This whole "firing every teacher because we don't have the balls to dig into the larger problem and this seems like the easiest thing to do" business is totally ruining my office supply buzz.
In fact, I just read through a bunch of articles and watched a series of interviews that were so maddening that I basically yelled all my points at Mr. Mimi (He is SUCH a trooper....spouses of teachers deserve medals.) for the last thirty minutes when all the man was doing was trying to make dinner for us so I could write this post. (So maybe a medal and some prize money...) Even Mini Mimi is kicking up a storm in solidarity for teachers as I think about this issue. Go baby!
Holy crap, I don't even know where to begin. There are so many parts to this puzzle that are being conveniently ignored. You all, in your infinite wisdom, have made some fantastic eomments about this issue on my Facebook fanpage.
I mean, how can these ass hats seriously fire all the teachers with a straight face and a clear conscience while conveniently ignoring the fact that the school is PLAGUED BY POVERTY. I guess you can't fire poverty, but you certainly shouldn't IGNORE IT ALL TOGETHER IN A DESPERATE DISPLAY OF DEMONIZING AND FINGER POINTING. I was watching an interview on CNN (the Anderson Cooper one...just scroll down) where this douche just dismissed poverty with a, "well, you can't do anything about that."
Cuz I know it's a tough mountain to climb to, you know, end poverty, but to ME, saying that we "can't really do anything about poverty" is just about as pathetic, sad and depressing as saying, "well, we can't do anything about this school, so let's just fire all the teachers Donald Trump style." (Bad hair and power tie not necessarily included.)
And some of the biggest arguments in favor of firing the teachers make me want to poke my eyes out with hot pokers (or poke them with hot pokers after requiring them to try to DO WHAT WE DO EVERYDAY for just one day). My mind is racing (and pregnant which translates to being unable to hold onto an intelligent thought for more than 2.5 seconds...just about the length of time before I need to pee again really), so let's take this argument by argument, shall we?
There is a low rate of academic success among the students at this particular school. (insert deep breathing here) Okay. First of all, can we just give a shout out to the bullshit that is standardized testing being used as the only measurement of student achievement? I mean, that's a whole post in and of itself. Second of all, what curriculums are being utilized? How much freedom to teachers actually have to teach in ways they believe in? Or are we telling them exactly how to do their jobs, providing them with sub-standard resources and then getting pissed when it doesn't come out all rosy?
Call me crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that with five principals in six years that the whole school culture is not a walk in the park for teachers working there day after day and year after year. Are the administrators who mandate the use of certain curricula getting fired? Are they being held accountable to provide teachers with meaningful professional development?
And again - these kids are LIVING IN POVERTY. These friends are probably coming to school hungry, dealing with ridiculous home lives, perhaps even working a job to try and help their families and we're surprised when they don't ace their math quiz????? And I hate to hate on people who are already struggling, but what about their parents? WHAT ABOUT THEIR ROLE IN THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION?
It just seems to me that a lot of people (administrators, policy makers, parents, etc) want to put in their two freaking cents when it comes to telling us how to do our jobs but then want to take no responsibility whatsoever when shit hits the educational fan. I'm just sayin....if you can't take the heat, THEN LEAVE US ALONE AND LET US DO OUR JOBS!
Am I going to blindly stick up for every single one of those teachers? I hate to say it, but the answer is no. I'm sure there are teachers in that building who suck. Just like there are workers in every job in every industry everywhere who are sub par weak links who everyone talks about but no one does anything about. Now I know it's hard to fire a teacher, and I don't even want to get started on a debate about tenure (need to keep the old heart rate under 140 for my little friend here), but it IS possible. There IS a process to do that when a teacher demonstrates an inability to be effective in the classroom. Where are the fingers pointing at the transient administration who failed to follow this explicit process? I mean, I recently wrote about the teacher evaluation process in which numerous times I witnessed administrators never actually pay attention to my lesson and then write up a report on the wrong subject...
So we're completely comfortable in ignoring the failure of this process and these individuals but have arbitrarily decided to pin 100% of the blame on teachers?
Teachers are being unreasonable when they asked for more money for additional work. I guess the school system wanted teachers to eat with the children (To increase instructional time? Make the nauseous? Increase aspirin consumption and therefore boost sales?), add minutes onto their insturctional day, spend time outside of school tutoring students and attend weekly 90 minute meeting. Can you please show me another profession in which people are asked to work more hours, take on greater responsibility and take on some seriously ridiculous odds for no extra money? It is also clear to me that the people suggesting this have never actually eaten in a school cafeteria. And to them I say, "Friend, shit ain't gettin' done at lunch. Those kids need a break!!!"
They keep pointing out the salaries of the teachers, saying that they make $72,000 a year, which judging by the facial expressions of the finger pointers, sounds ridiculous to them. They make arguments such as "teachers are putting their salaries ahead of the needs of the kids."
Um, I'm sorry, but did I miss the word VOLUNTEER somewhere in my job description? Why do people think it okay to play the altruism card here? Because if "good intentions" were the only requirement for this job, we'd all be screwed. Maybe teachers should have demanded payment in sunshine and rainbows...there might be some of that to spare.
I'm going to stop there for now because blogs are supposed to be short and this is anything but short. However, I am planning on continuing this discussion and would LOVE to hear what you all think.
Until then, my friends and loyal readers, get yourself a cocktail and pour a little out in honor of our peeps in Rhode Island.