Opinion
Education Opinion

Whose Job Is It?

By Amy Abeln — August 14, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Today at Tech Camp, my friend/colleague told me her story. She is taking a serious pay cut to switch from public schools to museum education. A $14,000 pay cut. She told me she loved the kids but couldn’t deal with the crazy administrative rules that, I believe, stifle the true art of teaching. A few things really summed up her five plus years as a public school teacher, but one story stood out in her mind above the rest.

My friend was evaluated for her performance in her Kindergarten class. She was a first-year teacher at the time and had many children who hadn’t been to preschool. Twenty-eight kids and no aid. The grades of the evaluation were S for Superior and E for Excellent. My friend received all E’s so she went to her principal to ask what she could do to improve, to get all S’s. The principal told her that she needed to be using her workbooks more. She could get better control of the class if the children used the workbooks. Do we want our children doing workbooks in order to keep class control in overcrowded classrooms? Do we know who’s writing the workbooks? Informed scholars, I hope.

On June 25, President George W. Bush discussed the No Child Left Behind Reauthorization with his Presidential scholars.

“The reason I’ve asked to speak to you is because I want people to understand how important this No Child Left Behind Act is to America and its future. And we will talk about ways to make the law better. I know some members and senators have got concerns about the law, and we’re more than willing to talk about flexibility. But there is no compromise when it comes to setting high standards and measurement. You cannot compromise away the principle of saying, we expect good results, and we’re going to measure to determine whether or not we’ve achieved those results. And when you’ve achieved the results that we, a society, expect, we’ll give you the big embrace.”

The last part of the Bush quote bothers me. “We” is our society, including the president. So that makes “you,” the scholars he’s put in place to fix what is broken with our educational system. “And when you’ve achieved the results that we, a society, expect, we’ll give you the big embrace.” This implies that American society is waiting to give those scholars a “big embrace” (cash reward?) because they will achieve high standards for all children. Personally, I do not expect that the group of Presidential scholars will fix problems that exist in public education: overcrowding, poor nutritional choices, workbook learning, millions of future American citizens in urban and rural America who see no point in graduating from high school... These are changes we need to demand and help facilitate as a community. But how do we do that?

As teachers, parents and community members, we know that children are facing serious educational problems. Many are similar to those we faced, and others are of a new brand. Educational budget cuts are imminent. Problems are becoming more expensive.

Speaking of problems, according to a report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers on the infrastructure of the United States, “The Federal government has not assessed the condition of America’s schools since 1999, when it estimated that $127 billion was needed to bring facilities to good condition. Other sources have since reported a need as high as $268 billion. Despite public support of bond initiatives to provide funding for school facilities, without a clear understanding of the need, it is uncertain whether schools can meet increasing enrollment demands and the smaller class sizes mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.” What is a small class size? Twenty-eight Kindergarteners is not small, nor is thirty-one 6th graders.

We all live in communities with problems. What is our role in combating those problems? Would you want your child to spend a day in the worst public school, just to have the experience? Is a teacher’s job to merely teach the curriculum using workbooks and prescribed formulas? Is it the community’s job to sit back and hope that their local public schools are doing an ok job?

What do you think?

The opinions expressed in My Summer at Tech Camp are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week
Education Opinion The Top 10 Rick Hess Straight Up Columns of 2022
NAEP, pre-K, who decides what gets taught. Those are among the most popular or impactful posts of the year.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty