From USA Today, Thursday, October 23, 2008. See
In inner city schools of America, Chancellors are holding vintage teachers hostage. Joel Kline said on a press conference regarding high schools that the pensions and pay for retired teachers was holding the school systems hostage. Is he kidding me and you?
AIG and the Wall Street buyouts and they blame teachers for the woes of education, the funding shortage the lack of money. I always check out the ballparks in a place that has a problem with schools. Inner cities have great ballparks and their players get paid well. Excuse me while I cut the strings of a less than golden parachute. These people must be mad! At the end of a teaching career the rewards don’t necessarily match the dedicated effort. Few people esteem teachers these days especially those in K-12 (teachers).
In Washington DC, Michelle Rhee makes headlines by using the power of the mayor to do whatever she wants, using the doctrine of No Child Left Behind as a weapon. She does not include the populace in her decisions. it is an interesting position to be in. What happens when we discover that NCLB has feet of clay as it does? It was an unfunded mandate , and here’s the worst part. We know who teaches in the inner cities for the most part. Teachers who dedicate their lives to helping others of their own race. It was not so long ago that there were no Black or Hispanic high schools in some areas. Historically we were all lumped together as being underserving of a higher education. Let’s hope that the presidential hopefuls don’t swallow the Michelle Rhee treatment of teachers hook , link and sinker and make a hero of a bully.
It is true that I am older, but I was bemused to find out that the college that I went to only wanted me to be able to show skills up to the seventh grade level. Really. It was Virginia State College. When I graduated with a diploma it could have been disastrous. My education was sorely lacking. I am single, or was, and made it up, but lots of teachers from my era who would be considered old are still in classrooms. Many of them are talented. I certainly am and can demonstrate my ability, but it was learned in the school of hard knocks. Behavior management,learning to see the student as well as the job of educating that individual and understanding the politics of education, and of the school, what a job.
I am proud to tell you that I was fearless in the face of prejudice, politics and
persuasion. By the third year, however I was ready to find another occupation.
I did go to Europe and teach in DODDS schools where I had freedom, not much in the way of supplies but a chance to find my own teaching and learning styles.
I have been through the fashions of education, unit methods, permissive methodology, team teaching, block teaching with teams, new math, old math and hands on math and science. I was doing standards before a nation at risk and my standards were always higher.
Maybe what happens is that the people who do who stay in the classroom get
tagged by a methodology that does not work for them. I have always loved math and science, but real math and science. It was a handicap to be enthused about doing math and science. So I suffered, so what.
Who stays in education is a person who is interested and caring about the student population.
What they do is often decided by other people , not many people have the guts to get up and move to another school as I did from time to time. Sometimes it was a new challenge and sometimes it was the politics of the place. I integrated backwards, that is I was the one black teacher who was allowed to teach in a white school. Worked for me. The general public does not often know that the decisions about what you teach, how you teach, what you teach with and the equipment you use come from some higher up for the most part.
How we decide to continue teaching has something to do with the rewards and the feeling you get when you suceed with students , parents and the community. I worked in one school where it was taken for granted that parents would be a part of our daily
happening, they were in , out and sharing. It took a little getting used to. One mother and I opened and closed the building from time to time. It happens that way with dedication.
Teachers in inner city schools often finance a lot of what they do in the classroom. Some of us bought our own computers, the pencils and school supplies for the students and made sure that they were warmly or properly dressed and fed. Children had needs that were unusual. We kept food in the teachers closet for some kids who had no lunch or who were not on the list for free lunches. My dad and I put plumbing into a home one Christmas for a student the kids called “stinky” . There are children who are traumatized and fearful. There are children who need more than the book learning. There are childrne who have been affected by lead in the water. I don’t use it as an excuse. Children I taught know that. But we must be mindful of the reality of where children come from, and their home situations.
Teachers need excellent professional development, and support and time to learn the newest of educational practices. To think that Ms Rhee mocks her teachers is to know that she must have a disrespect of them that grows from a lack of knowledge of how they got to be inadequate , as she finds them and were still on the payroll. The use of technology does not happen when a computer is put into a room or a building. The effective learning landscape requires a dedication of time , effort, practice and meaningful support. What happened to the head teachers to whom you went when things went wrong? We as teachers must learn to innovate , explore, evaluate, be able to explain our wirh and use seven e’s, not five.
The Dept of Education has some series of papers that express ideas of this sort.
SETDA’s Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education Project is deeply informed by the development of a series of white papers. Each topic area discussion includes an in-person roundtable discussion with expert stakeholders. Highlights from each white paper will be incorporated into the broader Action Plan document to be shared aggressively on Capitol Hill in early 2009.
Intent: To create a succinct product addressing technology’s transformative role in education that speaks to Presidential Campaigns, members of the new administration, USDOE officials,education staffers on Capitol Hill to inform future policy and legislation relating to ESEA reauthorization, economic policies concerning workforce development and our nation’s success in a Global Economy.
Approach: SETDA will tie a message of hopefulness for students in Kindergarten who will graduate in 2020 to compete globally with emphasis on the economic necessity for a productive global workforce. The documents will include research, examples, and strong rationale for rapid and dramatic changes to education policy with a new Administration. This information will be critical to policy makers at the national, state, district and school levels to accelerate learning for all students. America’s students have the potential to compete effectively in the global economy our educational system needs to support the promise of America’s future innovators and productive workforce.
