Sunday, July 25, 2010

Are YOU Fired Up About the DC Firings???

Mimi certainly is at. It's Not All Flowers and Sausages  A few excerpts on classroom observations and a dump on value added.

Should our education system tolerate inadequate and ineffective teachers?  Um, no.  (Duh.)  As a teacher I could barely tolerate inadequate and ineffective teachers...they make the jobs of rockstar teachers that much harder and do NOTHING to improve the educational outcomes for children.  In fact, I'm sure some of them are subtracting opportunities and knowledge from children, but that's just a hunch.

Should teachers be held to high standards as professionals?  Of course they should.  We are not idiots, and we can handle high standards as we are professional individuals who not only work hard to do our best everyday in our classrooms but actively seek out ways to improve our practice.

Should all of us be treated like morons because a few of us blow?  Should we be subjected to checklists of discrete skills that masquerade as the only markers of good teaching?  Should we work in fear that someone is going to catch us *gasp* spending an extra ten minutes on our science lesson, thus rendering us task OFF time and, as a result and according to many Checklists of Effectiveness, INeffective?

I take issue with the system of evaluation (IMPACT) which utilizes both "value added" (buzz word alert!) test score data and classroom observation.

I will leave the discussion of "value added-ness" to my colleagues out there who enjoy discussing and tearing apart numbers (Skoolboy, care to weigh in??) and will now focus on the reliability of classroom observations.

Now I know I am only a sample of one, but in my experience, observations have been canceled at the last minute, scheduled at the last minute, absently watched and blatantly hi-jacked.  Let's see, there was the time that my administrator suggested that I post a chart that she was sitting in front of at the time.  (Way to go powers of observation!)  Then there was the time I was told, "Let's just skip it all together.  You're fine."  Or the time when my suggestions for follow up were cut and pasted out of another colleague's observation report, AND considering we taught different grades and were observed in different subjects, were less than relevant or helpful.  Ooo!  How about the time I begged for feedback on my teaching and was told, "No."

Can we please base my salary and job security on that? 'Cuz it seems like fun.  Like a big old carnival game or something.  But more rigged and with no stuffed prize at the end.

Read the entire piece at It's Not All Flowers and Sausages 

And of course you can follow the Rhee in DC story directly from Candi at


  1. To the author of "It's Not All Flowers and Sausages:"

    I find it troubling that your use of the English language is so childish.

    I wonder what you would do if one of your students used the same type of language in their written work.

    You are writing for other teachers. Why don't you then use proper English?

    As a senior teacher I view the deterioration of the English language with absolute despair.

    I think, however, that it is not your fault. You are a victim of the education that you recieved. The problem is that each successive generation erodes the standards.

    The people of two hundred years ago knew how to express themselves.

    We are devolving to the point of using text contractions in everyday English. What an apalling turn of events.

    As far as the new methods to get rid of teachers, this is the garbage that the media has been spewing for over a decade. Now these strategies will be more numerous, swifter and even more effective in ridding the schools of real teachers.

    I find it interesting that the support of the educational system has been experiencing cutbacks, which deny books, rational class size, autonomy of the professional teacher, discipline codes that are no more than a sanction of disruptive behavior.

    At the same time, the hedge fund types who are making money from the public coffers have decided to institute a business approach, so as to maximize profits by getting rid of those who sacrificed their lives to be good at teaching.

    In this youth-worship culture, the two year wonders who are granted alternate questionable, diluted certification, are the preferred "highly effective teachers." Those genuine educators who actually paid for their own masters degrees are on the hit list of the shake and bake Jack Welch maladministrators.

    The profession is doomed, as is healthcare in this country.

    We have returned to the era of the 19th century robber barons. Their agenda concerning public education was to churn out obedient and docile drones/workers. This is the path we are on now. By dumbing down the population there will be corporate serfs and soldiers for the jingoistic adventures that fatten the corporate profits of the owners.


    Angry Nog

  2. Content over language

    Dear Angry
    You are way too overwrought about lingo. Ms Mimi's blogging has won her a book deal and to no small part due to the way she uses the language. Bloggers in a fast moving world make mistakes but also use or misuse language intentionally to try to make things more vivid. They don't always have toe luxury to dot every i.

  3. Angry Nog,

    Mrs. Mimi is a persona adopted by the author of the blog -- a serious and dedicated teacher who uses her blog as a site for discussing some of the contradictions and indignities that contemporary teachers must endure. The language is breezy by design; but I can assure you that she's received a good education and knows how to write.


    If she wasnt fired, why is she telling TRC folks that she was?
    What is she doing-she is not at the UFT no more.


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