BustED Pencils https://bustedpencils.com Fri, 14 Jun 2019 18:54:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The “X”odus Files: The School Climate Hole. https://bustedpencils.com/2019/06/the-xodus-files-the-school-climate-hole/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/06/the-xodus-files-the-school-climate-hole/#respond Fri, 14 Jun 2019 18:50:15 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4652 I happens over and over again. Why? Is it an inability to truly dissect and understand this moment? Or, is it a willful need preserve the status quo? These are the questions I continue to ask after reading some post, blog, or journal article that maintains the “teacher shortage” narrative. But last week NEA Today... Read more »

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I happens over and over again. Why? Is it an inability to truly dissect and understand this moment? Or, is it a willful need preserve the status quo?

These are the questions I continue to ask after reading some post, blog, or journal article that maintains the “teacher shortage” narrative. But last week NEA Today added a new layer that insists on using teacher shortage language but begins to delve into the possible reasons.

I thought this might be a breakthrough considering that NEA Today also used the Economic Policy Institute’s study that puts forth school climate as an important variable in understanding the teacher “X”odus.

According to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute, (EPI) more than half of teachers do not feel supported in their jobs, and 25%  consider leaving the profession as a result. The study is the fourth in EPI’s series looking at the trends – challenging working environment, low pay, lack of professional development opportunities, and the diminished status of the profession – that have undermined the teacher labor market.

http://neatoday.org/2019/06/05/school-climate-and-the-teacher-shortage/

Here’s my problem. Continuing to treat this as a teacher labor issue totally misses the point. It’s great to know that school climate issues are cited by teachers as reasons for leaving the profession, but is this really a research finding or just a simple statement about the reality teachers face daily? We have known that the climate in schools and classrooms is driving teachers into states of anxiety, depression, and despondency that quickly turns into an “X”odus. But why?

Teachers in all schools believe they lack any sort of voice in shaping curriculum, setting performance standards for students, devising discipline policies, or evaluating teachers.

And there it is tucked away in the NEA Today post. Although powerful and revealing, the true meaning of the statement above and its direct causal connection to the teacher “X”odus simply fades right back to “school climate.” And the fix?

The focus needs to be on reversing the chronic underfunding of schools and elevating the status of the profession.

I disagree. More money in the current system just means more of the system. Funding is extremely important but only when those funds can actually be used by professional teachers and schools in ways that are liberating. Funding will never give teachers a voice and elevate the profession. Voice and professional status will only come when the entire “accountability system”—that was imposed on the profession by politicians and think tanks—is dismantled.

And if you’re not sure what accountability looks and feels like check out what this 35 year veteran teacher revealed.

Everything revolves around testing. In the 70s, when I went to high school, my teachers were trusted to teach and assess with complete autonomy. They were pros who weren’t monitored or paid by how well their students did on standardized tests.

The other thing that is very demoralizing is the deprofessionalization of teachers and teaching. In Vermont, where I grew up, teachers often went back to teach in their towns—and they taught for 40 years. They were absolutely revered. Programs like TFA, with their two-and-through mentality, show that their ranks don’t think much of teachers or teaching—and anyone can do it. Teaching is one of those little resume padders you do on your way to your real job in a non-profit or policy-making—or law school. Whereas the teachers I so admire taught in the trenches for 40 years, the TFA crew deludes themselves into thinking that they alone solve educational inequities. That self-aggrandizing is so insulting to those of us who have spent decades honing our craft and giving students our all. Unfortunately, the donor class loves to invest in them; they give great photo-op parties, from what I understand.

My face-to-face time w/ my students is short enough…. Standardized testing disrupts that even more. Not only do students miss so many classes to take tests; I will be pulled 4 of the next 10 days to administer tests. (A colleague is being pulled all 10 days). There have been other consequences of testing as well. Because of the emphasis on testing, teachers don’t have time to teach critical areas such as grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Where we used to teach novels and go into depth with analysis has become snippets because preparing for tests trumps all.

This is what accountability looks like! If we want to fix “school climate” we better quickly come to an understanding that the current climate is the result of 35 years of accountability. More funding to the current system just means more system. In other words, You can’t dig yourself out of a hole.

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#BustEDPencils Live! https://bustedpencils.com/2019/06/bustedpencils-live/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/06/bustedpencils-live/#respond Thu, 06 Jun 2019 12:42:07 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4639 #BustEDPencils Live!Tuesday June 11 at 7 pm.Talk 92.7 MadisonReal teachers in studio. Imagine that!

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#BustEDPencils Live!
Tuesday June 11 at 7 pm.
Talk 92.7 Madison
Real teachers in studio. Imagine that!

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The “X”odus Files: Toxic Stress and Accountability. https://bustedpencils.com/2019/06/the-xodus-files-toxic-stress-and-accountability/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/06/the-xodus-files-toxic-stress-and-accountability/#respond Mon, 03 Jun 2019 19:11:18 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4629 Last night I posted this on my personal Facebook page. How many of our colleagues need to take medication, pursue counseling, have their own families disrupted, and then finally quit teaching before we can say, “accountability is the poison?” Slekar Facebook The reason for posting this came as I was combing over my survey results... Read more »

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Last night I posted this on my personal Facebook page.

How many of our colleagues need to take medication, pursue counseling, have their own families disrupted, and then finally quit teaching before we can say, “accountability is the poison?”

Slekar Facebook

The reason for posting this came as I was combing over my survey results regarding the teacher “X”odus. The shear volume of respondents that openly shared their experience with workplace induced anxiety leading to mental health counseling and medication was striking. In addition, there were multiple stories of family disruptions—some even resulting separation and divorce.

This in turn led me to do some research to see if there was national data to support my small set of findings. At a later date I will go over that data but for now I want to take a sharp turn. During the research for national data I was deluged with blog posts and articles that verified teacher stress, medication, depression, and counseling were all “common place.”

However, the tone of almost every post was “how to deal with it.” Nothing about naming “it” and no mention of any need for a total dismantling of the accountability ethos that has driven our colleagues to the brink and set in motion a mental health crisis within our profession.

And so here we are again and the message is clear.

You teachers need to toughen up, get help, do yoga, explore mindfulness, call help lines, create support groups, seek counseling, and get on medication. Because the system—accountability—is fine and going nowhere. You all are the problem!

In other words, the toxic culture of blame and shame is just fine. The mental health issues faced by educators are simply indicators of a lack of fortitude and grit.

Where have we heard this deficit narrative before?

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The “X”odus Files: Accountability is the Problem. https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-accountability-is-the-problem/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-accountability-is-the-problem/#respond Tue, 28 May 2019 02:41:08 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4618 It’s time to stop trying to rescue “accountability.” It’s a horrendous word and its application only results in blame based authoritarianism. I have seen the attempts to “reclaim” accountability and I have taken my fair share of criticism for my critique of accountability. But why reclaim something that has nothing to do with empowering the... Read more »

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It’s time to stop trying to rescue “accountability.” It’s a horrendous word and its application only results in blame based authoritarianism.

