Sep 15, 2008

P.E.P. Meeting September 15, 08 TAGNYC Statement

Tonight the Teacher Advocacy Group NYC starts a new year of bearing witness- and testimony- to the ongoing abuse of competent teachers under this current administration. This abuse is requisite to the ongoing academic fraud, growing nepotism, and administrative incompetence within the inner city schools.
The NY Post reports that 82% of the community colleges entering classes need remedial services. This ugly statistic 7 years into the current ‘educational reform’! Note I say ‘current’. Look back over the past 50 years. Always a new educational model- always the same results. Nothing happens within our neediest schools. Nothing real, nothing substantive, nothing enduring. And always the same bogeyman, the same scapegoat- the teacher.
You state that you need to get ‘the best teachers’ from the best colleges/universities. Review the history of MLK Law, Advocacy and Community Justice. Teachers with degrees from the University of Michigan, Williams College, NYU, Tufts, the U of Washington- just for beginners- all gone within the past three years. These were teachers with two to three years experience. As one teacher said “I can’t return to that toxic environment.” Another teacher said “I can take it from one end, (students or administration) but not from both”. And this is happening throughout the system.
Your teachers are being driven out because they are critical of what is going on in the schools and/or because they cost too much. Your teachers are voluntarily leaving because the conditions within the schools are abominable- not the least of which is forcing teachers to prostitute themselves and their professionalism through testing, testing, testing: through rote teaching not critical thinking teaching: through subjecting them to harassment for holding to high expectations, and through the horrendous credit recovery program.
Rote teaching, pushing kids through with credit recovery were not good enough for your public school experience Chancellor Klein. Why is it good enough for the inner city schools?
Credit recovery, the dumbing down of tests, etc. create a false and hurtful solution. It does not solve the problem. The problem will not be solved until it is acknowledged. The problem is NOT the teachers.