Meant to post this yesterday, but didn’t get time. I think the headlines tell the tale around education right now.
I didn’t even get to look at Texas…
These are some crazy days, and I fear we haven’t even seen the half of it. And I wonder a couple of things. What will it take for people to figure out that the disruption here is far greater than budgets and unions which are right now the easy scapegoats in the reform message? And, if we keep going down this road to oblivion, what rises from the ashes?
Carolyn Foote says
Here here, Will.
Our elected officials have to see beyond agendas.
The Texas march is scheduled for March 12. Hope it’s not too late into the process.
More info on Save Texas Schools’ site.
Thanks for showing the bigger picture.
Danika Barker says
This is one of those stories that is nicer to follow from the outside looking in–although as they say, “when the U.S. sneezes, Canada (or insert the name of any other country) gets a cold.”
A colleague and I were just bemoaning yet another round of Sisyphus like literacy test preparation meetings and it made me realize that when people want to fix “what’s wrong with education today” the simple solution seems to be to pick something that is quantifiable: test scores, teacher salaries, funding formulas….
Maybe it’s my English teacher bias, but not every problem, in my opinion, can be measured, tallied, or fixed by an algorithm.
John Rundag says
I live and work in an Ohio school district. Senate Bill 5 has been proposed, which would end collective bargaining for all public workers. Workers would see wage decreases and would have to pay up to 20% for health insurance. One teacher figured her salary would be $32,000 with 11 years of experience.
Most teachers chose the teaching profession because of reasonable salaries, good benefits, 185 days of school and their passion for teaching. If you take away the reasonable salary, benefits and add days to the school calendar, will the passion for teaching keep them in the profession?
Gary Stager says
Collective bargaining is a fundamental human right, as is witholding of one’s own labor.
Otherwise, we are slaves.
John Pederson says
Studying it very up close and personal here in Madison.
Each time I feel like I may be getting closer my reaching keeps pushing it further away.
I’ve watched the it turn from a story about the economy to a story about workers’ rights with teachers being used like pawns by both sides.
I’m beginning to “feel” the frustration of Lawrence Lessig. http://www.fixcongressfirst.org/
“We won’t solve this problem until we solve this problem first.”
tim king says
Where I am, teachers at 11 years make about $90k a year, get health care provided (but then everyone does), and we manage that without a crippling national debt. I think Wisconsin would make a great addition to our 10 provinces.
As an ex-marketer, I am used to seeing budget cuts in advertising as soon as a downturn hits. The situation here is analogous. My question is, if these cuts are legitimate, then they should have been brought about even in happier times!
Annie Dubroc says
Hello Mr. Richardson,
I am a student at the University of South Alabama, I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class. I was assign to read your blog this week. I will be posting a summary about your blog on to mine, if would like to look. My link is http://dubrocannieedm310.blogspot.com/.
I think your right, that these news headlines are self explanatory. Our officials have to see beyond the budget cuts. You make a good point, what will raise from the ashes? I don’t think anything good to be honest. We need to do something and fast. Our opinions are important and need to be heard.
Gary Stager says
I’m not sure what sort of disruption you refer to.
These headlines are rooted in a desire to defund public education. This change in public sentiment is built upon the past decade’s effort to discredit public education through endless testing, shaming and proclamations about the “crisis in education.”
The American public routinely acts against its own economic self-interest. The privatizing of government services (schools) and tax breaks for billionaires are evidence of such delusions. Somehow we actually believe that the worker protections that created our middle class lifestyles don’t apply to us, but that since we may all be billionaires some day soon, we need to protect the rich.
Linda Darling-Hammond has stunning data on how during the 1960s and 70s we desegregated schools, closed the income gap and the gap in minority/White school achievement was making real progress.
That all changed with the election of Ronald Reagan who busted union, increased the deficit, gave tax breaks to his rich cronies and attacked the poor. Our schools are now resegregated in most urban communities. Oh yeah, this President’s Day, Americans are naming Reagan as America’s greatest President.
Let’s try to educate Americans when they prefer tax cuts and fairy tales to the public good and economic security.
G Hubler says
Stay tuned… Newly elected PA Governor Tom Corbett is to announce his budget cuts on Mach 8th. Education is slated to take a hit. Still waiting for details
Lauren Turner says
I’ve heard back from students at my old high school that my coach, who taught french and spanish, decided to get his masters in french so he could see a pay raise. Once he finished his degree after going to school every summer for four years, it was announced that he would not be teaching french anymore, because the school district could not afford to pay him.
Bottom line, the biggest issue is not that teacher’s aren’t receiving proper wages or that they don’t receive enough credit for working for so less. The issue is that students quality of learning is at stake because schools can’t afford to pay higher educated teachers.
The fact is things are bad everywhere… I understand states are out of money…school districts are being forced to make cuts in education… parents are losing jobs… turning to drugs/crime. The public school systems are being ridiculed for producing low-achieving students, low test scores, students that cannot read let alone be ready for college. Thus the story is teachers are inadequate! It is sad to me because educating students is a joint effort between parents and teachers. Many students in my class come to school worried about the electricity being turned off and their mommy trying to find a place for them to stay or their daddy who is in prison and them being excited to go to visit him so they can have the special treat from the prison cafeteria! Little issues like these makes it very difficult for them to get out their math books and be ready to learn about arrays and multiplication let alone the mound-builders that lived in Michigan! Can we as educators improve on our instruction… always! I think as an educator you can always be working to make improvements. Do I know the solution? No, but I do know that there are good teachers out there and it is a shame that all the blame is placed on teachers. I also think it is a shame that teachers are made to look like “money hungry” people that aren’t doing their jobs and want what other people are having to give up (health benefits… wages… job security). It is easy to say “Well, everyone else has to pay their insurance… why shouldn’t teachers. Teaching takes a lot of hard work beyond what anyone not in the field can imagine nor understand. Unless you’ve been in the trenches I believe this concept is hard to understand!
New York Hebrew Academy says
While the fact that these things are happening is completely unfortunate and saddening, it is however refreshing to see people getting involved and standing up for teachers. I hope this catches on and spreads like a wild fire. Teachers are not to blame, they are to be respected for what they do and contribute to society. It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher and they deserve to be one of the highest paid professions in my opinion. Budget cuts have to be made somewhere but education should not be sacrificed.
On one hand it is unfortunate the country is being forced to take sides in this state budget crisis debate. It seems that either you have to be for public unions and public workers rights, or you have to be for stripping common, decent citizens of their collective bargaining rights all because state governments can’t balance their own checkbook. On the other hand this could force people to have an honest, open discussion on public education reform. Hopefully, although I am pessimistic, this will lead to the much needed debate about the role of parents, teachers, administrators, and students in raising student achievement in this country.
Gary Stager says
School reform has nothing to do with reducing the cost of teachers.
Andy Osborn says
Change needs to come soon. As teachers, our jobs depend on it.