I have seen the attempts to “reclaim” accountability and I have taken my fair share of criticism for my critique of accountability. But why reclaim something that has nothing to do with empowering the human spirit? And why use language to appease? We gain nothing by reclaiming a toxic narrative and appeasing critics.

Accountability is forced compliance. It’s an out of date factory term and actually defines the moment we are all living quite well.

Teachers and public schools are shitty and can’t be trusted so forced compliance—accountability—will bring the system back in line.

The harsh reality is that forced compliance through accountability creates a system that forces teachers and public schools to be shitty. Accountability is the overseer in this upside down world where teachers are forced to enact harmful pedagogies that maintains our current socio-economic and political reality.

This has never been about test scores and failing schools and shitty teachers. No. The last 35 years of accountability has always been about maintaining a reality that serves the few in power. Total control of the public education system is the best way to make sure that the vast majority of the population learn to comply.

If we want change then the language we use matters. Accountability always means forced compliance. Those of us in the vocation of education cannot exist in this world. We must be responsible!

What’s the difference? According to Seth Godin,

Accountability is done to you. It’s done by the industrial system, by those that want to create blame.

Responsibility is done by you. It’s voluntary. You can take as much of it as you want.

https://seths.blog/2019/05/accountability-vs-responsibility/

Anybody sick of having stuff “done to you?”

Our world needs teachers who can take on the awesome responsibility of engaging our students in an education that digs into the complexities and difficulties we all face. Climate change, racism, poverty, sexism, food insecurity, violence are purposely not on the script of compliance. And accountability will never give up compliance.

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The “X”odus Files: Shortage Denial Syndrome. https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-shortage-denial-syndrome/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-shortage-denial-syndrome/#respond Wed, 22 May 2019 20:00:56 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4604 A few weeks ago Peter Greene posted a blog about the fact that there is NO TEACHER SHORTAGE. He even mentioned me as one of the shortage deniers. I sent his post to a host of people—teachers, politicians, government agencies, and anybody else that needed a reminder. I then went on with my day delusionally... Read more »

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A few weeks ago Peter Greene posted a blog about the fact that there is NO TEACHER SHORTAGE. He even mentioned me as one of the shortage deniers. I sent his post to a host of people—teachers, politicians, government agencies, and anybody else that needed a reminder. I then went on with my day delusionally convinced that I had done my part and that the reality of the teacher “X”odus would supplant the teacher shortage narrative. If only!

Instead of a mass awakening and a torrent of thank you emails I received one email from a friend in a government agency suggesting that I was possibly causing harm by insisting that the teacher shortage narrative was bunk.

According to my friend, I was “conflating the reason for the shortage with whether or not there is a shortage.” And that a state legislator was now using my teacher shortage denial syndrome as a way to disparage a proposed student loan forgiveness program for future teachers—since there was no teacher shortage.

I would love to believe that any legislator would actually cite me as a teacher shortage expert and that my denial syndrome was being used to thwart a great idea. Because if this was the case then it was a perfect opportunity to confirm the false shortage narrative and drive home the “X”odus facts such as the ones laid out in Brevard, Florida where 625 demoralized teachers have left the profession. According to teacher Kara Mathews, teachers…

are sick of … overcrowded classrooms, hulking workloads, unruly students, disrespectful parents and demanding administrators, these erstwhile educators — men and women, young and old — quit their jobs for other careers…. They paint a picture of a broken system, driven by test scores, where discipline is ignored and teachers are pitted against parents and politicians. 

Why not hit the legislator over the head with the reality of the “X”odus so he doesn’t simply look at this as some ECON 101 labor issue? Drive home the fact that the system—punitive accountability—that this legislator and other politicians have imposed on teachers and public schools is killing the profession.

Show him the classrooms of special needs students being lead by “emergency” licensed (no license) teachers. Take the legislator to colleges and universities and visit teacher preparation classrooms with 5-7 students. Show him the data on the the amount of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs being prescribed to teachers. Make him admit that this isn’t a damn shortage but a carefully planned and executed war on teachers that is causing great harm to the children in our public schools.

Look I have no problem with using band-aids to help slow the bleeding. But let’s be real. This is not a “flesh wound.” This is a severed artery. In other words, this is NOT a shortage. This is an “X”odus!

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The “X”odus Files: Richard. https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-richard/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-richard/#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 12:28:51 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4565 Frustration. Irritation. Anger. Despondency. This is the range of emotions I go through every time I read about some new "study" or "task force" purporting to take on the "teacher shortage."

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Trust No One

Frustration. Irritation. Anger. Despondency. These are the emotions I go through every time I read about some new “study” or “task force” purporting to take on the “teacher shortage.”

Study: Study what? Isn’t the data conclusive? New teachers are leaving classrooms within the first 3 years. More veteran teachers are leaving pre-retirement. And enrollment in teacher education programs is down 30%. Study done!

Task Force: Who makes up the “Task force?” Teachers? No. Parents? No. Then who? Academics, administrators, business people and politicians? Bingo! Why this composition? So the “panel” can travel around and “listen.” I’m sure we have all been “invited” to give testimony at some listening session or even better—asked to submit our thoughts. Do the organizers and people sitting on these panels know the disdain that teachers feel when a “task force” excludes the experts—teachers?

Or maybe the reality of the “study” and “task force” approach is just another slap in the face to the teachers leaving our classrooms. Think about it. Neither one of these approaches will actually do anything to dismantle the structure of imposed accountability. The real purpose of the “study” and task force” approach is a simple public relations gimmick that is directed at the general public to give the appearance that something is being done. That’s it. They make headlines as press release journalism. And these simple headlines lull the public back into a state of satisfactory disinterestedness.

Why not include teachers like Richard who went into teaching because…

After talking to an education professor about my desire to do more than write lesson plans, but to inspire learners and learning, he told me that’s exactly what the profession is all about. I wanted to work with explorers, thinkers, researchers and help them become even better at all of this. At first, this is what I did—engage learners.

In fact my classroom used to be a community of learners. We supported each other and didn’t label each other. However, things changed at some point. Instead of teaching learners, I had to teach data points. Then we started focusing on all of the deficits a learner brought to the classroom instead of allowing students to learn for understanding. As teachers we were constantly meeting to look at data and using that numerical data to supposedly create the best learning experience. I also noticed myself getting angry at kids who didn’t fit the mold because I felt that they would bring my teaching evaluations down. I fought these data points but we were constantly told that it wasn’t going to change. This was not another fad but was “here to stay.” But my biggest ah ha was when a frightened student—heading into the foster care system—came into my classroom on the first day of testing. While our classroom welcomed him with open arms, another teacher took me aside to see if he was taking the tests. And if so, would his score impact our school’s score? I couldn’t believe what we had become.

From that moment I realized that I was being asked to do things that did not benefit kids. I was expected to label them according to some assessment that collected data points. I was expected to teach kids how to read fast instead of for understanding. I was expected to spend all of my professional learning time looking at data instead of actual student work and then using that data to assess some more. I wasn’t allowed to teach and students weren’t allowed to learn. I tried to actually teach covertly while playing the data driven/accountability game. It became tiring and I realized the loss of part of my soul. This was not how I had started teaching.

