I weary of the ADHD, ADD, AH, etc. characteristics so prevalent in local talk shows. The latest calendar dust-up tipped the scales for me.
1) We have purposefully and willingly given up control over our schools.
* We send our tax money to DC or Tallahassee and never get it back dollar for dollar.
* We allow "Big Gov", "Big Ed", "Big Pub", "Big Test" and now "Big Bill" to dictate our every move and enforce the dictates by threatening to withhold monies. Most often our own money!
* Remember "the lottery will SUPPLEMENT education" lie?
2) Our parents got so fed up with the districts loading up the classroom with kids that a Constitutional Amendment was passed (by majority) limiting class size.
* Have our representatives responded in a mature fashion? Nope. They have whined like high school freshman who just heard about the tardy policy enforcement and are asking the public "Please take it away, take it away."
* All districts had the same amount of time to comply: build, hire, and anticipate. This too costs money. Did YOUR representatives respond or participate in a "whine and jeez fest"? Did you bother to ask any of them?
3) This blog was born when Superintendent Elia's approach to the CSA was to strip the teachers of their second conference period.
* Review the past posts on this blog and those under "Link Floyd-Linka Wray". Check your past email for my email asking for your support to block this action and review the numerous shortcuts the classroom teachers would have to take in order to survive.
* The "early release" days are an attempt to provide teachers with the time they lost. Sorry if this conflicts with the parents work schedule but this is a consequence of the CSA, the lost conference period, parental complaints about parent-teacher communications, slow test grading turnaround and EdLine updates. I heard NO parental solutions to this issues. It's really all about day care and vacations. If it weren't we would hear workable solutions.
* If the public votes to change the CSA then they have rewarded the passive-aggressive political behavior with NO viable positive replacement for their children. (see lottery lie)
4) Do you realize how much time is spend "evaluating adequate student progress" as dictated by "Big Gov"?
* This means "testing". The students are pulled out of class THREE times this year for FAIR testing - a computer based reading assessment (test) requiring at least a full period to complete. Last year some students where out FIVE times.
* FCAT or the looming End of Year Testing. That's 3 to 5 days out of class - more if you are a "special needs" student (by the way the definition is getting ridiculously broad) since their time can be unlimited.
* "Big Gov" tells us when we must administer the FCAT and FAIR test and what percentage of students must be tested - or else. Ostensibly so we can have the results in time (cue: sarcastic laughing after this year's debacle)
* We are also required to test those speakers of languages other than English out of class settings.
* No matter what you call it - No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, The Gates Grant - until you can "flunk" a student and require that student to repeat a grade or subject until mastery is displayed, until you can remove the thugs and felons preying on campus - it don't mean diddly!
5) Is it any reason our Calendar Committee and school board botched this year's calendar?
* Those citizens had to try and shoot a moving target. "Big Gov" made a mistake and had to move the FCAT dates.
* There was the "tolerance and diversity" dance.
* Parents had issues with proposed everything.
* Board members were trying to win political races, deal with personal problems and are really out of touch with the classroom - preferring elementary school photo-ops to down and dirty middle/high school visits.
* Just because you attended a school does not qualify you to run one. Got a thoughtful idea? Experience the fire and join the committee.
* These are "early release" days. TWO HOURS shorter. Some creative principals are using these days as "club days" - something required for accreditation. It encourages students to form and join clubs and then attend meetings on days where ALL classes are equally shortened. Its really win/win. Oh, and clubs are sponsored by teachers who assume the responsibility without additional pay. Its also a good time for tutoring and make-up work for other students. It does happen: I do it and so do others. Are there teachers who may be "slackers"? Sure, but no administrator I ever worked for put up with it. They fixed it - often with multiple classroom clubday observations.
6) Scatter thoughts:
* Teachers must prepare and perform in greater time spans than the 15 minute radio rating segments. If we don't hit our demo we are immediately toast.
* Even though we can recycle our lesson plans from period to period we must sometimes prepare for 3 different audiences in a day. Somebody needs to preread her segues, intros, and spots. We do share peers who speak in monotone and the results are the same. "click"
* We do not have the ability to pretape and replay anything.
* We are only as good as our last encounter with our "audience".
* We have an association (NOT a UNION!) that must negotiate with the School Board and it is not always the association who drives the issues but they must respond to them.
* Teachers do not teach to get rich but we also do not like having the collective target on our back. BTW: Anyone try to take out the Clear Channel DJ's like that LETO kid? You guys got security and swipe cards right? We got - lucky.
* Barring a major political uprising we will never get back our local control over schools. (I'd hope to see a school board member get taken out in cuffs for standing up on this issue.)
Sincerely and without malice,
Apologies to my regulars - there is so much more but I'm afraid I'd lose a lot of first timers if I got to long-winded.