If you teach, and you are in an economically depressed area, then I’m sure you are hearing some of the same things we are hearing here as politician’s face hard choices as they try to fund education and all other social services that are part of “government”. Do you feel as helpless? It’s never-ending. EVERY day, there is at least one editorial in the paper, about the overpaid, under performing teachers, and how it’s somehow OUR fault, that children are failing in school. Pay us less, cut our retirement, merit pay, charter schools, tenure. They want to put it all on the table. Funny how they can turn and twist everything to show teachers in a bad light, to try to justify the things they want to do to education and teachers. So much of it is built on premises that aren’t even based in fact.
The reason they get any traction out of it at all is that it is an emotional issue. Like religion or global warming . Most people have opinions, but how informed are they? I mean we wouldn’t want to let FACTS get in the way……… NCLB has been around NINE years. Our kids are doing SO much better because of it……….. It has radically changed the way we teach, and gets more and more ridiculous as we get closer and closer to “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND” and its just as unrealistic today as it was nine years ago. Has it made education better? At my school, we just get more “tests”.
One of the problems is that generally teachers aren’t activists. We sit back in our individual rooms and do our individual jobs, and we don’t present a united front. In our district, a lot of teachers don’t even belong to the union. There is a movement to break the unions as a means of balancing their budgets, but ultimately at what cost? I think that the only way we will survive is if we present a united front and start to stand up for ourselves. We are in trouble if we allow “merit pay”, We are in trouble if we allow them to take away tenure. It’s bad enough here, it’s against the law for teachers to strike.
What will YOUR retirement look like? If you live in a state like mine, with a public retirement system, it’s difficult to even supplement your retirement. They limit Social Security benefits, even if you have the quarters in to qualify. They call it “double dipping”. Funny, you and your employers have to pay in to both systems, you just can’t take it out of both systems. How is that double dipping?
Twenty four years ago, when I told my father I was going to be a teacher, he said, “I thought I raised you better than that…..” As a lifetime educator he could see it coming…….