Future teachers – failures before we even start

Are new teachers undermined before they even step into the classroom? (AP Images)

Are new teachers undermined before they even step into the classroom? (AP Images)

Anabel Fender is a graduate student in education at the University of Georgia. This is her first essay on the Get Schooled blog.

I think it is terrific and an ideal follow-up to the survey results I posted earlier today. Read them both and you will get a sense of what teachers are experiencing right now.

By Anabel Fender

I am an idealist. A dreamer.

An…Oh-My-Goodness-Scared-To-Death-Future Teacher.

And I am made out to be a failure before I even start.

I am battered and bruised from the war against teachers and I haven’t even started teaching yet.

Scripted curricula tell me that the “higher ups” have no faith in my words. My Words! An integral part of what makes me a teacher is not trusted, so I will be given a script telling me exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. In what other profession do we not trust the words of the professional? Before I start, they make me question my words.

Merit pay initiatives imply that the teachers of America are not working as hard as they can already. In theory this initiative reflects the business world, but in the business world workers design their own goods and services. Teachers no longer have the freedom to design their goods and services – those are ready-made and required from above. It makes more sense to hold those creating the standards, curriculum guides, and scripted curriculum accountable for test scores – they are the ones making the “goods” and “services.” Before I start, they make me question my power.

In an effort to “improve” the teacher with scripted curriculum and merit pay, governors, federal government, and educational “reformers” favor alternative routes to certify teachers. Colleges of education are accused of using students as cash cows for funding research. Flyers for Teach for America hang on bulletin boards in the same universities. I am completely invested and have worked hard for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. I have made personal and financial sacrifices for a profession that will not give me great returns monetarily.

And policy makers have the audacity to think that a 22-year old business major spending six weeks of summer training to be a teacher is better equipped for teaching than I am. They help pay her loans, find a job, and offer funding for further education. But me? I graduate with education degrees when no one is hiring, teachers have no job security, and my student loans equal a teacher’s annual salary. Before I start, everyone is questioning my capabilities.

Teachers want what is best for students, but the current war against teachers is enough to wear anyone down. Teachers are constantly being told they are not good enough and then considered a threat when they speak out against injustices in schools.

Teachers’ tenure has been all but eliminated, furlough days are required, salaries are stagnant, and policies are written to fire teachers for being tardy but not to compensate them for their long evening and weekend hours. And since Georgia is a right-to-work state with no union to protect its teachers, teachers do what they must to keep their jobs. Teachers are afraid to speak out as intellectuals. Before I start I am questioning whether I am “allowed” to be an intellectual as a teacher.

I am battered and bruised but I am not going to question my words, my power, and my ability to be an intellectual. I will not let others define me, but I need teacher allies – former, current, and future teachers who will stand up with me and for me against this war on teachers. This is not about competition or jobs or our future. This is about improving our quality of life in schools so we can make schools powerful places for idealists to make their dreams a reality.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

126 comments Add your comment

crankee_yankee

March 7th, 2012
5:27 am

Concerned Teacher

March 7th, 2012
5:46 am

I am with you.

Peter Smagorinsky

March 7th, 2012
5:54 am

I admire Anabel for persisting in spite of the toxic environment within which teachers work. But I wonder how many other talented young people are being discouraged from considering teaching as a profession by the constant barrage of negativity surrounding education these days.

Anon Kindergarten teacher

March 7th, 2012
5:59 am

Fantastic article!

Vohndaddy

March 7th, 2012
6:10 am

Talk with current effective teachers/educators and ask them are they encouraging their children to become a teacher. Sadly, the most frequent answer is “no”.

mountain man

March 7th, 2012
6:27 am

I would NEVER advise anyone to aspire to be a teacher. Let the teacher shortage begin and we will see how much policies can change.

mountain man

March 7th, 2012
6:28 am

As I have said before, 50% of teachers leave the profesion in the first five years – and it isn’t the bottom 50%!

Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
7:18 am

Very well said and absolutely true in all respects. I wish people would listen. Now I am waiting fora ll the dissenters to start their “whiner” comments again. It seems that no one wants to hear the truth. We are watching the demise of the real teacher unfold before out eyes.. It is coming. Soon we will have scripted babysitters in classrooms. Why would anyone want to go into this profession? I continue to wonder.

Georgia Educator

March 7th, 2012
7:26 am

There is truth to what the author has written, but it is also true that colleges/schools of education do not uphold the highest academic standards. Amongst other college professors, they are often seen as a joke. Why? At my college you cannot find any education major earning anything less than a “C” no matter what. Failed the test? Don’t worry, you can re-take it — in fact, you can re-take the same test as many times as necessary to get the required score. There are, of course, some very bright students who major in education because that really is how they want to spend their lives. But the vast majority become education majors only after they realize they cannot succeed at their first, chosen academic discipline — the statistics course required for psychology majors is too tough, the biology course required for physical therapy is too hard, etc., etc., etc. If public educators really want to be valued and treated as professionals, they need to begin by policing their own ranks. If speaking the truth means losing your job, and you care more about keeping your job than speaking the truth (and really helping your students), then perhaps you really should not be a teacher.

Teacher Turned Business

March 7th, 2012
7:26 am

I taught for 8 years and saw my real pay decrease over that time (accounting for inflation). In addition to that, after all those years in Fulton I was forced with the prospect of having to potentially move to another school and would have pretty much no say in which one. When I started as a single guy, the salary was fine. With two kids and a wife who takes care of them to provide for, it wasn’t possible for me to continue. I had a Masters in Math Education myself but a business degree for my undergrad so I was marketable in the business world. I really like my new job but find myself wistful of my classroom and my kids. I wish the school system had made more sense for me long term, but you can’t treat a person poorly, give them a no salary increases, and expect them to stay.

Atticus Joad

March 7th, 2012
7:36 am

I have been fortunate to have several former students tell me over my 20 year career that they became a teacher, or planned to, partly because of me. It was and is quite a compliment. Now, I discourage them as soon as I hear it.

Mary Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
7:41 am

Ms. Fenders words, above: “I am battered and bruised but I am not going to question my words, my power, and my ability to be an intellectual. I will not let others define me, but I need teacher allies – former, current, and future teachers who will stand up with me and for me against this war on teachers.”
======================================================

SPECIAL NOTE To Ms. Fender: I admire your courage in speaking out, even before you become a teacher. Keep believing in education and in yourself and keep your voice present. This article is not only truthful; it is impacting. Excellent. You will make an outstanding teacher.

NOTE to READERS: Let your voice be one who supports Ms. Fender and other teachers. Write state Senator Don Balfour, who has sponsored SB 469, which would curtail teachers’ professional oganizations, such as GAE, PAGE. from being able to speak for teachers, collectively. This is the heart of democracy which they are trying to undermine. The voices of teachers, and of all workers, have the right to be heard, in unison, in America. See link below:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/StopSB469/

NOTE to the AJC: Sen. Don Balfour says that bills similar to SB 469 are being written in other state legislatures across the nation. See the link I gave, above, for his quoted words. When are the investigative reporters at the AJC going to be allowed to investigate the sources of these bills, which have an uncanny similarity, and which are showing up in state legislatures across the country? Please investigate ALEC. Learn which legislators are a part of ALEC and how that effects legislation in specific states, such as Georgia, across the nation.

NOTE to READERS: This year’s voucher bill, SB 87, is sponsored by state Senators Chip Rogers, Tommie Williams, John Albers, Jesse Stone, Joshua McKoon, and William Ligon, Jr. If you support public education, oppose SB 87.

wanttohaveinput

March 7th, 2012
7:52 am

And make sure you do not email a legislator from a school email address about concerns you have about your profession. There is NO teacher voice and they are doing everything they can to make sure it stays that way.

