Monday, December 28, 2015
The Times Union’s silence about teacher’s working conditions is deafening (rough draft)
Teachers are afraid in this town, afraid that if they speak up about their working conditions their safety or a curriculum that they believe is completely inappropriate for their students then they will face consequences for their actions.
As the chief contributor to the blog Education Matters I talk to teachers quite frequently about what is happening and the two things they have in common is that they believe as a district superintendent
Vitti is taking us in the wrong direction and they are afraid to go on the record about it.
We have all heard the saying is I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times, well in Jacksonville that is no exaggeration, teachers fear for their jobs if they speak up and the Times Union knows it too. They however refuse to report on it.
Now they allude to it here and there when talking about other topics.
From a story about a bill that would mandate recess.
Teachers in Duval County said recently in private that they feel pressure to stay on task, even when they can tell their kids are squirming.
From an article on teaching religion to first graders
Several teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said students aren’t engaged in the subject matter, and because teachers are reading from a script and students don’t have books to follow along, they’re even less likely to comprehend and remember what they’re learning.
“It is tedious, repetitive and created without readers in mind,” one teacher said. “Engage NY lacks a connection to what will motivate students.”
Teachers say they’re being discouraged from slowing down lessons and from using other books.
These two examples are just from the last month. I could have easily found a dozen more mentions.
This is also a conversation I have had several times with the Times Union’s main two education reporters, Rhema Thompson and Denise Amos Smith. I have to say I think they are doing a better job than what we have had in the past but I don’t see how they can continue to ignore the story that so many teachers go to work afraid that they will lose their jobs or be messed with if they speak up and do the right thing.
We are not going to reach our potential as a district as long as we marginalize and intimidate teachers. We are not going to reach our potential as long as we ignore teachers concerns and we are not going to reach our potential as long as the district contuse to make the job of teaching so unappealing people either leave in droves or do their job out of fear not out of joy.
The Times Union sadly knows that teachers are afraid yet they refuse to report on it which makes them culpable with the problems we are having. Their job should not be to cover for the district and sell its all is well narrative.
Let me ask you a question would you be effective at your job if you were concerned about your safety, or believed you were doing harm, or if you spoke up you would be punished?