How our country designs urban schools and their children to fail
- Massive stress is placed on standardized testing
- Teachers are forced to teach to the test because if the kids don’t do well, it makes the school and teacher “fail”
- In many states, including Maryland, student’s “growth” (aka test scores) determine 50% of a teacher’s observation. So if you are a great teacher but your students have behavioral problems or are chronically absent or are too tired or too hungry or have a special need or are ESL and don’t test well, then you are seen as inadequate and can be fired for it.
- When they have to teach to the tests, students lose out on social studies, health, and science until grade 5 or higher
- The arts and technology are being cut for budget and because they “don’t help with testing” even though it’s proven, for example, that music class helps students score better on reading and math
- Students who are ESL and special needs have to take the same test and their scores are counted with the other students, which makes the overall scores go down
- A student with an IEP is legally NOT allowed to held back for ANY reason, so kids who can’t even spell their own name have to take these standardized tests once they hit grade three.
- ESL and special needs students can excel in music and art but there is so much pressure put on testing that it makes them feel like failures when they can’t keep up
- There are 3 pre-tests and a post test AFTER the actual test, which takes away almost a month of instruction in the mornings. This makes the students very irritable and tired and increases behavioral issues.
- New tests are created constantly so that the testing companies make more and more money and force teachers to buy more materials from them. They also keep making tests harder so that urban schools will have to spend more money and take more time to figure them out.
- Urban schools are incredibly under-funded so that students who need an aide or a psychologist or some other help either won’t get it or they’ll get it once or twice a week because that aide/professional/counselor/special ed person has to shared with a bunch of other schools.
- Schools have resorted to adding extra weeks or hours onto the school day. This makes it hard for parents to get babysitters or take them to school so the kids just end up staying home. The earlier weeks and the longer days make the students more frustrated and more tired and, when they are older, more likely to drop out. They also do not pay the teachers any extra for this time or these weeks.
- New rules have changed suspensions. Suspensions make schools “look bad”, so they will do whatever they can to keep a student in school. In my fiance’s middle school, a student can cuss out a teacher and threaten them and they will only get a slap on the wrist and will be back in the teacher’s room the next day unless they have a weapon. While other means of punishment should be looked at, there are students with severe enough actions that they need to be kept away for the safety of their peers and teachers.
- Many urban schools under a certain number of students do not have a nurse
- Class sizes are monstrous because the schools don’t have enough money to employ enough teachers, so the teachers that are there have classes of 30-40 students and are expected to be able to give each child individualized attention, which is not possible.
- Teachers are stuck using out of date materials and many have to buy their own pencils, paper, and other supplies for their children.
And finally, when all of these things happen and a school is “failing”, the media and the government turn and blame everything on teachers and the union and tenure and they brainwash the public to go along with it so that nobody finds out the truth.1
Dear Tumblr Teachers:
I need some advice.
I graduated from college in May with a degree in music education. I was lucky enough to land a job and I start training on Monday and my first class in August 20. I will be teaching elementary general music to students grades K-6.
My challenge is that my school is very low income and 90% black/hispanic. I am white and I only went to schools that were 90% white or even more. My high school was low income, so that is nothing knew, but I am not prepared for the racial challenges.
Does anyone have any advice for me?0
A final thought on Penn State
I am a teacher. I have standards I have to be held up to, especially with children being abuse. If I even SUSPECT a child is being sexually abused, let alone SEE it, and I don’t call the police myself, I not only can be fired, but I CAN GET MY ASS TOSSED IN JAIL.
That’s right. If the police and child services find out that a child was being abused and I knew but did not call the cops right then and there, I can get jail time for it. No telling the principal. No “reporting”. Call the cops or Childline or jail time. And yes, this is in Pennsylvania.
Paterno was a coach. Coaches, by state definitions, are educators. Therefore, Paterno was an educator. Why he only had to report to a superior is beyond me. He should have been held to the same standards as other educators.
Teachers have “looked the other way” for ages. I have heard and read way, way too many stories of kids being bullied and attacked and even assaulted and their teacher just turned a blind eye and ignored it. I was bullied in middle school and I’m pretty sure the guidance counselor only found out because of my teacher who saw it all.
Educators have a special responsibility. We have to protect our students. It’s part of the job. My classroom will be a zero tolerance bullying zone. I will not look the other way.
It’s just so funny how many adults are holding Paterno on this pedestal. But you could image if it was their child? They would be out there with a shotgun! And to think, if I looked the other way as a teacher was assaulting a child, these parents would come at me as well!
There’s already enough shit on the news about teachers doing bad things. Every single time a teacher does something wrong, it goes on the news so people have something to bitch about because they want to raise their kids for them. And yet, because this man is popular coach and his team won a lot, he gets special treatment. As a teacher, I am 1000% sure that this is special treatment compared to what happened if I were to do something similar.
Paterno was an educator. He should be held to the same standards as any other educator. Period.1