Why Teachers Suck …

Here’s a view from the teacher’s side of the desk for those who have no idea whatsoever.

Bert Fulks

A friend and I were grousing about ignorance run amok.

“Americans get their information from internet memes,” I laughed.  “And in the true spirit of democracy, dullards who have never cracked a book will cancel the votes of people who actually have a clue. What could go wrong?”

“You know what the problem is?” Tim challenged.  “Our country’s a mess because teachers suck.”

teacher2I bristled.

Although I’ve been out of the classroom for a number of years, once a teacher, always a teacher.  Plus, I have family and friends still slugging it out in the trenches.  I know their battles and the wounds they carry.

“Dude, do you know what teachers endure on a daily basis?” I asked Tim.  I found that, no, he didn’t.  I fear most Americans might be as clueless.

I emailed a former colleague (she’s two years from retirement) and asked one question:  “How has education…

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A Higher Education Fable

Once there was a school on the top of a steep hill. Because it was on a hill, it was called Higher Education.

Everyone who worked at this school had been taught by the teachers in the school down the hill. But because they were now up the hill, they did think a lot about the teachers down the hill. Most of the teachers down the hill were women and most of the teachers up the hill were men.

 

There were several different students who went to the Higher Education school.

The younger students who went there  Continue reading “A Higher Education Fable”

Good News: Money!

Now that you can see why teacher led schools are essential, we want you to know about resources to support you in developing your own schools.

But be aware that in the movement to destroy public education, every initiative that looks like a promising alternative is not teacher-friendly or teacher-powered.

One example is the Community Based School Movement of the Institute for Educational Leadership out of Washington, D.C. With massive and official backing, this organization for the most still creates an administrative approach to creating and operating the school that is not necessarily committed to teacher power.globe word

Their website(http://www.communityschools.org/resources/how_to_start_a_community_school1.aspx ) shows the process of creating a community based school, which can look like a throw back to smaller communities and times but promoted on the national level. They have much useful Continue reading “Good News: Money!”

A Successful Model

Now that the decimation of public education is official policy in Washington, teachers can resist or use this as an unprecedented oppportunity to return to the solution that was abandoned in the early 20th century: the proven success record of schools developed and administered by women educators.Kalsu Book

In spite of the profit motive that sparked the charter school movement by private corporations using public monies and posing as non-profits, a few women educators have been able to seize the opportunity to find funding for their vision of school today.

We will begin featuring such women educators and their schools so others can see how to finance and approach organizing professional autonomy once again in our field.

The first one we will examine Continue reading “A Successful Model”

Homeschooling Pt. II

Public schools have been starved for 40 years, since the passing of one of the worst pieces of legislation in the history of our country, Prop. 13. And you wonder why foreign kids are so much smarter than ours. They’re better educated! Other countries see investing in children as a win-win for their countries. How can so many of us be so fucking shortsighted?” Bette Midler FB February 7, 2017

Note: Since the last post, Betsy deVoss, a billionaire product of private schooling, has been made Secretary of Education. The abandonment of public schooling is confirmed by this knife in its back.obama-on-ignorance

Homeschooling as a Screen for Conservative Republican Evangelical Activist Groups

As an example, Kieryn DArkwater posted on January 26, 2107, an article in autostraddle.com. In it she explains how “I was trained for the culture wars in home school, awaiting someone like Mike Pence as a Messiah.” This is the agenda Continue reading “Homeschooling Pt. II”

Homeschooling: The State’s Free Ride

usregulatorymap_5-27-16

(U. S. Regulatory Map. Coalition for Responsible Home Education)

There are many reasons parents decide to homeschool their children. Safety, religion, prejudice, and finances are some. There are teachers who homeschool after they get home. Some reasons are more valid than others.
But ultimate danger is the state’s abdication of their responsibility for education outlined in the Constitution. By not monitoring, structuring or providing any means of accountability for the level of instruction given in home schooling, they are creating a vast wasteland that is divisive and destructive to our nation.
There are many aspects to how homeschooling is used in our country. Three of them are discussed in Part II. For this section, the predominant use is Greed.
Homeschooling as an Economic Weapon of the State         right Continue reading “Homeschooling: The State’s Free Ride”

Our Voice Dims

One of the persistent battles that women have in their work is making their voices heard or counted. Teachers are perhaps the most obvious and prominent example of this effect of a gendered profession.

As early as the 1920s, others were writing about how teachers should be trained and how education should be measured. Again, as this blog asserts, women who opened their own schools were in a stronger autonomous position to manage the education they provided. Feminist activists founded the Brookwood Labor College in 1921, the same year Bryn Mawr was organized for women workers.   fam

The very next year, the push to structure education from outside the profession began. William A. McDall proposed 14 theses on measuring student achievement and William Kilpatrick published Foundations of Method three years later on teacher education. The American Historical Association in 1927 charged Continue reading “Our Voice Dims”

A Teacher’s Bill of Rights

A Teacher’s Bill of Rights

I  To ensure that there is authority commensurate with responsibility for the instructional task. The teacher has the right and responsibility to ensure her professional needs are met before engaging in instruction.

II. To determine student level of readiness and freely devise a plan for growth based on the understanding that the teacher is a professionally prepared person with expertise and access to required resources.

III. To educate the student, parent and other stakeholders on the rights of the teacher to practice her profession.

IV. To define “respect” for students, parents and stakeholders in order to establish a foundation for positive outcomes. The desire, willingness and availability of a teacher is the first sign of respect.

V. To practice free of slander, harassment, disparagement or hostility whether from  personal, media, legislative, parental or community sources.

VI. To practice professional skills and expertise without administrative interference or hostility.

VII. To organize the educational setting, according to variable configurations, based on the professional determination of teacher and student need, including teacher-student ratio.

VIII. To elect a paid sabbatical every five years in order to replenish, renew and reinforce professional skills and the mental and emotional stamina required for the practice.

IX. To withdraw teaching services if they are not being received with the foundational relationship necessary for the practice of education. If the baseline respect, rapport and trust necessary for teaching has not been reached or cannot occur without outside pressures,hostility or distractions, the teacher will not be available for instructional endeavors.

X. To exercise professional autonomy in all factors necessary for education to occur, including the commensurate authority to hold stakeholders accountable for the disruption they promote which impedes instruction.

mandela

So Stop Trying To Do It Without Respecting Teachers as Professionals

Did I Miss Anything?

Thanks to Tom Wayman for this succinct expression of teacher disenfranchisement when being asked this question.

I wanted to include it here because there are people who actually ask the question of what this means, which is cause for further despair.

Tom is a Canadian teacher. I also wanted to include it because these sentiments are occurring all over the world.

The third reason is his gender. As a man he still experiences the total disregard that women have been experiencing during their careers as teachers. When a man expresses what women have been expressing, people tend to forego attributing it to our gender’s disadvantages. It is less likely to be seen as “just something she doesn’t like” or other whim.

When I want a student to consider another topic, for example, for a speech or essay, trying to get them to think I little more deeply, I am met with “Well, she didn’t like it so I changed it.”

Karen Armstrong, an Oxford graduate, noted thinker, and author of numerous lauded books on God and religion, discovered this same disregard while a teacher in England, described in her memoir The Spiral Staircase.

And lastly, he is my age, but I imagine we both came to feel like this some years ago.

Here are Tom’s words:

“Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here

we sat with our hands folded on our desks

in silence, for the full two hours.tom-wayman

Everything. I gave an exam worth

40 percent of the grade for this term Continue reading “Did I Miss Anything?”