Oh, For the Love Of……. and tags

First, I’m taking a moment of silence for my beloved Mets who didn’t bring quite as much to the table as the hungry Royals did.  But there were class acts on both sides and no hating, so #LGM2016!

Now, you know I’ve been out of teaching for a few years, so I don’t have a horse in this race any longer.  But for crying out Pete’s sake, would all those of you who haven’t the slightest idea how classroom management or impressionable children work please take a large step backwards off that cliff and shut up about educational reform?  Could you please find a different cause to hang your flag from, especially during the presidential “debates” (and how I wish I could do ultra sarcastic air quotes to really impress upon you how ridiculous I find these televised arguments) that show your true ignorance?

Unless you have a degree in education AND have taught in a public school, you cannot profess yourself to be any kind of an expert on what will make our schools run better.  You are blabbering out of the wrong side of your mouth and your ideas aren’t just bad, they’re potentially dangerous.  How about you look back on WHY we have public schools under local control instead of federal government-run schools?  There is a huge difference between the life of a student in Appalachia and Chicago and Wisconsin and Florida and Oregon, and your attempts to put forth a nationwide test that measures every answer the same way not only won’t prove anything substantial but will end up hurting the systems that already work.  You can’t ask a child to define the word “soda” when he’s spent his whole life hearing it referred to as “pop.”  You can’t mark a New Jersey child wrong when defining “parkway” as synonymous with “turnpike” because the test creators in Oregon define it as a strip of grass between a street and a house.  You also cannot argue that those changes to a national standard of definitions or formulas or meanings is for anyone’s betterment except those who sell the curriculum and design the test.

Why does someone like Mike Huckabee or Bill Gates or David Koch think they know best about how a child in a classroom in Rhode Island should be educated?  How do they know what works and what doesn’t, and what “should be” the accepted norm?  They don’t.  But they can’t sell anything if they don’t create a need, whether it’s themselves as a political leader or industrial leader or technology leader, or the companies they buy and sell to reflect their standards of the world.  Do you know why there’s such an emphasis on testing?  Because there is no creativity with a test, no resonance, no empathy, no relation.  It is simply finding which answer on the pre-printed form is likely the one that somebody else thinks is correct.  And when all those tests are scored and tallied and put into pie charts and graphs, what then?  It certainly isn’t benefitting the student or giving them a clearer understanding of how things work.  The test only shows them how to fill out a test.  And in their dim future (if those titans of reform get their way) they will become compliant workers in somebody’s business, not questioning or reasoning or doubting or exploring or creating.  Just doing what the boss dictates, because the boss thinks and creates for everyone.  It’s not your job to think, we pay you to perform.  And if you are at all different from the pre-set standards we’ve determined, then there is no place for you.

A public school is a locally-run entity that reflects the values of the society that supports it.  Where ever you live, you are supporting your public school with some sort of tax dollar, thus ensuring that every child in your community has the opportunity of a free and thorough education.  Not education for only the elite or the well-connected or the privileged, but for anyone who is willing to learn and do more.  If you prefer a private school, by all means pay for it to receive the specific kind of schooling you desire for your child; or don’t, and homeschool your child.  This does not excuse you from the responsibility to support your local school, just as not driving a car doesn’t excuse you from paying taxes to support infrastructure.  In return, you have a voice in that system: you can serve as a member of the board of education or attend their public meetings and address your concerns.  You are a responsible member of that community that supports that school and, in turn, every child in the community who deserves the free and fair education.

For the people who currently feel that “ed reform” is the new Temperance Movement, I say this: when you have put in the time and training and effort and LOVE it takes to be an effective teacher, then we can have a dialogue.  Until then, back off.  Find that cliff and back off.

*****

Today is tag Tuesday.  Even though I sound pretty pissed off up there, I am always happy about certain things, and today it is family.  Remember, all tags are available in my etsy shop (link on the side over there).  You can also mix and match any style you’d like, up to four different designs in each dozen.

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Filed under ed reform, education, politics, public school, Tag Tuesday, teaching

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