The Governor of New York is hoping to eliminate tenure. Oh, I know the newspapers refer to it as an overhaul but he is really hoping to give the school districts the power to terminate the employment of any teacher and he plans to begin this process by the smokescreen of some new teacher evaluation system.
Okay, let's be honest. Some of our union members probably should not be in the teaching profession. There, Mr. Governor, is that what you need to hear? Our beloved profession is now sporting two black eyes.
There is a small, and I mean small, population of parents who do not regard teachers as the past generations once did. They would like to pretend that it is not their child who disrupts and interferes with the learning process. Unfortunately, it is these poorly behaved and apathetic children who give the entire education system the black eye we currently display.
Did you hear that, Mr. Governor?
Of course we have another eye. That eye is being blackened by our very own leaders in the State Education Department. (Gee, I wonder who they answer to?) At some point the teacher became the enemy. Our very own state leadership is dragging us down. State Ed. is made up of people who used to walk in our shoes. Many are former teachers. So here's my sensible question: Who are they to determine just who is an effective teacher and who is ineffective? And that goes for you two, Mr. Governor. Are these ambiguous state exams a fair guideline to evaluate teachers?
Excuse me, Mr. Governor of New York, but when did the school teacher become this incompetent monster who could not be trusted to guide his own students or to fairly grade their state exams? Why is our collective character being questioned? Does elected leadership imply that no one is to question your integrity while you question ours? Are the public school teachers really the reason why education is in trouble in our country? Is that what you believe, Mr. Governor? You have boldly stated your opinion in a public forum, so how about if I share mine?
I have your answer.
Get out of the way and let the teachers teach! We know more about what to teach, how to teach it and we only ask that you leave us alone and let us do the job the majority of us are highly qualified to do. Okay, we need state financial aid. That's no secret. But we do not need your help in reaching the youth of today. We're teachers! We were born to do this. I don't know a lot about politics so I never go around poking my nose into the political arena. It's not my area of expertise. Teaching is not yours.
I'm going to make one sensible and heartfelt plea to you. Let us teach kids. Take these state exams and put them in the Museum of Natural History where families in the future can look at them and muse: Did educators really think back then that all this testing was good for kids? Bury this idea of using new teacher evaluations to undermine a teacher's right to tenure. Are you jealous because we have the right to due process? We were not elected into our professions though I will always believe that most of us were chosen. Give it up. No one is voting us out.
Is that true for you?