I eventually made the decision to leave teaching—I was no longer inspired. I was doing double the work because I was attempting to still do best practice and fulfilling the mandates all while still swimming upstream. I was angry and depressed. My own children and spouse were suffering too.

One day I would LOVE to get back in the classroom. However this will only happen when teachers are allowed to teach and their expertise is valued and not ignored. I would go back when corporate entities and the likes of Bill Gates got out of education policy and communities were given back their schools. I would go back when teachers are allowed to be the experts and scholars. When their professional time is spent on understanding best practice verses standards and data points. Let me teach for learning—not for data points!

Richard has never been asked to be on a “task force” or participate in a “study.” I wonder why?

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The “X”odus Files: Andrea https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-andrea/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/05/the-xodus-files-andrea/#respond Thu, 02 May 2019 20:19:36 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4558 So don’t say “We have a teacher shortage.” Say “we can’t convince qualified people to take this job”: or “we won’t try to make these jobs attractive enough to draw in qualified people.” Stop pretending this is some act of God; even the dust bowl turned out to be the result of bad human choices... Read more »

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the truth is out there

So don’t say “We have a teacher shortage.” Say “we can’t convince qualified people to take this job”: or “we won’t try to make these jobs attractive enough to draw in qualified people.” Stop pretending this is some act of God; even the dust bowl turned out to be the result of bad human choices and not nature’s crankiness. Peter Greene

Hi. My name is Andrea and I went into teaching very idealistically. I loved working with children. I loved helping them learn. I loved the challenge of teaching them to read an write. I loved getting to know families from around the world and felt called upon to become their advocate in a new country and culture. I’m an EL teacher and have been for almost 30 years.

Teaching has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. Data collection and moving kids “achievement” numbers has become the definition of the purpose of teaching. When I started teaching we had curriculum GUIDELINES but now we have absolute standards that ALL children must attain by a certain point in time REGARDLESS of their developmental readiness or other factors such as trauma or systemic racism. How can children learn when their basic human needs are not met?

Another thing that has changed is tying student test scores to teacher evaluation. This has placed a level of stress on kids and teachers that has compromised the development of caring and nurturing relationships. And the constantly changing curriculum at lightning speed to try to make sure there is “rigor” within the “high standards” has created kids who are anxious and uncertain and losing faith in their own abilities.

Let me also say that I am now required to test all students regardless of their English proficiency or time in the country. I’m told that I need to push in and co-teach with classroom teachers regardless of teachers’ willingness or students’ ability to benefit. Why? Students who are new to English need time to acclimate. Being expected to keep pace in a regular classroom setting is hard on them. They benefit from pull-out because the environment is smaller, generally quieter, the pace is slower, less stressful and they get more opportunities to talk without feeling embarrassed or nervous. There are more resources in MY specialized classroom to use than I can carry with me like a pack mule to help kids learn. Pacing schedules are rough when too much content is stuffed into too short a period of time. And there is never enough time to reteach what students may not understand without falling behind. How can any of this be good for children?

I find myself thinking “how much longer can I do this” on a regular basis. I had a superintendent who developed a teacher evaluation system tying teachers to student achievement. The evaluation system kept changing every single year in response to our local union’s questions and complaints about its flaws and unfairness. Then our state passed legislation that required a teacher evaluation system linked directly to students’ test scores. Then the legislature passed a bill that also changed job protection from straight seniority to a complex mixture that started with teacher evaluation ratings. As an EL teacher who had kids who couldn’t “achieve” at the same level as native English speakers, I worried every year if I’d lose my job. I wasn’t close enough to retirement and I was the head of my household, paying bills and carrying insurance with a son who had serious medical and mental issues. I developed chronic back and nerve pain and tried all kinds of treatments. Eventually I ended up on medication to help cope both physically and emotionally. I’m still on it today.

It is imperative that we put teachers back in charge of teaching and learning before the profession is destroyed. We need to redefine what it means to be educated. We need to teach kids in the context of the world around them. Teachers have to empower our students to become critical and learn to build a more just and peaceful world. Children are not cogs for the wheels of corporate greed masters.

Add your voice. Take the Teacher Exodus Survey. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfF8UhHXWdOFLfPpW6SpafsrIzYoFAKx2rxaphX65PhR5bOvQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

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The “X”odus Files https://bustedpencils.com/2019/04/the-xodus-files/ https://bustedpencils.com/2019/04/the-xodus-files/#respond Fri, 26 Apr 2019 18:29:44 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4544 It’s time for the teacher shortage myth to be exposed. In the coming weeks you will hear directly from real teachers about the conditions in our nations’ schools and the ridiculous policies that are responsible for a mass exodus—not shortage—of passionate professionals from their classrooms. Since the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983,... Read more »

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It’s time for the teacher shortage myth to be exposed. In the coming weeks you will hear directly from real teachers about the conditions in our nations’ schools and the ridiculous policies that are responsible for a mass exodus—not shortage—of passionate professionals from their classrooms.

Since the release of A Nation at Risk in 1983, public schools and their teachers have been under assault from a political and financial elite connected to both Democrats and Republicans. Although A Nation at Risk was thoroughly debunked, the failing schools narrative and the corresponding “achievement gap” have driven education policy in a simple minded direction—high stakes, test based “accountability.”

Accountability—loved by Democrats and Republicans—has almost become a religious movement. In fact the idea of even questioning the usefulness of test based accountability can cause enraged panic in accountability zealots. “How will we know what children are falling behind?” “How will we close the achievement gap if we don’t measure it?” “How will we fire bad teachers without the data?” “How will we know what schools to close?” “What will happen to my lucrative consulting gig with test company X?”

Time for the hard truth. Test based accountability has done one thing well. Over the past 35 years, we have beyond any doubt, measured and confirmed the achievement gap. That’s it! Nothing else.

However, test based accountability has destroyed the profession of teaching and caused a mass demoralization and “X” odus from public school classrooms. Oh and let’s not forget about the thousands of hours of lost instruction time in the sciences, social studies, arts, music, and anything else that doesn’t conform to basic literacy and numeracy skills.

It really is an insanity driven by the hatred of public schools and the greed of powerful individuals to use the false narrative of failing schools and shitty teachers to drain schools of public tax dollars. Nothing! Nothing done over the last 35 years in the name of accountability has done anything positive for the children stuck at the bottom of the achievement gap. The problem was never failing schools and shitty teachers. The problem has always been poverty born out of systemic racism. And the more than $1 Trillion dollars spent just since No Child Left Behind has all gone to feed test based accountability.

Who designed such a pernicious system? Not teachers! So are we surprised when Susan says:

“I went into teaching because I am fascinated by the process of teaching and learning and want to spend my time deepening my learning and getting better at my practice. Plus, spending my days with kids is awesome and much better than spending them with grownups! Teaching is interesting and fun!”

“Lately however, more and more micromanaging of my paid professional time has been sucked away under the guise of “professional development” or “PLCs” or “coaching.” This makes it harder and harder to get better at my job because I’m not in charge of my own time and my own learning and practice. It is deeply frustrating and demoralizing to be constantly treated like I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“I am constantly forced to do things that have no benefit for the kids I am teaching. Testing, for one. In grades 3-5 kids have to take SBAC and our district now makes them take IABs, which are SBAC-like tests spread throughout the year, supposedly to give them more “practice” and to gather more “data to inform our instruction.” It’s a waste of teaching and learning time and flat out child abuse!”

