I have no qualms about sharing my discontent about the state of public education. To be more specific it's not the state of ALL public education, but much of it I think can be improved, revamped and overhauled. My greatest concerns are the increasing amount of corporate money and power being funneled into education, the push for standardized testing and privatization and the especially treatment of teachers and children.
I recently came across this scathing letter from Congresswoman Liz Pike . To say that I was appalled and saddened does not even begin to cover the range of outrage this letter instilled.
First of all, I'm not sure I even understand Rep. Pike's letter. After her initial sarcastic remark congratulating teacher for the end of the school year, she goes one to fret about her career choices, as if for this too we should blame all teachers. What I really don't understand is that Ms. Pike states that she chose a career in the private sector. What? How is being a state representative a private sector job?
She goes on to pat herself on the back for choosing a career where she is a taxpayer that funds salaries and benefits for employees in local school districts, as if she is one of the elites that contributes to society. I would like to point out to Ms. Pike that most citizens pay taxes that go to fund, not just schools and teachers, but also Congressmen and women, police, firefighters, parks etc. Even TEACHERS pay taxes, so please don't give yourself all the credit.
She goes on to compare our education system with others (out there) in the world. This caused me to wonder exactly how familiar Ms. Pike is with global education pedagogy. Much of the world education system is quite similar to our own, which has it's roots and history in Prussia. In fact the leader in education at the moment is Finland, a country that has NO MANDATED STANDARDIZED TESTING! The people running Finnish schools are educators, not business people or military personnel or (gasp!) politicians. And of course, "Teachers from all over the nation contributed to a national curriculum that provided guidelines, not prescriptions."
Perhaps instead of getting all hot under the collar because the people she works for (that's right Ms. Pike, your employers are the very teachers you are criticizing.) She should listen with sincere concern and perhaps even educate herself in regards to the world and what they're doing to improve things. I assure you it's not bashing the very people that care and educate our children. Ms. Pike goes on to attack teachers unions. While I'm not a huge fan of teachers unions, I unlike Ms. Pike, can see that without them our teachers would be further abused and marginalized thereby further deteriorated the state of education that is already cheating our children.
Ms. Pike goes on to do the unthinkable. She suggests that if teachers are unhappy with their pay, they should look for jobs elsewhere. I sincerely hope, teachers don't do this. I have to admit though, a small part of me wants to call on a huge massive walk out by teachers and my hope would be that the community that daily relies on these individuals to care and educate our children stand in solidarity with them. Part of me hopes the positions go unfilled, that mothers and fathers have to stay home from work to care for their children. In my wildest dreams, this action would lead to an economic standstill, it would lead to corporations giving up on their ill-conceived curriculums and stop the Michelle Rhee's and the Walton's of the world in their tracks, Mostly I hope it would lead to Ms. Pike actually having to find a job in the private sector.