Bad Teachers (Part I)

So, things haven’t been very funny around here lately.

I described this time of year to someone recently, because it’s happened every year that I’ve been here… The legislative session starts. Budget cuts are unveiled. Education changes are proposed. People get upset. People disagree.

We hunker down for a few months, inevitably listen to the worst of people’s opinions of public educators, turn the other cheek, and wait out the storm.

I am afraid this year that our storm may be a hurricane

Unless you make a pointed effort to bar yourself from all current events, you know that the national climate on education is a bit heated right now. In Idaho, we are not in Wisconsin’s boat, yet.

However, our state superintendent of schools proposed a sweeping school reform plan in January. It is… intriguing, that when he was re-elected in November, there was no mention of any plan, grandiose or otherwise. I’ve mentioned how I feel about him before, but he really makes it difficult for me to feel proud of my profession. His proposal was divided into three bills, two of which have now passed the Senate Education committee and will be voted on by the house. The third has been stalled, temporarily.

These three bills include legislation to:

-Eliminate collective bargaining on items like the school day and calendar

-Eliminate continued contracts (tenure) but only for new teachers. (Please explain how this will help attract new teachers to Idaho, or terminate poor ones!?!)

-Cut 770 jobs

-Increase class sizes by 2 students per class

-Introduce a pay-for-performance program, based only around schools meeting AYP goals, or teachers taking on “hard to fill” positions

-Allow school boards to hire anyone as superintendent, provided they are 25, and have a bachelor’s degree in any field.

-Require 6 online credits for high school students starting this fall

-Provide lap tops for all high school students

I read the 18 pages of Mr. Luna’s original proposal, looking for the good. Some details have been reworked, but mostly it seems that this plan to “put students first” was not crafted carefully or thoughtfully. I believe it is reckless and heavy-handed, and will do nothing to help my students succeed as creative problem solvers and analytical thinkers.

It’s not that I want things to stay the same, we are in trouble, and we have to find new solutions for our budget. But one man, with no background in education and an online degree, who has made little effort to work with teachers, is not capable of sweeping in and saving public education in this state.

If he had asked for a statewide panel, educators, administrators, K-12, traditional public and charter, school board, larger and smaller districts, etc… A well-rounded group of intelligent professionals who could have thought about all aspects of problems and offered different perspectives, we might be in a very different place right now.

There have been hearings, and meetings, a candlelight vigil, and daily protests on the front steps of the capitol.

And I’ve been thinking, a lot.

So far, this has nothing to do with bad teachers, but I’ll get there. I promise.




~ by Lindsey on March 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “Bad Teachers (Part I)”

  1. I feel for you, I do. I’m in the other group of hated categories in Idaho – public health workers – state employees. And what I read so much of now is anger and outrage over what’s going on with teachers and Luna’s bill. Yet, Luna got elected. I wonder how many of these teachers voted for him? I feel nothing but disdain for all the Republicans who are so angry now with Otter and his cronies – they voted for these people because there was an “R” after their names. Now, they’re not so thrilled. We’ve gotten what we asked for. I remember hearing a lot of negative stuff about Luna before he got elected. And yet it still happened. I just don’t get it. And in spite of the opposition to the education bills, they’ll probably get passed. It makes me sick.

    • I really appreciate your comment! I agree completely, Luna was re-elected because he had an (R) after his name, and when people don’t know the issues or the candidates, that is all that matters here. I’ve been trying to stay positive, but it’s beyond frustrating, and I am wearing down. I feel for you, as a fellow state employee.

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