Friday, July 23, 2010

Mad Michelle fires 226 teachers, threatens the jobs of 737 more

Mad Michelle is at it again.

Since Michelle Rhee took over the Washington. D. C. public school system, she has made a name for herself and become the darling of the media by her promises of fighting the union and getting rid of the dead wood among the teachers.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all in favor of removing poor teachers from the classroom. If a probationary teacher is woefully inadequate and shows no signs of improvement after evaluation, then it is best for the teacher and for the students for the teacher to find another line of work.

That being said, I find it hard to believe that one out of every four teachers in the public schools of our nation’s capital are inadequate and should be kicked out onto the street.

That is what Ms. Rhee told the nation today when she fired 226 teachers and effectively said another 737 teachers are at risk of being fired at the end of the upcoming school year.

Nearly one out of four Washington D. C. teachers do not belong in the classroom, according to Ms. Rhee.

One out of every four.

Since the firings were announced earlier today, no doubt Ms. Rhee will be praised, not only by the so-called ‘reform” groups who think schools should be run like a business (a business in a right-to-work state, at that), but also undoubtedly by the same people in the Obama Administration who thought it was wonderful a couple of months ago when the entire faculty at a Rhode Island high school was given the gate. (Most of the teachers at the school were rehired after negotiations, but not without having to bow to demands that seem more designed to give the appearance of school improvement rather than make an actual difference.)

Standardized tests have become the Holy Grail of the “reform” movement. Though it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to judge a teacher’s performance on the basis of how well students perform on standardized tests, that is exactly what is being proposed- and praised- by the reformers, whose main objective appears to be to see to it that public schools and teacher unions cease to exist.

Comparisons are made to businesses putting out a product. If their products are substandard, no one will buy them, they will go out of business.

Those comparisons are specious. In business, a good product, combined with a good marketing plan, gives you a good chance of success.  If a business provides what the consumer wants at a reasonable price, it has a chance to succeed.

Public schools, however, cannot be operated like a business. In this country, we pride ourselves on providing an education to every child, not every child who has rich parents, not every child who has an above average I. Q., but every child.

If public schools were to be operated like a business, those children with severe learning problems, those with behavioral difficulties who think nothing of disrupting classes on an everyday basis, and those whose education costs considerably more due to physical, mental, or emotional handicaps, would be cut off, because it is not cost effective to educate them.

Not only are public schools expected to educate these children, and they should be because that is what makes this country special, but we are expected to have them scoring in the “proficient” range.
In Missouri where I teach, that “proficient” range roughly equates to a B if you follow the traditional grading scale.

Under No Child Left Behind and its misguided successor, Race to the Top, teachers are not rewarded for improving an F student to a D or even a C. It’s all or nothing.

Under these unrealistic guidelines, success is turned into failures, and public schools are handed goals that cannot be achieved.

Under No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, the entire weight of the educational system has been placed on the shoulders of the classroom teacher.

If students fail to show up for classes, make conscious decisions not to do homework or pay attention in class, or simply do not do well under testing pressure, the “reformers” want the teachers to pay the price.
If students’ attention is distracted because of home lives that may include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, domestic discord between adults, or conditions of extreme poverty, that, too, is not the responsibility of national, state, or local politicians. According to the reformers, the only ones who should be held accountable are classroom teachers.

So naturally, everyone from Fox News to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will sing the praises of Michelle Rhee, the pinup poster for the educational “reform” movement.
And while Ms. Rhee continues to lay the groundwork for the gold she will mine from the lecture circuit and from books once her tenure in Washington, D. C. comes to an end, public schools have taken another dagger to the heart.


Anonymous said...

Great blog Randy! It is a tragedy that in trying to enact and enforce these politically motivated programs some of the best teachers and principals are getting dismissed when many of them are very devoted, qualified, and caring educators. There is no allowance made for extreme poverty, immigrant students, and special needs students. It is very much a tragedy that most americans are unaware of and I appreciate you helping to get the word out.

Anonymous said...

I heard a speaker in Springfield a few years ago explain why schools are NOT businesses (which is what he used to think). He made comments at a meeting about why he believed they (schools and businesses)should be run the same. A woman stood up and said "What business do you run?" to which he replied that he ran a blueberry farm. She then asked him what he did if he received blueberries that were imperfect: bruises, rotten, smashed. He replied, proudly, that he would never accept them; that he would send them back until he got what he wanted. She then said "Sir, at school every day we get those bruised and smashed blueberries. We get ones hit by a parent or high on drugs or empty because there is no food or money at home. But the difference is that we do NOT send them back. We keep them. We love them. We try with everything that we have to educate them, even with the bruises, even with the "rotten" spots, even though they have been smashed before they ever came to us. THAT, sir, is the difference between a school and a business." This gentleman said that the audience gave HER a standing ovation and he realized, for the first time, how wrong he had been. Good blog, Randy.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Randy! You are a talented writer and I'm thankful that you are a teacher. We need more like you!

