Teachers Taking a Stand

I’m a teacher.

Well, I was a teacher.

Currently I’m not in the classroom. Moving states didn’t line up with hiring & interview times so I’m currently not working. But my dear colleagues of the past six years still are. The sad thing is: I’m looking into other careers. Currently I’m studying to become A+ certified in the IT field to follow my love of technology and computers. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school myself. I lived the dream. Turned out the dream was actually a nightmare. I won’t made a giant checklist here of how the education system has been destroyed. Instead, I’m going to urge you to watch the video below, and read the comments I’m going to make about some of the speaker’s points.

The public needs to understand.

This is from the November 6th school board meeting of my former school district. Teachers turned out in good numbers to support each other and those who were going to be speaking in the public forum.

Please keep in mind the majority of things you hear in the media about teachers are false. What’s not false, however, is that people like Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, Bloomberg, Christie, and even the goddamn Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, are destroying public education. We can get into the nitty gritty details of how some other time.

Watch the video here. (I can’t embed it in my post.) Skip ahead to the 20:00 minute mark – it’s where the public forum begins. I will make notes based on the timestamp of the video.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, and I know many of you won’t, then please at least skim my notes below.

21:40 – Evaluations based on an inplausable group of checklists.
22:05 – Eliminating foreign languages, band, orchestra, and the arts for one or two reasons: a) they aren’t important enough to fund, b) they aren’t state tested subjects so why bother learning them?
24:25 – First dig at the Superintendent. Love it.
24:40 – Second dig at the Superintendent – testifying to Congress that his teachers support the evaluation system. They don’t.
29:35 – Common Core sucks creativity and discovery from schools because it can’t be measured quantitatively (and then in turn used to evaluate a teacher).
30:50 – Third dig at Superintendent. Why is a guy with so little experience in the classroom allowed to lead for us, speak for us, and make decisions for us? This is the #1 problem with education across the entire country stretching from Superintendents all the way up to Arne Duncan.
31:20 – 36:50  [This is a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT] A quick primer on Common Core standards. Hmm. Not created by people with educational backgrounds? Not voted on or approved by educators? Evaluations and “strategic compensation,”(a thinly veiled disguise of merit pay) serve no more purpose than a punitive process to score teachers. He mentions jumping through flaming hoops. He’s not far off.
33:05 – Bam. There it is. What it’s all about: the mistrust of teachers.
34:30 – The bureaucracy of education. Legislators think what works for business will work for school. Sorry. It doesn’t.
35:15 – The purpose of education. But not any more…
37:00-42:00 – This guy did a great job pointing out how the joy, the heart, of teaching has been cut out, and the overlords care not what the underlings say or feel.
47:00 – The impartiality of the process for teachers to appeal their unfair evaluations or ratings.
53:25 – Evaluated lessons must meet 61 different indicators/objectives. 61. For each lesson.
55:00 – Two hours out of the entire school year determine a teacher’s effectiveness rating. MAKES SENSE!
60:00 – 61:30 – The new Common Core standardized tests are one-size-fits-all. That means students with special needs will no longer get special accommodations. This means no read-alouds, separate quiet rooms, or level appropriate assessments. Tell me, what purpose does a 5th grader at a 3rd grade reading level who has been in special help classes all year taking the 5th grade test serve? Nothing but to embarrass and dishearten the child, and reflect poorly on any gains actually made by the teacher with the child.
65:55 – Circle back to the absurdity of lessons being required to contain 11 pages worth of objectives to be considered a good lesson. Spoken very well.
69:30 – The dog & pony show.
78:00+ – A special education teacher on how unfair it is to test special needs students the same as others, when, it comes down to it, they cannot even understand the test. Which makes them, their teacher, and their school seem a failure.
81:00 – This guy came to my school and did a special science program with our students who couldn’t go to a special nature camp. He is all kinds of awesome. An excellent perspective from a parent and a teacher in the same district.
84:20 – Finally a dig at TFA. Teach For America is a plague on education. Awesome job Mr. Savory!
89:50 – Excellent new teachers, and excellent veteran teachers are leaving.

I did. I won’t be the last.

There is plenty more of the meeting to watch, but I think this is a great place to stop. Maureen Myers exemplifies what teachers are feeling every day. The stress. The tears. The sadness. The attacks. The frustration. And the absolute worst part? It’s cheating our students out of a quality education.

86:00 – We’re behind you.

Parents, public, be behind your teachers as well.


2 thoughts on “Teachers Taking a Stand

  1. I didn’t have the heart to watch the video, but I did read your notes and feel quite certain that this particular meeting could have been held in almost any public school district in the US. I retired for more than one reason, but the primary one was because it was not fun any longer and BOTH teaching and learning should be fun. It used to be and I loved every minute of it. I have never wanted to be a “cookie cutter” and school districts today want every teacher and every student to be the same. Good luck with that if they intend to have a quality staff and students that can think on their own. Uniqueness is a gift, not a curse. Best wishes in your quest for a new career. I will not be a threat to you as you seek employment in the technology field! I have the best job in the world now anyway… I’m a grandmother.

  2. Thank you for this post! I taught for 12 years, and am no longer in the classroom. I wanted to be a teacher all my life and miss teaching kids, but I couldn’t handle the politics any longer. All of it is only hurting the kids. Good luck to your future career!
    PS- I’m a big fan of Lego a Day, so thanks for sharing your new blog!

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