I haven't posted much since the last election. My blood gets boiling too much so I prefer to lurk and read posts. But this is a topic I am passionate about. As I enter my 20th year of teaching, I am so frustrated I don't know if I will make another 20. I love my job, I love teaching students and helping them succeed. But after 30 plus years of the "School are failing" meme, most people believe that is the case, even other teachers. Even In PA, where our governor stripped 1 billion dollars out of public ed while offering Shell a 1.6 Billion dollar tax break, almost 1/2 of PSEA members voted for him.
What frustrates me the most is the premise that schools are failing, that we are "dumbing down" education, and that our system is last in the world. This link(which I found a few weeks ago while lurking) shows what most teachers already know. It's not poor teaching but poverty and lack of money in education that leads to failing students.
Every "new" strategy to increase performance is a set, prescribed way of teaching. Teach to the test, only teach tested material, teach using this exact strategy(don't deviate), etc. Only teachers are held accountable, not students, not parents, not politicians and school board members who actually set the curriculum and decide on class size and funding.
Schools are succeeding despite all of the above, and that is because teachers teach because that is their passion. So far that has been a surprise to those who are trying to dismantle public ed. But unless our members, like those in Chicago, get fired up and decide to fight, we will eventually lose so much that schools will no longer be able to succeed, and what happens in our poorest districts will eventually happen to us all.