Anonymous said...

Why if only a "probationary" teacher is woefully inadequate...there are good bunch of tenured teachers that are woefully inadquate...don't ask me to say who is at the top of that list....

Anonymous said...

We are still working under a socialist, 19th Century model in public schools. It hasn't worked for years. This is turn about is fair play for the teachers. For decades they have wanted to teach personal things such as sex education and politics and did so because "the kids don't get it at home." Well, if they want to rear our children, here's their chance - the society that has turned to relativism gives you their broken children on a platter.

Randy said...

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Do not place the blame for sex education at the teachers' door. Sex education, and so many other things that are in the schools, are there because of politicians. I am constantly amazed that politicians slam public schools left and right, but any time they have some sort of societal problem that needs to be solved, they immediately give it to the schools to handle.

Mad Michelle at Thunder-Dome said...

Turner, you and the rest of the indoctrination drones have no business messing with the minds of children in order to create them in your image.

The best parents have arranged their affairs so that they manage to home-school their children. The schools have degenerated quite a bit under the political care of teachers like Turner, and as a result of economic depression -- created by those who have the morals of a Turner -- people who have lost their jobs and homes simply no longer can afford to pay high property taxes for the failed public school experiment to continue as it has in the past. A lower standard of living for all is in the works, and it is only just that public trough-feeders should get their numbers and rations cut.

What needs to happen is cutting the system of public schools to less than a quarter of what they are today. Rather than have a system of 'free-babysitting' from the ages of three to eighteen, that the facilities used be limited to 'free' taxpayer-supported public education between the ages of ten and fourteen to learn how to read. How and what to think will be returned to the discretion of parents and churches and private educators, and people like Turner will be turned out to find their own larval drones to try to influence.

In an Internet age, there simply isn't any need for the expensive, failed bolshevik system of feeding the social predators and parasites like Randy Turner and Turner's Corps of Mental Corpse-makers. Education should be used as a means of freedom, not to institute means of control.

Now 'Mad Michelle' is simply acknowledging reality. The money supply is drying up in the District of Corruption as even the federal politicians and bureaucrats realize that trying to educate the uneducatable is 'mission impossible.' Mediocrity at best, failure as usual, shouldn't cost so very much, and given that the funds for 'business as usual' in a declining economy and social order are running short, Rhee is simply doing what she was sent to do -- as an Oriental female immune to being called 'racist' -- to make necessary cuts under guise of 'improving' the schools of the District of Corruption.

Enjoy the new social reality, tax-trough bottom-feeders.

Mad Michelle At Thunder Dome 2 said...

Here is what you should know about me:

I like homeschooling because I want my children to grow up ass-backwards. I redact books and materials so I can only teach my children things that I want them to know.

I use a moniker such as this or Flyswatter because I don't want the public to know my name. It is easy to throw insults around when I hide behind fake names. Newspapers won't publish my anonymous letters.

I am a white supremacist that ives in McDonald County and I attend the Church of Hate.

I cheat on my taxes because I am anti-governement.

I ridicule Randy Turner because I am a Bully. Why is everyone having such a hard time with the hazing incident at Seneca? Boys will be Boys....

I love Mel Gibson!- He is right, all the problems in the world are because of the chinks, blacks, Jews, and other races. ( Hence the Thunder Dome reference)

My favorite words are: drone, larvae, degenerate, immoral, taxpayer, and trough feeders. I use these in all my posts. It is easy to identify me by my language and syntax

Anonymous said...

have you read articles that are pointing out the loss of the middle class in America....think about it...where do schools and teachers unions and extra curricular activities fit into this? who's going to pay those career ladder monies and those nice air conditioned gymnasiums and stadium turf and "training camp" for high school athletes?

We need some attitude adjustments in this country...and schools better be in the conversation with some better ideas than they have handed out for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Mad Michelle is correct. The Educrats have never seen a problem that they think more money won't solve. They ignore the reality that the product never gets better, yet they want mediocrity and/or incompetence rewarded. The job is tough, no doubt, but many Americans have tough jobs that are done well. Too many teachers are doing a bad job, and they need to be fire, tenured or not. Insulting people you don't agree with is fun, but it ignores the reality - which makes this kill-the-messenger behavior part of the problem. But it's become perfectly clear that throwing more money at the problem doesn't fix it.