Saturday, September 30, 2006

Maybe I DON'T Want to Teach in Public Schools...

So, I'm driving with my family to one of our bigger country fairs, and on the way, we're listening to Whad'Ya Know on National Public Radio. I'm a pretty big fan of Michael Feldman; I really appreciate his sort of deadpan humor. Anyway, the weekly show begins with Mr. Feldman doing a quick-and-dirty rundown of the news, and this week's offerings included the following stories:

In Jackson, Mississippi, a public school PTA sent letters home to parents asking for their participation in the group. At the end of what I imagine was the usual PTA pep-talk about how important parent involvement in the schools is, the recipients of the letter were asked to check one of two boxes: "YES, I want to be involved!" or "NO, I do not want to get involved. I want my children to be thieves, drug addicts and prostitutes." That last bit? A DIRECT QUOTE, People!

The other feature was a story about an art teacher in Dallas, Texas - with 28 years of service, it should be noted - who was FIRED from her job after she took a fifth grade class on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. It seems the parents of one of the children complained to the school board that their child had been irrevocably scarred by seeing a nude sculpture.

I'm not making this shit up. Go here for the PTA story and here for the Dallas art teacher story.

What the HELL is wrong with people?! Between the stories I get from CT about the crap that she's going through at the hands of her administrator, and the regular outrages I hear from Bowyer about the unethical stuff that's going on in his school - and now these stories - I'm almost grateful I didn't find work in a public school this year. It's little wonder that our nation is experiencing a crisis in education - teachers are too afraid to teach anything substantive for fear of being sent to the unemployment office.


Blogger Kizz said...

Or on the flip side are you maybe not sorry you're not in the system to help change it from within? That's how I always feel when I read this stuff, guilty that I chose a different path and I'm letting this stuff happen to kids.

October 01, 2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

You know, this thought did cross my mind, but only for a spilt second.

During the seminar I went to earlier this week, Irving Roth said, in response to a question about humanitarian resistance to the Holocaust, that there's a big difference between "resistance" and "suicide."

While I took a great deal of issue with some of his points (he made a big deal about "baseball bats against tanks", and all I could think of was the kid with the briefcase in Tiennamen Square, but I digress), the idea that offering oneself up as a sacrificial lamb does little good to oneself or one's cause. Now, to be honest, I only half believe that - particularly NOW, in the era of mass communication and satellite television (I wonder if any ghetto-dwellers in WWII DID take up baseball bats against tanks, but we lacked the technology to see it a'la Tiennamen). Still, you know me. It's no great stretch to see me getting my ass fired in short order because I'm not patient enough to play diplomatic footsy with the powers that be over some unethical or stupid shit that's going down - and I'd be able to do NO good to the kids if I've been fired, you know?

October 01, 2006 8:42 PM  
Anonymous nhfalcon said...

Seeing as I'm in the same school as Bowyer (as an intern, for those who are unaware), could you enlighten me as to what Bowyer's raging on about? I seem to have missed this...

October 01, 2006 9:46 PM  
Blogger Kizz said...

Let me tweak the analogy a little. I don't see being a public school teacher as usign a bat (or a briefcase) against a tank. I see it as being say like Mieps van der....whatsits, who hid the Frank family. You're doing what you can to save kids, to give them what they deserve. If that so happens to make an impact on the overall then that's icing.

That being said, I agree with others in saying that, at least at this point in your life, you'd have a job for 5 minutes tops.

October 02, 2006 10:49 AM  

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