How the State and Teachers' Unions are using the Blueprint for Maryland's Future to Recruit and Employ Less Qualified Teachers and Implement AI Instruction
Counties and jurisdictions across the State of Maryland have been telling the Maryland State Department of Education, the State Superintendent, the Governor and anyone else who will listen that local communities cannot afford the Blueprint for Maryland's Future (Kirwin Legislation) which mandates millions of dollars added to local budgets and huge increases to tax rates.
One area that could be disaster for the state is the pillar regarding the recruitment and retention of a diverse, quality teaching force. This article from Maryland Matters explains the problem:
In the article, each of the counties explains their problems attracting and keeping teachers. The issues range from location, to pay, to being blocked from recruiting fairs in other states, lack of qualified candidates at recruiting fairs and even competition between neighboring counties. One county, Charles County, didn't actually address the issues and just patted themselves on the back for having a diverse teaching community. Talk about deflection!
Strangely, none of the counties mention the fact that teachers in their schools are faced with violent student behavior, lack of administrative support, no student accountability and unclear, non-academic curricular standards.
In an article about Black teachers leaving the profession at a higher rate than white teachers, some of the causes listed were the cost of education and the costly and complicated certification process, the problem of test anxiety, and, of course, racism. They do briefly mention student behavior, but don't spend much time on it. One of the sources in the article discusses how she got a concussion while breaking up a fight in her classroom, but that fact is glossed over.
Instead, this article assumes that Black teachers just can't handle the work involved in becoming and staying a teacher. What an insult. I know this is not true. Some of the finest educators I taught with were Black. I honestly don't think that Black teachers are any different from White teachers, there's a problem in the education system and no one wants to face it head on.
It also promotes the harmful myth that Black teachers are more effective with Black students. This is an idea that is supported in the article by a "working draft" of a paper by the National Bureau of Education Research. A working draft means the paper has not been peer reviewed or checked for basic accuracy. If this myth was true, then all other races and ethnicities should only be taught by teachers of the same group. After over 30 years in education, I can tell you that effective teachers, regardless of race, are more effective with any student, period.
The problem is that teachers have been neutered much like police. They no longer have the right or ability to manage their classrooms so that students who want to learn can learn. Every teacher knows he/she can lose their job by merely enacting discipline in their class. Classrooms have become chaotic with kids who know they will not be held responsible for their actions by anyone.
Teacher candidates have been cheated on academics as well. Instead of coming out of teacher education programs being confident in their content knowledge, many of them are intellectually stunted. This is why the education establishment in many states wants to get rid of basic skills tests for teacher candidates.
Instead, citing the teacher shortage, the State is investigating a "streamlined" certification process. This can mean everything from offering business professionals alternative opportunities to certify, allowing conditional certification, removing graduation requirements, or providing online video courses to train teachers.
Most of the above are unacceptable. The only one that I have seen work is the idea of letting professionals from different occupations have the opportunity to certify. But that is not and should not be an easy process. Teaching does have a craft to it.
In a time when student test scores are lower than ever, the other ideas potentially subject your child to a teacher who doesn't know content or how to teach.
What an insult to the teaching profession. No other profession is willing to accept partly or poorly trained professionals in their field. There's a shortage of airline pilots. Can you imagine the FAA "streamlining" the pilot qualification process? Hey, if you were in another profession and want to be a pilot, just take a few flying lessons and you can work for Southwest. How about doctors? Would you accept a doctor who didn't really get through medical school? How about one who used to be a construction worker but went to school for a couple of years and became a physician? Bad teachers may not threaten someone's life, but they can certainly damage a child's future.
Who wants this and why?
First, I believe the State has changed what the teaching profession is all about. It used to be about giving students the academic skills they need to be successful, productive, self-sufficient adults. Now it's become a political agenda to create a willing group of leftist followers who will take the word of the government as their new dogma.
The Maryland State Department of Education has taken their eye off the main mission and instead started focusing on areas they have no business being involved in. Social work, gender ideology, and a hyper focus on racial differences have made schools practitioners of all trades and masters of none, especially not the one they should care about. Instead, they are dividing and harming our children.
I think they are doing this because they don't want to address the real problems in education. They don't want to deal with the problem of disruptive, often violent students. They don't want to admit that students need to be held to high academic standards regardless of economic, ethnic, or cultural background. All of this is too hard and doesn't generate the funds that the bureaucracy wants and demands. It's much easier to teach harmful confusion and the victimhood paradigm.
The Teachers' Unions willingly go along with this mission. The more teachers they can get "certified" the more money they make, the bigger membership they have, the more political power they wield. If those teachers are not independent thinkers who can see beyond the Union party dogma, they have a small army of acolytes who will do their political bidding.
The education bureaucracy along with unions are creating the most unprofessional generation of new teachers in the history of this nation. They are punishing our school students with bad role models and incompetent educators. It's not all of the teachers and it is not necessarily their fault. Many of them were educated in the same flawed system. Those who are extremely proficient were trained during a time when teachers were taught professionalism and academic content as well as teaching strategies.
I do believe that there is also another reason for this approach to teacher shortages.
One of the most expensive line items in any organizational budget is personnel. If the education system could get rid of at least half of the staff and replace it with Artificial Intelligence "teachers" in rooms with low level monitors, millions of dollars could be saved. No health insurance, no sick days, no holidays, no job perks and of course, no salary. The only salaries would be for classroom "facilitators" or "monitors" who would merely babysit students while they worked. As long as the Union gets membership fees from these babysitters, they will be fine with AI.
Already there are many companies in the market advertising their AI products for classrooms. The below link leads to one of them called "Hello History" which allows students to have chats with AI Generated Historical Figures. No longer would kids have to research a historical figure's thoughts and beliefs about a topic, the app will do it. One wonders, how does the AI determine what the human historical figure would say?
This is just one example.
There are many articles about the pro's and cons of AI education. But, as we have seen before, the education system doesn't always care about the cons as long as ideas meet their agenda.
As we head into 2024, it's clear that there is a problem in the education system and within the teaching profession. If we don't fix it soon, we will create a generation of functionally illiterate disconnected students.
On second thought, we may already be there.
On Student Behavior: