"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, June 25, 2011

Teachers Need to Lead

Should teachers forego politics? Do either of the two major political parties represent the interests of public education?

Bob Sikes has an interesting take on the direction public education is going.
Teachers Need to Take the Lead and Not Yield the Future of Education to Either Political Party
Posted on March 14, 2011 by Bob Sikes
The following is a Facebook post I made yesterday. Its titled, Understanding What You are Really Choosing in Market Based Reform. Some additional comments follow.
"My conservative friends who believe in market-based education reform need to understand what they are choosing. The privatization movement will effectively change the teaching profession from one of public service to one not unlike that of a door-to-door salesman. For over 200 years, America’s teachers have patiently applied their efforts and time to any child without prejudice to their socio-economic status. Market-based reform changes that dynamic. Strict adherence to a pay-for-performance plan will force a teacher to themselves choose where and whom they will be teaching. Like a door-to-door Fuller Brush salesman, teachers will need to reach their quota if they will want to maintain a livelihood in the profession. Worse, the system forces teachers to change their motivations. It will be all about the child passing a test and no longer about the unprecedented nurturing thats been happening in our nations classrooms since well before the Civil War."
During the current four pronged assault on teachers by Florida’s Republican legislators, conservatives don’t want to consider what the consequences of the current path. We are witnessing what I characterize as “Teacher derangement Syndrome,” of which we are not blameless. The hyper-partisan nature of the NEA and AFT over the last decade has changed our image from one of a serious profession to one who is simply an operative arm of the Democrat party. Satirically I wrote a few days ago that many say we are not to be listened to any longer. We’re in a union.
Still this doesn’t excuse away Republican hyper-partisanship either. Extremism begets extremism. [It's] easy to illustrate a parallel between the manner Democrats legislated during the first two years of the Obama presidency [and] the current Wisconsin-Florida GOP thuggery.
Its time for teachers to take the high road and to move toward separating ourselves from blood sport politics like this. Neither political party is able to get beyond acting in their own self interest. We need to be the shepherds of our schools and the protectors of the teacher-student relationship.
Do we rise above or do we continue to try to influence politics in America?
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