Just thought I’d share, you can see the conversation here:
First, not angry. Second, I hope you got that the “data” presented in the post is totally bogus. It does, however, represent the deplorable decline in teacher autonomy and professional worth over the last decade, perhaps more. I’m a teacher-educator, so I work with student teachers. Over the last two years, I’ve observed the invasion by Pearson of colleges of education. I supervise student teachers in environments dominated by test preparation. We strive to introduce student teachers to a diverse set of methods; yet, very few of these methods can be attempted in public school classrooms because it doesn’t fit with the test-prep model. Or, if it’s social studies or science, it simply isn’t taught.
Now, I work with very reasonable, intelligent, and well-meaning folks in these schools. But, they are presiding over a transformation of their “profession” into something more akin to service sector jobs. That is, scripted curriculum limited to knowledge that can be tested will ultimately render the professional educator obsolete, expensive, and unnecessary. This has all been happening under the watch of the largest organizing body in the world. It’s being propagated by an administration that was lauded at the NEA.
You know, I wish I took a picture of a state delegate holding up a white board emblazoned with “cheer.” That’s right, when the President was speaking on the phone, leaders thought it was necessary to “encourage” their delegates to cheer at the right moment, kind of a like a studio audience on Maury Povitch. I voted for Obama in 2008, volunteered for his campaign in Indiana. I was ecstatic when he won the state. I felt I had something to do with that because I registered dozens and dozens of voters. I will likely vote for him again, but I will NOT be volunteering or donating money. That’s because I’m an “education voter.” Sure, it’s the vote that counts and he has it. But, I think from a progressive support perspective, Obama is going to have to sweat a bit.
I’m not and never have been a member of the NEA or the AFT, even as a former public school teacher. As a new teacher, like many folks in their twenties, we never think we’ll actually need a union’s help. And I am one of those many thousands of five years and under who got the hell out of Dodge right after NCLB because my career was going nowhere. I did not strap myself with almost $50K in student loan debt for a Masters in Teaching to read a script and prepare for tests.
You definitely understand the nuances of Roberts Rules and NBI’s and the political gamesmanship that must occur. I respect that. From the outside, as I read about Philadelphia, the state of Wisconsin, New Orleans, DC, and Chicago, all I see is a HUGE organizing body that is failing. Celebrate your victories at the RA, more power to you. Fantastic! I do understand that the far right-wing, which now includes Romney, is an opponent of all public sector unions. But you know what, President Obama actually went to George Clooney’s house, but he simply called into the NEA on a crappy phone connection that you could barely understand. What does that say to you? Sure, sure, politics is money, it’s the new reality, and he has to fundraise to compete, I get it. We all get it.
I can’t help but feel that educators are the red-headed stepchildren of a bastard son… so to speak.