"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Central Falls...

Central Falls Rhode Island.

All the teachers are being fired. Fewer than half of them will be rehired for next year. This is the Duncan/Obama way of improving a school.

Where will they find the teachers willing to teach here? Who would be stupid enough to want to work at a place with that kind of job security?

Mrs. Mimi said it best (in the first of several rants on the subject), I think [Warning: When Mrs Mimi gets upset she uses language inappropriate for young children]...
Holy crap, I don't even know where to begin. There are so many parts to this puzzle that are being conveniently ignored. You all, in your infinite wisdom, have made some fantastic comments about this issue on my Facebook fanpage.

I mean, how can these ass hats seriously fire all the teachers with a straight face and a clear conscience while conveniently ignoring the fact that the school is PLAGUED BY POVERTY. I guess you can't fire poverty, but you certainly shouldn't IGNORE IT ALL TOGETHER IN A DESPERATE DISPLAY OF DEMONIZING AND FINGER POINTING. I was watching an interview on CNN (the Anderson Cooper one...just scroll down) where [someone] just dismissed poverty with a, "well, you can't do anything about that."

Really?

Cuz I know it's a tough mountain to climb to, you know, end poverty, but to ME, saying that we "can't really do anything about poverty" is just about as pathetic, sad and depressing as saying, "well, we can't do anything about this school, so let's just fire all the teachers Donald Trump style." (Bad hair and power tie not necessarily included.)

...There is a low rate of academic success among the students at this particular school....First of all, can we just give a shout out to the bullshit that is standardized testing being used as the only measurement of student achievement? I mean, that's a whole post in and of itself. Second of all, what curriculums are being utilized? How much freedom to teachers actually have to teach in ways they believe in? Or are we telling them exactly how to do their jobs, providing them with sub-standard resources and then getting pissed when it doesn't come out all rosy?

...And again - these kids are LIVING IN POVERTY. These friends are probably coming to school hungry, dealing with ridiculous home lives, perhaps even working a job to try and help their families and we're surprised when they don't ace their math quiz????? And I hate to hate on people who are already struggling, but what about their parents? WHAT ABOUT THEIR ROLE IN THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION?

It just seems to me that a lot of people (administrators, policy makers, parents, etc) want to put in their two freaking cents when it comes to telling us how to do our jobs but then want to take no responsibility whatsoever when shit hits the educational fan. I'm just sayin....if you can't take the heat, THEN LEAVE US ALONE AND LET US DO OUR JOBS!

Am I going to blindly stick up for every single one of those teachers? I hate to say it, but the answer is no. I'm sure there are teachers in that building who suck. Just like there are workers in every job in every industry everywhere who are sub par weak links who everyone talks about but no one does anything about. Now I know it's hard to fire a teacher, and I don't even want to get started on a debate about tenure (need to keep the old heart rate under 140 for my little friend here), but it IS possible. There IS a process to do that when a teacher demonstrates an inability to be effective in the classroom. Where are the fingers pointing at the transient administration who failed to follow this explicit process? I mean, I recently wrote about the teacher evaluation process in which numerous times I witnessed administrators never actually pay attention to my lesson and then write up a report on the wrong subject...

So we're completely comfortable in ignoring the failure of this process and these individuals but have arbitrarily decided to pin 100% of the blame on teachers?

Teachers are being unreasonable when they asked for more money for additional work. I guess the school system wanted teachers to eat with the children (To increase instructional time? Make them nauseous? Increase aspirin consumption and therefore boost sales?), add minutes onto their instructional day, spend time outside of school tutoring students and attend weekly 90 minute meeting. Can you please show me another profession in which people are asked to work more hours, take on greater responsibility and take on some seriously ridiculous odds for no extra money? It is also clear to me that the people suggesting this have never actually eaten in a school cafeteria. And to them I say, "Friend, shit ain't gettin' done at lunch. Those kids need a break!!!"

They keep pointing out the salaries of the teachers, saying that they make $72,000 a year, which judging by the facial expressions of the finger pointers, sounds ridiculous to them. They make arguments such as "teachers are putting their salaries ahead of the needs of the kids."

Um, I'm sorry, but did I miss the word VOLUNTEER somewhere in my job description? Why do people think it okay to play the altruism card here? Because if "good intentions" were the only requirement for this job, we'd all be screwed. Maybe teachers should have demanded payment in sunshine and rainbows...there might be some of that to spare.
Teachers are the scapegoats...

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