Monday, March 15, 2010

The Sound of Knife Scraping Bone

Alice Mercer:


Well, being unionized, it’ll be a lot more civilized than that, but a week that started with my school being subject to “reconstitution” ended with me getting one of these. Keep a couple things in mind…

  1. Last week ended with a lot success and kudos from my peers and others at CUE. I was sharing what was going on in the lab with students, and getting great feedback.
  2. The seniority dates for pink slip notices under discussion were in the 7 year range, and seemed far away.
  3. Our school thought our principal was likely to get replaced, but as a staff, we were getting more focused, and organized in our instruction.

Now, my school is gonna be tossed to the four winds, and although I’ll probably be recalled since I’m right at the cutoff date, it’s highly unlikely I will be in the lab, or at my current site. I don’t know what to say. Random moments of absurdity from this week…

  • The district, perhaps trying to be kind, responded to an inquiry about our site by teachers at another school, but saying that we had “won a state grant”. Well, only if we kick 50% of the staff out. Really, it doesn’t help with the humiliation factor!
  • My district is recruiting TFA interns to fill positions that really aren’t open, and the district is claiming that they will not be filling any of the positions now made vacant by lay offs.

And this brings us to the rest of my post. You see, the only problem with this is they’ve sent pink slips out to high school teachers in math and science (the very “hard to fill” positions they claim they need under-qualified TFA interns for). They have also sent pink slips to a number of special education teachers at elementary, who would likely be better candidates for training to work in high school special ed classes than someone with absolutely no experience teaching anyone let alone high school kids with special needs.

I think the Obama administration needs to get their NCLB reauthorization through quickly, because already this spring the axe is falling so widely and indiscriminately that people are bound to start asking more questions about exactly where we're going with all this. It is as if the supply of truly benighted schools has turned out to be less deep than reformers thought, and budgetary woes combined with a drive to find the "lowest 5%" is creating a dark undertow of chaos and destruction that is eclipsing what we thought were the dark days of the Bush administration.

1 comment:

Mark Ahlness said...

It's too late for the current admin to get anything through to stem the bleeding. States and districts are playing this same tune now - and will be again in the fall. Race to the Top is nothing but cheap lip gloss. Dark days ahead, indeed. My heart breaks for Alice and her colleagues.