by Eileen Eady
My fellow teachers and parents:
Throughout history we have seen injustices in our country battled. We fought to get the vote for women and minorities. We, Americans, have seen change come from voices united in protest to unjust situations. Now as we go to our classrooms and schools every day we are marching into a battle zone.
The time has come for the Americans in this country to unite and fight for the most important issue in the country. More important than healthcare, taxes, and wars; the future leaders of this country, the children we teach are in jeopardy. They are in jeopardy because we are losing our schools and classrooms to a legislation that we know doesn’t work! School systems all over the country are witnessing the effects of No Child Left Behind. We are watching as our profession is under attack from those who don’t know how to teach. We watch as individual teacher’s test results are published in a newspaper. We see teachers around us who have been through decades of changes, shake their heads and throw their hands up. We test our students. We teach to the test and we watch as the children across the country lose their arts education. We see teachers losing their planning time because politicians who lack our expertise decide that teacher’s don’t need time to plan. Business leaders and politicians decide that the arts are not important. Test scores are important! We hear supposed education reform groups glorify the idea that a teacher’s salary should depend on the results from a test! We watch as those elements of creativity and inspiration are sucked from our curriculum in a tornado of paperwork and data. I ask you, fellow educators and professionals, what is happening to education? And WHY are we just watching?
We all have a stake in this. My children, your children, your nieces and nephews, the children on the corner, all have a stake in this. These children we are educating by the masses to take these ridiculous tests are going to make decisions about your well being one day. You may be able to send your child to that fancy charter school, or the elite private school; but for every one of you that can, there are 5 parents who can’t. Those kids go to the school on the other side of the tracks. They go to the “poor” school. They don’t have computers in their classroom, they don’t go to art or music, and they don’t have a recess. They are getting burned out by the fourth grade and stop caring. This isn’t just a black or white, poor or rich problem. This is EVERYBODY’S problem! WHY are you just watching?
If your co-worker in the classroom next door can’t speak up because she is paying off loans from raising children for 20 years on a meager salary, then YOU do it! We can fight this! We can get together and fight this! We owe it to ourselves, our children, and our future to fight this! There are enough of us if we work together! It’s time for us to stop watching and do something!
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