What is the breaking point? I envision it as a boxer in a ring who gets beat on and beat on until he finally just starts punching back and doesn't stop until his opponent is knocked out. I would have thought parents and especially teachers would have reached their breaking point years ago with the top down management of schools. The federal money has brought an overwhelming amount of programs that seek constant change- whether it is needed or not . I reached my breaking point in 2005 and just retired. It was too frustrating to try to teach in this environment where grants, non profits, and programs were more important than learning. Every administrator will tell you that the teacher should be the most important person in the schools because that is where "the rubber meets the road", but in reality, teachers are on the bottom of the pecking order. If you've ever taught you know how overwhelming it is (at least if you're doing the job right). When they started demanding that teachers ,who spend their weekends and evenings correcting papers, do "service" as part of their contract- as if they weren't spending their whole life doing service, and the union agreed because their cut comes from teacher salaries they were able to negotiate, I knew things had gotten way out of whack. Teachers are there now to service grants, non profits and programs, whether it's in there lesson plan or not. It's not as if grants are chosen to solve special problems our district is having. When you ask a teacher who is working how things are going- he/she will generally just say" things are going o.k." but after they retire and you mention the chaos they just nod their head- blow air out between their lips and roll their eyes. Our former superintendent was supposed to be wonderful, it wasn't until he left that teachers started stating in the paper that under the NEW superintendent they were finally really happy. It wasn't until a particular principal left Broadwater school that teachers started referring to "after the wall came down" (meaning when she left) and board members started admitting to the "disarray" at this school that had suppressed student achievement (even though parents had passed petitions TWICE to try to get some relief from the situation). The principal finally retired of her own accord. So where is the breaking point?
Like children whose parents are forced to send their children to public school because they can't afford private school, many teachers (maybe most) just have to keep putting up with whatever comes because they can't afford to retire. I knew when the Superintendent from Butte showed her research and graphs that showed that Helena schools were not doing well- slipping in math and just barely staying even in reading- that she would not be a finalist in her bid to become our new superintendent in Helena. The board doesn't even SEE the punches that are beating down on the teachers and sending them to a breaking point. They believe that every grant and program is good and producing results. They don't track grants and programs, they just wait to be told that everything is wonderful- what else will principals and staff say at these dog and pony shows they are forced to produce for the board each year? Will they say that things are at a breaking point? No, they won't. So, the board hears only good things and that is exactly how they like it.
Will the American public reach a breaking point? They have reached a breaking point many times- but top down management, perpetrated by the all powerful federal government, is hard to effect. Parents and Helena citizens have petitioned and attended meetings in mass all to no avail. That's what happens in dictatorships- the peoples' voices are lost. We live in a bureaucratic nightmare coming down from Washington D.C. and it will get much worse under Common Core Standards.Common Core Standards will inject our local schools with curricula that bureaucrats decide on and no one here will be able to stop whatever they decide they want to teach. This already includes "Comprehensive Health" in case you were wondering.
Perhaps Americans will finally really reach their breaking point in the 2012 elections and vote for a president that will begin to dismantle this madness. In case you were wondering how our wonderful and unconstitutional Federal Department of Education is effecting student progress,listen to this, From the 1950's to the 1970's our schools were making steady progress , since the department of education was established in 1979 our scores have been FLAT- NO PROGRESS. It was eye opening to me to see how much people have been propagandized, when someone said to me at a board meeting in response to this statistic, that at least the children are being fed. When I mentioned to her that in 30 years of teaching I NEVER, saw a child pass out from hunger she was surprised!! She was adamant that parents don't feed their children even after I pointed out to her that if parents didn't feed their children they would be dead before they made it to kindergarten. Come on America! Get your heads out of the sand and save our schools and this great nation while you can!! We are not people who can't and won't feed our children- we are proud, strong, independent and perfectly capable of caring for ourselves and our families without an overarching federal government.
As I watched the bagpipers on St. Patricks day I marveled at a culture that could survive so much, and I knew that the American culture would survive too. America has a very proud heritage and culture of freedom. Our founders were magnificent men that fought a revolution to give us our freedom. Don't let anyone tell you that "George Washington really did lie" or "Abraham Lincoln was mentally ill". Be proud of your heritage, your culture (including capitalism, freedom,independence, Judeo-Christian religions and the English Language), and all your traditions right down to country music,blue jeans and the cheeseburger. Don't let anyone back you down, shut you up, or dehumanize you. Don't stand by and let anyone apologize for the greatest nation that has ever been on this earth. Be America proud. Let those that would change this nation know that you have reached your breaking point and that our American Constitution is staying right where it is, along with healthy schools and healthy families that govern themselves! Amen!