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Superintendent Vitti's palpable disrespect for teachers.

There is no doubt superintendent Vitti is a smart and driven man. You can look at his impressive education and the career that led him to Duval  here, Dislike him all you want but you can't attribute his meteoric rise to brown nosing or just knowing the right people, though I do suspect the latter played a pretty big role.

It is maybe because of this swift rise that he has such disdain for teachers. You see he only spent two years in a classroom (in New York and NC, 2 years, 2 different schools) before he decided he had learned all that he could and that his talents would better be served elsewhere. People who want to be teachers are alien to him, he can't understand that they would rather get their satisfaction from helping children than bossing people around and setting policy. I can make the case that he  thinks people who don't want to charge to the top of the heap are somehow inferior.

I have detailed how he has repeatedly been disrespectful to professional teachers here but I would like to draw your attention to an op-ed  he wrote in the Times Union. He went on and on talking about the various accomplishments of the district, some of which I believe were dubious

This is the thing though he never mentioned the teaching staff once. Graduation rates, check, more students taking advanced classes check, his leadership saving Christmas, check. But he never mentioned the people doing the actual educating as if all these supposed improvements came from the sheer force of his will, well that and Teach for America because he did write:

We have also created a pipeline of stronger teachers through partnerships with Teach for America and a Jacksonville Teacher Residency program where STEM undergraduates are recruited to earn their master’s degree and commit to serving at least three years in a Quality Education for All school.

Well thank God we have those Teach for America teachers, something like 2.5 percent of all the teachers in Duval because without them, if we just had those blech people who went to school to learn how to teach and had spent a career in our classrooms to rely on, then we would have had to cancel Christmas after all. 

There are over 8,000 professional teachers in our classrooms and under 200 TFA teachers yet the first group doesn't get a mention and the second group gets his praise. It doesn't matter that TFA does the exact opposite of what know to be best for our children putting poorly trained non education grads in our toughest classrooms and it doesn't matter that we know they exacerbate the teacher turnover rate either and the reason is because they are following Vitti's carer plan.

You see TFA teachers hobbyists like Vitti didn't, don't want to be teachers either. They are marking time until their masters of the universe gigs on wall-street opens up  or yeah they want to be in education they just don't want to work with kids because if they would have then you know what, they would have become teachers, after all nobody picks a major thinking, well that will help me get in Teach for America

Vitti knows TFA has exacerbated the teacher turnover problem too and he plans to change that by moving them into leadership positions, and yes that does nothing to stem the teacher turnover problem but what do you expect from somebody who wants to work in education but not with kids, who dislikes teachers. You see he is fine with that, he respects that, that's who he wants running our schools because 27 year old principals are just fine to somebody who became superintendent when he was 35.  To him teaching experience is trumped by a drive to run the entire show. A passion for power trumps a passion for children.

But what Vitti doesn't understand, Gary Chartrand, Jeb Bush, Arne Duncan and others don't and probably never will understand because it is just not in their DNA is that we will never reach our potential, we will never succeed as long as they marginalize and disrespect teachers, you know the ones doing the actual teaching. Furthermore there will not be enough Teach for America teachers when we hit the tipping point and they have disrespected enough people out of the profession, which they basically think anybody can do anyways. 

Teachers don't become teachers to get rich, most don't care about politics, few want to run the show, though I think our real hope lies with recruiting those reluctant leaders, all they want to do is make a difference in the lives of children and I believe that in the eyes of our super makes them inferior. His words at the very least back me up.

3 comments:

  1. Chris' blog is the virtual example of the old school faculty lounge where all the veteran teachers hang out with their burnt up souls, energy, and ideas. These are the same people most against TFA. Why? Because that type of teacher threatens them. They are intimidated by their youth, background, and independence. And most importnat unions for their willingness to advocate for themseles. TFA means reform and that is why Chris dislikes them. Ask Chris why he works for an ESE center. Well.. to skirt accountability and avoid teaching so his paras can work with the children as he types away on his computer and is paid

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    1. I can figure immediately you have never been a teacher. You have not one iota of what a teacher goes through day after day. I am qualified as an Engineer and Board Certified Intern, plus possess other technical certificates in engineering. But, when I graduated I couldn't acquire an engineering position because of my age; all of the young copy cats who graduated with me and couldn't pass the Board Exam got engineering positions quickly with upward of $45K /year with a few starting at $52K /year. After a few years I accepted a teaching position at $37.3 /year.

      As a teacher, I worked 90 - 100 hours per week and had to tolerate all kinds of filth from students, parents, administrators, and others. What was very malicious was when they mixed ESE students with the Regular Ed; there is constant disruption of the learning process. And it is well known that most of these students create performances because they are tolerated by politicians and administrators. So, I find it despicable when some uninformed, and mostly functionally illiterate individuals come on a blog meant for reasonable and educated professionals and just blow froth.

      Sri Satya Sai Baba emphasized 5 ingredients for a proper education system viz., TRUTH, DUTY, LOVE, PEACE, and NONVIOLENCE. He advised that the main purpose of education is to build CHARACTER. Look at what you have in your society and know that they are products of EDUCATION POLICIES and not TEACHERS. TFA is a GREAT ENEMY of Urban Schools and Urban Society; it was conceived for the sole purpose of destroying the fabric of education and democracy and filling the pockets of the most unscrupulous people in this country. Unfortunately, Martin Luther King Jr is not here to lead his sheep and so they are taken by the wolves. I am sorry he is not here to lead you; he would already have been defeating the TYRANTS.

      Swami Vivekananda said;" EDUCATION is the MANIFESTATION of the PERFECTION already in man". Based on my assessment of those who make education policies in this Country and those who execute those policies, I often wonder if they can truly be called man; I clearly have my doubts. I would prefer 60 Regular Ed Students in my class than 8 ESE. If Chris works in an ESE center, I say KUDOS to him. By the way, if you work in an Urban High School you'll soon find out that most of your so-called Regular Ed Students are at the same intellectual level as some ESE students and, in some cases at a lower level. However, behavior makes the difference.

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  2. Like me or dislike me, these are the facts about TFA

    There are lots of people and groups against Teach for America, college professors, student activists, parent associations, the young, old and in between, from just about every field imaginable including a growing cadre of Teach for America alumni.

    I have said many times that TFA has a role to play but only after districts have exhausted all efforts to get professional teachers in our classrooms. Unfortunately too often they are used as a quick fix or to displace veteran teachers or as a club against labor.

    Then let’s look at the stats locally, they do a little better in math and a little worse in reading when compared to other teachers in their cohort, though since the vast majority leave they never improve like the other teachers can. They take poorly trained, non education majors and put them in our hardest classrooms that need stability and veteran teachers, where only four out of five finish their two year commitment.

    A Harvard study said they were the number one factor exacerbating the teacher turnover problem here and Duval through a combination of public and private funds is going to spend 5 million extra dollars on them over the next three years. Some may think I have a burnt up soul for thinking that money would be better spent to recruit professional teachers and top grads who might spend a lifetime with our children or on social workers and mental health counselors because often why a student acts up or does poorly in school has nothing to do with school but a lot of people, including non-burnt out teachers agree with me.

    At this point the question shouldn’t be why I am against them but how can anybody be for them.

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