Remember when you point the finger…   5 comments

three are pointing back at you. Yes, I went there with song lyrics again. Couldn’t help it. Dealing with ‘education rhetoric’ overload. Last week I wrote about the single parent-bashing that has been going on in the media, especially as it relates to Education. Since I wrote that blog ‘off-the-cuff,’ I didn’t have time to do any research on people raised by single parents or grandparents who are now very successful and well-adjusted. I am sure that we all know someone who, despite the statistics and negative Nellie, went on to college, graduated, and are making some form of contribution to his/her community. I know I can name a lot of people who are succesful and self-absorbed, but I digress because that is not the topic of today’s blog. Instead, I thought I would issue a challenge to those who are still playing the blame-game and laying the responsibility of Education’s demise at the feet of teachers and teacher unions.

For those who are ‘in’ the 3-ring circus of Education reform, I can’t help but wonder:

  • How many of the ‘experts’ attended public neighborhood schools? Not the elite schools where parents pulled a few strings, but the schools located right in their own neighborhood. Probably none.
  • Of the people, actually ‘in’ Education, who are bashing public school teachers, how many would be willing to contact their teachers to say they did a crummy job? Probably none. For the record, I try to connect with my teachers each year and thank them for their dedication and high standards. Some of them are actually still teaching. Yeah, who says teachers aren’t committed?
  • Has any union-basher actually done any empirical and peer-reviewed research on the detrimental effects of teacher unions? No one seems to notice that Georgia, a state without a union, consistently performs in the bottom five. Massachusetts, however, consistently performs in the top tier. Hmmmm. Could one dare to say that student performance is tied to teacher effectiveness, which is tied to a strong and active support system, a la unions? No one wants to admit that. Nevermind.
  • Will anyone admit the real issue with unions: The only reason why education ‘experts’ are calling for the dismantling or reorganization of these institutions is because they (experts) want to bring-in Rhee-type leaders to fire anyone who does not conform to the regime-of-the-moment and replace them with TFA alums. I guess I just did. Nevermind.

I would like to know when someone, anyone, will start addressing the educational infrastructure, which parents and teachers alone cannot change? You know, things like overrepresentation of minority students (particularly African-Americans) in Special Education. Or how about the underrepresentation of minorities in Gifted Education programs? Here’s a good one: What about the systemic tracking of minority and low-income kids into technical education programs? It’s one thing if kids are interested in those programs, but a completely different issue when kids are not provided with exposure to options. I guess I will continue to have this conversation with myself because no one wants to jeopardize losing powerful connections by admitting that our country’s education system (not teachers) and its archaic policies are, in fact, racist and classist.

Sometimes song lyrics are the best way to convey your point!

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5 responses to “Remember when you point the finger…

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  1. I LOVE this post. I’m an education major that is already involved with the Connecticut chapter of the National Education Association, so I know exactly what you’re talking about. I, too, have made these same points.

    It feels like our state representatives are so quick to point the finger at our education system saying what we’re doing is wrong and what they want to do is right, when most of these people’s parents paid for them to go to a private school where they did not have to conform to state tests. I think the first step is finding the correct politicians to represent us in office because we need a higher up power to voice our opinions. Our current actions are not strong enough.

    I’m interested to read more about what you have to say. I’m glad I stumbled across your blog. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you! I, too, am glad you stumbled upon my blog! I hope that my honesty does not discourage you from becoming a ‘take-no-prisoners’ and ‘kick-ass’ educator and advocate! I am glad that you are involved in the NEA early..we do not have a teacher’s union here in Georgia, but that’s another blog altogther! You are correct: We need a new breed of policiticans to champion the true intents of public education; someone who is not afraid to find his or her own voice and say what needs to be said!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Monise

  2. Great post! This is brilliant and brilliantly written. You have elegantly recounted the plight of teachers, unions, and students. I only wish Secretary Duncan would take the time to read this.

    Thanks! and Best wishes,

    Linda

    Best wishes,

    Linda

  3. I am so glad to discover this particular reflection. I am the child of a single parent, first generation college grad, involved in educ currently in adolescent literacy in urban core (in my 36th year).
    I agree with your talking points. Connected to all of your thoughts about the current condition of public education is this thought: when did US GDP become more important than the national literacy status? As the GDP (prodict) became more important than people (educating children and process)- how is this connected with the downward spiral in public support of public education? Hindsigt is 20/20. Just wondering

  4. I have certainly rethought my positions on both teachers unions and Mrs.Rhee since I’ve joined TFA and become a teacher.

    (spoiler alert: I’m glad I’m a union member)

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