Posted by: Lizzie Ross | March 3, 2011

Proposed Cuts Strike Teachers as Attacks on Their Value to Society – NYTimes.com

This is a first for my blog: a political stance. But as a teacher who works with teachers, I have to take this opportunity to remind my readers that teaching well entails more than clocking in, “8 am-3 pm”, for only 9 months out of the year. Planning, homework, meetings, assessment — these all take time. A good teacher also keeps abreast of new developments in her field; new approaches to teaching; new local, state and federal standards that must be met; new understandings about ways to reach specific populations of students. She uses her summers to take courses and strengthen her content knowledge, or to work a second job because a teacher’s salary isn’t enough to pay her bills.

How many of you would know how to teach algebra to a class of 31 that includes 4 students with special needs (ADHD, high-functioning autism, hearing impaired, etc.), 15 English language learners (2 of whom just arrived from Santo Domingo and speak almost no English), 7 who read below grade level (as an average, we’ll say at the 2rd grade level, despite being in 9th grade), and an additional 4 who are unable to write a complete sentence. (Don’t try to argue that math is all numbers: remember those pesky word problems that everyone struggled with when you took math?)  The students all have to take a test at the end of the school year, and the mayor will use the passing rate to decide whether your school needs to be shut down. Just like babysitting, right?

One more piece of data: a majority of Americans believe that US schools are a disaster area, full of teachers who can’t keep control and students who aren’t learning anything. But a majority of the same Americans believe that the schools their own children attend are doing a great job. Perception and reality are not the same thing.

Can we get truthiness out of this conversation and focus on fact?

Proposed Cuts Strike Teachers as Attacks on Their Value to Society – NYTimes.com.

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Responses

  1. Difficult question…I´m not sure, if a majority of people can discuss such a problem without being subjective.
    (Nearly) everyone has/had his or her own experiences with this system, so nearly not enough space to leave truthiness behind…Or am I too pessimistic?
    Anyway, enjoy your week 😉


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