Sat Jun 15, 2013, 11:11 PM
snot (10,000 posts)
To Teachers on DU: [View all]
Last edited Fri Jun 21, 2013, 11:22 AM - Edit history (2)
To teachers on DU:
I and I'm sure many others here count several great teachers among the people in my life who helped me the most. I will always be grateful for all they did and all you have done and continue to do to help so many.
For some years, it's been clear to me that an attack on public education was underway and has been accelerating, but I've been unable to get more than a cursory response from my teacher friends. They seemed to be waiting for someone else to take up the fight. (I realize it may be partly because they're working too dam' hard; but who isn't.)
Maybe teachers have assumed we already know a lot about the situation, but many of us don't. For years, nearly all we've been hearing is the other side. At most, we might see an occasional teacher complain about the workload and lack of funding. That's a starting point, but falls far short of an effective counter to the concerted, unrelenting, all-channel p.r. campaign being conducted by the other side.
Remember, it's only a minority of us that have direct, current experience with public schools. A lot of us don't have kids; or our kids were in school long ago; or maybe the kids went or go to private schools; etc. Many of us know next to nothing about the challenges public schools face today. Unless you tell us about the conditions you're working under –- everything from the nitty-gritty details of particular cases to the big picture -- we don't know about them.
Has the quality of public education really gone downhill since I was a kid, or is that a myth? Have kids gotten harder to teach? Are class sizes too big? Are populations more diverse? In inflation-adjusted dollars, are we spending less per child than we were 50 years ago? Now that so few households have a stay-at-home parent, do fewer parents have time to help their kids, let alone get involved with the PTA or pay attention to school board elections? What factors are actually different now from what they were back when public education was strong (at least, it was strong at my school when I was growing up)? What are the causes of those changes, if any?
How does the current system actually work? How are the administrators selected? Where is the union, what role has it played? How are union leaders selected?
What are the large and small, direct and indirect causes of the problems? We must be courageous in facing all the problems and all their causes, because we can't devise effective solutions until we understand those things.
What are the real solutions? We do need you to help us identify real solutions, because if you don't offer any, others will.
It seems like lately I'm finally starting to hear a little more of your side of the story, teachers -- thank you. (Madfloridian, you're the exception -- you've been working your behind off for a long time, trying to get DU'er's to pay attention to education issues.)
But we need to see and hear from a lot more of you -- loudly and often.
No one is better qualified to lead the way and educate the rest of us about all of these things than you. Parents should care, too, and many do; but you still know a lot more about education and what's really going on than they do.
And they, and others, maybe even me, will join you if you lead.
That's my take, anyway; please feel free to educate me if you disagree!
And thanks again for your invaluable work and love.
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