Search results for: "teacher training"

A reader who identifies as “Rage Against the Testocracy” writes:


I have administered every grade 8 math and ELA NYS test since the start of NCLB (2001) through June 2018. I sat out one year during the peak of the madness (pre-moratorium) as a conscientious objector.

I have also spent years as a science item writer for Measured Progress. I was trained using the standards of the profession for both MC and CR items. My training with MP has given me a perspective on standardized testing that many classroom teachers do not have.

The Pearson and Questar assessments in ELA have been viewed correctly as the academic death traps that they were and are. The reasons why they have been so devastating should be explained:

1) The Common Core standards shoulder the brunt of the blame.
Test developers are completely constrained by the standards. If the Common Core standards were not developmentally inappropriate,
the tests would not be either.

2) Back to the CC standards. The Common Core standards in ELA were written primarily as very vague and subjective performance skills.

Here are some examples:

Cite supporting evidence. Determine the meaning of words. Author’s tone and intent. Drawing inferences. Comparing and contrasting points of view. How visual elements contribute to meaning and beauty.

These performance skills are point blank impossible to measure reliably or accurately. To make matters worse the MC format is used to a significant extent in testing a students ability to perform these same vague and subjective skills. This is extremely problematic and results in experienced teachers shaking their heads, confused by two competing MC options that both seem correct. This is why you hear about the author of a reading passage disagreeing with correct subjective response.

3) The NCLB/RTTT/ESSA requirement to test every year (instead of grade span testing) poses a problem for test writers that is nearly impossible to overcome. Developing tests with this level of discrimination for young children who are developing at such varied rates is a fool’s errand.

4) Cut scores are the secret sauce of test developers. Setting the cut scores is the specialty of psycho-magicians (not a typo). Enough said.

5) The opt-out movement acted to completely corrupt the test scores.
When half your friends are watching movies in the opt out room, the remaining test takers are subject to psychological forces that make the scores less than meaningless.

6) Test scores corrupt test scores. So its June 2018 and now you’re in the 8th grade. Yo haven’t passed a NYS math or ELA – EVER! Five straight years of failure despite the best efforts of your teachers. Year six and now what . . . ?

7) Cuomo’s four year moratorium completely corrupted the test scores as well, as they were rendered moot by the opt out pressure. Zero motivation never results in accurate test results. Just look at how well these same cohorts do on their Regents exams which are mandatory for HS graduation.

In conclusion, read Fred Smith’s findings and then email it to all of your administrators. The tests are not going away and until the standards get a complete overhaul (as when hell freezes over) the only thing teachers and administrators should do is to IGNORE the standards and IGNORE the tests. STOP bench mark testing, STOP scripted lessons (EnrageNY) and test prep and data walls. Teach math and ELA appropriately for young children. STOP talking about them professionally and STOP trying to improve scores. Do not stop promoting opt outs if you are a concerned parent or citizen. These tests and the standards that spawned the are not worth the paper they are written on.

https://www.newpaltz.edu/media/the-benjamin-center/db_20_tests_are_turning_our_kids_into_zeroes_a_focus_on_failing.pdf

Carol Burris, the brilliant executive director of the Network for Public Education, has written the definitive account of Bill Gates’s disastrous teacher evaluation project, which wasted $215 million of his dollars, but over $350 million of state, local, and federal dollars (ours).

I urge you to read it. Not many are likely to read the 600 page RAND report evaluating the project. Burris did. The results were both a tragedy and a farce.

A few excerpts:

The study examined the effects over six years of the Gates Foundation’s Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching (IP) initiative that included, as a key feature, teacher evaluations systems similar to New York’s. It concluded that the IP project did not improve either student achievement or the quality of teachers. In fact, it did more harm than good…

The cost was astronomical. Across the seven sites over half a billion dollars were spent — $574.7 million between November 2009 and June 2016. While many believed that the Gates Foundation paid the bill, overall the foundation paid less than 37 percent — $212.3 million. Taxpayers paid most of the costs via local or federal tax dollars.

Florida’s Hillsborough County Public Schools was one of the participants. Its program alone cost $262.2 million. Federal, state and local taxpayers paid $178.8 million, far more than the Gates Foundation’s contribution of $81 million. Gates used his money as a lever to open the public treasury to fund his foundation’s idea. The taxpayers picked up the lion’s share of costs.

