CT Makes New Strides in Grittology (by Peter Greene)

Fellow Pro-public education blogger Peter Greene’s blog is called CURMUDGUCATION.  His tag line is, “A grumpy old teacher trying to keep up the good classroom fight in the new age of reformy stuff.”   He may claim to be “grumpy and old” but his writing and observations are brilliant.   You can find more of his posts at:  http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/.

In his recent piece entitled, CT Makes New Strides in Grittology, Greene writes,

Sandwiched in the midst of a puff piece about Connecticut’s new elite cadre of Common Core teacher shills is this important paragraph:

Getting on the list was competitive. According to a news release from the Department of Education, teachers “were chosen through a competitive statewide application on the basis of their content knowledge, grit, and understanding of the Common Core State Standards. Each educator demonstrated the commitment and ability to “scale their impact” beyond their classroom.”

I’m going to let the confusing quotation marks slide and focus in on the most exciting news just kind of dropped into this PR bonanza–

…chosen through a competitive statewide application on the basis of their content knowledge, grit, and understanding …

You see?!! The State of Connecticut knows how to measure grit!!!!

I am sure that all of us, all around the country, want to know how this is done. I am sure that phones are ringing off the hook in CT DOE offices as other educational thought leaders call to ask for the secret of grittological measurements.

Was it a physical test? Did they make teachers do the worm for a thousand yards? Did they make teachers peel onions and sing “memories” while watching pictures of sad puppies, all without crying? Did they have to compete in three-armed wheelchair races? Were they required to complete a season of the Amazing Race as participants? Did they have to stand stock still while being pelted with medium-sized canteloupes?

Or perhaps it was a study of their personal history. We know that grittologists have determined that people who have tended not to quit things in the past probably won’t quit things in the future (who knew?) So maybe the state looked for people who didn’t quit things, like lifelong members of the Columbia Record Club or folks who actually finished an unfinishable sundae or who stayed in a bad marriage. Maybe the state only accepted cancer survivors or acid reflux sufferers or folks with chronic halitosis.

Or maybe Connecticut has a special computerized grit test. Take a PARCC exam on a computer with a bad internet connection or using a keyboard on which some eighth grader has previously moved around all the keys. Create a word document on a computer running Windows 3.0– no swearing at the blue screen of death. Play HALO with a six-year-old on your team. Is there a grit praxis?

Or maybe grit is linked to the third item on the list– understanding of the Common Core State Standards. Maybe you have to explain the CCSS as interpreted and implemented by the CT DOE without actually laughing out loud or sneezing the word “bullshit.” Or maybe they had to convince someone that they really are excited to attend something called “Teachfest” being run by a company called “LearnZillion” (what a dumb name choice– if people aren’t calling those guys “Learnzilla” behind their backs I will eat my copy of the standards).

All I can say is– the state of CT has a goldmine here. If they are able to test teachers for grit, they need to monetize that and franchise the process, because this is a mine of inexhaustible riches. This will make a far better monetary stream than the business of having teachers employed by public schools create lessons and materials for a for-profit company (maybe grit has something to do with easily silenced scruples).

Plus, CT has the jump by having a Dream Team of 97 highly grittified teachers, which means they can be dispatched on all sort of tough commando raids. I can see the T-Shirts now– a Sylvester Stallone looking guy with the words “We Are Here To Punch Dumb in the Face!”

You know, my uncle taught history in Connecticut for fifty years, and was much-beloved in his district. It was actually a bit of a surprise when he retired. I suppose he didn’t have enough grit for Connecticut.

  • henryberry

    In the education reformist jargon, “grit” means willingness to mindlessly facilitate and implement the Common Core agenda; “grit” means gritting one’s teeth in the face of a massive, epochal experiment in social engineering by politicians and bureaucrats who have failed at about everything and are desperately hoping that no one notices and they will be lauded for bringing about something new and promising (i. e., deceptive) while padding their purses as they go.

    (I liked the nonsensical “scale their impact beyond their classroom” in the quote above. No one can say these montebanks don’t think big. They’re delusionally hoping to make an impression for the ages. Forget that they can’t think about or manage anything in a practical, relevant way.)

    • JMC

      They will be snitches and scabs who rat on their colleagues who don’t drink the kool-aid.

      • henryberry

        OK – but the idea of the Common Core crowd is to prevent ones not willing to drink the kool-aid from entering into their privileged, cushy corridors. This is the reason for the imbecilic, idiosyncratic, nonsensical criteria for judging who is fit to join them. The criteria have at best a faint, remote link to concepts of training, professionalism, or classroom experience.

        • JMC

          I couldn’t agree more!

  • R.L.

    Grit? Did any teachers from Bulkeley, Weaver, the PUB, Willimantic HS, What’s left of the Bridgeport Public High Schools,.., New London,…….., get recruited? You may find just a little grit in some of these environments.