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Tom Ultican became a teacher of math and physics in San Diego after a career in Silicon Valley. He is retiring. He loves teaching.
He describes with precision the people who imposed bad ideas on the schools and messed them up. Maybe they meant well but their lack of knowledge or experience in the classroom led to naive and foolish and failed interventions, like Common Core and “turnaround,” with mad firings.
“Standards based education is bad education theory. In the 1960’s Benjamin Bloom proposed mastery education in which instruction would be individualized and students would master certain skills before they moved ahead. By the 1970’s this idea had been married with B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist philosophy and teachers were given lists of discrete items for their students to master. The “reform” became derisively known as “seats and sheets.””
Tom says he is leaving the classroom. I hope there is a way to keep his kbowledge, experience, and wisdom engaged in educating the next generation.