There were indirect costs as well. According to the study, the average principal spent 25 percent of her time administering the complicated evaluation system and teachers spent hours every month on their own evaluations.

The report estimated that “IP costs for teacher-evaluation activities totaled nearly $100 million across the seven sites in 2014–2015 … the value of teacher and SL [school leader] time devoted to evaluation to be about $73 million, and the direct expenditures on evaluation constituted an additional $26 million.” According to Business Insider, the total cost of IP was nearly $1 billion.

When President Barack Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, decided to include compliance with similar models of evaluation in order for states to receive Race to the Top funds, billions of federal taxpayer dollars were put in play. States and local school districts were forced to ante up for data-collection systems, new tests designed to produce metrics of student growth, training seminars that infantilized experienced principals, and pages upon pages of rubrics designed to turn the art and science of teaching behaviors into a numerical score…One of the goals of IP was to help districts recruit better teachers and to assign the most effective teachers to classrooms with low-income minority students. This was to be accomplished through revised recruitment practices as well as financial incentives for teachers to work in high-needs schools.

One participating district, Shelby County Schools in Tennessee, turned over its teacher recruitment efforts to the New Teacher Project (TNTP). TNTP was founded by Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of D.C. public schools who was a leader in corporate-style education reform. The Gates Foundation gave TNTP $7 million in 2009, the year that it published a report entitled “The Widget Effect,” which was highly critical of the teacher evaluation systems that the foundation was so anxious to replace.

Shelby County Schools allowed TNTP to run its human-resources department, resulting in a strained relationship between TNTP and the existing staff. Other participating districts and CMOs used some TNTP services and, following the advice of TNTP, sought teachers from alternative preparation programs, most notably Teach for America (TFA).

This, according to the report, resulted in increased teacher turnover, since many TFAers only “intended to remain in teaching for only a few years.” The report found no evidence that the quality of the teachers recruited improved.

Access to ‘effective’ teachers for disadvantaged students

A related goal of the project was to move “effective” teachers into schools with the most disadvantaged kids. Not only was this goal not realized, there was evidence that in one district access to more effective teachers declined.

Even with a cash incentive, teachers were reluctant to transfer to schools with high needs because they believed that would result in their receiving a lower VAM score, which was now part of their evaluation. VAM refers to value-added modeling, which in this case uses student standardized test scores in a complicated computer model to supposedly determine the “value” of a teacher on the growth of student achievement by in part factoring out all other influences.

There was statistically significant evidence that the project decreased low-income minority students’ access to effective teachers in Hillsborough County Public Schools — both between schools and within the same school — as teachers sought to flee to the honors classes to avoid low VAM scores, which under the new evaluation system, could cost them their jobs.

Although the report notes that some reformers hoped that the new evaluation system would result in teacher dismissals in the range of 20 percent, the actual rate of dismissal based on performance was similar to the rate under the former system — around 1 percent.

Michael DesHotels, an experienced educator in Louisiana, explains here why the Rand study concluded that the Obama-Duncan teacher evaluation program flopped.

Gates wasted $575 million. The federal and state governments wasted billions. Thousands of teachers lost their careers and reputations. Another reformer disaster.

Unfortunately, the Obama education department had convinced most of the country to implement the same defective evaluation system at the same time before we could see the results of the study. So just like implementation of Common Core, which was also pushed upon school systems by the Gates Foundation, an expensive and time consuming teacher evaluation system was implemented without knowing if it would work. All that money and effort just drove a lot of good teachers out of the profession without improving student learning.

The new teacher evaluation system sponsored by the Gates Foundation and the Obama Race to the Top grants included basing teacher evaluations on student test scores and intensive observation of teachers using a strict rubric for teaching methods. The end result would supposedly identify the highly effective teachers as well as the ineffective ones. Then, teachers could be fired or awarded merit pay based upon their ranking in the evaluation system. Some reformers had theorized that such a system would dramatically improve student academic performance. There was even a theory that low performing students could be brought up to grade level performance by being exposed to highly effective teachers for only three successive years. It was believed that socioeconomic factors affecting student performance could be ignored by just fixing the teachers. These theories have now been proven wrong. Scapegoating teachers for problems of society just does not work, but it does drive good teachers out of the profession, and discourages bright young persons from entering the profession. Result: a serious teacher shortage.

