Diane\'s Blog


Hi Diane,

I’m sure you get thousands of emails a day, but here’s one more.

I’m not sure if you have addressed the following issues, but in my internet searches, I’ve not been able to see that anyone has spoken to these particular problems in our public schools.

1. Classroom teachers are the only teachers held accountable for test scores. The school in which I teach has many other teachers: ELL, Title 1, special ed resource, as well as support personnel for speech. None of them is held accountable for test scores. As a matter of fact, school began on Aug. 24, and by the end of September, Title 1 and ELL teachers still weren’t seeing kids. We’d pass them in the hall, as they sat in their offices.

I have a special bone to pick with Title 1, since there seems to be no accountability there. I also think my school district is breaking the law by not providing Latino students with Title 1 services if they are receiving ELL services, calling it “double dipping”.

Let me just say that I’m in my twenty-third year of teaching, have had three successive years of excellent test scores, and it doesn’t make me feel happy- just more pressured, and more aware that absolutely nobody else in the building will help me.

Teachers are the only ones feeling the pressure; this is borne out by the fact that I have to almost arm wrestle the custodians to let me in early in the morning, and that I am often at school before others, including my principal, arrive, and I am there after she leaves.

Our district’s answer to the financial crisis is to RIF teachers and double up on classrooms. Instead of teaching one grade, this year I teach two. All while being held accountable for test scores, of course.

2. The push for special education initiatives in regular ed classrooms.

I’ve seen it all. The kids who came to me fresh out of a mental hospital where he’d been because he’d stabbed someone, and then he tried to choke a girl in the cafeteria. (I was not informed of his background because he was a juvenile.) At that point, his outside agency social worker came and met with the school to come up with a plan “for when this happens again”. The plan included a one-on-one aide. Do you want to guess whether or not the school provided a one on one aide?

Wait, it gets better. I was firmly told I could never separate him from the group, since he’s protected by a persons with disabilities act.
Special education students are constantly being enrolled in regular ed classrooms, because their records don’t follow them. There needs to be a law at the federal level that would make it mandatory for student records to follow students.

There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians. School district main office is stuffed with secretaries to secretaries. The schools themselves have “ancillary staff”, Title 1, speech, etc, who don’t do a lot. The irony is that, while I as a teacher resent this, I am also considering applying for one of these jobs (I am a reading specialist), just because I am sick of teaching being micro-managed.

Once again, thank you for listening. I think so many teachers are so demoralized and beaten down, but will not say anything out of fear of losing their jobs. I’m one of them.