"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Making a Difference - Blogoversary 2013

Today, September 14, 2013, marks this blog's seventh "blogoversary"...

Last year, on the sixth blogoversary I chose quotes from some of my blog entries. Most of the quotes were bits and pieces of angry tirades against privatization and against the damage being done to public education by so-called "reformers."

This year I have some questions to answer...


Nearly 50% of teachers never make it beyond their fifth year. In addition, in recent years, many veteran teachers -- like me -- retire early because of the constant barrage of insults coming from the "reformers" and their friends in the media, and among policy makers.

Insults like...
  • forcing teachers to teach to "the test"
  • judging children on the basis of one test or alternatively, forcing teachers to give more tests than are appropriate
  • evaluating and paying teachers based on student test scores
  • firing veteran educators and replacing them with novice teachers who have virtually no training
  • closing schools and replacing them with charter or voucher supported private schools
  • the inequality of funding at schools with high levels of student poverty
  • giving preferential treatment to charter and private schools
  • blaming teachers and/or their unions instead of out-of-school-factors for low student achievement caused by poverty
and so on...

I sometimes despair over the "reformers'" progress in their quest to privatize and otherwise destroy America's public education system, but the video below is hopeful. In it teachers respond to "Why I stay in education." I have a similar question "Why do I still teach even after I've retired?"

When I decided in March 2010 that I was going to retire the following June, I wrote a blog entry titled, I'm ready. I had been debating whether to stay in teaching...or to leave and I was reflecting on what I was about to do.
I still have a lot to offer my students. I understand, through first hand experience, the difficulties of learning to read, ADHD, and the related emotional baggage that accompanies those problems...
I believed...and still believe...that teachers were important and that teaching was a worthwhile contribution to the community.
I can't imagine a job other than teaching, in which you get to know so many people, so well. I can't imagine another job in which you can influence another human being the way you can as a teacher. The responsibility is awesome...as is the satisfaction.

Eventually, I decided in favor of retirement, but the very next year, I realized that I missed working with children. So I contacted a former colleague and asked if she wanted some help in her classroom. I started working with children who were having difficulty...the same types of students I worked with when I was being paid to teach. I was essentially doing the same work as a volunteer that I did as a reading specialist/Reading Recovery teacher. I was still teaching...and it felt good.

Why do I want to keep teaching even though I'm retired...even though I don't get paid...even though I only work with a few students?

  • I can still help students who struggle with reading and I still enjoy the challenge of teaching struggling readers.
  • I feel an obligation to help students who are having trouble in their classes...just like I did in elementary school. I want to help them understand that their difficulty with school is not a lifelong brand. I want them to know that someone understands how they feel.
  • I believe that I can still make a difference, one student at a time.
In the video below teachers from all over the country tell why they stay in education despite the frustrations caused by privatization and "reforms." (You might need to press the pause button to read some of the answers.)

Why I Stay in Education

Why do you stay in education?

Use Your Outside Voice: Because Teachers Deserve to be Heard.


All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.


Stop the Testing Insanity!


No comments: