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Sunday, March 20, 2011

No child left behind leaves teachers behind

In the last decade, teachers have been asked to follow the increasing demands of federal and state laws and guidelines without the income, job security and benefits that federal and states employees receive. Today, it is difficult for teachers to find time to do effective lesson planning with all the added paperwork. This added paperwork comes from “No Child Left Behind”, the state of Florida and county school boards. These added demands can be placed on teachers, because school systems rely heavily on state and federal funds. Next, we will be asking physicians who accept Medicare and Medicaid to be evaluated and paid according to their failures.
As politicians and county school boards are talking about evaluating and paying teachers according to their student’s assessment scores I start wondering who will teach our students with learning disabilities. What underpaid teacher could afford to jeopardize their job to take on the challenges of learning disabled students? Teachers are always told that special considerations are made for these teachers, but it is difficult to find evidence of this consideration.

If we take benefits away from teachers, who already earn less statistically than other college educated professionals won’t we encourage the best teachers to leave education? In Jacksonville, Duval County Public Schools is the second largest employer after the navy. If Rick Scott or anyone else thinks this won’t damage an already dismal economy think again. How many businesses will be damaged and how many tax dollars will be lost? How many students will not have the benefit of good teachers in Florida? Teachers will go elsewhere to teach or go into other fields of employment. I can tell you that I am going to try to spend as little money in Florida as possible. Why should I spend any more money than I have to in a state that thinks so little of me! The economy is already in a recession and making those working for the second largest employer in Jacksonville fear for their jobs certainly will not help.

Maybe we should start paying everyone in every profession according to their failures, not their successes or get down on our knees and start praying that all students become awesome test takers. Let’s not pay doctors who have patients die or attorneys who lose a case, but lets’ make sure that we stop paying politicians first based on some people’s opinion of their performance. If the state can dictate how we are to be treated as employees, then give teachers "state and federal benefits". I personally want Rick Scott's and Steve Wise's income, health insurance and job security.

I would like to encourage the politicians and citizens of Florida to go teach in an urban school. You will find it more challenging then you ever imagined. If we all are not concerned about politicians passing laws that so heavily impact our students and teachers we should be. I can remember when Republicans were concerned with upholding the rights of people living in a democracy. Sadly, our rights to vote on such serious matters as Senate Bill 736 have been ignored. Do we still live in a democracy? Next, I guess we will be passing laws regarding how all employers evaluate and pay their employees.


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