“It really makes you think about leaving the profession all the time. I am still teaching because I’m a fighter and don’t give up easily, but it is incredibly difficult to keep teaching year after year in such a hostile environment.”

“If I’m going to stay there must be an end to high stakes testing and the false narrative that test scores prove that a school or a teacher is “failing” or “effective.” Also, an end to the patronizing approach to professional development that others know more about I what I need to become a better teacher. It would make a huge difference to be treated like a professional, rather than a child. “

If you are interested in adding to the “X”odus Files please click on the link below to take the survey. Anonymity is promised. Thank You!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfF8UhHXWdOFLfPpW6SpafsrIzYoFAKx2rxaphX65PhR5bOvQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

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The Woeful state of Teaching in Wisconsin https://bustedpencils.com/2018/08/the-woeful-state-of-teaching-in-wisconsin/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/08/the-woeful-state-of-teaching-in-wisconsin/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 02:39:24 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4411   Below is a rant I posted on Facebook the other night after learning that all of the effort put forth by my faculty to reimagine a social justice school of education and design a teacher education curriculum rooted in justice and equity would be usurped by a bureaucratic bumbling of the teacher “shortage” that... Read more »

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Below is a rant I posted on Facebook the other night after learning that all of the effort put forth by my faculty to reimagine a social justice school of education and design a teacher education curriculum rooted in justice and equity would be usurped by a bureaucratic bumbling of the teacher “shortage” that will require college and university teacher education to resubmit new programs under “rules” that totally disregard the state of teacher demoralization.

It’s not a damned teacher shortage!

Call it what it really is. A desperate fleeing from a hostile work environment created by ed reformers (Dems and Repubs). And now we in Teacher ed are charged with implementing changes to our curriculum that have nothing to do with the exodus and at the same time compete with “entities” as they send less than teachers into the empty classrooms of our veteran teachers.

It’s only a shortage if this is the intended outcome. (125 Likes, 31 comments, 67 shares)

The number of newly-licensed teachers in Wisconsin is not keeping pace with the rate of teacher turnover; in other words, educators are leaving teaching at a rate faster than we can replace them.

Depending on political team loyalty or just not having the time to dig deeply into this issue, Wisconsin either has a teacher “shortage” or a teacher “retention” issue.

Wisconsin already has a legislature antagonistic to teachers and public education and a less than educated governor.   And—the Department of Public Instruction—tasked with safeguarding the quality of teachers and schools and learning of Wisconsin’s students continues to view college and university teacher education programs as barriers to resolving the teacher “shortage”.  True, enrollment in teacher education programs has declined in the past five years more than 35%.  Key here, however is that rather than bolstering existing approved educator preparation programs in terms of quality, capacity-building, and support to prepare new teachers for today’s classrooms, DPI has decided to overhaul the bureaucratic educator preparation program approval process to pave the way for new and more entrants, many of whom may not be affiliated with institutions of higher education at all.

If DPI and Wisconsin’s political leaders were to truly address the challenge of public education head on, they would be focused on developing incentives to improve the conditions in which teachers and students work and learn; they would be focused on improving the quality of existing teacher preparation programs rather than yoking the survival of such programs to a competitive marketplace wherein institutions of higher education—many of whom have maintained a longstanding relationships with DPI, schools, and classrooms throughout Wisconsin—compete with private providers to prepare teachers. 

As a Dean of a school of education in Wisconsin for the last five years I have watched both politicians and DPI leaders do absolutely nothing except put forth draconian policies that speed up the process to certification or use pitiful rhetoric to “address” the issue and then put forth policy that puts “teachers” trained by “entities” offering teachers’ licenses through Black Friday sales or others that don’t even exist yet in front of public school children.

Without focused efforts to address the conditions in which teachers and students work and learn, the exodus of teachers from classrooms and the plummeting enrollments in teacher preparation are destined to continue at a rate that will eventually kill the teaching profession and leave our children in the hands of simple 1 – 3 year technicians.

And that is why Wisconsin is bleeding teachers from our classrooms and parents recoil when their sons and daughters speak of becoming a teacher.  So no matter what political team you play for, it’s time to understand that an orchestrated dismantling of the teaching profession is taking place and the children of Wisconsin—not political teams—are going to be the biggest losers.

We—the educators of Wisconsin—are demoralized!

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If You’re a Democrat do you REALLY know the definition of a #charterschool? https://bustedpencils.com/2018/07/if-youre-a-democrat-do-you-really-know-the-definition-of-a-charterschool/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/07/if-youre-a-democrat-do-you-really-know-the-definition-of-a-charterschool/#respond Mon, 23 Jul 2018 14:01:12 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4395 Urban Milwaukee on Charters Wisconsin State Journal on Charters. Listen to the Reality Check!   The Network for Public Education’s Executive Director—Carol Burris—defines charter schools!

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Urban Milwaukee on Charters

Wisconsin State Journal on Charters.

Listen to the Reality Check!

 

The Network for Public Education’s Executive Director—Carol Burris—defines charter schools!

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Are “all” charter schools public schools? https://bustedpencils.com/2018/07/are-all-charter-schools-public-schools/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/07/are-all-charter-schools-public-schools/#respond Sun, 08 Jul 2018 22:42:24 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4382 Wisconsin State Journal calls “all” charter schools public despite the fact that the latest charter school grant received by WI is for “independent charter schools” that don’t answer to a locally elected school board.   These same charter schools create a funding dilemma for neighborhood schools by authorizing a “backpack full of cash” funding stream... Read more »

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Wisconsin State Journal calls “all” charter schools public despite the fact that the latest charter school grant received by WI is for “independent charter schools” that don’t answer to a locally elected school board.
 
These same charter schools create a funding dilemma for neighborhood schools by authorizing a “backpack full of cash” funding stream out of local neighborhood public schools. 
And according to the Network For Public Education,
 
“by definition, a charter school is not a public school. Charter schools are formed when a private organization contracts with a government authorizer to open and run a school. Charters are managed by private boards, often with no connection to the community they serve. The boards of many leading charter chains are populated by billionaires who often live far away from the schools they govern.”
 
The WSJ’s motivation for misleading the public on this issue is suspect and its conflation with “district charters” and “independent charters” is obviously a calculated misdirect to take the heat off of a valid issue that needs clarity and not biased propaganda.
 
Teachers in real public schools know and feel the difference. Just ask them. We might be surprised to hear the truth about public education from those that work with our neighborhood schools on a daily basis—the experts.
 
And, after we talk to teachers, maybe, just maybe, we might stop relying on “edu” journalists that are either acting on explicit bias or just not simply informed on the issues at the heart of public education.

