Does America Really Care About Teachers?
At the beginning of the Pandemic, and when the world shut down to try and #flattenthecurve — we all opened our windows and shouted from our balconies at 7 PM for the Healthcare workers — who were on the front lines, risking their lives to save people who got infected.
We all understood that we needed them to go to work — we needed them to risk their life — so that others could be saved. In fact, millions could be saved.
The healthcare worker was the sacrificial lamb so that millions of people could be safe and healthy. Although healthcare workers were hoping to get more than claps and cheers, they wanted PPEs and better health protocols, but there was an agreement there. An “invisible” handshake that healthcare workers know they sign up for this.
Part of their job is to deal with Pandemics. It’s just inherent in medicine. We hope that it never happens, but if it does — they are the front line.
But what about teachers?
We all agree that teachers are the backbone of Democracy. We all agree that without great teachers, our kids have no opportunity for success in the future. Everyone agrees on those two main ideas — but then how come we haven’t treated teachers with the same respect and dignity that healthcare workers received?
For some strange reason, we have turned our backs on teachers. And I understand, teachers complain — whereas healthcare workers do not. I get it, healthcare workers were more respectful of their patients, they weren’t resentful that someone got infected.
I get it! Yes, teachers have not reacted well to the pandemic. Yes, teachers have over-reacted in some cases. But America — Think with your head, not your heart.
Teachers are the messenger.
Teachers do not make decisions. Teachers are not ALLOWED to make decisions. Teachers must follow along or they get fired. And if you don’t think that’s true — then you need to do more studying. Because Teachers are not allowed to “not show up to work.” It’s in the contract.
If a teacher contracts the virus, unless they are under direct medical care — they must show up for work. Oh? You didn’t know that?
That means if a district is 100% remote and a Teacher contracts the virus — they must continue to teach their class. Yes, coughing and having a difficult time breathing — they must still teach their class.
The Teachers are the messengers, so stop blaming teachers!
Am I biased? I am. But I’m working hard on keeping this as objective as possible. I feel I can do that. I feel that I know how to stay objective because despite having a 20 year career in education, I also spent a few years as an American journalist. And journalists know how to limit personal bias in stories.
Thus, I am employing the same techniques and strategies that I used when I was a reporter on radio and in print.
This article is controversial only because discussing education, and teachers and your kids future is controversial. Everyone has their own opinion, and since there are approximately 50 million kids in K-12 schools today — that means there are approximately 50 million opinions.
And no one is wrong, and no one is right. An opinion is just an opinion.
I have been struggling with the best way to explain to the public what a teacher’s job looks like because part of the confusion and misunderstanding is that most people have no real idea what a teacher actually does.
It’s not your fault. I spent 20 years in education as a former teacher, principal and superintendent and only in my last 10 years did I figure out what a teacher should be doing in school and in the classroom.
Part of the problem is that schools do not run properly in the 21st Century. The first major problem is that schools are legally handcuffed to a 19th Century Curriculum that forces teachers and schools to teach nonsense. Yes, you read that correctly “nonsense.”
We compound that problem by then spending $1.7 billion on a standardized test to agonize over test scores and hold teachers accountable. We have been doing that for 20 years, and all of the objections to the test are pointless as well.
Yes, the objections and the criticism of the standardized testing makes zero sense.
Here’s the bottom line. If your child receives a perfect score on a standardized test — all it tells you is that your child is 100% prepared for the 19th Century.
Are you still proud of your son or daughter now?
Aren’t you happy that you pay taxes to prepare your child for a Century we aren’t living in? As a nation, we have been wasting billions of dollars teaching kids how to survive 200 years ago.
If the American Public schools was a contestant on the show “Survivor” we would have been voted off the island at the FIRST TRIBAL COUNCIL. This is beyond idiotic.
Yet, Congress debates on the floor of the House and Senate about funding for college and student loan debt. When we are already spending hundreds of billions of dollars on an old, obsolete, ancient 19th Century Curriculum. Not only that but parents, the media and the elected officials, jump on the backs of teachers who can’t teach the 19th Century Curriculum.
The teachers are the messenger — stop shooting the messenger.
The teachers don’t want to be teaching the 19th Century Curriculum. They know how bad it is. They know it does not prepare students for the 21st and 22nd Century. Teachers have been trying to tell the public and parents this message for 20 years.
I hear you. “They have?”
Teachers are good at one thing — educating kids. Teachers not good at other things — like running public relations campaigns. In fact, teachers suck at them.
If you are unfamiliar with what an upgraded Curriculum looks like, I was invited to speak on a Virtual Summit panel for the Teachers for Good Trouble group. It’s a group trying to stop the standardized test during the pandemic. This is a great idea.
But a better idea is upgrading our curriculum. We need a 22nd Century Curriculum and we need it fast.
But developing a 22nd Century Curriculum isn’t something the public can do — so I was thinking, what is one thing the public could do.
What could parents and American Citizens do to show teachers they do care about them. That teachers do matter. And that Americans understand that Teachers are just pawns in the system, they make no choices, they have no power, they are forced to sacrifice themselves for your kids.
For more info, please go to my bio and show teachers you care.