I think it’s been a very sad week for education. We began the week with all sorts of excitement over the highly-promoted Education Nation over on NBC. How naive…
I sit here blogging now, thinking back on last Saturday afternoon. I had worked myself into a frenzy of DVR madness as I attempted to record every last minute.
I was ready to soak up all the dialogue.
I was ready to see teachers take a stand.
I was ready to see complicated issues tackled…things like the impact of poverty, standardized testing, RTTT, the common core standards, accountability, teacher evaluations…holding my breath with nerdy anticipation.
I was foolish.
How could I not smell the dog and pony show a mile away?
Then, a lovely reader directed my attention to the absolute ridiculousness that is happening in the LA Times. I mean, how many times can it be said that using test scores to measure the overall effectiveness of a teacher makes about as much sense as tits on a bull? (Pardon the expression, but honestly? At this point, there’s no other way to slice it. It’s just ridiculous and has to stop.)
No sooner did I step down off my soap box, fresh from my latest rant on the bullsh*t that is publicly humiliating teachers and calling it reform, then I found out that a teacher mentioned in this LA Times assault on teachers committed suicide.
Now, we don’t know if this particular gentleman had other problems in his life, however, I am fairly certain that being publicly labeled as “ineffective” did absolutely nothing to help. I am sick over this. Sick. First of all, using test scores alone to label teaching in some of the hardest school districts as “ineffective” without considering any other contextual factors is irresponsible and disgusting. Tell me, HOW does this type of behavior help teachers? Help children? Help anyone but the people trying to sell newspapers?
So ENOUGH with the public shaming of teachers. Hard working teachers are the LAST people who should be ashamed over the state of our public schools. And in this situation, we have NOTHING to be ashamed about. If I see one more finger pointed at us, I’m telling you, I’m going to reach across the internet and Snap. It. Off.
This is absolutely horrifying and disgusting. I'm only in my 5th year of teaching and while I love it and the children, I despise the politics behind it. I'm beginning to wonder who will want to become a teacher in the future generations if this is how we are going to start treating the profession and those in the classroom shaping the next generation. It's a dangerous road to start going down.
ed notes online
The Real Reformers are fighting back.
The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman Web Site
Watch the trailer and Will the Real Reformers Please Stand Up!
I'm with you… also SICK over it. I spent more than 7 hours grading my students' papers yesterday. Last Sunday I was at a local upscale fast food restaurant (no waiters; free refills on coke) grading papers for six hours. About halfway through my grading marathon, a couple of women sat at the table behind me and their conversation turned to how overpaid teachers are for the work they do– only six hours a day, and the whole summer off, yet teachers are always complaining; Michelle Rhee got it right, etc. etc., and it was ALL I COULD DO to keep my head from spinning around Exorcist-style and vomiting the bile of my anger all over their flatbread sandwiches.
This blame-the-teacher has GOT to stop. Who do they think is waiting in the wings to do it better?
A really great response to all of the madness …
I know…it's depressing. I'm going to go eat some chocolate.
Hey LA, don't you have enough stoned movie stars avoiding jailtime to write about, rather than the hardworking, struggling teachers in your failing public school system (not to even mention the percentage you've laid off because you can't manage your budget… I wonder who's going to suffer there)?
This is the worst kind of panic-inducing sensationalism (barely) masquerading as journalism. Shame on this rag! I hope the communities of these abused teachers will come to bat for them.
I am very fortunate to work in an affluent community, where the pressure to perform is an ever-present element (well, fortunate in the sense that we don't have to worry about test scores). Here's what the people who want to equate test scores with teacher performance don't get: If I were on the market for a teaching job today, I would rather take a couple of burger flipping gigs before I went to work for an under-performing school. It wouldn't matter how good a teacher I am – just like it wouldn't matter how good a doctor I was if the patient didn't follow my directions. The end result is the same.
I hear your frustration. I also think that using standardized test scores to measure overall effectiveness of a teacher makes no sense. In fact, I dont think standardized test scores as a means of measurement for students even makes total sense! I am looking forward to beginning my first year of teaching soon and the politics of education are a big turn off. The joy and fulfillment of being successful will make it all worth it… depending on whose standards successful we are going by!