Louisiana went whole hog on VAM (basing teacher evaluations on student test scores) and highly structured teacher observation because we were told that there were findings that proved that any student could be converted into a high academic achiever after only three years of instruction by highly effective teachers. This theory developed by Hanushek and others unfortunately was not scaleable (didn’t work) even though now our entire teacher evaluation system has been revised to supposedly identify highly effective as well as ineffective teachers. Louisiana law now bases teacher job security and even merit pay on highly dubious student performance measures. It turns out that VAM scores for each teacher are extremely unstable (and dangerously irrelevant) from year to year. It turns out that very little of a teacher’s VAM score depends on her/his performance in the classroom. Socioeconomic factors and noise in the highly imprecise VAM formulas routinely outweigh the actual performance of the teacher. In addition, teachers teaching untested subjects have a major advantage over teachers of tested subjects in winning merit pay and job security.

Here is an interesting fact about Louisiana teacher evaluation reform: Did you know that the new teacher evaluation rubric was actually designed by a person (Rayne Martin) who had never taught or evaluated teachers. Before coming to the Louisiana Education Department, Martin had worked for the Housing Authority in Chicago. She had never received teacher training or evaluation training. This is typical of most of the education “deform” we have been subjected to in the last 13 years. Unfortunately, here in Louisiana, we are still stuck with VAM and the new observation matrix for the evaluation of teachers that was developed by a non-teacher who has long left Louisiana.

So what did the Rand study find in its nationwide evaluation of VAM and the accompanying high stakes evaluation of teachers? Basically it has made no difference whatsoever in student performance nationwide. Zero results! After all that money and after the gnashing of teeth by so many thousands of teachers. We have produced however a growing teacher shortage, probably because all those potentially “highly effective” teachers found that they could make more money in jobs that did not use a form of torture to rate their performance….

Read it all!

State Supreme Court Judge Debra J. Young ruled that Success Academy can’t certify its own teachers. The chain, New York City’s largest, has very high teacher turnover and wanted to bypass the normal standards and certification process to ease its teacher shortage. It gained the approval of the State University of New York charter committee, which consists of four businessmen appointed by pro-charter Governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York State Department of Education and the New York State United Teachers sued to block the lowered standards.

Judge Young rejected Success Academy and the SUNY charter committee.

“The judge’s ruling upends the plans of the city’s largest charter school network, Success Academy, and wipes out a legislative victory that New York’s charter sector thought it had won — though the decision will likely not be the end of the legal battle.

“The regulations, approved by the State University of New York in October 2017, were designed to give charter schools more discretion over how they hired teachers. They eliminated the requirement that teachers earn master’s degrees and allowed charter schools authorized by SUNY to certify their teachers with as little as a month of classroom instruction and 40 hours of practice teaching.

“Some charter networks argued their existing in-house training programs are more useful to new teachers than the training required for certification under state law.

“But the rule was quickly challenged by the State Education Department and the state teachers union, which filed separate lawsuits that were joined in April. They argued that SUNY overstepped its authority and charged that the rule change would lead to children being taught by inexperienced and unqualified teachers…

The ruling was issued Tuesday by State Supreme Court Judge Debra J. Young, who wrote that the new certification programs were illegal because they fell below the minimum requirements issued by the state….

“The state’s top education officials — Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa — have long seemed offended by the new regulations. On a panel last year, Elia said, “I could go into a fast food restaurant and get more training than that.””

SUNY plans to appeal.

The prestigious American Medical Association took a strong stand against gun violence, calling for a complete ban on assault weapons and opposing the arming of teachers.

At its annual policymaking meeting, the nation’s largest physicians group bowed to unprecedented demands from doctor-members to take a stronger stand on gun violence — a problem the organizations says is as menacing as a lethal infectious disease.

The action comes against a backdrop of recurrent school shootings, everyday street violence in the nation’s inner cities, and rising U.S. suicide rates.

“We as physicians are the witnesses to the human toll of this disease,” Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency-medicine specialist at Brown University, said at the meeting.

AMA delegates voted to adopt several of nearly a dozen gun-related proposals presented by doctor groups that are part of the AMA’s membership. They agreed to:

— Support any bans on the purchase or possession of guns and ammunition by people under 21.

— Back laws that would require licensing and safety courses for gun owners and registration of all firearms.

