Thursday, March 21, 2013

Is WEA anti-Classroom Teacher?

Is WEA anti-classroom teacher?  

If our state organization's disastrous support of TPEP isn't bad enough, WEA now is supporting Senate Bill 5244 that places limits on suspensions and expulsions, requires schools to do more to return excluded students to the educational setting before the end of their exclusion (if possible), and saddles teachers and others with the responsibility of coming up with a plan to "re-engage" the student with school.


This is another attempt to blame teachers and schools for the failures of students and parents.  When WEA embraces these types of initiatives, our state organization--our only state organization--provides aid and comfort to those who believe that teachers and schools are indeed to blame for the lack of student achievement.  

I'm not one of them.

Students behave badly for a variety of reasons--none of them having to do with teachers and schools not being engaging enough.  In the 30 years that I have taught, I have managed, motivated and tolerated a wide variety of behaviors--some of them expected, developmentally-appropriate, and even on occasion resultant of my own inadequate lesson plans.  But most disruptive and disrespectful behaviors emanate from choices made by students, ineffective parenting, and weak administrators whose primary concern is to protect their political standing.  As a local leader, I've seen many, many teachers thrown under the bus by a combination of an enabled kid, pushy parent, and spineless principal.

And, yet, we're told to raise standards, maintain high expectations, and go for that academic rigor.

Wouldn't it have been refreshing for a change for the WEA to oppose Senate Bill 5244 and instead give a full-throated, unabashed, and unambiguous support of classroom teachers and their unsung efforts to protect the learning environment from disruption?

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