My Teacher Soapbox (is that 2 words or 1?)

11 Jan

Teachers, unite.  Get a public education teacher talking about this and you will get them fired up. 

Last post I mentioned that my school is under something called “Program Improvement.”  For all you non-education peeps, I feel I must explain, especially since many of your kids are in the system.

Its pretty complex (more so than you want to read here) so I will make it as simple as possible:  Years ago President Bush passed something called “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB).  A noble gesture, yes.  Who wants to vote against this and say “yes, I would like to leave some children behind”?  This states that by the year 2010, ALL students will be proficient in reading and math.  If schools do not meet these requirements, there are consequences.  How do they measure this?  Test scores.

ALL students. Really?  Anyway, although our student proficiency is continually growing, 4 years ago we were labeled a “Program Improvement” school for not meeting all our test score requirements.  We made it in every subgroup of kids except two:  our special education kids and our English Learners.  Go figure.  This meant that letters were sent home to all the parents saying that we are basically bad because we do not meet the reqirements set by government. 

Its like if your kid brings home a report card with all A’s and B’s but one D in a subject they particularly struggle with (but are working really hard in) and you tell your kid, the teacher, and all their friends, that your kid is a bad student. 

Being labeled Program Improvement (PI) means a whole mess of things come with it, almost none of which will actually practically help make things better. 

Oh, there is so much more and I could type for days.

The system sucks right now.  It looks good on paper but bad in reality.  Especially in the midst of California’s budget crisis and we are losing hundreds of teachers anyway (which also means more kids in one classroom). 

Things are tense right now.  Staying focused is key.  Despite everything that is going on, I will still have 175 adolescent teens come to my room in need of direction on Monday morning. 

I have to keep reminding myself that I didn’t become a teacher for the politics, I became a teacher for the kids. 

THEY are my job.

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2 Responses to “My Teacher Soapbox (is that 2 words or 1?)”

  1. Tina Thruston January 13, 2010 at 6:13 p01 #

    oh my goodness.. you touched a nerve for me. i have home schooled for 12 years and am currently finishing my degree in hopes to be in a class full time soon. over the fall i changed my mind. i am gonna do something else, what i dont know! i feel for you. teaching to a test and government beauracracy dirves me crazy!

  2. Jim (Dad) January 19, 2010 at 6:13 p01 #

    You sure have a lot to deal with. You’re doing it well. You’re awesome.

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