Natalie Munroe and teacher blogs: Free speech or free fall?

Natalie Munroe  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Natalie Munroe (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

I missed the debate this week about Pennsylvania teacher Natalie Munroe, whose frank and often funny blog about teaching and her students gained her national headlines and a job suspension.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Munroe, a teacher at Central Bucks East High School in Doylestown, told the media.

I agree.

Blogging as “Natalie M” for 18 months and never revealing the name of the school, the 30-year-old expressed many of the frustrations of her colleagues.  She didn’t name names, but someone figured out who she was and she was summoned to the principal’s office. (Prior to this happening, her blog had nine followers, including her husband, so Munroe probably had sound reason to believe that she was safe from disclosure.)

Her principal was not happy when she admitted that she had written the blogs and the comments about students being  “out of control,” and “rude, lazy, disengaged whiners.” She is suspended with pay while the Bucks County system decides her future. The Bucks County Courier Times reported that the local superintendent believes the postings merit dismissal of Munroe, who is eight months pregnant. Her lawyer disagrees, arguing that there are free speech issues at stake.

Munroe’s blog was clever. She listed comments that she wished teachers could use on student report cards , including “rat-like,” “dresses like a streetwalker,” and “frightfully dim.”

In an ABC News story, Munroe said, “I was writing it not about anyone specific, they were caricatures of students that I’ve had over the years…it was meant tongue and cheek for myself and my friends, it was not for mass consumption…I’m sorry that it was taken out of context but I stand by what I said.”

According to the local Pennsylvania TV Station WFMZ-TV:

Mrs. Munroe made no apologies for her tongue in cheek blog posts regarding students work ethic or attitude but she said she never used names of students or even the district. Munroe says she’s a tough teacher because she wants the students to learn but doesn’t always feel support from administration or parents.”

“It’s almost operated like a big business where the customer’s always right and the customer is the kids and the parents,” said Munroe.

“Some of the stuff she said, it was so mean,” said one student.

We asked if any of it was even “a little” true. He replied, “yeah.”

“I think she was stressed out in general already,” said another student. “But that was still unprofessional.”

Mrs. Monroe says she had over 80 posts and just 2 of them, from last year are in question.

“She made the teachers look bad at east and made us sound like snotty teenagers,” said another student.

Students tell me they did learn a lesson from this teacher.”Don’t put it online because it can come back and get you.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

102 comments Add your comment

ScienceTeacher671

February 19th, 2011
12:47 am

Have they determined yet whether or not there are, in fact, any “snotty teenagers” at CBEHS?

Dr. John Trotter

February 19th, 2011
12:54 am

The Court ruled in Connick v. Myers (1983) that teachers do not have absolute First Amendment rights like other citizens. Teachers need to be careful what they post in blogs, letters to the editors, etc. Unfortunately, teachers are now treated as Second Class Citizens, and children and their parents are allowed to talk to teachers in the most impudent ways and teachers are expected to just absorb the indignant blows. The Educational Ship is upside down. © MACE, February 19, 2011.

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student

February 19th, 2011
2:34 am

@ScienceTeacher671, I am a student at Central Bucks East, and quite frankly, we’re appalled at the reaction the nation is having towards this issue. Just like any high-school, there are “snotty” kids, and “assholes”, but at CBE we pride ourselves at living up to the honor of a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Monroe’s words have forever damaged our reputation as a school, and even–a generation. We’ve had many national and international teachers and parents sending letters of hate to our wonderful principal, Abe Lucabaugh blaming him for everything that has happened. This is in no way his fault, nor the fault of the single establishment. Monroe targeted single students, who were unfortunately exactly the way she described, but most adults across the nation are interpreting that has a vast generalization of our entire student body, thus giving an excuse for Monroe’s blog. This is absolutely incorrect. About 98% of the students try their hardest everyday to succeed and get good grades. If Monroe–and other parents and teachers–want to understand why kids act the way they do, it because they have been risen that way, and to tell the truth, we spend more time with teachers than our parents. So, one can only assume that Monroe’s students were only reflecting Monroe’s own personal actions. This is absolutely correct. Every year, Monroe is the class that you hear people say “hahah good luck with that..” She had a horrible attitude, and her pessimism rubs off. She brought the upon herself, no one can deny that. So, let her face the consequences. To further analyze the First amendment issue, which are the ground that Monroe, if fired, would sue upon: “The Court ruled in Connick v. Myers (1983) that teachers do not have absolute First Amendment rights like other citizens. ” They are supposed to be role models, not teachers who blog about not only her students, but her fellow faculty, shy kids, and even the mentally disabled. Do you really want to support someone like that?

