Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fire All The Old Teachers

The United States of America, with its failing public school system (17th in the world behind Finland and South Korea), needs a solution. We should fire all old teachers. The ones out of touch with children and teens nowadays. They use old techniques, aren't up to snuff with Snapchat or streaming movies, and they aren't serving the children that need to be educated.

Do I really believe this is the solution? No, of course not. That is the worst idea I have ever heard. It is based on the Donald Trump mentality of "do it because that's how you run an efficient business." It is based on the idea of making money in a cutthroat economy.

Donald Trump would start firing people based on their evaluations. How has the United States (Department of Education and Betsy The Devastator Devos) begun to evaluate teachers? Based on the kids they have seen for 180 short days in their long lives. We, as teachers, are responsible for working magic with our students in a lot of cases. I teach at Cesar Chavez Middle School near California's Bay Area. My 8th graders (35 per class) have reading levels 6th, all the way down to 2nd graders.

The US (dept. of ed. all the way down to the common citizen who they've convinced) wants to evaluate me based on my students all achieving 9th grade standards by the end of this 180 day school year. Students, on average will be absent 6-11 of those days during the year too. That is not even considering emergencies like the current flooding in New Orleans (August 2016 flood) or Hurricane Sandy which close entire districts for weeks. These are of course due to climate change (a result of everyone's doing) and cut down that 180 days to even fewer, making the actual face-to-face interaction time with the kids smaller. Teachers are still all held to the same standards nationwide though. From Palo Alto, California to Camden, New Jersey. From Westchester, New York, to the flooded parishes across Louisiana.

So let's pass our evaluations! Let's work hard or work harder to get all of our 2nd grade reading levels to 9th grade in 180 or less days. If your past your first 5 fresh years of being a public educator, you better be staying in the same tip top shape as those recently graduated, Master's Degree-equipped 20-somethings. If you're not, if you've started a family, if you've experienced the death of a close one or an accident yourself, your life is going to be more challenging than the majority of fresh post-college grads, but that means you better now put more time in and work much harder to be exactly where the Google and LinkedIn teachers are. Do it or else you'll get fired. Trump doesn't give a fuck about your new kid or kids. Your recent hardship or home purchase that you need to pay the mortgage for. Fuck you for being a lazy and shitty teacher. It's bad for MY BUSINESS. My business is public education. It should be treated like Wal-Mart or Trump Industries. If you hurt our profits, you're fired.

BUTT. Here's the but. You knew there was a butt right? Why is there a but? Because fuck you Donald Trump. Your ideas will not make america great again. (When was it so fucking great in the first place? Like, great for who dude?) You forgot things because you're so busy making emotional comments about war, poverty, economy, and anybody who disagrees with you.

Here's what you forgot: After you fire the old and shitty* teachers, you're going to need new ones to replace them. People that are choosing teaching over way higher paying jobs are going to have to actually want to do this difficult and way underpaid job. Why would they want to when they know you're going to be a fuckin' dick to them midway (or even early on) in their profession? Answer: they're not. You don't make anybody want to please you. I don't want to work for you. I won't work for you if you become President. Fox news fucks are trying to convince us that you're actually close to your contender, but the actual stats show that you're just not going to do it. How does Fox report on lies? They're your friends, so fuck all of you.

You need fresh college minds filling the positions of your fired teachers. Burn the veterans in the name of new "faster" and upgraded brains. The newbies that will be able to type away on Chromebooks, but won't have any pride in their industry! (Gawd you've already got me calling education an industry.) What will happen to them after a few years go by and the next wave of new teachers comes through? The same thing! You have no foresight. You've completely bankrupted corporations. Not one, not two, but FOUR! Bankruptcy, which would destroy anyone else's credit score (leading them closer to poverty) but still allows you to say to your republican voters that you'd run America like a wise businessman?

Public education needs a champion. We have some teachers fighting for us. Tom Torlakson was elected California's State Superintendent of Schools. Teacher unions have gotten propositions to be put on this November's ballot that will help public schools. Voting for Prop 55 in California this year will extend the millionaire's tax to continue funding education. Everyone that will be taxed (the households making over $500,000 annually) is trying to get a tax break though. Of course, someone who says he made a "smart" decision to avoid paying any federal taxes supports this tax break. Why would you TAX anybody? <-- paraphrasing Donald Trump. 

Because everyone deserves an education. Nobody could say this country was "great" or #1 at anything if we didn't champion this idea. If you don't think every single child in this country deserves the same education, you are clueless as to what our country was founded on. We continue to espouse the idea to the rest of the world that we are the greatest at everything. If the truth gets out that we are denying most children of color and kids in impoverished communities a sound education, no one would think this country was great. We have to continue to be the land of opportunity. 

A simply way to start is by supporting teachers. This is my fifth year being one. About half of my friends are. And most of my idols are as well. This job does not pay well, and it is challenging not just to teach, but to spend countless hours writing propositions (like 55), encouraging people to vote, explaining how their vote will affect our kids and our future, and having to defend what we do to this culture of teacher-hatred. Rich people and the news sources they control are making us out to be the enemy. Because we make $50,000 a year and creating a huge tax burden, right? You make me want to punch myself in my own damn face sometimes. Teachers in public schools aren't the problem; they're the solution. 

We aren't the enemy. We don't deserve to be fired because of someone else's test scores. We taught you how to read. If you just finished reading this, you should thank one. Adios amigos. 

A video of my 5th graders at KIPP SF Bay Academy