Monday, March 01, 2010

Barack Obama supports dismissing teachers!

   Perhaps you have heard of the school district in Rhode Island that dismissed all of its faculty last  week.  They had a school with persistently low scores, and the board decided the way to deal with it was to dismiss all faculty.  Other school districts have used this approach. President Obama accepted the misstatement of the issues and supported the dismissals today. Here:
   Firing teachers  will not work.  If you have a troubled school, the community ,the parents and the teaches need to work together to improve the school. To improve a school you need a positive learning environment.  Building a positive learning environment requires Parents and teachers working together. Media critics contribute nothing to improving a school environment.
   Many politicians and media writers have learned about high expectations.  And, high expectations are one of the keys to quality schools.  But, high expectations alone will not change a school. – nor will firing all the teachers.  To improve a school parents and teachers together need to teach young people about respect, cooperation, orderliness.
   Particularly at a high school, kids need to learn to accept some responsibility for their own actions, to come to school, to do their work  – a positive culture of learning.

Parents  can’t just leave the kids off in 1st. grade and pick them up at the door in 12 th. Grade.  Particularly in high school, someone has to teach the kids to come to school, to do their work, to support a safe learning environment.  Who can do these things? Parents and teachers working together to build a positive culture of learning. Show me an example when school administrators,  politicians, editorial writers, or Presidents, improved a school.
Here is the AFT statement on this issue.
President Obama's comments today condoning the mass firing of the Central Falls High School teachers do not reflect the reality on the ground and completely ignore the teachers' significant commitment to working with others to transform this school. We know it is tempting for people in Washington to score political points by scapegoating teachers, but it does nothing to give our students and teachers the tools they need to succeed.

What's even sadder is that the firings and the President's comments come in spite of a state report written last April that focused on the high school's reading and writing proficiency, which have gone up 22 percent and 14 percent respectively over the past two years. Nowhere in the report is there any criticism of teachers' efforts, skills or dedication to their job or their students. The report does, however, point to problems with constantly changing programs and the instability of school leadership. The report reinforces the fact that, today, teachers are being blamed unfairly for the schools' problems.

"Because so many programs have been abruptly terminated, many teachers desire a formal program evaluation system to ensure that the strengths and weaknesses of programs are properly examined in the future before changes are made or new programs are implemented. Students share this concern," the report said.

As for next steps, the report said, "Take the time to celebrate as a learning community the accomplishments, successes and positive changes that have taken place over the past few years."

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