Today’s news:

Teachers who have experience must resist forced retirement

It is official. Canada geese have been implicated as the cause of the nearly disastrous plane landing on the Hudson River recently. The pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, saved more than 150 lives by pulling off a miracle made possible through the application of judgment developed over 40 years of professional experience.

That hardcore, real−life experience probably made the difference between life and death. Nobody denies that. Everybody is content to accept its redemptive property. After all, who would entrust their loved ones to a pilot straight out of flight school or choose a newly minted surgeon? A practitioner’s superior depth of experience is universally recognized as an asset in any profession.

Except the education racket in New York City.

Here experience is viewed with suspicion and treated as a liability and threat. Perhaps that is due in part to senior teachers having too much “institutional memory” and knowing too much about the city Department of Education’s skeletons and lurid misdirection. These teachers’ healthy resistance to indoctrination, bluff and insipid vogues makes them ripe for entrapment and intimidation.

With the complicity of some corporate partisans, think tanks, tabloid newspapers and self−labelled “reformers” and stroked by certain teachers colleges and profiteering DOE contractors and consultants, many of our best and brightest teachers are being demoralized and pushed under the bus into retirement, sometimes under a cloud of phony charges of wrongdoing made to force their surrender.

It is a good thing the DOE does not run the airline industry, which has respect for seniority and work rules, or else the police activity on the Hudson River lately would probably have been a recovery rather than a rescue operation. If the DOE were in charge of the safety and integrity of vessels in the sky, their preference would be that “Sully” would still be sitting on a rubber room stool preparing to defend his license.

The DOE can reroute our best classroom navigators, but they cannot put teaching and learning on “automatic pilot.”

Ron Isaac

Fresh Meadows

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