— Press for legislation that would allow relatives of suicidal people or those who have threatened imminent violence to seek court-ordered removal of guns from the home.

— Encourage better training for physicians in how to recognize patients at risk for suicide.

— Push to eliminate loopholes in laws preventing the purchase or possession of guns by people found guilty of domestic violence, including expanding such measures to cover convicted stalkers.

Many AMA members are gun owners or supporters, including a doctor from Montana who told delegates of learning to shoot at a firing range in the basement of her middle school as part of gym class. But support for banning assault weapons was overwhelming, with the measure adopted in a 446-99 vote.


Whom do you trust? Physicians or the NRA?

Martin Raskin taught in the New York City public schools for many years, and he is now retired. He is obsessed with collecting memorabilia about the city’s public schools, especially his own elementary school, P.S. 202 in East New York, Brooklyn. His apartment, the New York Times writes, is a shrine to the public schools.

Maybe there is someone more crazy in love with New York City’s public schools than Martin Raskin, but who else would collect a panel of hundred-year-old brass steam heat switches from Brooklyn’s Manual Training High School that closed in 1959? Or load up his car trunk with a boiler gauge from P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village?

“I’m a little bit compulsive,” admitted Mr. Raskin, a 77-year-old retired teacher who taught at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn and the Queens School for Career Development and is aflame with ardor for all things Board of Education, which, he said, “paved the way I am today — I’m blessed.”

When last heard from (in a 2010 article in The New York Times), the salt-and-pepper-whiskered schmoozer who could talk the paint off a wall had turned his Upper East Side of Manhattan apartment into a shrine to P.S. 202 in East New York, Brooklyn, where he spent kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating in 1955, before going on to Franklin K. Lane High School.

His mock classroom showcased ink-stained attached desks, Regulator clocks, milky glass chandeliers, tall teacher’s reading chair, class photos, oval brass doorknobs, wardrobe hooks, window pole, yellow report cards, merit certificates, black and white composition notebooks, even the original enamel number plate from his homeroom, 516.

It’s all still there, along with Mr. Raskin’s prize piece, the chair splinter extracted from the rear of his principal, Charles G. Eichel, and preserved in an envelope with the (unlucky) date of the encounter, Friday, March 13, 1942. Mr. Raskin had scooped it up along with other discarded P.S. 202 material in the 1980s, a fateful discovery that set off his freely acknowledged obsession, since abetted by eBay, Etsy and other collectibles dealers.

But that, it turns out, was only the beginning. “I’m now amassing a shrine to the whole educational system,” Mr. Raskin said.

He recently paid $450 on eBay for an 1850s New England dunce chair, which stands amid a table of vintage readers, including the complete Eichel oeuvre, student magazines, multicolored high school beanies and buttons, class rings and pins, diplomas, teacher ledgers, autograph albums, lunchroom tickets, commencement programs, and oddities like the news photo of the “Black Hand Stampede,” a panic over rumors of Mafia presence that terrified students at P.S. 177 in Little Italy on June 17, 1926.

He wants to find a permanent home for his collection, but so far has had no luck. He showed it to representatives from the Museum of the City of New York and the New York Historical Society, but they were not interested.

“There’s a fire museum, a police museum, a food museum, even a sex museum,” Mr. Raskin said. “But there’s nothing to honor teachers and students.”

I am reminded that when I finished my first book in 1974, The Great School Wars: A History of the New York City Public Schools, 1805-1973, I spoke to representatives of the same museums and met the same lack of interest. I did not have the wonderful treasure trove that Martin Raskin has amassed. But nearly half a century ago, it was clear that there was no interest in creating an exhibition or museum space to honor education in the city.

Congratulations, Mr. Raskin. Your passion is admirable. I hope you find a permanent home for your collection. Maybe UFT headquarters?

 

The Los Angeles school board selected an unqualified person to lead its schools. The decision was made in secret, with no public input.

Carl Petersen points out that state law requires that Superintendents must have experience as teachers and administrators. There is provision for a waiver. Is the superintendent is unqualified, like Austin Beutner, he may be required to take an in-service training program.