pedendo

February 19th, 2011
2:46 am

The real issue is that the students Ms Munroe describes are real and actually a reflection of their insipid parents. Entitlement is also an issue that has been written about including its presence in medical students.

School administrators have responded to whining parents with grade inflation so that even the dullest students can appear to “excel”. This won’t help them with college and graduate school aptitude testing. Many years ago the LSAT had to initiate definitive ID documentation to stop test takers from sitting in for others trying to get into law school.

It is clearly documented that our students fall miserably behind students in other developed countries in the sciences. I feel that much of this is a lack of parental supervision and involvement in ensuring that their children reach their fullest potential and in fact want to do so. If strong expectations and priorities are not in the home school can not solve the problem.

Larry Major

February 19th, 2011
3:04 am

One key factor which I haven’t seen documented may eliminate the rest of the arguments – did she operate this blog while she was on school property using school owned computers or did she do this with her own equipment outside school hours?

[...] Read more from the original source: Natalie Munroe and teacher blogs: Free speech or free fall? | Get … [...]

AF Klingler

February 19th, 2011
5:48 am

Just letting everyone know- I’m a sub for the Central Bucks School Districts and had the pleasure of subbing at East this week. I have sub many times for this high school and I have never had the student disrespect me- and I’m a sub, the lowest on the respect totem pole. The students are hurt because the majority of the student body excels and works hard. This blog (which I have not read because it was taken down) did not just vent about the bad things (about any and every high school in this country!)- but completely disrepected the studens, fellow teachers, and the admistration with foul language that would make even a ’street walker’ blush. She made fun of students that asked to many questions or wanted extra help so they understood the content. Now as a stated earlier I did not read this blog but students and teacher alike confirmed this to me when I asked.

She crossed the line- no questions about it. I can feel for her because I have been in her situation- as many teachers and usually because of a handful of students- but it comes with the job. If she was that unhappy about the situation, she should have stated any concerns with the students, their parents, her fellow teacher, or the princple!- instead of posting it in a public forum that anyone could stummble on! She has made teachers look bad but then it only ‘takes one or two’ to give the whole profession (or as she did the whole student body of CB East) BAD!

Lacey

February 19th, 2011
6:48 am

If Natalie Monroe’s students wrote cryptically about their teacher on Facebook and she found out about it, she would be just as upset. The fact that she didn’t name students doesn’t make her innocent. She’s an adult and she should have used better judgement.

justin

February 19th, 2011
6:59 am

But, would the students be kicked out of the school or even suspended?

I sure did not like some of my teachers – and I’m pretty sure they didn’t like me, either. So what? That’s life.

Public & Private Parent

February 19th, 2011
6:59 am

Can’t wait for her to get a big book deal, go on The View and laugh at whoever turned her in…. all the way to the bank.

Interesting Reality

February 19th, 2011
7:45 am

Everyone is becoming too sensitive and sissified (if that is a word). People ARE GOING to TALK about you from now until the day you die. Whatever happened to “sticks and stones”? Did she put her hands on children? Did she fail them when they earned a passing mark? Did she go into work and sit on her hands rather than teach? Did she spend the days speaking to the children such as, “Hey streetwalker Jane did you do your homework and did your pimp say that you couldn’t?” Did she have sex with any of her students?

