Yes, Michelle Rhee, Broad Foundation and others. It's about those rotten teachers and their tenure--THEY'RE the ones keeping down students from poor districts. It's their fault. Their tenure privileges (first established in 1909) are in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. End their ability to block "needed reforms" and tah dah! Unicorns and Rainbows following on the heels of a standardized curriculum, high stakes testing, value added model evaluations and the introduction of ed tech into the classroom.
I'm making fun, but the sad part is that this attack on teachers, their unions, benefits and protections is political and ignores the realities on the ground. Here in Philadelphia, for the first time ever, a survey was conducted to see how many students in the system were involved with DHS (Philly's Department of Human Services, handling foster care and childhood interventions) or the juvenile justice system. See below the squiggly thing for the results.
You can find the article on the survey here from the Philly Inquirer.
The numbers are daunting:
Percent of students involved with DHS:
3rd graders: 11.3
7th graders: 15.4
9th graders: 19.9
12th graders: 20.2
Percentage of students in Special Education programs involved with DHS:
3rd graders: 20
7th graders: 25
9th graders: 25
12th graders: 20
Citywide, across all grades, 17 percent of students have been involved with DHS or the juvenile justice system, the Children's Hospital analysts found. By high school, that number grows to 20 percent, and nearly half of all district high schools have more than 100 pupils or more than 20 percent of the student body involved with DHS.First off, imagine that classroom and what the teacher faces. Do you really want to see a TFAer in front of that group or someone with some experience under his/her belt to manage things?
David Rubin, a Children's Hospital pediatrician and codirector of its PolicyLab, said he imagined a typical high school classroom, where perhaps a dozen young people in a class of 30 might have complicated needs arising from a life in foster care or problems with the law. "In a very challenging financial environment, it helps us understand what these teachers face every day," Rubin said Tuesday at a news conference at district headquarters.
Students involved in the DHS and juvenile justice systems need social and emotional supports often in short supply or absent in the city's strapped public schools, which often lack full-time counselors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers.
Second, how much pay do you suppose someone dealing every day with a classroom like this deserves? Essentially, the teacher not only has to teach (dealing with high stakes testing, lesson plans, professional development of the latest education school brain fart, CE credits, administrative stuff, etc.) but also has to play therapist, career counselor, nurse, and social worker trying to ensure that these young people have a chance.
Meanwhile, our fine governments (especially Corbett, but Philly City Council and Arne Duncan have a hand) underfund, overmandate and tackle the wrong problems. Need the leaks in your building fixed or iPads for everyone? Guess which gets funding?
I could vent my spleen more, but I think you get the idea. Our educational system needs some serious investments and a major readjustment as to how the teaching profession is viewed.