"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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mad as Hell...

The current legislative session in Indiana has cut teachers collective bargaining rights, begun a merit pay scheme based on student test scores, taken money from public schools to pay for school vouchers and increased the number of charter schools which will eventually open in the state.

Voucher programs have not been shown to increase student achievement. Merit pay and basing teacher evaluations on student test scores is inaccurate. Charter schools have not done better than regular public schools, and collective bargaining is not the cause of the shortfall in Indiana's budget.

The purpose for all these new laws in Indiana is, plain and simple, to break the Indiana State Teachers Association and push Indiana's schools one step closer to corporatization and privatization. The same thing is happening all over the country...in places like Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and New Jersey.

Teachers are angry...and Angela Beeley, an English teacher at Alta Loma (California) High School has written to explain why.

In the Education Week article titled, This Teacher is Mad as Hell, Ms. Beeley wrote,
I am a public school teacher and a member of a union. Contrary to popular political rhetoric at play in Wisconsin and elsewhere, I am not, however, a leech on society, nor am I a lazy incompetent who shows up to collect a paycheck, not caring whether my students learn.
Cutting teachers salaries won't balance the budgets of the states. Taking away our collective bargaining rights won't reduce the deficits, especially when at the same time, states are granting huge tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations.
The outcry against unions and collective bargaining is a complete red herring. The unspoken message is: Let’s make the average American forget that Wall Street crooks set up our economy for a meltdown and that, not only are they not in jail, they made money on the deal. Let’s make them forget that the richest 400 people in the United States make more than the entire bottom half of all earners. Let’s hide the fact that CEOs today make several hundred times what their employees make, rather than the 20 to 30 times more they used to earn. Let’s snicker as the workers rip each other’s throats out, scrabbling for the privilege of going to the doctor when they’re sick.
Where are new teachers going to come from?
I love my students, but who on earth does the public—which is accepting these political shenanigans— think will choose to become a teacher now? No one in his or her right mind would go into this profession. After seeing teachers beaten up in the media for our society’s failings and being portrayed by our elected officials as lazy fat cats when we are working our butts off to having to “teach” to a test, no student with two brain cells to rub together is going to want to become a teacher. I would challenge anyone—including Wisconsin’s governor—who thinks that teaching requires little effort, no summer break, or no decent salary to spend a year in the classroom. Get in there, Governor Walker. You wouldn’t last a week.
Read more about it...

Charters

Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States

Charter School Study Shows No Significant Overall Impacts on Achievement

Obama's Charter Policy Built on "Sketchy Evidence"

Merit Pay

Thoughts on the Failure of Merit Pay

Teacher performance pay alone does not raise student test scores - New Vanderbilt study finds

Teacher bonuses not linked to better student performance, study finds

Vouchers

Updated: Vouchers Are a Failure, But That’s Not the Point

Senate Should Reject Calls To Revive Failed D.C. School Voucher Program, Says Americans United

Failed D.C. School Voucher Program Should Be Abandoned

Milwaukee’s school voucher scam

Vouchers Make a Comeback, But Why?

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