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Thursday, August 26, 2010

InSIGnificant Others

Several “low achieving” schools accepted school improvement grants (SIG) to help them turn things around this past summer and to be honest this is as close as anything I have seen to throwing money at a problem. Now there were other things but the gist was teachers would work and extra forty-five minutes a day for which they would be paid and an enrichment/review (re: F-CAT prep) class would be inserted into the schedule for all students to take.

A month ago there were varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Fast-forward to this past Tuesday, after pre-planning and after school had been in session for two days. The district in all its infinite wisdom came and told a third of the teachers (elective teachers and a few others) that they would no longer be involved in the SIG grant. They wouldn’t have to teach the prep-class and they could leave at 2:25, all teachers up to this point had been required to stay till 3:10. This means the prep classes, the classes designed to give students the extra instruction they need to do well, will now have forty kids each in them and yes this will happen even with the class size amendment. You see they are coded as electives despite the fact no kid in his right mind would elect to take it. That’s forty kids in a class they don’t want to be in, studying something they don’t care about.

Tuesday there were varying degrees of enthusiasm, though many teachers felt just a tad bit insignificant.

The powers-that-be often talk about schools being communities and families but if the truth be known teachers are just pawns to be moved around whenever a new education trend or fashion blows into town. Then the powers-that-be scream be organized and be prepared and then it turns out they don’t know what they are doing. Though it’s not just teachers that pay the price, students suffer just as much if not more.

If you didn’t know it, we’re in trouble with our education system and if you can’t quite put your finger on it let me help. Far off in their ivory towers are people who know very little about education, there they mettle and pass laws and edicts to be carried out by the local school districts. Then the leaders of the local districts force teachers to carry out these orders, the administrations do this lockstep without a thought or a care if they will work or not. Next teachers are overwhelmed with task after task many of which have very little to do with actual teaching and are forced to teach kids subjects they are not only not interested in but will never use again. Finally it’s the kids, the ones at the bottom who pay the ultimate price. They are at the mercy of those above them, their desires, dreams, and abilities ignored. Sadly in education they have become the true insignificant others.


  1. I am also at a SIG school...It was a very gloomy day when our electives and foreign language teachers had the "haves & have-nots" was the worst kept secret in the school!!! ...NO JOY IN get the my former school i was an elective teacher...the core classes were double blocked with class size ammendments and "we" the non-essential people, were A/B with zillions of truly takes a village to move all these kids, and i have yet to meet an insignificant classroom teacher, regardless of their content or certification.....our school is still trying to find some $$$ so that EVERYONE will be there for all the PD stuff and that pesky enrichment period, which in theory CAN work!!! good luck with week 2...our school is preparing for THE VISIT, so thanks for pioneering the parade which i believe was at your school first....

  2. At my school they talk about community and family and then they get the elective teachers to the curb. Now to be honest some were okay with it Either way it just beffuddles me how they can expect teachers to have a million ducks in a row and then they don't have theirs.

    The state visit wasn't to bad, pretty much it was just them watching teachers giving an endless series of assesments. Good luck with week two and your visit as well!