In the entry before, a reader commented with "What can we do to help?" The simple answer is "I don't know, but I'm willing to try anything."
Today, my previous blog entry was shared on BlogHer's front page, as well as their Facebook and Twitter feeds. This, I think, is the first step. Sharing it. Getting the word out there. Putting a (virtual) face to the issues. You don't know me, but you can go back and read about my experiences in the classroom. I'm real. I have a pulse. I am a living and breathing teacher who is caught in this mess.
Before my own school was targeted for analysis and "improvement", the plight of teachers in similar situations just seemed like numbers. Statistics. Something that wouldn't, couldn't happen here. But then it did. It happened last year and I told myself that they'll get rid of this obviously flawed system. But they didn't. They did it again. And this time? This time it was my school.
This education reform, fueled by political agendas and promises of money, is spreading across the country. The school system is sick, but we're treating the flu with jewelry. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't help anyone. It's entirely inappropriate to think any of this is going to help anyone. Moreover, it's an incredible waste of funds to hire auditors to come in and "audit" a building that they've already made a decision about. As I said in my previous post, if the only issue the auditors could find was the test scores, then we just wasted an awful lot of money proving that.
Are there bad teachers? Yes. These witch hunts aren't going to find them. Parental involvement and efforts to increase authentic, relevant professional development will help weed out poor educators. Increasing the workload and stress on good educators just burns them out faster. The end of this audit made me consider something I had never thought of before. Maybe teaching wasn't for me.
However, that's not true. Teaching is for me. Teaching is what I live and breathe. This political side to education is what is not for me. I didn't become a teacher to jump through hoops and teach to tests. No, I became an educator to help students. I became an educator to better the lives of children. I became a teacher to improve our society for the better. I became teacher to do good things, not constantly defend the good things I do.
Now that the knowledge of what this education reform is all about is out there, it's time to do something with that. I'm challenging you. Write to your legislators. Write to your media. Write in your blog. Tell people. Tell them that this is unacceptable. Tell them you don't want your child learning answers to a test. Tell them you want the future of our country learning to think for themselves. Tell them you want our children to learn to be functional, successful human beings. Tell them that testing and auditing is not the way to go. Tell them that while teachers are suffering, children are suffering more. I'll move on. I can find another job if I need to. My kids will not be able to recreate the knowledge they never gained because they were taught the tricks of answering multiple choice questions instead of how to analyze and appreciate a work of beauty. Tell them you're ready for that change that people have been promising.
They can't ignore all of us.