Message to the No Nonsense Nurturers: “Any idiot can threaten, punish, lather, rinse, repeat. It’s just that that’s not education.”
Revisiting a MEW post from 2013 and Bill Gates’ Measures of Effective Teaching:
Bill Gates is determined to fix education and knows which tool to use to do it – the camera. In this interview with Fast Company he talks about expanding his three year pilot program, Measures of Effective Teaching, in which teachers were filmed in the classroom as a means of providing “feedback” on their teaching skills, to districts across the country. The program filmed 3000 teachers in seven districts as part of a teaching evaluation system that combines test scores, student evaluations, and classroom assessments, where teachers are graded by impartial observers.
What do you think teachers? Has he found the magic “new” tool to evaluate your work? Have none of you been observed or critiqued in the classroom as part of your evaluation?
Fast forward to 2015 and review how Gates’ ideas are playing out in the public schools. From *I Am Not Tom Brady*:
*Give him a warning,* said the voice through the earpiece I was wearing. I did as instructed, speaking in the emotionless monotone I’d been coached to use. But the student, a sixth grader with some impulsivity issues and whose trust I’d spent months working to gain, was excited and spoke out of turn again. *Tell him he has a detention,* my earpiece commanded. At which point the boy stood up and pointed to the back of the room, where the three classroom *coaches* huddled around a walkie talkie. *Miss: don’t listen to them! You be you. Talk to me! I’m a person! Be a person, Miss. Be you!*
Last year, my school contracted with the Center for Transformational Training or CT3 to train teachers using an approach called No Nonsense Nurturing. It was supposed to make us more effective instructors by providing *immediate, non-distracting feedback to teachers using wireless technology.* In other words, earpieces and walkie talkies. I wore a bug in my ear. I didn’t have a mouthpiece. Meanwhile an official No Nonsense Nurturer, along with the school’s first year assistant principal and first year behavior intervention coach, controlled me remotely from the corner of the room where they shared a walkie talkie. I referred to the CT3 training as C-3PO after the Star Wars robot, but C-3PO actually had more personality than we were allowed. The robot also spoke his mind.
No Nonsense Nurturing™
If you’re not familiar with No Nonsense Nurturing or NNN, let’s just say that there is more nonsense than nurturing. The approach starts from the view that urban students, like my Lawrence, MA middle schoolers, benefit from a robotic style of teaching that treats, and disciplines, all students the same. This translated into the specific instruction that forbade us from speaking to our students in full sentences. Instead, we were to communicate with them using precise directions. As my students entered the room, I was supposed to say: *In seats, zero talking, page 6 questions, 1-4.* But I don’t even talk to my dog like that. Constant narration of what the students are doing is also key to the NNN teaching style. *Noel is is finishing question 3. Marjorie is sitting silently. Alfredo is on page 6.*
Tell them you are like Tom Brady*
The students were also perplexed by my new earpiece accessory. *Um, Miss, what’s that in your ear?* they asked. I looked over to the three adults in the far back corner of the room for my scripted answer. *Tell them you are like Tom Brady. Tom Brady wears an earpiece to be coached remotely and so do you,* was the response. I never would have said that, and mumbled instead: *But I’m not Tom Brady. No I’m Tom Brady.* The students, who could hear me, but not what I was hearing through my earpiece, were more confused than ever. At which point I explained to them that I was being trained by the people in the corner who were telling me what to say via their walkie talkie. I’m all for transparency and simple answers to simple questions.
What kind of message does this send to students? I wondered. That their teachers are so incompetent that they need an ear piece and 3 people sharing a walkie talkie in the corner to tell them what to say?
You can read the rest of the article here about the No Nonsense Nuturers directing a trained teacher on how to teach, what to say, how to react and what happens when the teacher doesn’t live up to the expectations of the NNNs. (Spoiler Alert: She’s not their type). Why bother going to college to learn how to teach when No Nonsense Nuturers are available to direct your thoughts and speech? How much would such a program cost a school district? From $566,000 For NNN (No Nonsense Nuturer) (Shelby County Tennessee):
I finally found some website information on the new 23 member Shelby County School Board, some 234 pages at http://www.scsk12.org/SCS/pages/brdtoc.html. Click on the December 20, 2011 meeting agenda.
The agenda of the December 20, 2011 meeting is 234 pages long. I have not read it all but here is one interesting item I found on page 140. The MCS is recommending that we spend $566,000.00 for the Center for Transformative Teacher Training to train all 7000 teachers in Memphis city Schools on the No-Nonsense Nuturer (NNN) Classroom Management/Culture Program. The Second goal of the work is to take a deeper look at the impact of the NNN Classroom Culture Program. This second proposal focuses on the development of schoolwide culture plans, training staff on the concepts of No-Nonsense Nurturer and training coaches to become Real Time Teacher Coaches to improve the implementation of No-Nonsense Nurturer (NNN) in five Memphis Schools. According to a board member, this proposal passed.
Now maybe this is a great program. Who knows? I doubt if the board knows for sure. I assume this is probably Bill and Melinda Gates money but I wonder if any of the 23 members really know what this program is about and if it is worth the over half million dollar cost. Sounds to me like basic training at Fort Jackson or Camp Lejeune would do just as well. Or how about the old standby “TOUGH LOVE”.
Here is information on how much Oakland (CA) Unified District paid The Center for Transformative Teacher Training. At the end of the contract, it mentions other school districts who have contracted with The Center:
The connection to Gates with the Center for Transformative Teacher Training (CTTT) can be found at the organization’s website:
Here is the client list of CTTT which includes The Gates Foundation, charter school organizations, TFA and a few large public school districts:
Is Gates enabling an organization such as the New Teacher Center to support and expand his vision set forth in Measuring Teacher Effectiveness program which cost $5 billion? What was the goal for Gates’ program?
“We need a system that helps all our teachers be as good as the best.”
Here’s the kicker. The ‘we’ who decides what the system looks like and the specifics are not the taxpayers/legislators who pay for the system that’s eventually put into place. What a good teacher looks like is up to the likes of the No Nonsense Nuturers. It’s up to the private NGOs who are determining how teachers teach, what they teach and the teacher evaluations. The readers of *I Am Not Tom Brady* aren’t enamored of this private takeover of public education:
My first thoughts were of the Hitler Youth and Mao’s Little Red Guard that devastated China in every way possible during his Cultural Revolution. And many outside of China don’t realize that even Chiang Kai-shek, the guy the US supported for decades, had a movement called the Chinese Youth League that was modeled after the Nazi youth movement. I read about it in the book “The China Mirage” by James Bradley.
Let’s turn children into psychopaths who will be totally obedient to the oligarchs and the state that they own—children who will turn on their own parents and spy on everyone else.
I went away, had a drink (no, too early for the wine box) and thought a bit more about why this is so horrifying: choice.
Choosey parents choose choice in charters, right? So in theory, a parent might choose KIPP Obedience Schools for their children, which would be their choice. But this is the public school system, the one based on trained teachers with a degree in education, with courses in child development and psychology , back up by real research by real researchers. How is it lawful to impose this NNN on kids and parents who have not signed up for experimental indoctrination? Why are my tax dollars being spent by the state receiver for this?
Welcome to the oligarchy and the treatment of students and teachers as human capital to fulfill the goals of the NGOs. How do you like the education reform blueprint that the NGOs have prepared for public education?:
- Common standards
- Common assessments
- Common teacher evaluations
- No accountability
- No public control
(The title 0f this article is taken from a reader’s comment)