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A concerned member of the human race

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another Year in an Educational Gulag?

So, this morning in NYC it's back to school for two days of conferences and then the kids.  The kids is the part I love more than anything.  And that's why I (and most of the people whom I know) turned to teaching and stuck with it.  I don't want to be an administrator or work my way up some chain to do something other than teach kids.  I want to teach kids.  I am glad my job allows me to do that.  

There are some pretty highfalutin' people who have tried the classroom, but it really didn't agree with them.   So, they didn't stick with it.  They became purely "reformers."  Some, after only a few years.  I'm sure they had tons of good information to convey, but some could never meet the kids where they are and make them want to understand it.  I think the Common Core is a bit like that.  And, I think it's pretty much developed by people like that.

In the past, I didn't have to worry much from one year to the next that I might become a gross failure.  It seemed every year I was getting better at my trade.  Then, RttT came along and one of the prices my state had to pay to accept the fantastic grant was to potentially sacrifice its teachers to junk science. 

So, we've all heard about the teachers who were great, fine or OK one year (that looks to be me last year) and grossly ineffective the next (could be me this year).  It could happen to anyone, any year, when your state is forced to worship at the shrine of junk science.  So, as so much of our fate seems to be out of our hands, the best we can do is share some laughs with our comrades, colleagues and kids, in what seems to be our own educational gulag:  We must meet our quotas or meet a worse fate yet.  

Let me leave you with this final thought though.  I only have reason to believe things are looking up. Bloomberg will not be the Taskmaster.  More parents will opt their kids out of tests designed to demolish them, their teachers and their schools.  The battles rage on, with the focus increasingly upon our tenure, but the "reformers" are losing ground fast...and they know it.  I will comfort myself with the thought that through it all, I can still do what I love to do the most, try to help kids each day.  

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