And I don’t even care for Elvis Presley, but that shows you how the right song in the right situation crosses all divides. Or something like that.
I went to a retirement party for a lovely woman I taught with. She has taught kindergarten for over thirty years, and commuted an hour and a half from Pennsylvania into New Jersey every day. She stayed late to work, stayed late for meetings, came back on weekends to support community events, and was a cherished and valued member of the school community.
She was treated the same shabby way I was in that district. Someone in the administration gets a wild hair that a teacher (usually tenured and a natural group leader) is detrimental to the American way of life and Must Be Dealt With Immediately. Public humiliation, gossip, relocation without notification, suddenly terrible observations without any supporting documentation, a warning to all new (non-tenured) teachers forbidding them to consult with her… the mind boggles.
This is a district where the Board of Education declares sorrowfully that there’s nothing they can do about inappropriate behavior by administration because “their hands are tied.” A teacher who takes more than six and a half of their allotted eleven sick days is automatically graded as “ineffective.” Why? Because it makes the district look bad. To whom? The board shakes their heads and mentions the tied hands. An administrator puts a sign-up sheet for a “volunteer” faculty meeting at 3:30 on Friday, October 31, then takes away a prep period for those teachers who did not stay. Hello, board members? This is harassment. “What can we do? Our hands….” Screw your hands.
There is so much information out there regarding the massive reform-in-education movement; read Diane Ravitch if you want a good start. My understanding from what I’ve observed is teachers have become a target to distract from what’s really happening: a takeover to shake up the promise in America of a good, free public education to all citizens and turn it into a class-system of education where only the privileged few may explore a thorough education of their choosing while the vast majority become limited in their scope of understanding to become compliant and unquestioning workers. We are moving away from a democracy when the educational advantages of learning and opening minds is throttled by those who see only a financial outcome bettering their own lives.
I don’t know how, but I am convinced that these sanctimonious and smug overlord-wannabes will be failing soon, but not before they’ve inflicted a serious wound on the public education system. And how do I come to this conclusion? I read my history, one of the courses that reformers want to remove from the curriculum.