professornana (professornana) wrote,

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political rant

Earlier in the week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent out a series of posts expressing his excitemnet at being a part of the Celebrity All Stars basketball game. He delighted in dropping names of those glitterati with whom he would rub elbows. He even likended education to basketball. Maybe because I have reached curmudgeon age, I found these tweets disquieting.

Teachers at all levels are facing the most austere conditions I can recall in more than three decades of working in the field. Those from outside are quick to criticize us for our huge salaries, our banker's hours, our summers off, etc. You name it. On top of the criticism comes the pressure from some to post the scores for individual teacher's students in the newspapers. In some states, ther are moves to break the unions and, thus, decimate salaries and benefits packages (not Texas because teachers are not legally allowed to have a union let alone belong to one).

Those outside of education are writing the curriculum. Common Core, ELA curriculum in Texas, and countless other instances abound. We are being told what to teach and how to teach and then criticized when students don't measure up somehow. Some point to how poorly we compare with other countries when the evidence does not support this comparison.

All the while we are trying to teach, to deal with all of the factors over which we have such little control: family situation, poverty, students who come to school tired and hungry and sometimes abused. Larger class sizes (our graduate classes are set at 25), less financing for support materials, even dictates against travel to conferences. It is a frightening time.

So, a few tweets about basketballgames and celeb sightings just rankled me. The last analogy I think I would make about education is that it is like basketball. If we follow that analogy, my salary would be a minimum of 20 times more than what it is now. I would make even more monies with endorsements (maybe I could endorse iPad apps? or a certain pen? or a website?). My benefits package would mean I could have the care for my arthritic knees and the mysterious "disease" I have spent lots of my own money trying to diagnose. I would have an entourage, a travel agent, someone to make my clothes, a personal secretary. How I would love that. More importantly, there would be such respect, even bordering on Lesanity. The analogy does not work.

Instead, I have a Secretary of Education who is a lot like a basketball player: more concernmed with the game and his stats. Glib on all the talk shows. Someone who talks the talk without walking the walk. No, wait, that is not basketball at all. That is someone playing a basketball player on TV or in a movie. Someone who has not had to walk the walk.

OK, rant over. I know it will seem to some that this is an overreaction. I am sorry if you came to this page looking for a book recommendation. Go back and look at the more than 150 books I have read this year already. There's plenty to be found on the previous postings. I just had to get this out of my system. Now, I am heading off to join some wonderful colleagues in the monthly #titletalk hosted by @donalynbooks and @colbysharp. It's Sunday night, but we are working, as we always do, to find just the right books for our kids. There is no season when it comes to finding more and more information to use in our instruction.

To apologize for any inconvenience, here is a photo of Scout for your enjoyment.

ETA: OK, I opened this up so everyone could see it.
Tags: not books, politics, ranting
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