The Washington Post

More education jargon (and what it really means)

(Clarifying that these were also written by Yatvin)

Here are 10 education terms with definitions that tell you what they really mean to people who use them in our national education conversation.

Yesterday I published the first installment of education jargon, written by Joanne Yatvin, a vet­eran public school educator, author and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is now teaching part-time at Portland State University.

Here’s more jargon from Joanne Yatvin:

*School Reform Plans: Untested notions for improving public education, many of which have been tried before with negligible results

*School Reformers : People with impressive titles who have had little or no practical experience in schools.

*Charter Schools:  Semi-private schools supported by public funds deemed superior by parents because they appear more elegant and exclusive than public schools.

*Merit Pay:  Extra money given to teachers for raising test scores.  No better teaching required.

* Online Charters: Schools that take all the money for only half the job; parents have  to get their kids to the computer and see that they do the work

*Carrots and Sticks: Rewards and punishments—mostly punishments--intended to motivate schools to produce higher student test scores

*Merit Pay:  Extra money given to teachers for raising test scores.  No better teaching required.

* All Children Can Learn:  Absolutely true, but it doesn’t tell us whether they will choose to learn what the teacher teaches or “street smarts.”

*Teachers unions: Organizations dedicated to securing overly generous salaries and benefits for teachers and to protecting incompetent teachers from dismissal

*Accountability: A government invented system that asks a great deal from public schools and gives little in return; it does not apply to charter schools.

*Data: Plentiful numbers that give very little useful information to schools or teachers.

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