The Complexity Myth: The Opposite of Science
This chapter focuses on teachers and their relationships with students. Education reformers espouse a belief in the central role of the teacher; presumably under the tutelage of an effective, highly-qualified teacher, students will meet proficiency standards. But reformers frequently invoke complexity-for-complexity’s sake in the assessment of teachers at the expense of an appreciation for the actual complexity of the student-teacher relationship. These impossible expectations result in shortages of qualified teachers rather than improved classroom instruction prompting desperate school districts to hire foreign teachers—sometimes illegally. Asserting that teachers should be perfect the moment they begin teaching, relating to each student in the exact way that each student needs at all times is willful ignorance. The expectation of instant perfection for teachers is an example of the kind of magical thinking characteristic of children. It is ironic that many adults engage in childish thinking on how teachers should educate children, especially given that the goal is to transition children into thinking like adults.
- 1.“The Reform Solution,” StudentsFirst, accessed July 7, 2015, https://www.studentsfirst.org/TheReformSolution.Google Scholar
- 2.Same as reference 1, further down on page.Google Scholar
- 4.Eric A. Hanushek, and Steven G. Rivkin, “How to Improve the Supply of High Quality Teachers,” Brookings Papers on Education Policy 2004 (2004): 7–25. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/pep/summary/v2004/2004.1hanushek.html.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 5.The New Teacher Project, The Irreplaceables, Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools (New York: TNTP, 2012). http://tntp.org/assets/documents/TNTP_Irreplaceables_2012.pdf.Google Scholar
- 6.John Owens, Confessions of a Bad Teacher: The Shocking Truth from the Front Lines of American Public Education (New York: Sourcebooks, 2013).Google Scholar
- 8.Cathryn Creno, “Arizona teacher shortage forces schools to go international,” Arizona Republic, October 1, 2014, http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2014/10/01/arizona-teacher-shortage-international-candidates/16519807/.
- 9.Joe Dana, “Arizona Schools: 527 job vacancies at ‘crisis’ levels,” USA Today, September 22, 2014, https://www.usatoday.com/story/joedanareports/2014/09/21/12news-education-teacher-legislature/16030749/.
- 10.Sara Neufeld, “Filipino teachers learn life lessons in Baltimore,” Baltimore Sun, August 28, 2005, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2005-08-28/news/0508280105_1_teachers-mercado-baltimore.
- 11.American Federation of Teachers, Importing Educators: Causes and Consequences of International Teacher Recruitment (Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers, 2009). http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/importingeducators0609.pdf.Google Scholar
- 12.Liz Austin, “Federal authorities crack teacher smuggling ring,” Associated Press, Plainview Daily Herald, October 22, 2004, accessed May 1, 2018, https://www.myplainview.com/news/article/Authorities-say-ring-was-smuggling-teachers-into-8893442.php.
- 13.Louie Gilot, “2 accused in teacher smuggling ring plead guilty,” El Paso Times, January 5, 2008, https://www.alipac.us/f12/tx-2-accusedteacher-smuggling-plead-guilty-90980/.
- 14.Southern Poverty Law Center, “Mairi Nunag-Tanedo et al. v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board et al., accessed May 1, 2018, http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/case-docket/mairi-nunag-tanedo-et-al-v-east-baton-rouge-parish-school-board-et-al.
- 15.Diana Samuels, “Filipino teachers win $4.5 million jury verdict, claim they were forced into ‘exploitative contracts’,” Times-Picayune, December 18, 2012, http://www.nola.com/news/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2012/12/filipino_teachers_win_45_milli.html.
- 16.Robert Samuels, “Prince George’s owes foreign teachers millions, federal investigation finds,” Washington Post, April 4, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/federal-investigation-pr-georges-owes-foreign-teachersmillions/2011/04/04/AFucbodC_story.html.
- 17.Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Teachers Without Borders? The Hidden consequences of International Teachers in U. S. Schools (New York: Teachers College Press, 2013).Google Scholar
- 18.Erica L. Green, “For children of Filipino teachers, an uncertain future,” Baltimore Sun, May 7, 2012, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-05-07/news/bs-md-ci-filipino-teacher-students-20120430_1_filipino-teachers-immigrant-teachers-work-visas.
- 19.Michelle Rhee, Radical: Fighting to Put Students First (New York: Harper, 2013).Google Scholar