Saturday, February 27, 2010

#27- Let's just fire all the teachers....

Hold on---I am jumping on THIS bandwagon......
It seems like everyone is talking about the firing of an entire staff at a Rhode Island high school. I watched the coverage on the news and have read quite a few articles on this particular incident. I know that school systems "clean house" from time to time. In fact I remember reading this article in the Washington Post last summer about the firing of 250 teachers by Chancellor Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C. But never before do I remember an entire staff of a school being terminated. As I read these articles and posts on other blogs I see that it is not just an issue of a poor performing of the options (aside from being fired) was to require these teachers to work extra for little or no extra pay. This is the part that, quite frankly, pisses me off!!

This is what the school district proposed to the teacher's union:
The conditions are adding 25 minutes to the school day, providing tutoring on a rotating schedule before and after school, eating lunch with students once a week, submitting to more rigorous evaluations, attending weekly after-school planning sessions with other teachers and participating in two weeks of training in the summer. (according to the Providence Journal). The union refused. (BTW I am not a fan of unions however, I do think in some cases they do where they protect teachers RIGHTS!)

First of all, I DO realize that the school was failing...horrible graduation rate, low test scores etc. But I refuse to believe that EVERY teacher in that school was ineffective. 50% of the students managed to graduate. You show me a school where 50% of the student body is THAT self-motivated and I'll be waiting with baited breath to see what their next miracle will be...walking on water?

This article says the firing drew praise from parents (and Sec. of Education Arne Duncan....I am not even going there....YET!). So let's talk about these parents...I am assuming they were the parents of the 50% who graduated (or were on the correct path to). Why isn't anyone blaming the parents? Last time I checked, it was part of a parents responsibilities to see that their child got an education. Why aren't they being held accountable? Granted, we can't fire the parents as much as we'd like to ...(this is good, can I get an AMEN!!!) So they know their kids are failing...are they helping them (assisting with homework, getting them a tutor, etc)?

What about the kids? Surely (yes I am calling you Shirley), they should have just as much responsibility in this as the teachers. I have met some apathetic kids in my day and I teach elementary I can imagine the kind of apathy that exists by the time they are in high school.

What this situation really boils down to is money...and I am not talking about money for teachers, believe me. At stake is $13 million in federal funding to reform failing schools...the Federal Government (again, our "friend" Arne Duncan). To get the $$$$, schools have to choose one of four paths laid out by the Feds (including mass firings). I read today that the teachers were appealing the firing. We'll have to stay tuned and see how this turns out. I hope that they can find a way to keep these teachers and still make the necessary changes to turn the school around academically.

I can't help but take these situations personally because I can't for the life of me realize why some people in this country (and in our government) do not value the job that I, and millions of other teachers do everyday,....for very little money. And yes, I could throw in the cliche that we don't do this job for the reality we do in fact do it for the money we need to live, but more importantly we do if for the kids so they can live out the hopes and dreams we have instilled in them. And if that is wrong, oh well, then FIRE ME!!


mo said...

Ha! You're All Fired Up!

Deb said...

1st thing - breathe
2nd thing - Amen
3rd thing - Very eloquent

Mrs. B. said...

Thanks guys...yes, I am STILL more than a littel fired up. And her in SC they are talking about furloughing us for 5 day to save money. One of the options is for us to start back to school the day the kids come back. YEAH, like that can happen...we come back 1-2 weeks early (and spend quite a few days over the summer) to get our classrooms ready for the studetns and the start of a new year. They need to furglough the Gov., Lt. Gov and a few others for 5 days too and see how well they get their jobs done. Or maybe we should furlough the police and firefighters too...I guess we teachers are just not as important.