricey "Common Core" consultants to portray  the need for better questioning and discussion techniques to teachers as breaking news without any follow-through on real improved practice.    

See below for caricature (but not too much of one)
of teachers attending the usual PD.

We know that the Common Core is going to be a challenge, and that it will take time and better preparation and PD to get teachers up to speed. It will help to avoid the suggestion that teachers never wanted (or were not asked) to be effective instructors before.