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A New Teacher Preparation “Entity” in Wisconsin? https://bustedpencils.com/2018/06/a-new-teacher-preparation-entity-in-wisconsin/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/06/a-new-teacher-preparation-entity-in-wisconsin/#respond Sat, 02 Jun 2018 19:56:46 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4351 Just a reminder. PI 34.006 Definitions. In this subchapter: “Institution” means one or more accredited colleges or universities offering an educator preparation program. “Student” means an individual enrolled in an educator preparation program. “Entity” means one of the following or a consortium of the following: (a) CESA. (b) Community-based organization. (c) Institution. (d) Non-profit organization.... Read more »

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Just a reminder.

PI 34.006 Definitions. In this subchapter: “Institution” means one or more accredited colleges or universities offering an educator preparation program. “Student” means an individual enrolled in an educator preparation program.

“Entity” means one of the following or a consortium of the following:

(a) CESA.

(b) Community-based organization.

(c) Institution.

(d) Non-profit organization.

(e) Private enterprise.

(f) School.

(g) School district.

PI 34.007 Program approval. ELIGIBILITY. An entity may apply under sub. (2) for the state superintendent’s approval of its educator preparation program if all of the following applies: The entity’s educator preparation program is headquartered and physically located in the state of Wisconsin. If the entity does not have its principal campus in the state of Wisconsin, the entity is approved by department of safety and professional services under s. 440.52, Stats.

 

And how about this for legitimacy?  They are CAEP accredited.  Doesn’t say such for CAEP as a stamp of approval.

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How to Really Appreciate Teachers. Guest post by Tanya Lohr. https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/how-to-really-appreciate-teachers-guest-post-by-tanya-lohr/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/how-to-really-appreciate-teachers-guest-post-by-tanya-lohr/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 13:50:11 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4333 I have found that it is very easy for administrators, candidates for public office, and elected officials to say “I appreciate teachers”, but when it comes to backing up those words with actions, it is rare for true appreciation to come through. It’s as if saying “I appreciate teachers” has become a socially contrived sound... Read more »

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I have found that it is very easy for administrators, candidates for public office, and elected officials to say “I appreciate teachers”, but when it comes to backing up those words with actions, it is rare for true appreciation to come through. It’s as if saying “I appreciate teachers” has become a socially contrived sound bite rather than an actual statement of intended action. So I would like to offer up this list of actions that can be taken to truly show appreciation for our teachers and the important work they do each day. 

1. School Boards, Representatives, and Senators can stop relying solely on the input of administrators when making decisions and instead seek the additional input of teachers before making major decisions about the education of our children. And this does NOT mean seeking the input of teachers who are put forward by administration. Let teachers put forward those they feel will best represent their collective voices.

2. Take actions that back up your statements about teachers being the experts. That includes hiring social workers, paraprofessionals, and interventionists to work with kids rather than continuing to add district administrators, learning coaches, and curriculum coordinators, to look over our work. The problem isn’t that we don’t know how to teach math. The problem is that until the physical and emotional needs of our students and their classmates are met, we can’t teach math to the best of their abilities. We don’t need more adults in our lives – our students need more adults in theirs.

3. Don’t say you support teachers and then take votes that say the opposite. Voting to increase our workload, decrease our pay, devalue our licensing, and take funding away from our public schools are not actions one takes if you support teachers.

Your actions speak louder than your words.

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Educators Amplified! https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/educators-amplified-2/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/05/educators-amplified-2/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 17:50:18 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4329 The post Educators Amplified! appeared first on BustED Pencils.

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Fired from KIPP in Texas to Teacher of the Year in Arizona: Guest post by Jessica Marks https://bustedpencils.com/2018/04/fired-from-kipp-in-texas-to-teacher-of-the-year-in-arizona-guest-post-by-jessica-marks/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/04/fired-from-kipp-in-texas-to-teacher-of-the-year-in-arizona-guest-post-by-jessica-marks/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:39:00 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4309 On Friday, April 27, I will be giving a speech to a ballroom crowded with 300 people, explaining what it meant to have spent the last year as 2017’s Yavapai County Overall Teacher of the Year. It’s been quite an honor. A flag was waved over the nation’s Capitol in my honor. A declaration about... Read more »

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On Friday, April 27, I will be giving a speech to a ballroom crowded with 300 people, explaining what it meant to have spent the last year as 2017’s Yavapai County Overall Teacher of the Year.

It’s been quite an honor. A flag was waved over the nation’s Capitol in my honor. A declaration about my contribution to education was read on the floor of Congress. I was showered with free vacations, free tuition, and thousands of dollars in prize money. People recognize me at the grocery store.

And only about four years ago, I was fired from a teaching job. My principal then told me that, on a scale between one and four, I was a 1.5.

I wonder if he realizes his great loss.

I wonder, what do you put in a speech that will be published in the paper the next day, read by everyone in your small town, and put under a microscope by everyone who wants to squash the Arizona walk-out movement?

I have a lot to say and, for the first time, I’m in a place in my life where I am not afraid to say it out loud and sign my name to every hurtful word.

I wonder where I should begin?

I could talk about how far I’ve come. I mean, after I was fired, I wanted to give up teaching altogether and water plants at Home Depot . . . but Home Depot wouldn’t hire me. I was too broken. Too worn out, exhausted after months of 16 – 20 hour days at KIPP Austin: Academy of Arts & Letters. I’d suffered relentlessly, both at the hands of the students and at the hands of the administration. The kids stole from me, destroyed my things, and threatened me. The administration had pointed video cameras at me all day long to document and criticize everything from my handwriting on the board to my clothing. I was trying to teach messages about endurance and foster a love of learning in students that hated school and couldn’t read or write in English. I failed miserably. KIPP discarded me.

I came home to Arizona after being fired at the pleading of my family and my left-behind boyfriend. I felt lucky that anyone would want me at all, me being so tarnished and useless. My friend told me to apply at a local middle school because “they would hire anyone.” They hired me.

I gave every bit of my heart and energy and determination to those students. Now, just a few years later, I’m recognized as one of the best educators in the entire state.

That seems a little downer-y though. Don’t you think?

I could use my few minutes on the stage as a platform to speak up for the deplorable conditions of Arizona’s education system. My textbooks are 25 years old. I don’t have one desk that is not mutilated or broken. Every Post-It, pen, or pencil that I use in the classroom has been provided by myself or the generosity of my students’ families. At the beginning of the year, my classes were packed with 36 – 40 students in each one.

I have had two students try to kill themselves this year. Two of my students have moms who were murdered. I have students living in their cars and motels. My students have withdrawn from school so they can go to prison. We don’t have a social worker on campus. We DO have a school psychologist (though she is TERRIBLY overwhelmed, diagnosing learning disabilities all day and writing IEPs) and three school counselors – but their job is to make sure every student can graduate on time – not give private therapy about traumatic events. But we are having success! I build lessons and create learning with no budget and no help! My students trust me, even though I was a failure before. We rise.

But maybe this speech is not the time to bring everyone down. Maybe I should talk about something else.

I could stand on the podium and yell STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE! But we live in a right-to-work state and people are mad enough that teachers are willing to “abandon” their kids because we’re greedy. This is a conservative town, anyway. I should probably steer away from anything political at all.