Csoby

March 7th, 2012
8:00 am

Dump the teachers union, dump the Federal Government, put parent responsibility back in the picture and watch the change, both in respect and pay. thanks to the Fed’s and the State government, Schools have become a babysitting service.

teacher

March 7th, 2012
8:01 am

Very well said. As a veteran 15 year teacher, I encourge Anabel to get out while she still can! Teachers are not respected as they were in the past, and the salary is barely enough to live on. I love what I do, but I I cannot support my family. A teacher who tries to support a family of 4 on his/her salary is almost within range for food stamps! And if one person says “you don’t get into teaching for the money” I will scream.

Principal Teacher

March 7th, 2012
8:03 am

“It makes more sense to hold those creating the standards, curriculum guides, and scripted curriculum accountable for test scores” – Most insightful and soooo true!

retired teacher

March 7th, 2012
8:07 am

Wow…this is excellent. I sure hope she decides to stay in education because she’s exactly what we need. But it’s going to be a long haul the way things are going and no one would fault her in the least for leaving eventually.

atlmom

March 7th, 2012
8:12 am

why would vouchers be a bad thing? I’m confused. We have seen that the govt running an education system is a bad thing.
So please, let me know why it wouldn’t work. If you say: oh, well, there will be kids who fall thru the cracks… my answer would be: as opposed to now? How many more years will we have to put up with this failure, with yet another federal govt program that is bound to fail?

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

March 7th, 2012
8:26 am

“You’re on your own.”

It’s “sink or swim.”

And, by the way, here’s “a bowling ball” containing a heritage of disrespect for authority figures, of classroom and school disorder as well as of student and co-worker detachment for you to carry as you swim toward the completion of a successful first year.

Not Blind

March 7th, 2012
8:31 am

Anabel, what you are fighting are the highly publicized mistakes in judgement made by a tiny handful of teachers. It’s an unfortunate fact that young people make mistakes and most if not all of the mistakes are made by young teachers. The whole “math questions containing slavery references” is obviously stupid to someone in their late 50’s [ me ] but I could see me back when I was in my 20’s not thinking those questions were too controversial.

I do have one corollary. When in school I remember the whole class being disciplined for the actions of an individual. Now teachers find themselves in the same boat. It sucks doesn’t it?

Mary Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
8:33 am

@atlmom, 8:12,

“why would vouchers be a bad thing?”
========================================

Vouchers would not be a bad thing if you want to dismantle public education for private education. There is much negative propaganda against public schools, which comes not only from state sources, but also from national sources of much wealth and power who have their own interests and agendas. Some of your thoughts reflect this relentless propaganda, which paints public schools with a broad stroke, and is deliberately cynical in tone.

There are many excellent public schools. I am not advocating for public schools to remain static. I am advocating for improvement in traditional public schools. Public schools must educate every child. Public schools do not use children for profit. Public schools are able to coordinate with one another, throughout the state, in terms of knowledge of students’ standardized test scores in a computer data base that will help to refine instruction, which will be more individualized for every student, even when students transfer from one public school to another.

Dekalbite

March 7th, 2012
8:33 am

Anabel is right. Scripted curricula has been sold with the profit motive in mind. Remember the $400,000 Hollywood Conference to learn how to teach America’s Choice when so many DeKalb Central Office personnel were sent to Hollywood during the height of the Great Recession using stimulus money meant for improving student achievement? America’s Choice has been used for 6 years and the MADE AYP rate in the low income schools it has been used in have declined to the lowest achievement rate (only 20% of our Title I schools MADE AYP in 2011) in the metro area. DCSS has spent over $50,000,000 for this program alone. And they spent millions more for Springboard, a scripted leading program for all middle and high schools. Since discontinued, Springboard was intensely disliked by the teachers and produced no positive results. These scripted learning programs are expensive, often hire school administrators of the systems they sell to when they retire, and are rarely evaluated in terms of efficacy for students.

The administration of the school system and its BOE must have the burden of student achievement placed on their shoulders. The school system administration hires all the teachers and tell them WHAT and HIOW to teach. They set ALL policies, procedures and programs for the district. They allocate all of the funding. Some do a very good job – Decatur City, Marietta City, Rockale come to mind. Some do a terrible job – APS, DeKalb, Clayton come to mind. Good leadership attracts and retains good teachers, seeks input from parents, students and teachers, and directs the bulk of their funding into the classroom for instruction of students. It’s really that simple.

