Education has always been a top voting priority to me. Now it is quite obvious the stakes have risen. I am a true public education teacher. I am a graduate student at a public university and I work for a public university. I have two children in public education and my husband is a public education teacher. Holy cow education is numbre un at my house.
I usually lean to the conservative right on most issues. But I never ever have been on board with what the republican politicians in my state are doing to public education in my state. I have never ever, ever, ever supported Dr. Tony Bennett. In fact, I called that train wreck long before it even pulled into the station. I did get Mitch Daniels the benefit of the doubt before Dr. Tony made his way. I supported his cause. But back then my priorities were different. I was concerned about overall fiscal issues because our economy was collapsing and I didn’t want my state like California.
What happened though was business in education. Sure it may sound great on surface. And maybe you can apply some of the laws of production. I worked in business before my college career. You work together as a team and in the end this great product comes out of this machine and you make money on it. But education, has the idea of team work, has this idea that the end product is shiny (and smart) and then it makes money. But the way it is set up now is not at all how it looks when you dig in.
When you dig in, it is teacher against teacher for students, schools against schools, better test scores and even teachers questioning how far they are willing to ethically go on a daily basis because at the end of the day they need that pay check to feed their families, warm their homes and houses over their heads. Sure that happens in business too. But we end up losing our sight of the end goal.
The end goal is so much more than this fantastic data piece that says you accomplished this so you are a great teacher and therefore you can keep your job, your school gets an A and that student gets to progress. Yes there are certainly things in education that need some accountability, but I am just not sure data is it or an observation by someone who doesn’t understand your classroom or know your students.
Those pieces don’t tell how I have seen my students characters change. Or how I have seen the way they think change. Or how they begin to look at life a little differently because I have thought them how to use their voice and make social changes in their worlds with it. Instead, it one random question that I may or may not have touched upon in class. Sure I follow the Indiana State Standards and the Common Core Standards or the combo of the two. But sometimes they don’t understand that government language in those pieces. Hell sometimes I don’t. They don’t say that one of my students had her mom die, or has a mom at home that puts so much stress on her that she cannot take tests and successfully pass them. They don’t say that he cannot even understand a remote word that you put out there for him because he isn’t what you labeled him.
I don’t mind tests that say I am doing good. In my class I live by that policy in fact. I test, they struggle on those tests, it is about me. Not them. I reteach. But isn’t that what makes me an effective teacher? I can identify those moments or students and do the job I have been given? It isn’t as simple as you test them, they miss some and that means I suck. That means maybe I didn’t reach them all.
Some of this is larger problems at play that I have discussed before now. Where are the parents like me who do make education a priority? Or maybe what is happening to our youth? I have mentioned that before. As a teacher you are competing against cell phones, ipads and just general social disruptions that if you aren’t constantly the number one entertainment in the room they are zoning out. It is a constant dance and one I don’t mind doing. That is why I teach. But my dance may not always interest every one every minute but I will continue to try.
So this Tuesday I am voting for:
Glenda Ritz– For State Superintendent. A real teacher.
John Gregg– He supports Ritz’s campaign and he was president of the university I teach for and has a stellar reputation for it.
Mike Snyder-A local race but one that was easy. I contacted his opponent who currently holds the office many times since my husband has been a teacher. His responses at times were arrogant, dismissive and well he doesn’t support teachers. I could say worse, but I won’t. I want something different.
Lastly, I will probably be going for Obama. I don’t really like much of what he has done. But I know 100% he cares more about education than any republican I have researched. I do not like Romney at all. I do not like what the republicans are trying to do in education. So it is kind of a no-brainer.
So this is not me telling you who to vote for. This is me telling you who I am voting for. Education this round is most important. In the next four years I will have three girls in school, and my husband and I will be employed by public schools and public universities. So now more than ever education is my priority.
I honestly don’t care that you vote, I just want you to do it.
And by the way….Tony didn’t do these things….Teachers did!!!!