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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Despair, endure or fight are teachers only options. (rough draft)

First they said class sizes didn't matter but when they ballooned people pushed back and twice supported an amendment which said smaller classes were important. The Florida legislature however just ignored the will of the people and gutted the amendment to the point where it might as well not exist. What did we do? Nothing.

Then they said we needed high takes testing to measure both children and teachers and a generation of both was lost as much of the joy, innovation, creativity and flexibility was sucked out of education. A whole generation of kids learning for the test and teachers teaching to it. What have we done? Created a few Facebook groups here and there, maybe written a letter to the editor too as the drill and kill education system chugged along. This year alone they changed the cut scores for math which will lead to more children failing and schools being labeled failures. 

Then they said public schools weren't getting the job done so we needed charter schools and private schools that take vouchers. It doesn't matter that nearly four hundred charter schools have taken public money and failed, or the ones that have succeeded have mostly done so in affluent neighborhoods, or that they are for profit and many of the legislators voting for them, either they or their family members have profited off of them.

It also doesn't matter that the teachers at the voucher schools don't have to have a degree let alone be certificated, and the schools don't have to have a recognized curriculum and most aren't required to report how they spend the money they receive. It doesn't matter that that we have channeled billions to these schools which receive practically no oversight and children at these schools don't have to take the tests they said were manifestly important at public ones.   

Then they came for the unions, the groups that spoke for teachers. They legislature has targeted teacher unions throughout the state for decertification. They want to stifle teacher voices, they want teachers to be silent.

Then they have come for me too requiring more and more certifications at higher costs that are harder to pass and the only thing I have done as the state of Florida tears down both public education and the teaching profession is endured.

When I am gone who will speak for the kids and the schools? Who will be left? When you are gone who will replace you? When your child's teacher decides they can't take it any more and quits or retires early, who will replace them?

We can continue to despair as Florida does all it can to destroy public education, though some of us can continue to endure too, or we can fight.

What will it be?    

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