Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm appalled! I'm furious!

Excuse me a minute. I have to position my soap box here. Ok, let's go.

Here is Texas, as in other states, we have testing of the school kidlets to determine their progress during the school year. It is a trying time for all concerned - that is except for some of the kids.

We have several school districts here in Swampland. One takes the name of Swampland, and I will refer to it as SISD(meaning Stupid Independent School District). It is not the district from which I retired. That one will be referred to as CISD (Corrupt Independent School District).

In yesterday's paper, the paper had an occasional feature story they run. It is about SISD's attempt to increase test scores by giving "good" teachers an additional $20,000 to transfer to schools that are labeled as non performing. Let me assure you, $20,000 is A LOT of money to a teacher. Were it my daughter's salary, not so much. It would have been about 1/3 more of my salary at the time I retired with 29 years experience. What I'm saying is even now it means a lot.

The newspaper followed two teachers that transferred to a middle school in particular. They were having problems getting their students to perform. One was an English teacher and the other was English as a second language (ESL). Both had been very successful. That means their principals liked them, and their already high performing students blew the top out of the test.

So now dawns the day in the low school. The English teacher had been cursed to her face. She found that in that school, she could not send an unruly student to the office. She had to write a referral, and the office would get the kidlet when "they knew how to handle him." What?!?!?!? The principal let the newspaper QUOTE her on that. This is the exact reason I retired at 29 years instead of 30. OK Mrs. X, you keep that child in your class and just flush the other 29 children down the toilet because we need to know how to handle that child."

Let me tell you because I know - it doesn't take the kids long to realize what is going on here, and they take full advantage of the situation. Soon almost the entire school is in turmoil because they know that nothing will be done to a disruptive student, and when the acting out begins, learning ends. And the test scores are low because . . .

With the advent of the new semester, the administrator has opened "satellite offices." I don't know exactly how these work, but it has got to be better than keeping the little offender in the classroom. But then, SISD is known for sending these kids right back to the teacher. That happened earlier when a student assaulted the teacher, and after whatever little slap on the hand he got, he was sent back to that teacher's class. I wonder if they asked the teacher what the teacher did to provoke that child.

The ESL teacher was having problems with his students who spoke about ten different languages. I kid you not! He would get occasional, non scheduled help. He had some discipline problems too, but it came out later that this wonderful principal finally decided this second semester to "shuffle staffing" to help balance out his overcrowded class. And we are not performing on tests because . . .

So on today's paper - "Teachers could be fired over scores." Wait. Just. A. Minute. A teacher could be fired because of the student's non-performance. It is not just the teacher. I am fully aware that there are a lot of teachers who should be weeded out, but this is not the way.

After the two examples I just gave - the administrators can certainly be at fault. If the school environment is not conducive to learning, it is just not going to happen. With just one discipline problem, learning stops for the other students. Overcrowding means kids can easily slip through the cracks. You just can't give them the attention they need. You probably don't really even know that child well enough to know his learning style.

Blame for non-performance can be teacher, yes, but we need to be also looking at the administrator, parents, and (gasp) student. All are equally important.

Thank you for your time. Now I will put my soap box back in the closet - until the next time.



Susan Adcox said...

My 25+ years of teaching tell me that you are absolutely right. Get unruly kids out of the classroom so that others can learn. Don't judge teachers by their students' results because no two classes are created equal. A good principal knows which teachers are doing their jobs without ever looking at test scores.

flying eagle woman said...

well, I've never been a teacher...after I went through school I wouldn't want to...not because of the teachers, but because I know beyond KNOWING that I was the UNRULY student...what I will say though is this, how dare we have a system that blames the teachers? OMG is NO ONE LISTENING???? okay well, my soapbox is neatly stowed in my car right now because I'm at work but thank you for posting this and for being outraged!!!

Marti said...

Well said K, and exactly the reason I quit teaching in public school. Come to think of it, that's the reason I started homeschooling also.