The leaders of the school system namely the superintendent and the BOE have the control and make the decisions. They must be held accountable if their decisions negatively impact students. If the leaders of the school system are not held accountable, nothing will ever change for the students.

Misty Fyed

March 7th, 2012
8:35 am

Unrealistic expectations from a bygone era. The world is changing. Tenure?.give me a break..pay based on performance? get used to it.

Time and time again I see my loved one criticized for enthusiasm from the “main line” teachers because of the contrast it brings to their lack of it. Its time to give management the tools they need to motivate teachers who take up space or move them out.

That said, teachers are not the problem. I have never seen anything so poorly managed as the school system. The only way to fix the system is with competition; where broken systems die a natural death. Teachers should not fear this. Whoever runs the school will still need teachers. Imagine working for a place with competent management. Where what works not what feels good wins the day. Where the school holds parents equally accountable for their kid’s education.

I truly think teachers who oppose vouchers miss the point. It’s not a condemnation of them. It’s a condemnation of the central office.

GTT

March 7th, 2012
8:38 am

“My Words!”
Words is not a proper noun.

Susan Curtis

March 7th, 2012
8:41 am

Good for the writer! As a former teacher, my advice, is to shut your classroom door and do what is right for the kids and their learning. Jump through the hoops you have to, keep asking questions about best practices (and ones that you know aren’t best), but know that most days, you can teach as you know you should if you are getting results.

Susan Curtis

March 7th, 2012
8:43 am

Oops. I should have proofread. No comma after advice. Sorry.

Tad Jackson

March 7th, 2012
8:44 am

One of the greatest academic accomplishments of my life was in sixth grade when I led my team of classmates in running off a substitute teacher. Her name was Miss Anderson. Wanda Lynn Anderson. She sang for money at a lot of local churches, too. I know this because my parents made me go to church every damn Sunday and sometimes even on Wednesday nights and sometimes Sunday nights even when we had already been there that morning. Miss Anderson sang love songs, very passionately, into a microphone, to Jesus.

Anyway, back to one of the greatest academic accomplishments of my life. Beginning while we were mangling the Pledge of Allegiance, we delivered for the next two and a half hours a highly coordinated psychological attack on Miss Anderson … and then she sort of had a nervous breakdown and then she trotted out of the classroom with her purse and her coffee mug. Before lunch, too. The pride we felt for ourselves was palpable. Miss Anderson had come to the belief, which she verbalized that morning a number of times to us, that we were all possessed by Satan. We took that as a compliment.

After Miss Anderson ran out the door we ran to the windows at the back of the classroom and watched her get into her car and drive off. Miss Anderson had put her coffee mug on the roof of her orange Corvette while she fiddled with her keys and when she peeled out of her parking spot the mug tumbled down the back of her car and busted apart on the asphalt.

After we stopped cheering, I strongly suggested to my team that we read books and draw and color and play our educational board games while we kept real, real, real quiet. I tiptoed to the front of the classroom and eased the door shut.

Forty-five minutes after Mrs. Anderson took herself off of the substitute teacher list, the assistant principal, the real cheerful Mrs. Nix, bopped by to see how Miss Anderson was doing. After looking around the classroom, and then by asking us a couple of questions that she demanded we answer because we were acting pretty puckered up, Mrs. Nix found out that Miss Anderson had left the building. Mrs. Nix asked us how long Miss Anderson said she’d be gone.

I told Mrs. Nix that we all felt Miss Anderson would not be returning. Ever.

http://www.adixiediary.com

carlosgvv

March 7th, 2012
8:46 am

This young would-be teacher needs to know that social experimentation in order to pull black student’s scores and behaviors up to white standards has been the order of the day for many years now. She also needs to know that, even though none of these social experiments have ever worked or will ever work, there will be no end to them in the foreseeable future. Also, the “higher ups” will never tell her this directly but she will eventually catch on to this with experience.

thespanishbandit

March 7th, 2012
8:46 am

“my ability to become an intellectual”??? so, only by being a second class citizen, a teacher, I may be an intellectual…

Mary Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
8:49 am

@DeKabite, 8:33 am

“Good leadership attracts and retains good teachers, seeks input from parents, students and teachers, and directs the bulk of their funding into the classroom for instruction of students. It’s really that simple.”
====================================================

I agree with that statement.