Oh! I could thank them for the award! I could be so gracious. I could tell them that I was having the worst year of my life when they bestowed this honor on me. It’s true. I had left my fiancé a few months before and I didn’t have any money. I had to move into my parents’ home . . . at age 40. I got a second job at the golf course. I have a master’s degree, almost a decade’s worth of teaching experience, and I make about $600 a week for nine months out of the year being an English teacher. I make $500 a weekend serving beer.

So, with the golf job and the living-the-parents thing and the Teacher of the Year prize money, I think I might have enough money for a down payment on my own house for the first time in my life! That would be an awesome thing to say!

Or, it could be misinterpreted as being whiny.

All I want to convey is that I am feeling triumphant. How can I explain that four years ago, I was working so hard at doing the best I could for underprivileged kids, and my best was not good enough? How can I explain that I was not mentored – I was cast off like trash – and just a few years later, I was raised up as a community treasure? I didn’t give up, but how many other teachers have? It’s wrong.

When we teach, we help students. When we really connect and invest and help a kid, we change that kid for life. However, when we help teachers, we change hundreds and thousands of lives and you are helping that teacher change communities for GENERATIONS. Teachers are underfunded, undervalued, overworked, and overwhelmed, but there is no better job anywhere. I’m working just as hard today for my students in Prescott Valley, Arizona, as I did for the ones in Austin, Texas, and I’ll keep working for them as long as I can, whether I’m walking out of the classroom or standing in front of it.

I hope I can figure out something to say. This speech isn’t going to write itself.

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Teacher Exodus, Plummeting Enrollments and Teacher License Deregulation: I don’t feel fine. https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/teacher-exodus-plummeting-enrollments-and-teacher-license-deregulation-i-dont-feel-fine/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/teacher-exodus-plummeting-enrollments-and-teacher-license-deregulation-i-dont-feel-fine/#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2018 22:16:16 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4283 In my last blog post I took to task Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction and its leadership for pushing forward teacher license deregulation and “entity” driven teacher education.  Some have commented that should refrain from critiques of  DPI and its leadership and that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans have done the most damage to... Read more »

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In my last blog post I took to task Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction and its leadership for pushing forward teacher license deregulation and “entity” driven teacher education.  Some have commented that should refrain from critiques of  DPI and its leadership and that Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans have done the most damage to public education.

I agree when it comes to laying the blame on Walker and the Republicans for the demise of our public schools and the demonization of our teachers.  Act 10 was a disaster and according to the teacher’s I spend time with has made their job demoralizing.

However, I am not talking about the general state of public education in Wisconsin.  I am specifically critiquing rhetoric and policy that deals with teacher education and a path being followed by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) that only exacerbates the damage set in motion by Walker, the Republicans, and Act 10.

In Wisconsin we have a “teacher shortage” in some areas (rural, special education, tech ed).  However the crisis in Wisconsin is not this “shortage.”  The crisis is the number of teachers leaving the classroom, the number of licensed teachers who won’t go back to classrooms and the plummeting enrollment in teacher preparation programs—Exodus!

As a dean of a school of education I have watched our undergraduate enrollments take a nose dive (55%) in the last 3 years.  I meet with prospective students and parents who actively encourage their sons and daughters to avoid becoming a teacher.  I know teachers that actively advise their students to avoid teaching.  And I have talked to high school students who tell me they’ll never go into teaching.  When I ask why, I get this response, “I’ve seen what my teachers go through.  They’re not allowed to teach.  So many of them are miserable. No thank you.”

Shortage areas are one thing but mass demoralization that kills the desire to seek out teaching and/or quit teaching altogether is something totally different.  Here, listen to Doris Santoro (leading researcher and expert on teacher demoralization).  And this is where there is a distinction.  The fix—teacher license deregulation and privatization—will do nothing to stop the exodus, plummeting enrollments and mass demoralization brought on by years of “teacher accountability policy.”  In fact, Wisconsin’s new rules for teacher licensure will create a bigger exodus, exacerbate enrollment plunges in teacher education, and further demoralize the teachers that are barely hanging on.

Alternative pathways and license deregulation using “entities” to certify future teachers is a slap in the face to every teacher that went through a rigorous licensing program to obtain a professional certification to teach Wisconsin’s children.  Its also incredibly insulting and demoralizing to the thousands of teacher educators that have spent their professional lives in the service of future teachers and their public schools. These professionals have produced the research that delves into finding out how to best serve the children, schools and communities of Wisconsin.  None of this research supports or calls for the Department of Public Instruction’s “disruption” of the teacher licensing process.  In fact, if DPI were really serious about the “teacher shortage” they would define the real problem and then implement emergency steps to reclaim the noble profession of teaching.  If this happened I know quite a few teachers and teacher educators that would give even more than they give daily.  We are crying for a re-moralization plan,

As Doris Santoro put it,

That’s a big piece of re-moralization –- involving educators in initiatives to find solutions. Whenever teachers are brought in to investigate and develop interventions, you’re creating opportunities for authentic community … 

 

 

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Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction makes teacher “licensing process more understandable” https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/wisconsin-department-of-public-instruction-makes-teacher-licensing-process-more-understandable/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/wisconsin-department-of-public-instruction-makes-teacher-licensing-process-more-understandable/#respond Sat, 24 Mar 2018 16:25:02 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4263 Or… Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction releases blueprint for the dismantling and demoralization of the teaching profession. “How can anyone make such a claim?” It’s easy.  In response to the “teacher shortage” narrative the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction put forth rules that favor “alternative” and “fast track” pipelines into the classrooms of Wisconsin public... Read more »

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Or…

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction releases blueprint for the dismantling and demoralization of the teaching profession.

“How can anyone make such a claim?”

It’s easy.  In response to the “teacher shortage” narrative the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction put forth rules that favor “alternative” and “fast track” pipelines into the classrooms of Wisconsin public schools.

Why would DPI do this when the research is clear that the teacher shortage is cover for the real problem—teacher retention, deprofessionalization, and demoralization?

Because it’s not about research or what’s best for kids.  It’s simply neoliberal business as usual and a “disruption” policy that serves to privatize teacher education.

WI DPI refuses to acknowledge its “leadership group” did more to demoralize teachers when they decided to deregulate and create “license flexibility.”

Where’s the proof?

PI 34.006 Definitions. In this subchapter: “Institution” means one or more accredited colleges or universities offering an educator preparation program. “Student” means an individual enrolled in an educator preparation program.

“Entity” means one of the following or a consortium of the following:

(a) CESA.

(b) Community-based organization.

(c) Institution.

(d) Non-profit organization.

(e) Private enterprise.

(f) School.

(g) School district.

PI 34.007 Program approval. ELIGIBILITY. An entity may apply under sub. (2) for the state superintendent’s approval of its educator preparation program if all of the following applies: The entity’s educator preparation program is headquartered and physically located in the state of Wisconsin. If the entity does not have its principal campus in the state of Wisconsin, the entity is approved by department of safety and professional services under s. 440.52, Stats.

