Thursday, October 27, 2005

No Child Left Behind--by Part-Time Instruction

Serendipity strikes. I was looking this morning for the latest statistics on teachers who leave public schools and came up with a bonus: On the White House webpages devoted to education, I discovered George Bush's plan for an "Adjunct Teacher Corps." If you know adjunct instructors at the community college or university level, or if you've ever taught an "extended day," you know how the system can deeply sever overtaxed academic programs and staff. It's a business-style bandaid approach in lieu of reducing class sizes or investing in full-time instructors (with salary and benefits)--instructors who will be emotionally and practically attached to the workings of the school.

You'll note that the teacher degree statistics used to justify the adjunct program are math and science statistics--suggesting a need to bring more professionals from the business community into the classroom. Apparently, we already have plenty of working writers and artists in the schools. (And our kids do enough writing and reading already?)

As if fulltime teacher status wasn't low enough already, adjunct teachers in K-12 schools will have the least job security--and will be least likely to speak up. Bush's plan aspires to manage education the way Wal-Mart manages its stores. I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

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