The Education Intelligence Agency is proud to present the 2005 Public Education Quotes of the Year, in countdown order. Enjoy!
10. "After all these years, I’m sorry to say my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline."
— Roy F. Baumeister, professor in the department of psychology at Florida State University. (January 25 Los Angeles Times)
9. "When the students don’t learn, the school must change."
— Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, addressing the National Governors Association. (February 27 Los Angeles Times)
8. "If the United States is to preserve our system of free public schools, teacher unions are going to have to stop accepting the status quo and making excuses for the poor performance of our students."
— Morty Rosenfeld, member of the NEA New York board of directors. (October 17 Teacher Talk)
7. "Kids do not do better learning math themselves. There’s a reason we go to school, which is that there’s someone smarter than us with something to teach us."
— High school student Jim Munch, relating his battle against his school’s constructivist math program. (November 9 New York Times)
6. "It was negotiated by the MEA [Maine Education Association] and governor’s office over the last four months. We’re all just learning about it."
— Maine State Senator Libby Mitchell (D-Kennebec), chairwoman of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, reacting to Gov. John Baldacci’s plan to reduce graduation standards and pay $17 million to teachers working on the state’s assessment program. (April 7 Lincoln County News)
5. "We might rank in the top half in some areas, but we’re not in the top of the top half."
— Nancy Henderson, president of the Jefferson County Education Association (Colorado), expressing distress over teacher salaries in her district. (March 31 Canyon Courier)
4. "Please sign your letters as an individual or representative of a community group, not as a member of GAE."
— Jonathan Goldman, director of communications and marketing for the Georgia Association of Educators, advising GAE members on how to respond to a column by Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jim Wooten on a bill to provide state-funded liability insurance to teachers. GAE was opposed to the bill.
3. "There are better ways for me to spend my hours than to deal with an employee who files constant grievances and objects to basic rules."
— American Federation of Teachers Local 212 Executive Vice President Charlie Dee, on a lawsuit filed against his union by employee Mary Tews. Local 212 fired Tews in 2003, was ordered by an arbitrator to rehire her with back pay, then, Tews alleges, cut her pay and hours and tried to force her out. (May 25 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
2. "While building efficiencies of scale might fit a sound business model, it is the antithesis of sound educational practice."
— Hawaii State Teachers Association Vice President Joan Lewis. (November 1 Honolulu Advertiser)
1. "All we want to do is learn. We can’t learn if we don’t got teachers."
— Raquel Brito, one of an estimated 900 students who walked out of class in the East Side Union High School District in San Jose, California, to protest layoff notices sent to district teachers. (March 23 San Jose Mercury News)
And a special honorable mention to…
"I’m allergic to onions and I wouldn’t walk under an onion bridge."
— An NEA delegate debating New Business Item 91 at the union’s Representative Assembly on July 6.