In a time where the teaching profession has begun to use a shovel to find new lows to sink to, it seems rediculous that a teacher would even get “print” with something so trivial. She didn’t use ANY names at all, not the students, the district, the school, nothing! Lastly, she didn’t make the entire student body look bad, she probably didn’t say all these kids (I hope I hope), but rather there are “SOME” snotty kids and so probably like the student said when asked, “Yeah that is a little true.”

EnoughAlready

February 19th, 2011
8:01 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Natalie Munroe case since I saw it in the news earlier this week.

First of all Natalie is correct, it’s Free Speech. However, in the “real world”; if Natalie was employed in the corporate world as a sales person and wrote a blog about clients/customers she encountered daily, she would be fired immediately and without pay.

Let’s make no mistake; our children are the customers of teachers.

She has obtained an attorney to proctect her from being fired, claiming free speech. However, would she stand a chance with “free speech” as a defense, as a corporate employee? I think NOT.

I’m sure many will say this is apples and oranges; but it’s not because the common denominator is “customers”; not the actual job being performed. If you make disparaging remarks about your customers online or any forum, would or should you be fired?

Please answer honestly.

Elizabeth

February 19th, 2011
8:07 am

Dr. Trotter is absolutely correct and so are the others who commented. That is why I have carefully refrained on this blog from identifying the system for which I work and have carefully worded what I have said so that it cannot be traced to me. The teacher was not professional; but, then again, students by court ruling can say anything they like about teachers, and then people scream when kids are chastized, much less disciplined. Teachers are expected to put up with things said that I guarantee no other work place person has to endure. And whoever compared to ” the customer is always right” is absolutely on target.

Thank You AF Klinger

February 19th, 2011
8:27 am

I am re-posting because others on here just want to ignore the FACTS and post their own opinions.
It is a shame that people come here and post without knowing all the facts or researching first.
_____________________________________

AF Klingler

February 19th, 2011
5:48 am
Just letting everyone know- I’m a sub for the Central Bucks School Districts and had the pleasure of subbing at East this week. I have sub many times for this high school and I have never had the student disrespect me- and I’m a sub, the lowest on the respect totem pole. The students are hurt because the majority of the student body excels and works hard. This blog (which I have not read because it was taken down) did not just vent about the bad things (about any and every high school in this country!)- but completely disrepected the studens, fellow teachers, and the admistration with foul language that would make even a ’street walker’ blush. She made fun of students that asked to many questions or wanted extra help so they understood the content. Now as a stated earlier I did not read this blog but students and teacher alike confirmed this to me when I asked.

She crossed the line- no questions about it. I can feel for her because I have been in her situation- as many teachers and usually because of a handful of students- but it comes with the job. If she was that unhappy about the situation, she should have stated any concerns with the students, their parents, her fellow teacher, or the princple!- instead of posting it in a public forum that anyone could stummble on! She has made teachers look bad but then it only ‘takes one or two’ to give the whole profession (or as she did the whole student body of CB East) BAD!

Dwayne

February 19th, 2011
8:34 am

well at least we can be proud that the best teacher’s blog is from around here somewhere. You need go to to a dixie diary and somebody tell miss munroe this is what she was after and try again

JW

February 19th, 2011
8:38 am

“Let’s make no mistake; our children are the customers of teachers.”

HA HA! That is a good one! You were kidding, right?

That type of thinking is why school reforms aimed only at holding teachers accountable is absolutely frightening.
If you insist on using a business model comparison, the students would be “employees” who receive their pay in terms of becoming more educated thanks to the teacher (AKA the employer).

Think Of It This Way

February 19th, 2011
8:44 am

In a school … the customers are the parents and the students are the employees of the parents who go to a place every day to be educated and trained and instructed. The teachers are like workshop instructors who are there to perform a role, first, for the attendees as well as for the bosses of the attendees.