35028.
No person shall be eligible to hold a position as city superintendent, district superintendent, deputy superintendent, associate superintendent, or assistant superintendent of schools unless he is the holder of both a valid school administration certificate and a valid teacher’s certificate, but any person employed as a deputy, associate, or assistant superintendent in a purely clerical capacity shall not be required to hold any certificate.
(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)

35029.
A local governing board may waive any credential requirement for the chief administrative officer of the school district under its jurisdiction. Any individual serving as the chief administrative officer of a school district who does not hold a credential may be required by the local governing board to pursue a program of in-service training conducted pursuant to guidelines approved by the commission.
No individual serving as the chief administrative officer of a school district shall be subject to the provisions of the merit system specified in Article 6 (commencing with Section 45240) of Chapter 5 of Part 25 of this division or any other similar merit system.
(Enacted by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1010.)

Will the board require him to learn about school administration or will they just let him bring his experience from the banking world as a source of “new ideas.” (Hint: buy low, sell high). Or from his service on the board of AMI, which owns the notorious National Enquirer (“catch and kill”) or from Jack Welch’s playbook for cut-throat businessmen (“fire the bottom 10% every year”).

 

New Mexico is one of the lowest performing states in the nation on the NAEP. It ranks about 49th in the nation. It also has the highest child poverty rate in the nation. Unfortunately the state has a Republican governor who has swallowed the Jeb Bush formula of high-stakes testing, test-based evaluation of teachers, and privatization of schools as the answer to the state’s problems. New Mexico education has not improved at all during the reign of the Bush acolytes.

Hannah Skandera was the State Secretary of Education for seven years. She has been replaced by TFA alum Christopher Ruszkowski. He has just proposed taking control of the state’s teacher education institutions and having sole power over whether they should continue to be allowed to prepare teachers. 

The Secretary-designate is proposing to assert authority that now resides with the legislature.

New Mexico’s teacher evaluation model–one of the most punitive in the nation (test scores are 50% of a teacher’s grade)–are currently suspended while a judge considers whether they are valid.

Being a true “reformer,” Ruszkowski wants to impose letter grades on teacher education programs.

Given the persistent failure of the state’s Public Education Department over the past eight years, it would be a mistake to allow its leader to control teacher education in New Mexico.

The state Public Education Department is pushing to have more direct authority over teacher development programs, including taking on the oversight duties now provided by national accreditation groups.

But some are questioning whether the proposal is within PED’s authority.

By this time next month, PED wants a rule in place that allows it to rate educator preparation programs – which ultimately license teachers – through site visits and a scorecard system.

PED Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski said he thinks they would end up evaluating about 12 to 15 New Mexico institutions, such as the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands University and New Mexico State University, if the rule goes through.

The proposed evaluation system mirrors PED’s teacher evaluations and school grading efforts. Both systems have generated controversy in public school districts statewide.

PED’s proposal would allow the agency to decide whether a teacher education program may remain in operation, regardless if the institution is private or public. An institution can appeal a revocation but ultimately PED has final decision-making power, according to the rule.

Rule requirements

PED’s proposed requirements include: The program’s pedagogy, or instruction in teaching methods, has to align with PED standards; teachers in training would undergo observations by PED; the institution would be required to store documentation of the observations for at least five years; and teacher trainees would be evaluated using methodology of NMTEACH, which is the state teacher evaluation system.

PED would annually score the programs, rating them on an A to F scale and evaluating their effectiveness through factors like acceptance rates of candidates into the program, how they do on performance and licensure tests and how those who complete the programs are rated in NMTEACH.

Right now, teacher preparation programs are being reviewed by national accrediting bodies like the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

But Ruszkowski said the measures those organizations provide aren’t rigorous enough and they don’t review the programs frequently enough.

“The PED has the ultimate decision-making authority over teacher preparation programs that impact K-12 education directly,” Ruszkowski said. “And what states did historically is they took the NCATE or the CAEP and used it as a rubber stamp of approval.”

While UNM declined to comment, the university has previously called NCATE the “gold standard for teacher preparation.”

If PED’s new rule goes into effect, institutions already offering teacher prep programs will have to reapply under the new standards.

Instead of imposing letter grades of institutions of higher education, New Mexico needs fresh thinking about teaching and learning. It should start by throwing out the failed Florida model of test and punish.

 

Eric Blanc wrote a comprehensive and excellent article in Jacobin about the dire condition of public schools in Oklahoma. Given the legislature’s indifference, even hostility, to public schools, he says it is Oklahoma’s turn to strike.

