Several years ago, I met Ken Futernick, then a professor of education at Cal State University in Sacramento, where he was director for the Center for Teacher Quality. He shared with me a report he had written in defense of teachers. This was 2010, as the wave of teacher-bashing was beginning to reach new heights. I was immediately impressed that he looked at the obstacles thrown in the path of teachers that demoralized them. His report was called “Incompetent Teachers or Dysfunctional Systems?” It was published in the Kappan, and this was the summary:
Rather than blame teachers, we must ensure that teachers work within a highly functional system that provides meaningful evaluations, high-quality professional development, reasonable class sizes, reliable and stable leadership, and time for planning and collaboration.
I was immediately impressed by his identification with teachers and his effort to see the world through their eyes.
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