School. It’s like a real long business seminar where you get to sleep in your own bed every night..

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2011
8:48 am

I thought I would share the news story from earlier this month that said an employee can criticize an employer on FACEBOOK. Not the exact circumstances, but I thought the ruling spoke to the limits on employers. This is from the Wall Street Journal:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704422204576130631738779412.html

A company that fired a worker after she posted negative remarks about her boss on Facebook has settled a complaint brought by the National Labor Relations Board by agreeing to revamp its rules to ensure they don’t restrict workers’ rights, the NLRB said.

A separate, private settlement was reached between the employer—ambulance service American Medical Response of Connecticut Inc.—and the employee, though terms of that agreement weren’t available. The worker, Dawnmarie Souza, was a member of the Teamsters union and the Teamsters represented her before the NLRB.

The case had become a test of how much latitude employees may have when posting comments about work matters from their home computers on social media sites such as Facebook.

When the NLRB issued its complaint about the firing last fall, it alleged the firing was illegal because the online posting constituted “protected concerted activity” under the National Labor Relations Act.

That law allows employees to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with co-workers and others, and the employee involved in the case had posted comments about her supervisor and responded to further comments from her co-workers, the NLRB said.

The NLRB had also alleged the company maintained and enforced overly broad rules in its employee handbook regarding blogging, Internet posting, and communications between employees.

At the time the complaint was announced, American Medical Response of Connecticut denied the allegations and said the employee in question was discharged “based on multiple, serious complaints about her behavior.” The employee was also being held accountable for negative personal attacks that she posted on Facebook about a co-worker, the company said at the time, and added that it believes those statements weren’t concerted activity protected under federal law.

A spokeswoman for American Medical Response of Connecticut didn’t immediately respond Monday to a request for comment. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment. Ms. Souza couldn’t be reached for comment.

Under the terms of the settlement approved by the NLRB’s Hartford, Conn., Regional Director Jonathan Kreisberg, the company agreed to revise its rules. The company agreed not to discipline or discharge employees for engaging in discussions about wages and other work issues when not on the job, the NLRB said.

tim

February 19th, 2011
9:10 am

GOOD for Ms Munroe. Thanks for telling it like it is. She said out load (gasp) when we all know about kids these days, and she never named names.

If she said outload what she wrote, maybe at a gathering of some sort, would she have made news?? Maybe, but not to the extent because she wrote her comments and everyone can see them.

As she described them, weren’t that way years ago. they are a direct product of people who haven’t got a clue how to parent. Are you one of them??

Dr. John Trotter

February 19th, 2011
9:13 am

Maureen, the National Labor Relations Board regulates those work places which are governed by collective bargaining contracts. As has been pointed out on this blog on a number of occasions, Georgia teachers do not have collective bargaining rights. Therefore, the rules of the NLRB do not directly apply but can be persuasive.

tim

February 19th, 2011
9:22 am

@ poster “studend” 2:34am Ms Monroe never named names, and you didn’t like what she wrote in her blog.

But, in your post earlier today, you wrote negative things about her personally, and blamed her for some students behaving badly.

Pot….meet the kettle.

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2011
9:23 am

@Dr. Trotter, I realized the situations were different, but the main issue is where professional conduct and free speech collide and whether the Munroe case fits.
Maureen

catlady

February 19th, 2011
9:32 am

As long as she doesn’t identify the students, she can say what she likes. (You know, this COULD be a work of fiction!) If they can identify themselves, it should be a call to action–for them to clean up their acts! And if the parent can identify their child, they should be ashamed!

EnoughAlready

February 19th, 2011
9:40 am

JW – you must have been a product of a GA education. If students are the “employees”; they are truly getting stiffed in their paycheck.

And you must be a republican, because they are the only group I would think, who would come up with the idea of teachers being the “AKA Employer”. Reason: they are good at selling false ideas.

Maureen – you are correct, it’s not the same. However, I remember that case being in the news. I found it enlightening because thousands of people have been fired because of free speech on the job, in regards to their opinion of a boss.

