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In the discussion thread: Do Public Schools, Umm, Suck? [View all]

Response to proud2BlibKansan (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 12:55 PM

7. Public education reflects the public.

When the public supports the kinds of deforms currently destroying the system, then it's going to suck.

Unfortunately, the public keeps electing education deformers to office, so the public is getting exactly what it has asked for.

There are still plenty of good things happening in public education. The vast majority of those good things happen in spite of education policy and reform, not because of it. They happen because teachers work to find ways around, over, under, and through the obstacles that the public, through their votes, have thrown in the way of a vibrant, healthy system.

Just this last week, I reminded one of my classes that THEY are the reason I show up, that everything we do is supposed to be about them, and that, when I see them smile, see their faces light up, it makes me glad to be in the classroom. That was the morning after another demoralizing, depressing, divisive staff meeting about teacher evaluations, test scores, and VAM. Demoralizing, depressing, and divisive, even though our fucking test scores were the best in our district.

It being a term deadline, another class wished me a good 3-day weekend as they left yesterday. I pointed to the 600 papers stacked to take home, that must be done so that I can get their report cards done, and said, "that's my weekend." One student responded: "That's why I'll never be a teacher."

I haven't procrastinated. That over-large stack of work all came in this week; our "proficiency-based" system says that they keep trying until they meet benchmarks. Right before the reporting period, a bunch of procrastinators decided that they wanted to produce work that would meet benchmarks. Fancy that.

Another student asked me, as we were on our way to lunch, "Do you like being a teacher?" My answer? I love students. I love teaching students. I love sharing my love of literacy, of thinking, of learning, with students. If I'd known how much of what we do to foster that love would be limited, if I'd known that I'd be forced to narrow learning down to teaching to standardized tests, if I'd known that I would be forced to worship at the testing altar, if I'd known that I would be forced to treat my students like products on an assembly line in a factory, I would have run far, far away from the profession.

I am so grateful for students who, in spite of everything, show up with those smiles, with eagerness to learn. They keep me finding ways to sneak some fun, some variety, some interest into the day. I am grateful to parents and students who return from high school to thank me for helping them be ready, and who return to ask me to attend their graduations when it's time.

Does public education suck? The bipartisan authoritarian system evolving right now does, indeed, suck. Educators who resist, who know better, are holding the line. When we retire, leaving the field to those younger teachers who've never known any different, the final nail will be hammered into the coffin.

Unless the public decides to step up to the plate and SUPPORT public education, instead of attacking it by word and deed. As this article points out, it can be done.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 OP
Flashmann Jan 2013 #1
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #2
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #3
Recursion Jan 2013 #5
ProgressiveProfessor Jan 2013 #6
Igel Jan 2013 #10
Recursion Jan 2013 #4
LineNew Reply Public education reflects the public.
LWolf Jan 2013 #7
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #9
Igel Jan 2013 #11
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2013 #8
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