Betsy Newmark, herself a teacher, notes:
Teachers unions were furious at John Stossel’s ABC program, Stupid in America, that blamed them for a lot that is wrong with public education and advocated for more choice in our system. They said that he didn’t know how hard it is to teach because he’s not a teacher and that his eyes would be opened if he taught for just a week. They challenged him and he said he’d love to do it and they could pick the school. For some reason, they chose a school that has some choice in getting in and for which students have to submit a portfolio in order to attend. It sounds like a school with fewer of the problems that Stossel was highlighting in failing schools. But Stossel was game and they set up a class that he would teach. But it all fell through. That’s a shame. It would have been an interesting experiment and good television.
As Stossel writes:
Too bad. Letting cameras into schools would be a good thing. Taxpayers might finally get to see how more than $200,000 per classroom of their money was being spent.
I wonder why the union even made the challenge. I suspect the UFT didn’t expect me to say yes. When I turned out not to be easily intimidated, the teachers’ union and the government school monopoly folded. Perhaps there’s a lesson there.
But I wasn’t trying to call a bluff. I wanted to accept an invitation. I’d like 20/20’s cameras to see me struggle to be a good teacher.
I wonder what else our cameras might see.
Probably more than they would at a NASCAR race.