I don’t think the Facebook case will change (free speech) be it on facebook, twitter, blogs, email or face-to-face in the office.

I expect most companies to come up with policies that address these types of issues with current and perspective employees going forward. I can almost bet that Mrs. Munroe’s current school system will come up with a new policy.

ScienceTeacher671

February 19th, 2011
9:41 am

@student: “Monroe targeted single students, who were unfortunately exactly the way she described

‘Nuff said.

JW

February 19th, 2011
9:54 am

Enough Already,
Love your generalizations…”truly getting stiffed by their paycheck.” Surely you know there are good and bad schools everywhere (not just in Georgia), right? There are counties in Georgia where students get an excellent education – try doing some research. And, if you are unhappy with your local system, what have you done about it besides complain and/or blame the teachers?

Actually, not a Republican, so wrong again! 0 for 2.
Georgia educated…wrong, so 0 for 3, Enough.

If you don’t consider a teacher an authority figure in the classroom, you are part of the problem.

My sarcastic point is that you shouldn’t be bringing a business-world analogy into an education setting. It’s just not the same.

Don’t like my opinion, that’s fine. But to resort to personal attacks only reflects badly on you, Enough.

cityzen

February 19th, 2011
10:15 am

Enough silly distraction. Let’s talk about APS witness intimidation in the CRCT cheating scandal. Seems like the AJC has been making the running on this and Bowers is sprinting to catch up.

Get on with it, Bowers. Time to indict the APS executives, time for the board to suspend them without pay and to bring in a leader of unimpeachable integrity – what’s Gen Shinseki doing these days? – to clean up the festering mess. Meantime, Bowers should move on to investigating the attempts by the Chamber and SACS to interfere with the state investigation of the cheating scandal by intimidating the board and signaling to Hall that they have her back.

And time for us all to take a hard look at whether the CRCT was ever a good benchmark – ask stupid questions and you get stupid lessons that destroy education – and whether No Child expectations were ever realistic.

ATeacherLikeMe

February 19th, 2011
10:26 am

@ AF Klinger,
It’s a little odd that you lambaste people for not knowing all of the FACTS, when you state in your opening that “This blog (which I have not read because it was taken down) did not just vent about the bad things (about any and every high school in this country!)” What facts do you know if you haven’t read not only the blog in question, but the entire 80 or so posts of this teacher?
As for using better judgment, why? She did not identify herself, the system, or students by name. If they act in such a way then it’s not libelous in any way.
@Student, you cannot have it both ways. Students can’t be what she identified and then protected from criticism. Quite frankly that is what is wrong with a lot of people. They get to “show their monkey,” but get offended and hurt because someone calls them out on their behavior. She is not the first to point out the level of entitlement your generation feels in print, and she certainly won’t be the last. If students spend more time with their teachers than their parents, then perhaps that could be a problem of society because it is PARENTS who are to shape the mores and values of their children and the schools should then reinforce those. It is NOT the other way around, but so many people believe that it is the schools’ responsibility to shape attitude because parents have to work (see the comments about the balanced calendar for reinforcement).

carter is a fool

February 19th, 2011
10:32 am

Enough Already — Parents and Students are CLIENTS not Customers. It is an important but misunderstood distinction. Customers are always right. Clients are not. However, what she did was STUPID. As a teacher, you assume that anything you put in writing will be misunderstood and therefore often should not be written or expressed to an audience. Look at the Facebook case from Barrow County where the teacher was forced to resign for playing bingo and having a picture drinking an adult beverage in Europe over the summer.

Teachers must understand that this is not fair, but do not put yourself in this position.

