"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, October 30, 2012

How very sad. And how incredibly accurate.

Check out the latest cheating scandal in California.

State strips 23 schools of API rankings for cheating
The API is a scale by which schools are officially measured in California. Top rankings are celebrated and contribute to high property values. Low scores can label schools as failures and trigger penalties. The number of schools with invalidated test scores remains relatively small: about two dozen each of the last three years in a state with more than 10,000 schools. Some teachers may have thought they were within bounds when in fact they weren't.
Teachers in LA know that their results will be used to pillory them in the news media. The LA Times has no qualms against publishing teacher rankings based on test scores.

A question I keep asking over and over again...who is going to be left teaching when we have destroyed public education and public school teachers? Fewer and fewer it seems...the self-fulfilling prophecy is coming true. Beat up teachers and public schools enough and fewer young people will  decide to spend their careers helping the next generation learn. Why put yourself on the line for the bludgeoning that public school teachers get daily when you could get more money, have better job security, and likely do more good somewhere else?

Indiana teacher colleges see drop in applications; legislature blamed
A Journal and Courier survey found enrollment at Purdue’s College of Education has fallen 23 percent over the past five years, while Ball State’s Teachers College has seen a 32 percent decrease in applications since 2008. Indiana University’s School of Education has seen a 20 percent drop in applications since 2008, and enrollment there is down 11 percent from last year.
My guess is that this is happening all over the country. Fewer new teachers, coupled with the fact that more and more teachers are leaving the profession than ever before, there's going to be a shortage...especially in areas where students are difficult to teach...special education and high poverty areas.
The decline in applications stems in large part from a wave of education changes that emerged from the 2011 Legislature. Their goal is to increase teacher and school accountability, but many teachers feel they’ve come under fire unfairly and are being blamed for failing schools. The political rhetoric that has polarized both sides of the education overhaul arguments hasn’t helped.

“Our biggest critics are the ones who are making the most sweeping statements about failing schools, and they’re the very same ones saying what we need to do to improve schools in this country is attract the best and brightest,” said IU Dean of Education Gerardo Gonzales. “I don’t think they understand the decisions they’re making are having the reverse effect.”
Diane Ravitch posted a letter from a teacher in North Carolina who quit (and I posted more information about teachers leaving the profession). It's interesting to read the growing number of comments from teachers all over the country who are expressing understanding and empathy with the teacher who quit. My comment is first...
I retired early because I was tired of the constant focus on the test…and the redirection of funds for public education towards test prep. With 35 years and a masters degree I was too expensive to keep. My school system cut the positions of reading specialists (mine) and offered an incentive for retirement to people at the top of the scale. I left teaching four years before I had planned…the incentives, plus the focus on testing instead of education was enough to drive me out.

A year later my school closed…the cuts in education funding by the state of Indiana, plus mismanagement by the administration has ended with the closure of several schools in our district. Children have been shuffled around to other places…and will be again with the next round of closings
Here are some more...there are dozens!
Wow! What a sad commentary on teaching today. So many of us are on autopilot and in survival mode.

Teachers are used and abused, and it’s a disgrace that it’s legal.

This is why I left my classroom in NC 10 years ago!!! Sounds like nothing has changed!!

It sounds exactly like the public school in NE Pa.

I am exhausted and it isn’t even November. There is a breaking point for all of us and for the entire system. They are destroying our public school system.

I am in North Carolina. 6th year teacher, and so tired, always tired, I just want to teach my students.

I am a 5th year teacher and I totally agree with you. I am responsible for delivering all subjects and with the New Common Core implementation across the board, talk about exhausted.

This letter puts into words the frustration, sadness, and growing emotional and physical anxiety that I am feeling every day.

How sad. How very sad. And how incredibly accurate.

...teachers are overworked, underpaid, micromanaged, made to feel less than a licensed professional, etc. We get it.

This letter expresses exactly how I feel this year with my teaching. Two years ago things were bad, last year they were awful, this year they are beyond horrible.

