Friday, March 25, 2011

Venting the Anger: Florida ending tenure

In 2014.

I have talked about teacher tenure and merit pay before, so I won't rehash anything, but this is a joke. When are people going to stop blaming teachers for the failure of students? How about looking in the mirror? How about the old story about how "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink"?

Am I a bad teacher because I assigned 6 problems of homework and less than 30% of my students did it? Is that my fault? Is it my fault when a student goes to Disneyland the night before a big test and doesn't get home before 11 PM? Is it my fault when a student would rather bubble in a penis on a final exam than try and take it?

When will politicians learn that we teachers don't have any real control over the students. And how smart is Florida? Who in their right mind would want to teach there now? Seriously, you are going to put your career in the hands of teenagers? And that's what you are doing. These state tests have ZERO repercussions for the students and yet you want to base teacher pay and job security over them? I have had my smartest kids just half ass it because "it doesn't count for anything, and I have a test today in another class." Once again, is that my fault?

If you say "yes", then shouldn't a doctor be held accountable if he has patients that smoke or are obese? Sounds ridiculous, but it is the same argument. If a student wants to fail, they will fail. If they want to pass, they will work hard and pass.

Back to Florida, annual contracts now? Once again, every year is now a "what if". So when that principal needs someone to help run the clock at a basketball game for free because he can't pay anyone due to cuts, do you think he will be able to find someone to volunteer now? How is that principal going to view the teacher who gets average test scores, but does nothing for free? Think they will get a good evaluation? I highly doubt that they will.

Who will want special ed students? It is difficult to get them to be proficient or advanced, no matter how much time you put in. Is this fair for the teachers who get the average students versus those who get the AP or honors level students? How about those students with bad home lives? There was a story about a mom who allowed her son to fight another boy on her front yard. And she encouraged him to "f@ck him up" the whole time. Yeah how important is education to her and her family? And yet, a teacher will be judged good or bad based on his score on a test that doesn't determine anything for him.

Politicians want to run education like a business. I have said it many times, but you can't. Simply stated, because you can't pick and choose your students. As a supervisor at UPS, I had 60 days to determine if an employee would help my area out. If they were late once, I could fire them. How does that work in education? I get 170+ students and I can't do anything if they are late, but send them to the office. If an employee didn't work hard, I could fire them. If a student doesn't work hard, they fail the test and probably the state test. But their inaction will now affect that teacher's pay. Whereas at UPS I could fire that bad employee, the teacher is "stuck" with the student for the year.

I want to go to a politician's office and give him a special ed student or an unmotivated student and say "here is your new secretary. You have to find a way to get them to be the best secretary you have ever had." How long do you think that politician would wait until he fired them? And yet, we can't "fire" our students.

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