Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another non-issue: drug testing for teachers

Will someone tell our elected officials at Jefferson City that serious issues do exist.

While people are worried about whether they will have their jobs this time next year (or this time next week), some of our representatives keep veering off in one direction after another.

As usual, public education continues to be a whipping boy. This time, the legislator who is veering off course is Don Wells, R-Cabool, who has submitted a bill which would require random drug testing for teachers.

The bill would require random drug testing of about 12.5 percent of teachers per year. The cost of the testing would fall on individual school districts and not on the state. Teachers would be fired if a drug test returned positive.

Where is the epidemic of teacher drug usage that would even cause anyone to consider filing such a bill as this? I don't know of any teacher who would advocate keeping someone on staff who uses illegal drugs, but again, just as I have consistently said about drug testing of students- Why should we lump all teachers, or all students, in the category of suspects and why should we waste taxpayers' money on an unnecessary program.

I don't expect this bill is going to go far, but the fact that it has even been proposed means it has gone too far already.


Anonymous said...

why would teachers not be like thousands of other businesses in america that drug test?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see all politicians and all judges drug tested. If its good for everyone else it should be good for them too!

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with testing the people who spend more time with children that most anyone else? They are on the tax rolls and should be accountable to us all, whether we have children in school or not.

I can't think of a group more in need of monitoring because of their influence on children...

Anonymous said...

I think we ought to test anonymous blog posters. it's obvious most of them are either idiots or on drugs anyway.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I see nothing wrong with drug testing IF there is a valid reason for concern on a SPECIFIC employee. As a parent, I wouldn't want my own child being taught by someone using illegal drugs. But as someone else mentioned, why should all teachers be punished because of the stupidity of a few? And if it's going to happen, then it shouldn't just be limited to teachers--it should be administrators, BOE members, bus drivers, coaches, cafeteria workers, and anyone else involved in that sector.

If we are going to drug test teachers, then we also need to drug test every highway department worker and government affiliated official (from the custodial worker to the governor).

As a teacher, I'm am deeply offended that while I'm expected to perform miracles with some of these children and find some way not to "leave them behind", that our profession could be thought of as needing mandatory drug testing. What about mandatory drug testing for parents? What about mandatory "parent capability testing" for people before they are allowed to have kids? It's really sad to see what some of these kids live with every day. So many of them come from homes where no one cares and it breaks your heart when you have a student that tells you that you are more of a parent to them than their own are or when they ask you if they can come live with you, because their parents just ignore them or emotionally and/or physically abuse them. It breaks your heart when you know that the parents spend more on cigarettes, booze, and lottery tickets than they do on feeding their kids each month.

I put in many hours above and beyond what I am paid for grading papers, planning lessons, working with students after school on my own time (taking time away from my own kids), and do it because I believe in these kids and their futures. They are who will be taking care of me in my golden years and I don't just want anyone doing it. I want someone who can add 2 + 2 and get 4 without using a calculator. I want someone who knows how to read and think through problems. I want someone who is going to stick with it until they figure it out and not just give up when things get a little tough.

We must be so much more than just a teacher. On any given day we easily wear the hats of a teacher, a parent, a counselor, a police office, a nurse, a professional organizer, a mediator, a referee, and so much more. I am expected to put up with students being disrespectful and refusing to do their part in the learning process. We are held to a higher accountability standard than our government officials and any other profession I can think of. Do the residents of the states take a yearly achievement test to see if as a whole, they have become any smarter or can manage their lives any better to determine if government officials get a raise or keep their jobs? I think not. But teachers are. Are PARENTS held accountable for their kids that misbehave and disrupt classes? Are PARENTS held accountable for providing the basic needs for their kids, such as clean clothing, a bath, food, and caring, stable environment? Not anymore--schools have to provide that too. Are PARENTS held accountable when their child doesn't pass the state mandated test, but the majority of the other students do?

So if they want drug testing, so be it. I'll pass it just fine and I would stake my job on it that there are very few of us in this profession that wouldn't pass it. With huge budget cuts coming our way, don't expect schools to pay for it. They already have to pay for all the high-stakes testing under NCLB that has never been funded and are having to cut needed programs because our government officials can't seem to make sure budgets are used how they should be. But that's another issue to be discussed under a different posting.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to share with you a bit about Don Wells from his Missouri House of Representatives Biography

Quoting his site:"Rep. Don Wells, a Republican, represents part of Texas, Phelps, Pulaski and Shannon Counties (District 147) in the Missouri House of Representatives. Elected to the House in 2004, Rep. Wells is an Auto Sales Manager.

A 1968 graduate of Cabool High School in Cabool, Missouri, Rep. Wells received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Cambridge University in 2004.

I challenge anyone to find where this Cambridge University is located, and then find his name among the alumni.

Its completely PHONY.

His bill will fall on its face.

Anonymous said...

Okay, to address a few of these issues:

1st of all, as anonymous at 2:07 stated many other businesses in America have gone toward drug testing in order to help with the screening of employees. Research shows that obviously people who are not using recreational drugs are much more productive workers and are more valuable given their production and/or performance as opposed to employees who are users. This is simply a documented fact. Teachers are quick to try to throw the U.S. Constitution and that arguement has no merit in this conversation. The Constitution and it's original intent never was to give people the right to privately BREAK THE LAW in any fashion! That is crazy. But, Randy in all of his ignorance continues to throw up the notion that he or any other teacher should have that right by not being tested.
Secondly, teaching is not like any other profession, period. Anonymous at 9:03 p.m. whined about parents and gave "how am I supposed to" comments, talked about the home lives of kids, etc. As a teacher, you know all of these things the first day you set foot in the University classroom to begin work on your bachelor's degree. It is a tiring and difficult profession but also very rewarding. These things go along with the position even though you will not see them in the job title. Get used to it or get out!
Third, bus drivers are already being tested.
Fourth, drug testing is relatively inexpensive these days. Schools contract this service out with local testing agencies and the cost is anywhere from $25-$35 per student. Random testing doesn't mean that you test every student every time just as you wouldn't test every teacher every time. You leave that in the hands of the random selection process with the contracted company.
Fifth, To Anonymous at 9:58 a.m., look at your post again then look at your anonymous posting. LOL....certainly says a lot about you I suppose.

Who knows if any of you will ever see this post. Turner continues to not post opinions that differ with his or when he is simply so frustrated by a post that he can't reply.

Anonymous said...

I know it is difficult for RT to understand but many people and organizations can do things simultaneously even if he can't.

Perhaps RT couldn't pass the test. That would explain a lot of his blog posts.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a teacher, but I am in and out of schools regularly and have worked with children on a daily basis. Given a bit of my background, I propose this.
I think a school can monitor it's own faculty/staff/admin for drug abuse just as effectively as a drug test. If a teacher shows up for class with obvious signs of drug abuse (likely more than just one day because of possibly new medication or just some cough medicine), then there should be some punitive action taken for that teacher. Evaluations for teachers should only be based on their performance as teachers and not on their urine samples. Mandatory drug testing is nothing less than an invasion of privacy. Just because something is possibly effective doesnt make it fair and just. How many people would agree to giving children "electro-shock therapy" for disruptive behavior in students? (oops, I forgot I was typing to many teachers here :) It has been proven very effective by a private school, but that doesn't mean it should be used by the state government. Good intentions don't always lead to a good conclusion. A personal right taken away from me today might lead to rights taken away from you someday.