Entity? Really?  In other words teacher education in Wisconsin is now an open market—privatization and deregulation are running full spigot.

https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/policy-budget/pi_34_final_summary.pdf

https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/policy-budget/pi_34_final_draft.pdf

How is it that a “retention emergency plan” escaped DPI leadership? Or is the exodus worth preserving to make sure that “fast track” and “alternative licensing” are the only “pathways” into our classrooms?

Where is the plan to “re-moralize” the profession?  Teachers are ready to “rise today and change this world.”

 

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Educators Amplified Podcasts from March 10, 2018 https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-podcasts-from-march-10-2018/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-podcasts-from-march-10-2018/#respond Mon, 12 Mar 2018 20:15:04 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4252 3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 1 3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 2 3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 3

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3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 1

3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 2

3-10-18 The Earl Ingram Show – Educators Amplified – Hour 3

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Educators Amplified #3 https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-3/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/03/educators-amplified-3/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:35:40 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4238  

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Educators Amplified! https://bustedpencils.com/2018/01/educators-amplified/ https://bustedpencils.com/2018/01/educators-amplified/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:35:08 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4205 The post Educators Amplified! appeared first on BustED Pencils.

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Can an Atheist School Board Member save Christmas? https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/can-atheist-school-board-member-save-christmas/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/can-atheist-school-board-member-save-christmas/#respond Mon, 25 Dec 2017 19:21:52 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4173                   What happens when a “liberal college professor” runs for school board?  What about Christmas? Just listen.

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What happens when a “liberal college professor” runs for school board?  What about Christmas?

Just listen.

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High School Athletics over Academics: The “Mis-Education” of Black Athletes https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/high-school-athletics-academics-miseducation-black-athlete/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/high-school-athletics-academics-miseducation-black-athlete/#respond Thu, 21 Dec 2017 16:22:05 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4159 The sports industrial complex as currently constituted is built on the backs of black athletes and incentivises universities and high schools to emphasize the athletic potential of many children over their academic achievement. Many students are accepted into top tier colleges that typically would be denied entrance, if not for their potential to help win... Read more »

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The sports industrial complex as currently constituted is built on the backs of black athletes and incentivises universities and high schools to emphasize the athletic potential of many children over their academic achievement. Many students are accepted into top tier colleges that typically would be denied entrance, if not for their potential to help win games and earn top dollar for the university. The merging of higher education and capitalism in college sports creates a high school-to-college pipeline, of star athletes, which makes education secondary and compromises the educational system. Teachers, counselors, coaches are all complicit.

High school counselors know the athlete-friendly teachers and courses that offer the least rigor. Teachers know who to keep eligible. School administrations may even pressure teachers to cooperate. As a result, kids are considered for college that would not have a chance at getting in were it not for sports. Once they make it to college, they are either kept eligible by questionable means or they simply do not graduate. Many of those that graduate do not have the knowledge or skills the degree signifies.

Sports vs. the Sports Industry

Growing up, sports was a constant companion in my life. I played basketball as far back as I can remember. I played football from age ten through high school and community college. The importance of athletics in the lives of children is not lost on me. The fun, camaraderie, sportsmanship, collective defeat and triumph and physical training were all good for me and I have seen the positive attributes of youth sports. My own children have all been involved in organized sports as well.

However, the system, the sports superstructure, from my vantage point as a high school teacher, is beyond flawed. There are success stories in which young people are able to use sports to earn an education, maybe play professionally, and go on to do great things and become better people in the process. Many young people have had the chance to broaden their horizons and go where they never thought they would due to playing high school sports. There is another side to the coin, the business of college sports. This is harmful for the educational development of black youth. I say black youth, young men in particular in particular, because they dominate the most visible high school and college sports, football and basketball.

This sports superstructure is a capitalist venture based primarily on the athletic prowess of young black men. It is exploitive and even brutal and callous to some young athletes. The profitability of professional sports is contaminating the educational system that it is linked to. The education of countless talented black youth is one major sacrifice being made at the altar of the almighty dollar.

Black Youth and the Sports Assembly Line

Black youth are bombarded with images of wealthy black sports and entertainment figures to the point that they think those are viable routes out of the neighborhood, out of poverty, to success. Football and basketball are the sports with the lowest graduation rates in college. They happen to be saturated with black talent. Over half of college football and basketball players are black men, yet they only make up about 3% of undergraduate students. African American men are woefully underrepresented in the university as a whole and in specific fields of study, but jam packed into sports programs where many do not even graduate, or are kicked out of the university if they cannot perform athletically. Black athletes are fodder for an industry, that will eventually toss them aside, and few will actually benefit.

The process starts as children. Many black youth with demonstrable talent are put on the sports assembly line before they are out of elementary school. They are told, ‘this is your ticket’. Even before they are aware of the academic requirements, children know they are going to college on a sports scholarship. They associate college life with athletics. The only exposure they have of college is a visible sports program. Once they become older and head to high school, grades are just something they have to get to stay eligible. Education is not valued in its own right, youth are encouraged to get by and stay eligible as opposed to trying their best, earning high marks and taking challenging courses.

We are placing athletic development ahead of educational development. I have seen students that cannot write a paragraph get pushed through classes and kept eligible by maneuvering them through the educational gauntlet. Teachers are asked to give promising athletes advantages that would never be offered to other students. I have witnesses students who lack reading and writing skills, or are not doing well in one class removed and placed in less challenging classes to ensure their eligibility. If a kid cannot read or write, our concern as an institution should be their education, not eligibility or a scholarship. We should be ashamed to graduate students that have grown leaps and bounds athletically, but have not made similar strides academically.

Black students are socially conditioned that sports and entertainment are realms for black people, but the same conditioning does not exist when it comes to intellectual pursuits. Black youth should be encouraged to be scientists and engineers as much as they are encouraged athletically. The schools system apparently agrees that sports is best option for black youth, since they perpetuate the narrative. No one says explicitly that,  “sports are more important than academics”,  but the messages they get is that they are expected to spend more time practicing and preparing for sports than school. As sports are stressed over academics, and money is used for sports programs at the expense of education, while students are failing academically, the college sports industry has become a fetter on education.

Sports to Finance College

The parents, coaches and teachers of these students have very practical reasons for supporting such a system. They want the best for the student and hope to give them a chance to be successful and that starts with financing an education. The fact that child sports is growing exponentially, primarily by parents trying to find a way to finance college is an indictment against the financial accessibility of higher education today.

Parents and students are banking on sports to get them to college instead of their intellect. Many will be woefully unprepared for the academic rigor of college life. Some have been walked through high school with the easiest schedules possible, instructed by teachers who ‘play ball’ with administration to pass the kids on. For the ones who graduate high school and go on to college, this will continue as they are herded into athlete friendly majors and classes to keep them eligible.

It is these black athletes that bring in the money that funds the university as a whole, way beyond the athletic programs. The revenue and prestige that elite college athletes bring to a university in turn puts pressure on high school programs and coaches to win games and get their athletes attention from college scouts.

