To Legislators and Education Leaders: Please Stop Crushing Teachers

This comment was posted on Facebook by a retired teacher. It’s public but I haven’t contacted her to ask permission to post this so I’ve withheld her name.

This is insane. Every time the legislature (federal or state) puts “controls” in place, there are always intended and unintended consequences. In this case, there are some severe consequences as teachers begin to retire in droves. A huge part of the reason is Common Core and the mandates that have come with it, and NCLB.

Here’s the story:

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THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING A TEACHER in an elementary school that received a C in the recently posted school grading system as required by the NCLB waiver:

Teachers as of two weeks ago, must submit weekly, detailed lesson plans including exactly what they will say. After the plans are submitted, the teachers must meet with the principal and two of the EBL (aka curriculum administrators) to review the plans ( actually according to my source, review translated means, “teacher and lesson plan ripped to shreds”). My source was chastised for not having the Pearson/Envision on line homework available to parents and because she wrote “same” on some of what she was going to say in her lessons.)

This must be done until these three administrators are satisfied with the content of the lesson plans. Also, a DETAILED schedule must be posted on the door or outside of the teacher’s room. If it is posted that they will be teaching spelling at 11:00 a.m., they had BETTER be teaching spelling at that exact time since there will regular monitoring. If a teachers fails to comply, they will be “written up” and labeled as insubordinate. Hmmm, the principals of these schools must have their neck on the chopping block also.

This is in addition to the requirements by the district: three detailed lesson plans and three videos of the teacher presenting a lesson to reviewed by the EBL administrators. Also two yearly IPOP evaluations ( principals or administrators can “pop” in at any time) where in a 30 minute period the teacher must show a lesson being presented to an entire class, a group working together, two children working together and one child working alone. Also they must state they they show complete fidelity to Pearson.

This is in addition to the countless hours they must spend entering data into the computer in order to document 80% mastery for each concept taught–1,872 entries required alone for 4th grade grammar concepts, etc. etc.

Four teachers at this school have said, “Enough is enough” and are leaving at the end of this school year.

Dr.Thompson has often stated that this is child abuse. This is also teacher abuse. My source, who is an outstanding and hardworking teacher, has a rash over her entire body from the stress.

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One person on FB replied: “This sort of thing can produce a classic ‘death spiral.’ The government forces teachers to go through tons of red tape, which reduces the amount of time and energy that the teachers have for teaching, which reduces the quality of their students’ education, which results in more government-mandated red tape, etc.”

Exactly right.

Teachers all over the nation are retiring because they can’t take it anymore. Schools have turned into a pressure cooker in our maddening desire to “make sure our children can compete in a global environment.

This week an award winning teacher in Ohio shocked the community with her announcement that she was retiring over Common Core.

“I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive.”

Many other teachers agree with her and the article quotes one as saying, ““We will give the last [Ohio Graduation Test] this year. I don’t know if I’m going to cry when we do, because what we are moving to is unbelievable,” he said.

As a state and within our communities, leaders have embraced the natural outcome of compulsory education. The wrong questions get asked and the answers to those questions reinforce the natural processes of the system.

WRONG QUESTIONS

If we are going to force children to school, what do we want their outcomes to be?

Hey Mr. Corporation? What are your needs? What jobs do you need filled?

How can we make sure every school is compliant and teaching exactly what they are supposed to according to national standards?

How do we make sure no child is left behind and that they are always progressing ON GRADE LEVEL?

RIGHT QUESTIONS (IMO)

How do we best meet the needs of each child according to their parents desires?

How can we help stimulate a love of learning in the children?

How do we help them achieve their dreams?

How can we give children more freedom to pursue their diverse interests instead of overloading them with what someone else wants for them?

How do we ensure children’s privacy and data are completely isolated from any outside interest?

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I believe legislators, USOE, USBE, schools and districts, need to back off the extreme testing and curriculum mandates. We can’t keep raising the temperature on the pressure cooker. We need to vent the air before more teachers and students give up and have breakdowns. This is not a healthy environment.

Parents, you may want to seriously look into dual-enrolling your child. In fact, I strongly recommend it. I’m doing it with one of my children right now. She takes a few classes at school, and a few at home. She’s MUCH happier, she’s doing things that interest her, and she’s able to go at her own pace. It’s a great way to go.

3 thoughts on “To Legislators and Education Leaders: Please Stop Crushing Teachers”

  1. Thanks for posting this, Oak. I believe this is intended. Undermining teachers has been part of the agenda for privatization all along. If teachers are incompetent then it justifies hiring a bunch of “experts” to tell them what to do.

  2. Thanks Oak! I just had a similar talk with a teacher at our high school. I worked at an elementary for over 10 years as a teachers aide & then over 12 years at the high school as an office aide and career and scholarship specialist in the counseling center. Last week I ran into a teacher still teaching at the high school. She could not stop talking about what is going on with teaching. The high school is supposedly the top one in Utah and so beyond the pressures of CCSS & NCLB, teachers are feeling the pressure to remain at the top. This teacher told me that they have so many required tests to give and things to teach, meetings/training to attend and documentation to fill out that they don’t have time to even learn all students names. Last semester she was not able to learn all her students names and it was the first time this has ever happened. It was discouraging to her. She told me she feels like a robot and that the teacher-student relationship is no longer something she is able to foster as in years past because of all that she is required to do. She said she barely has time to fill out all documentation she’s required to do and feels overwhelmed at all times. She said teachers don’t even have time to stop in the hall when they see another teacher to discuss anything as they have in the past. She even told me of a teacher who was able to retire this year, but had thought she’d stay on for another 2-3 years because of her love for teaching. But now, because of all that is required of them to do, she is retiring this year. She’s had enough! This teacher I ran into doesn’t know how much longer she can withstand the immense pressure placed upon her and is looking to her retirement or some way to retire sooner. She feels that her ability to instill a love of learning in her students is gone…she hasn’t any time to do that anymore. She’s nothing more than a robot. She is a good teacher. When I worked there I never heard any of her students say they didn’t love her. They all did! It’s so sad to think good teachers & administrators all over the state are feeling the pressure to perform as robots to meet CCSS with good teachers quitting or retiring early because they realize that the CCSStandards don’t really care about the children, just about the $$ that can be made & keeping the federal strings tied to it all. Governor Herbert had better humble himself and realize what it’s doing to our educational system and reject it before our children are hurt and the voters reject him.

  3. This is like James clavell’s The Children’s Story coming to life! I hope that Utah, of all the states in the Union will pull together and bring back our old fashioned local education. It looks very hopeful that some in the legislature are seeing the light. Thank you UACC for the great info.

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