First Amendment Lawyer

February 19th, 2011
10:43 am

“teachers do not have absolute First Amendment rights like other citizens”

This isn’t accurate, and it’s inflammatory in a blog about teachers and schools. You could somewhat more accurately say that GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES don’t have exactly the same First Amendment rights as other citizens. That would be true in the sense that the rules for firing government employees (not just teachers, of course, but government employees in general) for their speech are very different from the rules for jailing or fining citizens for their speech, and that is as it should be (which isn’t to say that government employees have no right to criticize the government or the particular agency that employs them, of course).

As far as the policy decision of the school here: When, on when, will government agencies, companies, and individuals begin to take into account the Streisand effect? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

Atlanta Mom

February 19th, 2011
10:56 am

Why would anyone blog negatively about her job and think it might not bite her in the butt? Why, if this woman only had 9 followers did she not simply email them? I would point out that Natalie is not a terribly common name, so once stumbled upon, I don’t think it would be difficult to connect the dots to this particular teacher.

Dr. John Trotter

February 19th, 2011
11:08 am

Ante Eu vou na praia….Let’s get on with the real story, like the previous poster said. The real story is the intimidation from the higher ups in the Atlanta Public Schools because it is so endemic of what goes on in today’s public school systems, especially the larger one. Although the corruption and distortion of what is supposed to be public education is more acute in APS, it is nevertheless characteristic of so many, many school systems today. I really don’t think that the AJC and other media outlets know what to make of these hair-raising tales of the hell-raising ways that today’s educrats treat teaches. It is unconscionable and, quite frankly, journalists and others tend to be incredulous…or stultified.

MACE has been raising sand about these conditions for years, and it appears that for years so many wanted to blame the messenger (MACE) and just ignore the message (corruption and evil ways). Yes, our message has been stark…and sometimes snarky, but we were and are still dealing with reality, baby! This is how large, urban school systems in particular operate today. Atlanta. DeKalb. Gwinnett. Cobb. Clayton. Fulton. Muscogee. Bibb. Chatham. Richmond. Need I go on? The so-called leaders lack integrity and mettle. Some are, as my granddaddy would say, “mean as cat sh_t and twice as nasty.” Big Daddy just had a way of putting things. He was never at loss for words, and he was never misunderstood. Unlike my Trotter-Alston ancestors who were much more dignified, Big Daddy was born and raised in the Ozarks (the Springfield, Missouri area) before moving to Georgia in the early 1930s. These folk from Missouri don’t mince words. He had hundreds and hundreds of expressions. About a nasty superintendent, he’d probably say, “I bet his own momma don’t like him.” © MACE, February 19, 2011.

Dr. John Trotter

February 19th, 2011
11:15 am

Lawyer: You are splitting hairs. I am sure that you are aware of Connick v. Myers. Teachers’ First Amendment rights were trimmed back a little in this case. They are protected for speech in “matters of public concern.” They can’t just go about and raise hell speech-wise like…say, I can. Not if they want to maintain their employment with the school system. They have to be careful. Now we at MACE can raise all kind of sand speech-wise (pickets, publications, etc.) because we are not employed by the school systems. Now let’s see how long a teacher will last if he or she personally gets on the sidewalk and pickets his or her principal. The teacher would be fired, and the courts would uphold the firing. Why? Teachers don’t have the same First Amendment protections as I do. Quit splitting haris.

Oh, what history!

February 19th, 2011
11:15 am

RULES FOR SCHOLARS … issued by the Public Schools of Atlanta, 1871

Be steady and prompt in attendance at school,
Conform, in your conduct, to every rule;
The teachers obey in all they direct,
In study show diligence, in manners, respect.

Good order observe, and deportment refined,
And be to your schoolmates obliging and kind.

From language improper, from language profane,
You must altogether, must wholly refrain;
And, though you may deem the importance much less,
Be tidy and cleanly in person and dress.

The tardy or absent will have to produce
From parent or guardian a written excuse;
And only for illness or some urgent cause
Can either be justified, under these laws.

