Teacher’s’s Plight

Had to add a new section to the blogroll over there for Phillip Greenspun. He was one of my earlier internet heroes (though losing points for embracing .NET) more for his outspoken views and concepts on usability and community-driven web sites than for the ArsDigita (now RedHat property…blech) software itself. Expect quality, though sometimes wordy and egotistical, opinions and banter.

This is a good little post about the work lives we are forcing on our teachers. Illustration of the huge inequities abounding for them, and the hurdles they need to overcome to do their job, one which might be considered important. I witnessed this in my own student teaching (I later decided that teachers are treated too badly here to actually get a job as one), with many teachers being moved from room to room, not having a home, nowhere to have a preparation period. Believe me, preparing classes and grading papers takes time, and that’s not even doing things like setting aside time to talk to kids in an effort to get through to them and pay attention to special needs. It is truly difficult to foster a positive learning environment like this. Teachers need props. The room is more than just a place with a ceiling and places to sit and write. It is a place for visual aids to be setup. For personalities to be expressed. To keep your lunch. My heart goes out to teachers.

The premise of this article is $11,000/student/year…that should be plenty! Well, it’s not. There is a huge support network. And don’t tell me that it is wasted on administration. There are not many places where adminstrations aren’t grossly understaffed. My father is an administrator. Was a teacher and coach, then a VP, then a Principal, and now in the district office. He’s given so much of his life to making this school or that run well, he’s out at dawn and home late. Every year he is laid off, along with his wife and everyone else, in case his job doesn’t make the budget.

The state of our schools is an injustice, and will only be getting worse. The seemingly reasonable voucher system is horriffic. Private schools are not subject to the same regulations that public schools are. You know, things like lunch programs, amenities for disabled and special needs students, and standardized testing are not levied onto private schools the same as public schools. What happens when the much-needed dollars from these vouchers is yanked from the public pool? Maybe the special programs need to be rethought, to make middle class America feel less like they’re bearing the brunt of supporting them, but that’s another issue.