I am feeling the same as the teachers above.

I have written this letter in my head so many times, but somehow I keep coming back for one more year.

Thank you for putting the collective pain, sadness, frustration, and helpless feelings many teachers have today into words. I’ve been a public high school teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools for over 25 years, and this is the worst year ever. We work so hard, and this assassination of our profession and our schools by our own government is shameful.

I am also a teacher who left the field in disgust.

I most relate to the feeling of being complicit in a system that is doing more harm than good to both students and teachers. Yes, I may make a difference in the lives of some of my students, but there’s a price to pay. Any teacher who cares and is trying to deal with this system is paying dearly indeed!

I agree with everything u said!! it is so sad, but true-what will it take to save the teachers who really do care and love teaching….

I don’t know of a single teacher here who is happy.

I taught in Indiana public elementary schools for 10 years. I have Associates, Bachelors and Masters degrees and just a few months ago I gave it all up....I was grouchy, stressed out and hard to be around....I quit! I don’t miss it and I’ve never looked back.

Well said, VERY well said…That is why I, an innovative elementary principal, took early retirement. Sick of having non-educators or jocks tell me what they know about teaching reading to young children or how to make math exciting. What they know I learned in the FIRST of my four degrees and I could put that information in my center desk drawer and not use it in the 21st Century.

I imagine a lot of teachers wish they could write similar letters. It’s a shame that our country has let the educational system crumble to ruins. Teachers need our support. They need to be given the tools they need to properly educate our children. Our teachers need to be appreciated and valued for their efforts and paid fair wages for their time. The children are our future and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that our children learn, grow and blossom into educated, compassionate, well rounded, responsible, productive members of our society.

The pain I feel knowing that I will be forced to quit teaching because politicians have destroyed our educational system is devastating. I do not know how long I will be able to hang on.

I know too many educators who want to retire just to get away from the madness of testing in our schools. “Teachers’ working conditions are children’s learning conditions.”
You might also be interested in:

Teachers who quit
Teachers know what students need, but they're being forced to do things they know are pedagogically wrong in order to keep their jobs.

Who will teach the children?
...the opportunities for the personal rewards that keep most teachers in the classroom are being stolen by the crunch of curriculum cramming and teaching to tests. The joy and freedom of teaching simply no longer exist.

Who Will Staff Tomorrow's Schools?
It has become harder and harder to teach. With the testing insanity growing to include pay based on test scores, teachers are going to avoid teaching hard to educate children. The gaps between rich and poor will grow.

Who Will Staff Tomorrow's Schools? Part 2
A shrinking job market, poor advancement, dependence on student test scores for evaluations, lowered status, lack of professional decision making opportunities, and lack of public support are all making the prospect of a career in education less appealing. The best and the brightest will, for the most part, look elsewhere for career opportunities. The teachers who remain will be overburdened with large class sizes, and hard-to-teach students. The constant attack on public education, public school teachers and their unions, has had a self-fulfilling effect on the profession.

Help Wanted
How will we get the best and the brightest when we, as a nation, tell our children that being a teacher is not worthy of decent working conditions? Which best and brightest scientist will give up a job in the private sector for the frustrations and the disrespect that accompany teaching chemistry or physics to teenagers? Which best and brightest journalist will give up the success and stability of a steady job at a magazine or newspaper for the day to day struggle of trying to teach 8 year olds to read and write...knowing that their job depends on the ability of the children to parrot back the right answers on a multiple choice test? Who is going to choose special education when their job depends on student test scores? Who is going to choose to teach in high poverty areas where their job depends on how children who are hungry, or tired, or living on the street do on a test?

Shocking News -- Teacher Morale Lowest it's been in Decades
Teachers are being forced to teach a certain way and then punished when it doesn't work. With no say in what or how to teach is it any wonder that teacher morale is low?

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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1 comment:

3diassociates said...

A very powerful and very moving post. Much appreciated.
G