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Instructional Coaching with the End in Mind 2

professionals today. Also increasingly, teachers are bearing the brunt of complaints and issues about education, with the focus that improving teaching practices would automatically increase student learning and erase all the educational ills accumu-lated over decades. The list of ills includes things such as a shortage of funding, elimination of programs, overcrowded classrooms, outdated cur-riculum or technology, and many other political and social issues over which a teacher has no control.

Education as a topic is bandied about among media pundits and politicians, lawmakers and churchgoers, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. The complaints inevitably focus on teachers’ abilities to gain student achievement as a general proposi-tion, regardless of the incredibly varied and jumbled circumstances in which teachers function.

The March 15, 2010 issue of Newsweek sported on its cover a blackboard on which was written a statement repeated over and over, as though punish-ment for a recalcitrant student, “We must fre bad teachers.” The issue itself featured several articles by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert. One article’s title, “Why We Can’t Get Rid of Failing Teachers,” echoed the repeated sentence on the cover, com-plete with a graphic of a large, circled letter “F.” Several other articles in the magazine provided a variation.

The Newsweek authors’ primary focus was on the practice of tenure, and they endeavored to make the case that incompetence among teachers was rampant, yet districts were helpless in the face of strong teacher unions to fre them, even

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