Yes, I’m Still Heated About This Whole Rhode Island Thing…

Although I do promise to get back stories about my former friends and my love for office supplies soon, I just can’t let this one go. CAN’T.

So I guess since we are currently obsessed with treating education like it is a business, the line of argument here is that someone must be fired and since we can’t fire poverty, parents, or children, teachers are the only suckers standing.  Or at least they were standing until early last week when they were mowed down by a bunch of individuals trying desperately to scapegoat their faces off in an effort to avoid any fingers pointed in their direction.

What really bothers me the most is that Arne Duncan is applauding.  I mean, the man is actually clapping for and supporting this kind of bullshit.  The federal government.  Supporting this. Bullshit.  It makes me want to cry about the future of education in this country. 

Another hole in this line of thinkig that I failed to point out on Friday (when I ranted and raved away from my soapbox) is this:

Where the F do they think they are going to find a whole bunch of new, fabulous teachers willing to work in this school?  I mean, really.  If we’re going to go firing things and shutting this down, only to reopen them again the next year – where do we expect this group of genius new teachers to come from?  Our imaginations?  Because if I was fabulous (which I am), I would probably not touch this school with a pole lest I be pulled into this cycle of bullshit for no pay and the potential to get fired for doing the best I can with what I have and in the face of some serious leadership issues.  Oooo…let me get my resume together.  I know the news is saying that the teachers who were fired will be able to re-interview for their positions and a little less than 50% of them may be hired back but let’s be real here for a second.  Do we really think they are going to jump at this opportunity?  Do we really think that these poor men and women are going to sign up for Round Two of Total Dumbassness?  Methinks unless they can’t find a job anywhere else, they’re not going to be barking up that tree any time soon.  Which means back to Imagination Land to find teachers willing to volunteer for more work, less pay and a whole lot of scrutiny.  With a dash of job insecurity to boot.

And while I’m still ranting…Have any of these ass hats stopped to consider what this move is going to do to the children who seem to have already been through enough?  Reading about the kids who feel that Central Falls High School was a home away from home that they’ve now lost (NY Times) breaks my high heeled little heart.  I mean, where is the evidence that this type of radical move works?  Or has a positive effect on children?  I found this piece in the LA Times which talks about a group of students involved in a law suit against those who decided to unilaterally fire their teachers.  Evidently, in the end, when the smoke from all that firing had cleared, students were left with under-qualified substitute teachers who rotated through their classrooms, providing little stability and no long term learning. 

I know I should stay angry and pumped up and ready to fight the good fight for all those teachers out there.  But really? I kind of want to crawl under my soapbox and cry.

But I can’t cry.  Now is the time to be outraged.  Even Diane Ravitch, a huge mind in education who has been largely in support of business models of education and choice, has changed her tune and is outraged and discouraged.  And while I still don’t see eye to eye with her on everything…I do agree with her that it is time “re-empower the school system” which I am choosing to believe means we need to re-empower TEACHERS.

I feel like we should have a Take Back the Night rally or something.

You guys are all right – so many readers have written to me pointing out that teacher and education bloggers everywhere are infuriated by this crazy ass move, yet all we are doing is blogging.  We are all upset and I think it is time to mobilize, to motivate, TO DO SOMETHING.   I JUST WISH I KNEW WHAT IT WAS….

Any suggestions?

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  • I feel you on this issue…believe me I do. However, what gets me going is knowing that I bust my a@@ all day and Mrs. Know-it-all next to me is too busy to do any actual teaching because she's too busy complaining about the things that we don't have or can't do.
    I applaud and take my hat off to those awesome teachers who work hard and try creative ways to get their point across. I find that to be far more telling, than teachers who do the same routine year after year after year….(you get my point).
    I have no idea what kind of teachers were there at Rhode Island. I can only hope that when they evaluated them that test scores were not the sole indicator on their job status.
    I do believe that teaching is not meant for everyone. It is a calling, and if your heart is not in it, after all the necessary training, there is still no call….than let's help them find something else.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:31 am
  • I am with you..I blogged about this last week but wish we had some way to show our solidarity with these teachers. Until the federal government (the grand poobah asshat —Arne Duncan and his ass hat friends)start spending time in the average american classroom, they need to butt out, give us money to get what we need to do our jobs and leave the jusdgement and evaluating up to the professionals…our peers!
    How about a Million Teacher March on Washignton?? I am up for it!! Word would spread like wildfire on the web….whatcha think???

    March 2, 2010 at 1:31 am
  • When is that school board's next meeting? Let's organize a protest. Drive from all states to show up outside their building and say, NO MORE.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:31 am
  • We ARE limited in what we can do. However within those limits we, especially bloggers, can do a lot. It's our job to educate as many people as we can…friends, relatives, legislators, other teachers. Keep speaking out. I know it's trite, but write to your legislators. Write to the President. If Public Education is going to survive in the US then we have to be heard.

    Some resources…

    Schools Matter

    Bridging Differences

    Alfie Kohn's Home Page

    Susan Ohanian's Home Page

    Don't you dare give up…

    March 2, 2010 at 1:31 am
  • I think teachers across the NATION need to start bombarding these jack holes with massive amounts of mail, e-mail, snail mail and the like. I am all for weeding out those who went into teaching because they thought "it will be easy" and really get quality teachers, but like you said, what teacher in their right mind without being armed with massive amounts of alchol would enter this school even on a dare!

    Until those in "power" realize that teachers are not fix all people then this will continue to happen. Until the parents of these students get angry and decide to stand up and take an interest in their kid and their education then this will continue to happen.

    Until teachers quit being worried about losing their jobs when they speak out then we are all screwed.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:31 am
  • You may recall that Arne Assbag Duncan used to be our fearless leader here in ChiTown. He didn't know what the hell he was talking about then, either. Assbag.

    March 2, 2010 at 1:31 am
  • Reading your blog tonight makes me want to cry too…it is so overwhelming to fight the good fight…but I think you ended on the exact note that's been missing…something I've been thinking quite a bit about since I read it in R and K Bomer's For a Better World…for teachers to teach political action, we must be politically active. If we are going to teach the value of literacy, then we love literacy…value math, love math. If we are going to teach for social action (and I believe WE MUST) then we need to be socially active…I am thinking desperately about what that might mean
    Kelly (from M's class last semester)

    March 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm
  • I love you for posting this.

    March 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm
  • Good point on the next school committee meeting. Also, does anyone know if they're elected or appointed in RI?

    March 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm
  • In Chicago, we've been fighting the wholesale firing of teachers/staff/admin — called "turnaround" by Fed Ed Head Duncan, then our CEO (really, CEO, not superintendent).
    If you want to see how to fight back, and win, go to We saved 14 schools in the past 2 years. A lot of work, a lot of courage is required.

    March 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm
  • Looks like their next Board Meeting is March 9.

    Central Falls SD calendar.

    The district's website is

    March 3, 2010 at 4:08 am

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