Diane\'s Blog

Wendy Beck

Thank you, Ms. Ravitch, for speaking to teachers’ and students’ needs and against the political scapegoating of teachers. (I heard you on Michael Krasny’s Forum show this morning on KQED in San Francisco.)

I just retired and I must admit, aside from the ceaseless hours I spent reading/editing/grading papers and planning lessons, it was the public discourse and lack of respect that did me in.

I taught in “bad” and “good” schools. When I was in the “bad” school, the staff was considered bad even though we worked tirelessly with our troubled students but came in at 7AM just to have a “book club” and read Joyce’s “Ulysses” with each other. When I taught at the “good” school, I was considered a great teacher. But I was the same teacher. The difference was that I actually could practice teaching (without constant interruptions) in the “good” school. And my students there showed up each day ready to learn and to do their assignments during and after school.

I could go on. The problem is nobody every asks the teachers. Sometimes I want to write a book entitled, “Not That Anyone Ever Asked” subtitled: (teachers speak out about public education policy). Thankfully, you are doing some of that for teachers now.

Thanks, too, for speaking about about the subtext about the “bad teacher, bad schools” meme: privatization. The transfer of public funds to private pockets will only happen when parents demand vouchers because they believe their schools/teachers are bad. Since public education is mandated, this transfer of wealth from the public to the private is a huge opportunity to line the pockets of corporate America.

Thanks, too, for speaking out about the situation in New York where principals often hire new teachers instead of experienced ones because they are given a financial incentive to do so. In my experience, it takes a long time to make a great teacher, but we disparage age and experience, especially when it comes to teaching.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. And keep speaking out. You give me hope.

Wendy Beck