Monday, 29 September 2014


It's interesting how every new program creates experts like leaves falling from the trees in the fall. Common Core, which has only been around for a couple of years, has more superior experts than you can even imagine. I met one today. Unfortunately, she doesn't use a mike and had her face right in the face of the school board- standing right at their name plates ( I wonder who taught her that technique?).

So I only got to hear a small portion of Janel's schtick because the superintendent, once again, changed the printed agenda. I begin to wonder if this disrespect and disservice and violation of the open meeting laws is planned. But, I did get to hear her, though I had to strain to do so, and I did get to talk to this self proclaimed superior teacher trainer. The first thing that impressed me was her total disrespect for and trust of TEACHERS. You see, our teachers are just not good teachers and they don't make kids college and career ready. I questioned her about this. Was not college and career ready always the goal of our schools? Well--- no, she said. I was astonished. Then what would the goal of schools have been? Well-- the teachers just weren't doing it  or couldn't do it- so she- the expert- is making sure they get in Professional Learning Communities so she can MAKE them do it!!

"Any time you have change there will be push back", she said. Here we go again- if you don't think I'm right all the time it's just because you're afraid of change!! I asked her about her "guaranteed and viable" curriculum . How could she guarantee a curriculum and what made it viable? Her curriculum is guaranteed and viable because it matches the test!! I wonder if she has ever heard of "garbage in garbage out"? Well, she said, students were dropping out before, but now everyone will leave school college and career ready, and that will prove the viability of Common Core.

Do you think 100% of students will walk out into this world and be successful under any curriculum? If you do, I have a bridge to Hawaii to sell you. This is nonsense. It makes about as much sense as Obama being able to settle all our foreign affairs problems just by talking to people! It's about as destructive too. She said when these (inferred inferior people afraid of change), come up to her with objections she just says " What can I do for you?". Let me answer that question for all these misused and frustrated teachers-  Lady, you can quit being so damn superior and try working in the trenches yourself!! You can quit wasting our time and let us do the job we know how to do and you don't!! YOU CAN QUIT SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF OUR TEACHERS!!

I went to what I, and many others , call the "dog and pony" show at one of our schools the other day. This is when the school board forces schools to show them their stuff every year. This is an advertisement for school reform-makes the board feel good- even if most of it is wrong, mischaracterized or just plain terrible. The board is told everything is wonderful and THEY FEEL PROUD OF THEMSELVES. They are suckers. This presentation was so bad, I would have cried or laughed, if it just didn't make me so downright mad!! The teachers sat there in a row looking terrified and the principal and one other teacher did the show. This principal, with this very southern accent, that was continually addressing herself  "I said SarahBeth"- you get the idea, was not even in school for at least part of the first week of school!! She was on an airplane going to Texas!! She made sure the kids got their charm for showing up though. Do as I say not as I do. Meanwhile we'll be out 45 minutes early every Monday, but darn it, you take attendance seriously when we are here!!

Meanwhile the students and teachers spent the week doing disaster drills and orientations!! By the way, just to ease your fears about all these starving children, apparently 100% of the kindergarten parents showed up for home visits at school. My, my- they won't feed them but they all show up- hmmm.

But here's the really sad part. I listened to all this crap and I realized why I had to leave that district. I just couldn't be treated like these teachers are being treated. I'm way too much of a self directed proud individual to subvert who I am, humble myself ,and submit to the treatment these teachers are being subjected to. One Common Core video I watched said the teachers had to find their "niche". REALLY? The teachers are just a niche now? I'll show you some of the ways teachers are being put into a little subservient niche.

First of all, this school just got it's vaunted Title I status recently. The superintendent was so proud and he just smiled and practically gave them a medal last year at a board meeting for getting it! Whoopee- the secretary made a mad dash to the phone when she realized that they had over 40% free and reduced lunch -at least for one day!! Remember, they prove income by having the secretary check up on a few, not very exact. So now they are a "poor" school and the teachers are pressured to go to a "book club" !! Yes indeed, they are reading "Framework for Poverty" !! I could get an A+ in that class- we've all done it in college- just tell them what they want to hear folks!! Don't spend your time on your work-like grading papers or doing lesson plans- go to the "book club" so they can tell you what and how to think.Meanwhile one of the board members I really do enjoy, asked if the school had changed now that they are Title. Answer- "no".

Moving right along, the teachers are forced to give up their classes to psychs and social workers teaching "empathy" skills. They used to do this when I taught too- a real barf session. Just teaching the kids what the teachers are supposed to be learning in the "book club". I guess parents can't be trusted to teach their kids not to be sociopaths.

Now, when the teachers do get a little time to teach- that will be directed too. Not only do they have to teach to the test, teach the units in the order proscribed by their "professional learning community" and report, and teach in the manner proscribed by said community, they have to give their teaching over to para professionals who are usually not even college graduates much less credentialed!! That's right, the teachers will work with a student or two who is struggling and the para will take over the teachers" class!! If that isn't bad enough, the school is working on empowering the paras to grab kids out of class if they think they are misbehaving!! The teacher's authority over the classroom is being undermined.

We are all individuals with different teaching styles and different ideas about classroom discipline. Just as we are individuals in our parenting we are different teachers. Teachers are not robots. There is no panacea in this world. Common Core is SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF OUR TEACHERS AND SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF EDUCATION!! This unproven experiment is single handedly DESTROYING EDUCATION in America - just as the teachers union president Randi Weingartner predicted.

I went away from this meeting sad and mad- it appeared to me that every bit of joy in teaching- from personal motivation, personal ingenuity, personal creativity, personal pride, individuality, spontaneity, and originality, was being sucked out of these teachers and the teaching profession. The bureaucrats, who do nothing, have taken over.

And if you want to see how these government programs work out, look no further than the military's RCI program ( we don't have enough forces in the field but we have troops to be nannys to wayward youth). I saw them up close and personal at the skateboard park by the YMCA where I work out. Some were skateboarding, some were making out with their girlfriends, some were smoking, and the military personnel in charge of this mess (soldiers) were in the lobby of the YMCA chatting with the desk clerk. Hey Janel, these are not "guaranteed and viable" curriculums. And one last shout out to the teachers union- what are you getting paid for? Have you ever heard of ACADEMIC FREEDOM?!!

1 comment:

  1. Barbara, you are a beacon. Keep shining, and as Churchill said, "Never give up, never give up, never never never give up!"