i didn’t want to leave any child behind, but i also couldn’t take it anymore…

So sad … I read a lot of blogs about teaching and today I came across a blog entry that just made me incredibly sad.  I became a teacher almost twenty years ago, now, because I wanted to save the world.  I worked hard and although I'm not necessarily abundantly blessed with brains or a whole lot of natural teaching talent, I think that I grew to be a pretty decent teacher.  As a teacher, I never wanted to leave any child behind, but as the years went on I got kind of burnt out and fried.  Jumping ship … When the opportunity presented itself, I abandoned my job teaching in the public schools like a rat leapin' off a sinking ship (Luckily for me, I had the personal floatation device from under my seat placed around my neck; the long strap with the buckle wrapped around my waist; and I was able to inflate the thing manually by blowing into the little red nozzle or by pulling down sharply on the two red tabs! But I digress … ).  The perks … The reality is that I jumped ship for the lure of my own office … a reserved parking space … a 30% increase in my salary off the bat … a great medical plan … employer paid long term disability insurance … free coffee in the faculty room… a free lunch every day … and mostly the chance not to be the primary target of that 1% of parents who are mentally ill (IMHO) … have poison pens … axes to grind … and who think that you pick on their children "because they're the only Portugese children in the school" when in reality you have at least five other children of Portugese ancestry in your class of 30 kids.  But I digress again … Short end of the education stick … The article that made me think about all of this stuff got posted to a blog called, The Pulse-Education's Place for Debate, and the specific post by Pete Reilly discusses how "Misleading Data Hides NCLB Scandal."  Because each state is able to set its own standards, some states have chosen to set the bar really low in the interest of good PR.  The piece was great, but it made me wonder just how many people remember how we got into this whole No Child Left Behind mess in the first place.  No Child Left Behind Re-capped … I know that there might be some out there legitimately living under a rock or others who choose to be purposefully in denial, but just in case, take a look at this great re-cap of how we got stuck with this horrible peice of legislation that the Bush Whitehouse has successfully put in place in order to take apart the public education system and gift the most profitable parts of it to his friends.  Jim Trelease of the Read Aloud Handbook fame does a much better job than I could ever do so read his article, NCLB: The Collapse was Inevitable. He covers all the bases, the upshot of which, is how former Secretary of Educaiton Rod Paige's "Houston Miracle" turned out to be a huge Enron-like accounting fraud and it is a sordid, sordid  tale. It just gets worse … The fact that we have this horrible draconian law is bad enough, but is gets even worse when you think that it is pretty possible probable that Bush Administration officials used their influence and NCLB to funnel money to a commercial product called Direct Instruction from McGraw-Hill.  Now , I don't know much about the program itself, but it disturbs me that my tax dollars are probably being given to a company playing on a rather un-even playing field. This sordid tale is rather well told at the Librarian Blog and at The Pulse in a post by Gary Stagger titled, Shocked!  Shocked! Reading First Plagued by Corporate Welfare, Cronyism, and DemonizationGood reading … but so saddening … so very saddening …  To make you feel better … you might want to read No Dentist Left Behind by John Taylor.  You'll get the point.

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3 thoughts on “i didn’t want to leave any child behind, but i also couldn’t take it anymore…

  1. I'm going to have to go back and read the articles that you linked to your blog but I can comment on the state of decline in public school education. I know it's not the educators fault that we're in such a state of decline, their hands are tied. I feel sorry for the teacher who really feels like they can make a difference in todays public schools. We've recently made the decision to take my step-daughter OUT of high school and to homeschool her (something I've always been AGAINST). I feel, at this point, home would be the better education. She has definitely been LEFT BEHIND. It's really sad but this is the reason that more parents should get involved with their local representatives and at least TRY for a change. I feel like the responsibility should be placed on the parents (for the most part) for allowing the rapid decline to take place. If we don't care, then who will? Something's got to change.

  2. I can't say that I blame you for taking your step-daughter out of your public school if it was working out for her. I was a longtime public school teacher and I certainly BELIEVE in public education, but I would be hard pressed to put my son or daughter (if I had one) in the public schools. It's a societal problem, but I won't judge people who refuse to put their children's educations on the line in order to be true to a principle in which they believe. I don't think I could do that either.

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