Batgirl

March 7th, 2012
9:04 am

@Mary Elizabeth @ 7:41, I signed the petition a couple of days ago and e-mailed my senator and asked him not to vote for the bill should it come to the floor. I focused more on the criminalization of demonstrating/picketing, and he told me that I did not understand. That that was just to keep people from picketing homes. Maybe it is; I haven’t read the bill, but if that’s true, it seems like a stupid waste to me. Oh, wait, I’m talking about our legislature!

My school system will not allow me to access the link you posted, so I am working from memory here, but I think that Sen. Balfour said that this bill comes directly from the Chamber of Commerce and is also being used by several other states. I mentioned this in my e-mail to my senator and asked why we in Georgia could not think for ourselves. He had no response that.

I would like to ask other teachers if they also have trouble linking to some of the websites mentioned here. I could not link to the article, “If you kill the heart and soul of a school, what’s left?” because it has the word “kill” in it. There are many other words that trigger our firewall, such as “anti-gay”, “lace dress”, “murder-suicide”. A representative from our technology department says that this is required by the state. I find that hard to believe. Do any of the rest of you have trouble with articles containing such words?

Mary Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
9:08 am

Ms. Fender, please disregard carlosgvv’s pessimistic advice to you, at 8:46 am today.

I am a retired teacher who saw substantive increases in my students’ test scores, of all ethnic and racial groups, as well as of all socioeconomic groups. Many of my students, within my essentially African-American high school, increased their verbal SAT scores by as much as 200 points. If their math SAT scores increased that much, then their overall SAT scores would have increased by 400 points. Quite a significant improvement. Education can make a difference not only in individual student’s lives, but also in the fabric of our nation, as a whole.

Hope

March 7th, 2012
9:15 am

Amen! I’m with you all the way!

Negatory to the Lowest Common Denominator

March 7th, 2012
9:21 am

The highest performing school system in the world hires only teachers with a Masters Degree in the subject they are to teach, a math teacher must have a Masters in math, a chemistry teacher must have a Masters in chemistry. The students do not start school until they are eight years old. In the middle of the pack America, we hire teachers with a degree in education, a subject that concentrates on the bells and whistles of how to teach, but not on the subject matter to be taught. American teachers have mostly a superficial knowledge of the subject matter, gleamed from the textbook. In middle of the pack America, we start school at age 5 and earlier, and still fall in the rankings. Until we eliminate education degrees as the qualifying degree to teach in America, we will continue to sink in the global rankings. Until we allow boys to grow to the point they are ready for formal education, we will continue to drive boys from academic achievement. Girls may be ready for school at age 5 or 6, but boys are better off waiting until age 8.

@ Batgirl

March 7th, 2012
9:28 am

Your tech guy is mistaken. This is not required by the state. I think it is generally decided at the district level, although some districts may give individual schools a bit more freedom in what they are or are not allowed to access on the internet.

GM of IST @ CCDOE in GMU

March 7th, 2012
9:34 am

Ms. Fender has just written one of the most cogent arguments against today’s teaching establishment that i have seen to date. Good for her.

It is a testament to her fortitude if she sticks with this profession knowing the challenges and bureaucratic nightmares she faces.

Fled

March 7th, 2012
9:41 am

Ms. Fender,

It seems that you answered many of your questions in your essay. I am sure you know that there is very high turnover in the teaching ranks. That has long been the case and seems to be accelerating rapidly these days. Also, Maureen shared some information that many teachers are planning to leave as soon as they can. Throughout this blog, there are many postings by highly experienced teachers who cannot wait to quit.