Conclusion

All this attention and training is provided for these children to progress athletically, in the midst of a permanent achievement gap. There is no secret about the underachievement of black students, there are millions of children who would be better served learning to perform basic math skills, reading and writing at grade level than watching film and lifting weights. The achievement gap between black students and their counterparts has been festering for years. Nothing is being done about it. Little more than half of black boys graduate on time, compared to 80% of whites. If black students were an educational priority, their lack of academic achievement would be considered a national crisis. No one lifts a finger to address how African American students are being underserved academically, but the cogs of the athlete mill keep churning out elite black athletes to bring in revenue for universities that many black athletes will not graduate from.

College sports does not have to be the main gateway to professional football and basketball. There is no reason why the two have to be married. It just so happens that these are the most exciting, revenue producing sports and they are a cash cow to universities. The pairing of sports and education and the business interests it represents at the higher levels compromises the best educational interests of students. Sports like soccer and baseball -that do not generate the amount of university money as the African American dominant, football and basketball- have other routes besides college sports to play professionally. The NCAA is a racket based off the exploitation of black athletes. Too many are essentially robbed of an education as children and carried through school; their talents are used to make tons of money for universities while many will not graduate, only a small percentage will play professional sports, and even less will have the tools for a successful life beyond sports.

The treatment of black students  is indicative of our educational priorities and our general view of black males. The ease with which we dismiss the educational needs of black students and simultaneously exploit their athletic gifts is proof that they are still seen largely as easily exploitable, physically strong and intellectually lacking.

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Teacher Exodus is finally NOT “Fake News” https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/teacher-exodus-is-finally-not-fake-news/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/12/teacher-exodus-is-finally-not-fake-news/#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 20:45:44 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4138   Breaking News from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!  Teachers are leaving the profession.  Seriously!  It’s now true. According to a report released Friday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum,  Wisconsin has a teacher leaving problem that has fueled the so called teacher shortage. Let me start with this quote from Anne Chapman, senior researcher at the forum and... Read more »

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Breaking News from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!  Teachers are leaving the profession.  Seriously!  It’s now true. According to a report released Friday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum,  Wisconsin has a teacher leaving problem that has fueled the so called teacher shortage.

Let me start with this quote from Anne Chapman, senior researcher at the forum and lead author of the “nonpartisan” study cited above.

“If you address the reasons we have these vacancies in the first place, you may alleviate the sense of urgency about getting people into the classrooms.”

Can I call plagiarism? How many #BustEDPencils Blogs have I written over the last 2 1/2 years that stated the problem to the teacher “shortage” was a leaving problem?

Here are some quotes from blog posts over the past few years.

And it get’s better.  According to the study, “the departure of teachers in their 20s, 30s and 40s is growing steadily and accounts for the largest share of teacher turnover, … — a trend that over time could put a greater pressure on teacher demand than that already created by shortages in the teacher pipeline.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate the study’s findings.  However, why does it take a study to verify simple observations of the dismal morale reported by teachers on social media that has led to a mass exodus from public school classrooms?  Is it “real news” now?  Were my posts “fake news?”

OR maybe the better question is: If you scream “teacher exodus” in the woods and nobody hears it, does a study reported in a newspaper about “teacher retention” serve a better purpose than toilet paper while you’re in the woods?

 

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Wisconsin: Fixing the Teacher “shortage” by killing the profession! https://bustedpencils.com/2017/11/wisconsin-fixing-teacher-shortage-killing-profession/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/11/wisconsin-fixing-teacher-shortage-killing-profession/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 15:01:36 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4119 About to be “Frequently asked Questions” concerning “fast track” teacher licensure in the state of Wisconsin. Is there a way to get a teaching license without student teaching? Yes. Is there a way to get a teaching license without taking the edTPA? Yes. Is there a way to avoid that horrible Foundations of Reading Test?... Read more »

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About to be “Frequently asked Questions” concerning “fast track” teacher licensure in the state of Wisconsin.

  1. Is there a way to get a teaching license without student teaching? Yes.
  2. Is there a way to get a teaching license without taking the edTPA? Yes.
  3. Is there a way to avoid that horrible Foundations of Reading Test? Yes.
  4. Can I avoid working with kids, schools, principals, and communities? Yes.
  5. Will my license be the same as an “official” state approved license? Yes.
  6. Will I get a job with a “fast track” license? Depends on the desperation.
  7. Is a “fast track” license good for kids? NO!

 

Senario.

After I complete 4 – 5 years of college, achieve a 3.0 or better, work successfully with children, schools, and communities, student teach, pass the edTPA, but fail the Foundations of Reading Test, DPI will deny my license but grant a license to someone who did NOT do any of those things?

Answer: Yes. The American Board for the Certification of Teaching Excellence does NOT require future teachers meet standards that are most important to successful teaching.

Conclusion.

So who benefits from “fast track” licensure? Politicians!

And what about the “profession?” (Insert your own answer).

Why isn’t the Press informing the public? Listen to the song below.

 

 

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I am a Teacher! For now. by a badass teacher. https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/teacher-now-badass-teacher/ https://bustedpencils.com/2017/10/teacher-now-badass-teacher/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:15:25 +0000 https://bustedpencils.com/?p=4110 “Sorry in advance for the length, but I need to get this out. After 22 years, I don’t know if I have it in me anymore. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching. Everything I am required to do is about preparing my students for... Read more »

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“Sorry in advance for the length, but I need to get this out.

After 22 years, I don’t know if I have it in me anymore. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching. Everything I am required to do is about preparing my students for “the test.” I spend all day, every day, ramming test prep down my students’ throats. Then I do what seems like 8,000 reams of paperwork each week to prove that I’m ramming test prep down my students’ throats.

There is no joy in this for them. I see their blank faces with eyes glazed over. There is no fun or excitement in learning, for they are not really learning.

This past weekend I spent literally every waking hour working, taking breaks only to do laundry and prepare food for my son. I wrote my lesson plans with all of the required “non-negotiables” included and explained. I examined my data to make decisions about what skills might need some reteaching and what skills could be practiced and reinforced in centers. I dutifully created my differentiated centers and made them rigorous (a term that has no business in education).

I printed off copies of things on my own printer, using my own ink and paper, because we only get 1000 copies per month. I laminated, cut, and put things in folders to make sure I was all ready for today. Then, in the middle of my ELA block this morning, my principal walked in to do a walk-through. Apparently, this go round was focused on centers because she asked to see mine as she did for all of my teammates, I later learned.

Well, I figured this one would be easy after everything I did over the weekend. She looked at them, asked me a couple of questions, and left. My observation notification came through after school and I looked. Imagine my surprise when I received a Basic for Danielson Domain 1e: Designing Coherent instruction. My principal’s only comment… “While it’s good to see differentiated centers there needs to be paired texts and writing in your centers.”

Make no mistake, I am open to criticism, especially when criticism is constructive and valid. This, however, is neither constructive nor valid. This is about playing a game. This is about making up a fault that isn’t included in the rubric when you can’t find one that is. This is about making sure that teachers don’t get too many points so we can keep those merit-based raises to a minimum.

This is what education has become. It’s a game, it’s inauthentic, it’s draining. They’re putting out the fire that has blazed inside of me. They’re destroying my soul and my passion. I don’t know what to do now. I am a teacher. I will always be a teacher. I love teaching, but this isn’t teaching.”

And people wonder why we have a teacher shortage.

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