State legislators haven’t been able to find enough money to pay for public schools, but they have found it easy to divert money from their resource-starved public schools to pay for charter schools.

Blanc says that the purposeful gutting of public schools has been the project of free market fundamentalists. But it did not start with them.

I urge you to read the whole article. Here is an excerpt.

He writes:

 

Demanding major increases in pay and school funding, Oklahoman educators are set to strike on April 2. The similarities with West Virginia are obvious. In a Republican-dominated state with a decimated education system and a ban on public employee collective bargaining, an indignant workforce teetering on the edge of poverty has initiated a powerful rank-and-file upsurge. But history never repeats itself exactly. To strike and win, Oklahoma workers will have to overcome a range of distinct challenges and obstacles.

Years of austerity have devastated Oklahoma’s education system, as well as its public services and infrastructure. Since 2008, per-pupil instructional funding has been cut by 28 percent — by far the worst reduction in the whole country. As a result, a fifth of Oklahoma’s school districts have been forced to reduce the school week to four days.

Textbooks are scarce and scandalously out of date. Innumerable arts, languages, and sports courses or programs have been eliminated. Class sizes are enormous. A legislative deal to lower class sizes — won by a four-day strike in April 1990 — was subsequently ditched because of a funding shortage. Many of Oklahoma’s 695,000 students are obliged to sit on the floor in class.

The gutting of public education has been accompanied by a push for vouchers and, especially, the spread of charter schools. There are now twenty-eight charter school districts and fifty-eight charter schools across Oklahoma. “Is the government purposively neglecting our public schools to give an edge to private and charter schools?” asked Mickey Miller, a Tulsa teacher and rank-and-file leader. For Christy Cox — a middle-school teacher in Norman who has had to work the night shift at Chili’s to supplement her low wages — reversing these school cuts is her main motivation to strike: “The kids aren’t getting what they need. It’s really crazy. Though the media doesn’t talk about this as much as salaries, I feel that funding our schools is the primary issue.”

Pay, of course, is also a central grievance. Oklahoma’s public school teachers and staff haven’t gotten a raise in ten years – and state workers have waited nearly as long. Public school teacher pay is the forty-eighth worst in the nation. Like in West Virginia, many teachers are unwilling or unable to work in these conditions. Roughly two thousand teaching positions are currently filled by emergency-certified staff with no teaching degrees and little training. Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), the state’s main teachers’ union, explains that “our teacher shortage has reached catastrophic levels because it’s so easy for teachers to move to Texas or Arkansas, or even to another profession, and make much more money.”

Those teachers and staff who stay in state are often forced to work multiple jobs. Micky Miller’s experience is not atypical. During the day, Miller teaches at Booker T. Washington high school in Tulsa. After the school day is over, he works until 7:30 PM at the airport, loading and unloading bags from Delta airplanes. From there, he goes on to his third job, coaching kids at the Tulsa Soccer Club. “I have a master’s degree, and I have to work three jobs just to make ends meet,” he noted. “It’s very difficult to live this way.”

The roots of this crisis are not hard to find. Taxes have not been raised by the Oklahoma legislature since 1990. Due to a right-wing 1992 anti-tax initiative, a supermajority of 75 percent of legislators is now needed to impose new taxes. Yet the need for a supermajority was not a major political issue until very recently, since there has been a strong bipartisan consensus in favor of cutting taxes. Some of the first major tax breaks for the rich and corporations began in 2004 under Democratic governor Brad Henry and a Democratic-led Senate. One recent study estimates that $1 billion in state revenue has been lost yearly due to the giveaways pushed through since the early 2000s.

Republicans swept into the state government in 2010 and promptly accelerated this one-sided class war. Governor Mary Fallin and the Republican legislature have slashed income taxes for the rich. They have also passed huge breaks for the oil and gas companies — not a minor issue in a state that is the third-largest producer of natural gas and fifth-largest producer of crude oil in the country. Even the fiscal fallout of the 2014 oil bust did not lead the administration to reverse course….

 

Please click on the link link and keep reading.

 

 

David Berliner, one of the nation’s most eminent education researchers, says teachers across the nation should walk out on May 1, to protest low wages, legislative attacks on their profession, and a hostile environment,ent for teachers.

