A teacher left this comment on the blog:

 

 

Your blog has provided me solace in my darkest times as an educator. I have left two comments on your blog. One of the comments I left as anonymous (because I feared the consequences, some imaginary and some very real, if that mega-influential corporation worth multi-millions in California, who ran the charter school where I was last working, found out I had said anything), which you shared as a post with your readers. And another time I left a comment as myself to applaud all that you share.

 

 

I am sad to report that I have to leave this comment as anonymous as well. Although it has been almost a year since I worked at that place ( I am no longer even in that state), I still haven’t found the courage to share all that went on there. I am a daughter of a man who was granted political asylum a long time ago, a man who came to this country risking everything, including his life, so as to be able to exercise his freedom of expression. And yet here I am, afraid to share that story because of that corporation. I have enough knowledge of the law to know that I can’t be prosecuted for libel or defamation if I shared the truth. But legal action is the last thing one needs to worry about when it comes to these corporations; they can ruin your lives.

 

 

I have worked as an educator in three states now (east coast, west coast, and southwest, sorry I can’t reveal more) and I can tell you that the problem isn’t going to be fixed by either of the Democratic candidates. My African-American friends tell me that they can’t support Bernie because focusing on class takes away from focusing on race. My white friends tell me they want to support Hillary because America hasn’t had a female president yet. Relatives who have identified with the Republican party in its so called glory days feel disloyal switching parties even if they don’t support Trump. The only thing all of them have in common is they have no clue, absolutely none, about what is going on in public and charter schools. Teachers every day are dealing with parents who are really ignorant or really entitled; administrators who have very little control over decisions; and responsibilities that go far beyond inspiring real learning.

 

 

Can any candidate fix any of the following?

 

 

1) Parents, regardless of their socio-economic status, are unable to raise their children like they once could. Of course, this is even worse for those who have had to deal with generational poverty.

 

 

2) Teachers who have no mentors and are getting their lessons from Pinterest (I love all the websites for teachers; technology has made sharing of ideas so easy for educators but it doesn’t address lack of depth of knowledge that teachers now have). Teachers who have little to no knowledge of history are teaching social studies.

 

 

3) Learning for the sake of learning, for exploring curiosities that instill desire to change the world, is no longer acceptable. If you are not going to work for Google (which may not even exist by the time some of these kids grow up), what is your education worth? A college degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma, except one used to be able to get a job with a high school diploma and could still be a literate citizen. We can’t fail kids.

 

 

4) The shoving of technology in the classrooms as a solution.

 

 

5) The preying of corporations in the form of charters on communities where you can’t find teachers, experienced administrators, and parents who don’t have knowledge.

 

 

6) The inclusion of students who once had to go to behavior programs because they just couldn’t work with other students are now the teacher’s responsibility or the parent will sue the school.

 

 

Once upon a time, Hillary Clinton wrote a book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us that influenced me deeply. This was in 1996. I was inspired by her clarity. I wished she was the President then. Except a few years later we got the No Child Left Behind by a different president.

 

 

It baffles me how a woman who once believed and wrote, “forward-thinking teachers and school administrators across the country are creating a whole range of alternatives to cookie-cutter teaching and evaluation methods, such as the use of student portfolios and exhibitions in addition to conventional exams to assess students’ progress” could support the privatization of charters that do nothing but testing.

 

 

I have emails upon emails from former students who were passionate learners when I had them who are now stating, “we are so tired of interim testing every few weeks.” Most people don’t know that in addition to PARCC and SBACC, if the school can afford it, there is interim testing. The frequency depends on the administration. The less an administrator knows about education, the more testing there is, as if magically the students will read and write better by taking more tests.

 

 

No one is asking any candidate real questions because no one in a position to ask knows any better.

 

 

I don’t know how long we can continue fighting the good fight regardless of who “wins”. At the local district and state level, everyone is in bed with Silicon Valley in one way or another, this delusion that somehow the start-up generation is going to jump start education, a car they have never even sat in, is beyond ludicrous at this point.

 

 

Both Trump and Sanders are extremes. I am afraid Clinton will offer more of the same Obama “progress” and we just can’t have more of the same anymore. The country will crumble under Trump, an extreme, sad, crumbling, but perhaps that’s the only way forward after it all falls apart for good instead of pretending things are fine like we have for the last 8 years.

 

 

I respect all you said and all you do. I thank the Universe for this blog every night!

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Very tired teacher who won’t give up.