You will soon learn that most administrators ran away from the classroom because of their limitations as teachers, so if you begin to shine they will attack you mercilessly. You will also find that most of the parents are nice people who want the same thing you do, but there is a toxic minority that is so unpleasant in every way that you will not want to deal with any parents. Always remember that the admins will never ever support you when a parent complains no matter how ridiculous the complaint is. You will also find that the repuke government in Georgia undercuts and fails to support you in every way possible (please keep in mind that half of these people would vote for Gingrich).

I actively discourage all my former students from becoming teachers, especially the bright ones who could make a difference in students’ lives. Colleges of Education are refuges for tenured mediocrities and failures; the education that you have paid so much for will not serve you well at all in the realities of the classroom. You would have been better off to have earned a real degree and then entered alternative certification: at least you would have something to teach.

When the schools are fully privatized, you will find that your position will become even more degraded. The classroom will then be a profit center, and you will be an employee. Companies like Mosaica know how to look good on paper, so the fraud will continue. You will never be able to speak out for fear of losing your job.

Don’t buy a house or do anything else that would ground you in Georgia. When you need to flee, it is best not to be encumbered.

Batgirl

March 7th, 2012
9:42 am

I don’t think my tech guy (girl actually) is mistaken. I think she lied. It is quite common for our central office folks to blame the state for things they don’t want to take responsibility for. Likewise, my school administrators blame the central office for policies that they make up.

Mary Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
9:48 am

@Batgirl, 9:04 am

Here are the words from the link that I gave at 7:41am today, which came from GAE:
================================================

‘You see, SB 469 will criminialize picketing, punish employee associations, and penalize civil disobedience We consider this a direct attack.

GAE, AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, and other organizations-t work diligently to support and represent public educators and other hard working Georgians. SB 469 undermines our capability to provide those services and protections to you. In GAE’s case, one of those primary resources is legal protection for educators.

We believe the state has NO AUTHORITY to interfere with your PRIVATE CHOICE to have a preset amount automatically deducted from your paycheck. Stand united with us to protect your right to organize!”
====================================================

And here are the exact words of SB 469:

First Reader Summary

“A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 6 of Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to labor organizations and labor relations, so as to provide that certain provisions prohibiting mass picketing shall apply to certain private residences;

to provide for an action to enjoin unlawful mass picketing; to provide for punishment and penalties;

to provide for injunctive relief;

to provide for public policy concerning refusal or decision to withdraw from a labor union or employee organization;

to amend Code Section 16-7-21, relating to criminal trespass, so as to provide for both criminal trespass and criminal conspiracy;

to provide for punishment and fines; to provide for related matters;

to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

Status History
Mar/05/2012 – Senate Read Second Time
Feb/29/2012 – Senate Committee Favorably Reported
Feb/22/2012 – Senate Read and Referred
Feb/21/2012 – Senate Hopper

Sponsored By
(1) Balfour, Don 9th(2) Hamrick, Bill 30th(3) Cowsert, Bill 46th (4) Tolleson, Ross 20th

Committees
SC: Insurance and Labor

Title of SB 469: “Labor; provide provisions prohibiting mass picketing shall apply to certain private residences”

The title is misleading in that the bill contains more than “picketing private residences” – see above for all of the content within the bill. I understand that the bill could come to a vote at any time.

http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20112012/SB/469

Horrible

March 7th, 2012
10:04 am

I got my teaching certificate last year, but for some reason I’m not in a hurry to leave my corporate job right now…..

Mary Elizabeth

March 7th, 2012
10:07 am

Below are the words of Martin Luther King III, regarding SB 469:
=========================================================

“We urge all Georgia lawmakers to oppose SB 469. This bill restricts the free speech rights of Georgians.

It burdens small businesses by forcing them to issue additional notices to their employees, and it puts extra strain on our already-stretched public safety forces. We need lawmakers to focus on real solutions to our jobs crisis, not push bills that take away our basic free speech rights. Again, please vote NO on SB 469.

Extreme lawmakers in the Georgia legislature are pushing a bill designed to intimidate those who would engage in protest activities, such as picketing or sit-ins.

This is an effort to silence protesters who are standing up for economic justice.

My father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., died fighting for economic justice. Before his assassination in 1968, one of the ways he supported striking sanitation workers in Memphis was joining them on the picket line.

