"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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crisis for Seattle Teachers

Seattle Public Schools have seen some hard times this past year...here's an article, Do We Respect Seattle Teachers?, which lists some of the issues. It starts with...
Seattle’s public schools sure have been through a lot in the 2010-2011 school year. On top of the multimillion dollar scandals and the firing of superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, we saw funding cuts from the legislature that has decimated our classroom teachers and classroom supports and caused serious overcrowding at Garfield High School and other schools, which meant that some students had to go without teachers or classrooms for part of the year. At Lowell, overcrowding has brought a need for more classrooms, and I have heard that the district plans to take away space from developmental preschool and toileting facilities.
There's a school in the district in which students had to go "part of the year" without teachers or classrooms? This is how the public -- in the form of the legislature -- supports public education? Are there public funds going to charters or private schools? If so, why is money being funded away from the public schools if they need it? This is just flat out wrong, in my opinion. Why aren't the people up in arms?

Here are some other things which have happened in Seattle this year:
  • Ex-superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson tried to ram through a proposal to tie teacher evaluations to the results of standardized tests – a measure that would increase “teaching to the test.”
  • The state legislature tried to pass law after law that would erode seniority, even though teachers improve greatly over the first five years of teaching, and most especially in their first year.
  • The district laid off teachers, even though we will see an increase in enrollment next year.
  • The district also signed a deal with Teach for America to bring in teachers with five weeks of training to address “shortages,” despite the fact that there were 18,668 applications for 766 positions last year.
Yes...they're laying off teachers in Seattle and then filling classrooms with TFA bodies.

When the public schools "fail" because the state has "failed" to support them who will get blamed? Are the legislators interested in the students, or just crushing public education and public educators?

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