Jennifer

February 19th, 2011
11:45 am

All the arguments that this woman did not identify students or the school are null and void — she obviously gave away too much information or she would still be anonymous. In her blog she actually called herself a rebel for blogging at work…maybe that’s how her blog was found out when your job involves 30+ curious students surrounding you at all times. I think it’s absurd that she is claiming that she was blogging because “people need to hear the truth”… if her intent was to create any sort of positive change in her school system she would have brought these issues up with administrators. This blog isn’t a radical act by someone passionate about the field of education— it’s an excuse for her to gloat over her own wittiness and sardonic humor at the expense of professionalism. Sure, you are entitled to freedom of speech, but more importantly students are entitled to go to a school where they do not face written harassment from teachers.

ScienceTeacher671

February 19th, 2011
11:48 am

In New York, they’ve decided they need to audit test scores to make sure schools aren’t cheating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/nyregion/19schools.html

No Teacher Left Behind

February 19th, 2011
11:51 am

It appears that the “cap fit” many a students at Natalie’s school, and many a students “wore it”. She actually described to the tee, the students that I teach at another school of “excellence”. Word to the wise, don’t let the “school of excellence” titles fool you. It only takes a minor percentage, about 20%– of high achieving students who produce above average scores for a school to achieve this merit and status. For instance, a high school of 2,000 students can have only 400 advance students who score highly on standardized tests, take AP classes, and take AP tests. Thus, the other 80%, the 1200 students, are the either average, mediocre, below-average students that Natalie Munroe so accurately described in her blog.

No Teacher Left Behind

February 19th, 2011
11:52 am

Oops, I meant 1600 students, not 1200!

Ric Knox

February 19th, 2011
11:54 am

I am a retired teacher living and now teaching English in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. After reading the article about Natalie Munroe, I feel somewhat relieved that someone has “finally” said something about where out educational system has been heading for a very long time. I take my hat off to her. She says it like it is. For to many years, parents throughout our country, have left “everything” up to the teachers. They are teachers, not parents. Parents need to get involved and see what is taking place in the schools. The schools are, for the most part, years behind in the way we educate our children. I have truly had my eyes opened over here in Hungary. These kids arrive at school at 7:15, are in the first class at seven thirty and some don’t go home until five o’clock. Are they tired? you bet and so are the teachers, but learning with respect for the teachers and for the respect of “learning” is taking place. Some of the high school students speak as many as four languages and want more.These kids can’t get enough education. They ask for more. Sound like our children? Don’t think so and there has to be a reason. Over here, the parents are involved in their children’s education. They work with, not against, their children. Surprise! Over here they are called families. They do everything together and that includes such mundane things as school, eating around the table together and even holding hands. Wow, what a change. Nice and we should learn from it.
Ric Knox

been there , Done that!

February 19th, 2011
1:09 pm

It’s very easy to say that an educator can just talk to his or her administrator, but it rarely is. Over the years, there has been increasing intimidation on both teachers and administrators. I am very familiar with schools in both Arizona and Southern California. As a principal of large elementary schools (650 students), working with minimal staffing, and serving high socio-economic communities, I was frequently asked by my superiors to be more “flexible” – Mrs. Jones is head of the district PTA – let’just ignore this infraction of the rules – let’s just make it an “A”

been there , Done that!

February 19th, 2011
1:52 pm

Sorry about that – still having problems with the IPad. I would be asked to require a teacher to give an “A” on a project even when the guidelines were ignored. At the elementary level, depots are assigned as a process and must include all necessary components. Many parents know better and have their children turn in beautiful typed reports fully illustrated and bound. but not included were the notecards, outline, rough draft, etc. to show that the student understood the process. teachers run into this all the time. Must they do what the parent or child is demanding? if you believe the child is the customer, then you would have to say yes. Since this has become a prevalent attitude, more and more teachers are leaving the profession because they can no longer be effective educative.

