December 21, 2010

I agree, Mr. Teachbad

I recently discovered Mr. Teachbad's blog and immediately love its honestly and satire.  I especially enjoyed this post from last week about what "bugs [him] about education reform."  Today I was talking with my brother about school and the impending state tests.  He shook his head in disbelief when I told him that pretty much every afternoon from January to March would be devoted to test prep.  Honestly, imagine how much more I could TEACH if I didn't feel like I had the fate of the school and AYP on my shoulders...Anyways, Mr. Teachbad struck a powerful and important chord in his post:

The achievement Gap is not the fault of teachers. How likely is that? Think about it. I mean, what are the chances that all the terrible teachers just randomly ended up in districts and neighborhoods with high rates of:
1) Single, young mothers;
2) Poverty;
3) Obesity;
4) Smoking;
5) Crime;
6) No books in the house;
7) Illiterate/unemployed/incarcerated/absentee parents.
I’ve been doing this for six years. Kids like this are hard to teach. It’s not like dropping into a desert and giving people water…where they are all grateful and think you are awesome. It’s more like giving cough medicine to a hysterical three-year old with a fever and diarrhea; they’ll fight it to the death and hate you afterward.
I can’t patch all these holes. I can’t make up for everything my students have so unfairly been denied. And I can’t accept responsibility for what that breeds.
Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee are dishonest for suggesting that if I do things a certain way in my classroom that I can overcome all of this. It’s just not true. And it is disingenuous and unfair to teachers to pretend otherwise.
Amen, Mr. Teachbad.  Maybe if every teacher makes their voice heard, someone from Washington will finally hear us?  Oh wait, we're just teachers.  Who cares what we think?

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