Quite a few teachers in the U.S. have taken offense at Time magazine’s latest cover, which claims, “It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.”
The cover art of an apple about to be smashed into smithereens by a grove, together with the words “rotten apple” on it would be offensive to any teacher who takes their job seriously.
The cover is for a story written by Haley Sweetland Edwards, who writes about a group of Silicon Valley investors who want to change the tenure laws that protect bad teachers, thereby improving the education system.
But the issue is not with the story – it is primarily with the cover art. Teacher unions acted fast and soon enough, there was a petition by the American Federation of Teachers asking for an apology from Time.
This educator will no longer be supporting Time or Time for Kids. Sick of all the "experts" screwing up education. #TIMEfail— brw (@BeekbobBob) October 28, 2014
The backlash also helped create a #TIMEfail hashtag on social media, which so far has generated as many as 21,500 tweets.
The offense is felt by educators who feel that tenure is the least of the challenges faced by the system. Hiring is just as problematic, if not more, than firing because ideal candidates are rare.
Furthermore, teachers tend to stop teaching after a few years so keeping them around long enough to be viable for tenure, which is considered a fair practice among teachers, is of a larger concern as opposed to getting rid of teachers.
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Time magazine has opened the conversation on the matter, allowing both supporters and critics to offer their opinions. New York’s educators responded by saying that, “Time magazine can correct this controversy by covering the real story of how these corporate reformers are locking in inequality in schools across the country, like New York State, which is billions of dollars behind court-ordered school funding levels, and how their agenda is wreaking havoc on public education.”
Visual art can be a very powerful tool – sometimes even more so than words, as can be seen with this case. Just like words, they can be interpreted in different ways.
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