Hopefully, I was the kind of principal my staff members could come to. I know I put my job on the line numerous times to protect tier right to teach in a respectful and safe environment. When I had a concern about the meager funds ($10.00 per student per year), that were being budgeted for gifted education, I didn’t get the same kind of support. I had sent a memo to the Assistant Superintendent suggesting ways we could identify new gifted students thus saving enough money to allow $25,00 per student for the program. He responded on December 12 that I was ” obviously unhappy with my position as an elementary principal” and that he would meet with me on January 4 – making me wait all through the holiday recess. That was intimidating. Luckily, my immediate supervisor was there to confirm that I was probably 17 out of the 18 principals in terms of complaining. But he was ready to discipline me in some way for daring to voice my opinion. So, don’t think it is always easy to talk to your superior.

Another thing most people don’t realize is how alone teachers are. at the elementary level, you spend most of the day in class. Your breaks are spent on phone calls to parents, setting up materials, working with students, yard duty and, if you are lucky – a bathroom break. Lunch is short. First you have to get the students out and lock up, make sure all materials are ready and set out for the afternoon, hit the restroom, gulp down lunch, and rush back to open the door. When teachers are together, they are usually in meetings and planning together. There are few opportunities to share with one another, to voice the hurts and disappointments. It is often a thankless task. Teachers are required to have BA degree (masters preferred), work as long as as any other professional, have to pay for the ongoing education they must take, receive lower salaries, and are the only professionals I know that spend ($1000 – $2000) of their own money each year to supplement district funds in order to provide the best educational experience for their students.

What do they get in return? Often the satisfaction of seeing a student finally ” get it” , but more often they are with disrespect from a growing percentage of their students

No Teacher Left Behind

February 19th, 2011
2:04 pm

Our nation’s leaders want us our students to “catch up”, and eventually outrank the performance levels in Math and Science in comparison to other countries. What they are failing to realize is that cultural and educational values are the factors that draws the line between American students versus Asian, or European students. In Asia, hard work, spiritual, communal, and educational values are revered and highly practiced. While in the U.S., values are more focused on materialism, self entitlement and gratification , and pop culture.

lulu

February 19th, 2011
2:50 pm

Everybody talks about everyone else. This talk is often negative and/or sarcastic. This is life. If the parents and students “involved” (because none of them were, really, until they chose to be) can’t handle that, they need to look in the mirror, suck it up, grow some thicker skin and realize that plenty of what was said is probably perfectly applicable.

But they won’t. They will continue to whine about the injustice of it all while convincing themselves that surely it can’t possibly apply to themselves or their children, and will most likely continue to go through life being useless human beings who can’t learn, change, or take criticism of any kind.

*sigh*

x

February 19th, 2011
2:51 pm

student,

no one cares what you think…..

Maureen Downey

February 19th, 2011
2:57 pm

@X, Not sure if you are being sarcastic — one of the failings of the written word is the absence of tone — but I appreciate the student point of view as I think it matters and is too often overlooked. I have often been surprised about how rational students can be in controversies that divide communities.
Maureen

x

February 19th, 2011
3:02 pm

no, don’t really give a rip what a kid with no real life experience (yet) thinks……

i do care what fellow teachers think, they have been there, are doing it, and are in the arena daily.

Shannon

February 19th, 2011
3:06 pm

This is such a non-issue and distraction. She didn’t identify herself, the students, or the school.

Put her back in her classroom. The end.

Now, let’s get back to education, shall we?

x

February 19th, 2011
3:07 pm

the students obviously recognized themselves in her postings…..

hmmmm, what should that tell them?

Ole Guy

February 19th, 2011
3:10 pm

Central Bucks Student, there is little doubt that your generation faces many uphill hurdles in your march to adulthood. However, these very hurdles are no greater, nor any less severe than those faced by generations past. The adults in our young lives expressed doubt as to our capabilities and our motivations. We experienced financial woes, and global unrest; the Cuban Crisis and Vietnam served as cruel eyeopeners for those barely old enough to shave.

YOU are no different than those who came before you. Keep your eye on the ball of achievement and success. You can do it!