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Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin's Journal
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin's Journal
May 21, 2015

Letter from a teacher - 10 REASONS IíM WALKING OUT

My sister who teaches at the Quincy school district shared this on Facebook.

That have nothing to do with teacher pay

By Jon McClintick, National Board Certified Teacher
Othello High School

The news has been reporting about local teacher unions staging one-day walkouts due to “funding.” The reports generally explain that teachers want more pay from the state legislator, right before moving to Steve with the weather.
The problem is, there is so much wrong right now with Washington State Public Education that the legislature in Olympia has caused, that to even bring up teacher pay misses the point! Our schools are in need, and pay is only a small part of the equation!
I could write a book about all the problems we are facing, but I’m walking out next week, so who has the time? So here are 10 reasons why I will be demonstrating with my local union - and Olympia can fix each of them without sending me another dollar.

1: Cut the focus on High-Stakes Tests - The SBAC exam is the newest flavor of high stakes test. At the start of this school year, I had not read a single SBAC test question, because most of them had not been written. Yet by November, we were told that our students would have to pass this brand new test in order to graduate!
I try to focus on teaching reading and writing every day, so I avoid test prep whenever I can. With my minimum focus, my 11th grade English class lost 18 days due to practice tests and the actual exam. That’s 10% of the the academic year! And the best part: 11th grade students didn’t need the test to graduate. The state mandated that they take it so we could have baseline data about student scores. 10% of my class time lost, so Olympia could “checkup” on us. Please, Olympia, stop rushing these new tests, and just let me teach.

2: Bring back Arts and History: This fall, no one in my advanced English 11 course could tell me why 1776 was an important year. Why? Because our school is judged on how well it performs in Math, Science, Reading and Writing. Those subjects determine if we are a failing or passing school. I shudder at the gutting of art, history, music, PE, and recess, in the name of raising our score.
It’s not just vital history that suffers. The “test and drill” mantra has killed the love of reading for most of my students, so that every year I hear multiple students in my class admit, “This is the first book I’ve ever bothered to read.” Olympia sees my school and my students as numbers, not as people - and that kills the humanity within the humanities.

3: Stop Demonizing Vocations: The word from OSPI is that to succeed, a student must attend college. The state calls it a, “13th year plan.” The problem is that this mindset tells students that “to be important they must go to a university. Armed services are for losers. worthwhile vocational careers like plumbers, electricians, construction workers, mechanics, or machinists are not worthwhile.” I’ve seen too many students heed the call of college, take out thousands in loans, and then fail out due to lack of support or understanding of college culture. We once had an auto shop; now we have student loan debt.



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