Why? The stakes have changed and America has to work to transform our education system to best meet the needs of the 21st century student.
The Department of Labor reports that out of 55 industries, education is last in its use of technology.
In the mjority of schools, teachers and students cannot maximize the potential of technology.
By 2010, if current trends continue, more than 90 percent of all scientists and engineers will be living in Asia.1
In the 1990s America ranked 23rd in high school graduation rates (without GEDs) among OECD countries.
In 2015, it is projected that ther will be 4 million high school graduates in the US, compared to over 12 million in China and over 10 million in India.
Since the 1960s, the demand for skills has changed significantly – the demand for routine manual task skills have decreased, while the demand for non- routine interactive task skills have increased significantly.
Maximizing the Impact: “The Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Education System”
In a new report, Maximizing the Impact: “The Pivotal Role of Technology in a 21st Century Education System”, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills urged renewed emphasis on technology in education.
The report urges federal, state and local policymakers and other stakeholders to take action on three fronts:
1. Use technology comprehensively to develop proficiency in 21st century skills. Knowledge of core content is necessary, but no longer sufficient, for success in a competitive world. Even if all students mastered core academic subjects, they still would be woefully underprepared to succeed in postsecondary institutions and workplaces, which increasingly value people who can use their knowledge to communicate, collaborate, analyze, create, innovate, and solve problems. Used comprehensively, technology helps students develop 21st century skills.
2. Use technology comprehensively to support innovative teaching and learning. To keep pace with a changing world, schools need to offer more rigorous, relevant and engaging opportunities for students to learn—and to apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways. Used comprehensively, technology supports new, research-based approaches and promising practices in teaching and learning.
3. Use technology comprehensively to create robust education support systems. To be effective in schools and classrooms, teachers and administrators need training, tools and proficiency in 21st century skills themselves. Used comprehensively, technology transforms standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, learning environments, and administration.
The report supports the Partnership for 21st Century Skills’ framework for 21st century learning, which calls for mastery of core subjects and 21st century skills. The report also highlights effective practices in states, districts and schools that are using technology to achieve results. And it provides guiding questions and action principles for policymakers and other stakeholders who are committed to maximizing the impact of technology in education.http://www.setda.org/web/guest/2020
If the United States allows teachers to be trashed, talked about and abused the following headline will be only one of many.
Schools in need employ teachers from overseas
By Emily Bazar
PHOTO SIDEBAR: A growing teacher shortage is forcing many U.S. school districts to recruit from foreign countries. Shown here are teachers George Lampley, left, of Ghana, Wen Kang Chein of Taiwan and Anna Olech of Poland talking about their students at a seminar at Cesar Chavez Multicultural Academic Center in Chicago in June 2001.
The trend is most evident in poor urban and rural districts, according to educators. Segun Eubanks, director of teacher quality at the National Education Association, the USA’s largest teachers union, says many of those districts have trouble keeping teachers for reasons including low pay, disruptive students, and a lack of books and materials.
“American workers are not willing to do the work for the conditions and pay we offer,” he says. “So we’re recruiting them for the same reasons we recruit farmworkers and day laborers.”
The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a think tank, says a new teacher is generally paid $30,000 to $45,000.
The Department of Education does not track foreign teachers. The American Federation of Teachers union estimates at least 18,000 of the nation’s 3.7 million teachers were hired elsewhere.
Kate Walsh, NCTQ president and a member of the Maryland State Board of Education, says it has become more common to hire overseas. “All poor districts have a harder time recruiting,” she says. “Anytime you’re teaching poor kids in the inner city, it’s very hard to get teachers to stay.”
Walsh says foreign teachers can enrich students’ education by exposing them to other cultures. Eubanks agrees but says the USA must address the underlying shortage by training more teachers and improving schools.
Foreign teachers must pass state tests and meet federal requirements. Around the country:
* Prince George’s County public schools in Maryland, with a teaching staff of 10,000, have 556 Filipino teachers and uncounted others from other countries.
* Los Angeles has 326 foreign teachers out of 33,529.
* Wichita public schools have 43 foreign teachers, all Filipino, out of 4,000.
* Baltimore public schools have 593 foreign teachers from Jamaica, India, the Philippines and elsewhere out of 7,000, says George Duque, staffing director. “Retention has been excellent. We’ve only had 20, max, who have not been renewed or who have chosen to leave.”
Duque says Filipino teachers are a good fit because English is one of the country’s official languages and its academic system is similar to the USA’s.
He acknowledges that there can be clashes over teachers’ accents and cultural differences. Filipino teachers, for example, come from a culture where teachers are revered, he says. “When they come here, they have to learn about our culture and the urban culture and the culture of poverty and the challenges our children have,” he says.
Danilo Danga, 33, is in his fourth year teaching special education at Baltimore’s Calverton Elementary/Middle School. He taught English and social studies in the Philippines for eight years.
At first, he says, students disrupted class and cursed at him, yelling, “Shut up, Jackie Chan!” and other taunts.
Colleagues advised him to assert himself and offer rewards for good behavior. He did. Among the rewards was Filipino chicken adobo he cooked himself.
“Each year is becoming better and better,” he says. “I’m excited to come to school every day despite all the challenges.”