"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

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Killing Public School Teachers and Walmart Elementary

Diane Ravitch's blog entry NC Teacher: “I Quit” continues to get a lot of comments. I posted How very sad. And how incredibly accurate on Tuesday with a small sampling of the comments and responses. They continue to grow...79 entries on October 31 alone. Here are a few from October 31.
...I don’t believe in what we are being forced to do instructionally. The kids are numbers and the teachers are numbers.

...we are being treated as if the only way student achievement can happen is if we are micromanaged and policed as if we’re incapable. It’s demoralizing...

Some days I miss teaching so much my heart nearly literally aches. Then the reasons I left come to mind....

I feel this way almost daily, for much the same reasons...

...with each year that passes I start to wonder why I try so hard in a system that continues to devalue my work, pigeonhole students with ridiculous tests, and subscribe to rote memorization instead of creative and critical thinking...

I am a secondary math teacher in NC and feel the exact same way….no books, no paper, no resources, no discipline, no student accountability...

...I am also planning on leaving the profession that I worked so hard to enter. It is beyond frustrating to walk into the classroom everyday knowing that the expectations placed upon the teacher are unrealistic...The demands increase, but the resources decrease...

...I plan on quitting teaching at the end of this year after only teaching for a year and a half. What i have experienced has made me hate teaching.

I haven’t resigned yet because I can’t afford to until I find a job outside education, but I will as soon as I can.

After 16 years, I will be another statistic. November 15 (is my resignation date) and only because our “kiddos” have two field trips. God Bless our students!

I taught for 34 years and loved almost every minute of it. But the last 10 years of teaching became a chore, not because I had changed or burned out, but because of the statewide testing...
Kris Nielsen, the author of Dear North Carolina Public Schools: I Quit, has his own blog, Middle Grades Mastery. I noticed this graphic he had in his blog entry A Connection is Made: Pearson, RttT, Rhee…and Me. It's a venn diagram showing connections in the "reformer's public school world."

(click the image for a closer look)
Nielsen wrote,
It’s hard to see it all in order, but I know that large companies like Pearson win contracts from state governments, who are forced by Race to the Top to take part in “student learning measurements” (a.k.a. standardized tests), and all in the name of privatizing education. If Pearson publishes the texts and the tests, and the government is forced to administer them, then ALEC and the charter movement can point to the dismal results and say that teachers and their unions are failing kids.

Teachers, like me, and students pay the price with the kind of curriculum disasters, bad working conditions, and student disenfranchisement we see today. Districts are caught in this as well, and are fronting most of the costs.
The first thing I noticed in the diagram was that public school educators, school boards, students, and parents, are nowhere to be found...and they don't fit anywhere either. Nielsen's comment about "student disenfranchisement" is telling. Students don't fit into this. The research that shows how students learn, what's missing from public education, and how we can solve some of the problems facing teachers today, doesn't fit with the "needs" of the "reformers."

It's a closed system. In the center is money, defined by Nielsen as "Education Reform: Better known as corporate takeover of schools for profit motive".

We're going to lose our public schools. The Friedmanesque design for complete privatization, extremist private sectorism, will land us with poorly funded public school systems, small "Mom and Pop schools" fighting to survive against "Walmart Elementary", "Bill Gates Middle School" and "Rupert Murdoch High School."

Guess where the hard-to-teach students, those who live in poverty, or have special needs, will go to school?

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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