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A Teacher Speaks Up

Publication Date: 2003-10-11

A teacher vows to spread the word.

After I posted a plea on the ARN listserv for teachers and parents to sponsor a Songs of Resistance CD, Kelley, a California teacher, replied. I wish every member of the Business Roundtable, every member of Congress, every Standardisto-spouting fellow traveler in the nation would read her repy.

When I left my classroom at 6:30 last night, I was surprised to see that there were several teachers still there, working.

I'd started at 7 am; did a "working lunch" (my only duty-free period) in the classroom so I could conference with a group of students; a parent conference after school, and then on to planning. At 6:30 I hadn't yet corrected a paper, and there were piles of work still strung out around me.

I was stressing over making sure that I used district texts, page by page, and had all of the standards written into my plan book so the plan book was ready for the random room checks. And trying to figure out how to give my combination class what they need, as well as comply with all of the other mandates. Out of 30 kids, I have five that are approaching "grade level." Many of the rest are 1-2 years behind; several have already been retained. Which doesn't seem to have helped them any. I need to toss out the
standards and give them what they need right where they are; small groups, plenty of my time, etc.

I'll bet their scores would go up even if I didn't "teach the standards." Instead, I am rushing back and forth between the 5th and 6th graders, making sure they get their daily dose, and watching them fail. And wishing I were anywhere but in the classroom. If I had another
way to pay the bills and remain a productive citizen, I'd shut the door behind me and never go back.

Anyway, when I left last night, I was joined by 3 other teachers hiking out to their cars. Not a smile on any of their faces. Exhaustion, anger,
hopelessness, frustration...it was universal. It's been that way since the first day of school. Every year I think it couldn't get any worse. And when the next school year begins, it is.

I'll bet I can find some fertile ears for those CDs.
[See http://susanohanian.org/outrage_index.html

I have tried to document on this site how the public schools are destroying children. And Kelley's note reminds us that we are also destroying two generations of teachers, the veterans, and the fledglings.

We must break the silence that extends from the kindergarten teacher to the university professor, all being assaulted by rules and regulations from the U. S. Department of Education and the state ed bureaucracies. For the teachers and the children, we must break this silence soon--and break it loudly. If we don't act, then we're just kissing off public schools.

To remain silent in the face of this assault on public schools is immoral; it's also incredibly foolish. Maintaining silence doesn't protect jobs; it just puts them at great risk. The American public believe in public education. They will rally for us--if we ever dare to speak up.

Kelley has taken a step foward to end the silence. Kelley is her real name. And she teaches in California.

What will it take for the rest of you to speak out?

A song might start it. Think about sponsoring the CD: Songs of Resistance.

Then we will raise our voices together to take back our schools.

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