Michelle Rhee loves charter schools. She hates teacher unions. She thinks teachers shouldn't have pensions, only 401k plans. She really, really loathes teacher tenure and is doing her very best to make sure teachers get no respect, have no long term career plans, and that they're divided on a generational basis. She's funded by lots of right-wingers, including Rupert Murdoch, who had the audacity to tweet this:
@kevingulliverright. Now urgent job is to provide all with equal first class education, then outcome up to individuals.
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) June 2, 2012
As far as I'm concerned, Rhee and Murdoch own this tragedy, via CoLab Radio.
I just quit my job as a teacher in an urban charter school. Even though I still don’t have another job and I support myself entirely, it is the best decision I ever made. It is especially liberating this week while my colleagues – and after five incredibly stressful years on the education front lines, my truly beloved friends – wait for the June 1 ax to fall.
Every June 1, the exhausted teachers and staff at my school learn whether they will be rehired for another grueling year. Last year the school gave 43 staff and teachers the you’re-outta-luck-pal letters, including the entire three-man physical education department and the student support genius, Dany Edwards, who somehow made harmony out of the schools’ cacophony of crazy student behavior. This year the school’s three glorious new gymnasiums are largely unused because we have no gym teachers and Dany is dead of unknown causes. Whatever happened to this beautiful young man, firing him didn’t help him live any better or happier for his last few months on earth. And the kids he championed lost his tender, tough, hilarious and real guidance.
To you Michelle Rhee and all you anti-union fanatics, you are wasting your time waiting around for superman. They already fired superman at my school. You see a union would have protected Dany as well as these three talented teachers who provided quality physical education to all of our 1200 students. Meanwhile, some not-so-gifted staff and teachers get to keep their jobs every June 1. At least public schools and their unions have transparent guidelines for tenure and enough respect to let teachers know they won’t be rehired for the next school year by March or earlier. June 1 is late to jump into the teacher hiring season. I suspect the administration keeps it a secret to the bitter end because they don’t trust us to keep working hard. They are suspicious and we are paranoid. It’s part of my school’s culture.
Go read the rest. It's fascinating, tragic and true. And happening everywhere.
In New Orleans, Bobby Jindal's voucher program sends public money to religious schools, charter schools and just about every kind of school except public schools. He thinks that private schools can deliver education cheaper than public schools can. Maybe they can, but that doesn't mean those kids will get any kind of a decent education. Remember, religious schools are exempt from the NCLB standards public schools have to meet. Jindal doesn't really know how they'll evaluate these schools yet. That's because Jindal has no intention of evaluating them at all.
Back in March, Rhee tried to rally her StudentsFirst mailing list constituents (obtained by duping Change.org users into signing her bogus petition she created for no other reason than to get their email addresses) into supporting Pennsylvania's bogus voucher proposals.
In Racine, Wisconsin, a voucher school hasn't paid its teachers for months. Oh, by the way. It's a Catholic voucher school, and teachers haven't been paid since March after going without pay from December to February. Thanks, Governor Walker.
A beloved Florida teacher is leaving his position because he has no job security and his direct superior was able to manufacture criticisms on his evaluation that left him without a renewed contract. Because in the Pinellas School District, there is no job security for teachers.
Nationwide, teachers are being humiliated, bullied, marginalized, fired, and disrespected. How do you suppose that translates in the classroom? Do you think children will respect their teachers if their parents don't? Do you think teachers can focus on children if they're worried about feeding their own families or their job security?
No job on the planet should cause anyone the kind of stress that leaves them dead after they're fired for no reason at all. None. But that's the climate people like Michelle Rhee and her merry band of education deformers have left behind.
RIP, Dany Edwards. I look forward to the day when we start talking about education reform in terms of respecting our educators and treating them like human beings instead of a commodity to be kicked around whenever it's politically advantageous.
[h/t K-12 News Network]