It’s shocking to me that, 44 years after my father’s death, extreme Georgia legislators are trying to silence today’s peaceful protesters. My father would not back down from this bill and we cannot either.”

http://signon.org/sign/this-ga-bill-would-make.fb1?source=s.fb&r_by=206641

NONPC

March 7th, 2012
10:14 am

Merit pay initiatives imply that the teachers of America are not working as hard as they can already. In theory this initiative reflects the business world, but in the business world workers design their own goods and services.

Merit pay initiatives do NOT imply that ” teachers of America are not working as hard as they can already”. They imply that some teachers are more effective than others, and that those teachers should be rewarded… and that whatever they are doing should be spread through the teaching community. Ever notice how teachers run from the merit idea like it is the plague?

” in the business world workers design their own goods and services.”. Again, a load of trash. Maybe a tiny fraction of workers get to design their own goods and services. The rest of us, 99.9999%, are following the company line on who/what/when/where to sell and support.

This article has so much baseless commentary that it is not worth going through. I, personally, hope this person never gets to teach a child… ever.

bu2

March 7th, 2012
10:16 am

Given that APS can’t get rid of teachers who have admitted cheating and has been paying them for a year, I don’t think teachers need “tenure.” It is already far harder to fire teachers in Georgia than anyone outside a union.

As for the evil administrators, doesn’t she realize they ALL have education degrees? So do a substantial number of board members.

A little outside perspective would be very useful for school systems. A lot of the parents have no jobs or have had salary freezes or cuts or furlough days as well. Its not just teachers having a hard time right now.

William Casey

March 7th, 2012
10:18 am

@NEGATORY: Your 9:21 post made TWO very important points regarding the improvement of American education–

“Until we eliminate education degrees as the qualifying degree to teach in America, we will continue to sink in the global rankings. Until we allow boys to grow to the point they are ready for formal education, we will continue to drive boys from academic achievement.”

IMHO, there should be no such thing as an undergraduate degree in “education.” A student should have to demonstrate competence in (and love for) a subject matter field. “Education” should be a graduate program. Think law school. We have discounted content knowledge to the point that many new teachers today would struggle in my 10th grade world history class. My girlfriend, a professor of Business Laws tells me all the time that the weaker students bail out of business and become “education majors.” No way to run a “profession.” I’m not saying that there isn’t a need for instruction in pedagogy, just not at the undergrad level. Of course, with the dismal status teachers suffer today, who in their right mind would go through the “Casey Teacher Preparation Program” to become a “data-driven robot?”

I’m writing an op-ed piece on the problems boys have in schools. I’ll save that discussion for later.

William Casey

March 7th, 2012
10:27 am

@NONPC: I’m a teacher who began advocating merit pay in 1979 (PHI DELTA KAPPAN, March, 1979.) Of course, the ways in which it has been implemented (or attempted) since then have been a complete joke.

carlosgvv

March 7th, 2012
10:39 am

Mary Elizabeth – 9:08

My “pessimistic” observations are known as reality. Your rosy recollections of your teaching career seem to indicate an exageration of the good and a total ignoring of the bad.

Fericita

March 7th, 2012
10:39 am

Way to go, Anabel! You hit the nail on the head. I’ll be your teacher ally!

In all the talk about how teachers must differentiate for their students, no one talks about how evaluators must differentiate as they grade teachers. Why should we all use scripted lessons? Why should we all have the exact same things on our bulletin board and word walls? What happened to teacher autonomy? All of these “improvements” just turn away the smartest teachers, those who miss their autonomy. But Anabel, I hope you stick with it!

jm

March 7th, 2012
10:41 am

Grow up Ms. Fender.

jm

March 7th, 2012
10:45 am

bu2 – second that

Douglas

March 7th, 2012
10:46 am

“And since Georgia is a right-to-work state with no union to protect its teachers, teachers do what they must to keep their jobs.”
The fact that GA is a right-to-work state does not mean that there can be no union to “protect” teachers. It just means that a teacher does not have to join a union.