“Enough! Enough B.S! Enough excuses! This must all end now. It is time to ensure the dignity of all who teach! May 1st would be a good day for teachers all over our great nation to walk out of schools and demand better from their legislators. May Day reminds us of two things. One, it is the day to commemorate the Haymarket massacre, where workers were striking for an 8-hour day, and many of them lost their lives. Workers are rarely given their dignity peacefully!”

Time to resist! Time for solidarity!

He writes: MAY DAY!

MARCHING FOR DIGNITY ON MAY DAY

When I was about 8 or 9 I overheard my mother crying, and begging my very gentle and dutiful father to cross the picket lines, since we had run out of food and could not pay the rent. He said he couldn’t do that. He had to fight for what was right. He had to stand with his fellow workers. I was scared, but even then, I remember being impressed by his resolve.

As I grew, strikes occurred a few more times. But when he retired after 30+ years from his clerks’ job in a drug store chain, he received time and a half when he had to work weekends; he earned two weeks off every year; he had a basic medical plan which was once used to save his life; and, when he retired, he had a small pension to accompany his social security. Most of all, what he had was his dignity.

He took his job in 1930, lucky to have any work at all during the great depression. And because jobs were scarce at that time, the chain store for whom he worked casually exploited its workers. But as 1930 gave way to the 1940s, the workers unionized and demanded (often through strikes) better working conditions. Pay and benefits were, of course, front and center—but what my father and his fellow workers were actually fighting for was their dignity. The pursuit of fair wages and benefits for their labor was, in large part, so that they and their families had a chance to lead a stable, decent enough, working-class family life.

Because of my history I am sure that were I a public-school teacher in West Virginia I would have marched for increased salary and benefits. But, just as importantly, I would have marched to maintain my sense of self-worth, my self-esteem, my self-respect, my dignity! I know I cannot be the role model I’d like to be for the children I have raised, or the youth that I teach, if my work is considered less worthy than that of many others by my governor and state legislators.

Do legislators and our governor here in Arizona know that some student teachers at Arizona State University asked not to be placed at a particular high school that serves the students of wealthy families? Was that because of violence at the school? No! Inadequate facilities? No! Inadequate tech support or training? No! Poor role models among our cooperating teachers? No—just the opposite!

The shunning of this school by our student teachers was because the students there called our student teachers “chumps”! The students at this public high school gloated that they had better cars, more stylish clothes, went to better places on vacations, had nicer houses to live in, and so forth. Their teachers, clearly, were chumps!
When our teachers are so denigrated by the offspring of the rich because they cannot afford even a middle-class life style for themselves and their families, it is way past time to worry a lot about our country. It was teachers who personified the middle class in so many of our towns and cities, throughout so much of our history. Firmly middle class was OK. Everyone who taught came to grips with that. All of knew that we weren’t going to get rich teaching.

But now, too many teachers are using food banks to help feed their families (I found this in New Mexico recently). Too many teachers are couch-surfing, and a few must occasionally live in cars because they cannot afford decent housing (go ahead: google homeless teachers!).

Enough! Enough B.S! Enough excuses! This must all end now. It is time to ensure the dignity of all who teach! May 1st would be a good day for teachers all over our great nation to walk out of schools and demand better from their legislators. May Day reminds us of two things. One, it is the day to commemorate the Haymarket massacre, where workers were striking for an 8-hour day, and many of them lost their lives. Workers are rarely given their dignity peacefully!

But the second reason to pick May 1st is that it is called May Day. We all know that May Day/May Day, is the internationally recognized call for help. Our American public education system needs help. May Day! May Day!

In my state of Arizona, in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, I would be proud to march with our teachers on May 1st or any other day chosen. I believe that parents across the nation would be supportive as well, despite the disruption to their lives that such a walkout would engender. We citizens need to stand in solidarity with our teachers and remember that they walk for their dignity, not merely for salary, benefits, and pension protection. The last thing Americans should ever want is for our children to be educated by beaten down public-school professionals, having trouble buying homes, and food, and day care for their own kids, as we ask them to educate the rest of America’s children. I cannot help but believe that if we support the teachers as they walk out, just as we supported the kids of Parkland this past weekend, something wonderful will happen: On May 1st I suspect that the ghosts of Woody Guthrie, Tom Joad, and my father, will march with teachers across the nation. If we stand in solidarity with our teachers we can help them regain the respect they deserve, and the pride they might again feel for the profession they have chosen.

David C. Berliner
Regents’ Professor Emeritus
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University