Teaching kills. To be more precise: being a classroom teacher in a U.S. secondary school (6-12) is muy hazardous to one's mental and physical health. I oughta know. I've taught in 3 states -- Florida, New York, and California --- all known for stupendous levels of educational mediocrity, high degrees of so-called accountability, false starts, underfunded mandates, inhumane propositions, idiotic Republican governors, dumbed down state tests, and inordinate amounts of corporatization. And let's not forget their electoral import in this time of Barack and McCain.
Depending on who you talk to, the states I've taught in are recognized as trailblazers and/or noisemakers. Were they part of a police line-up, I'd recommend fingering New York. At least it had the collective smarts to go with a Democratic Governor, currently a vision-impaired African-American (who's managed to unite a fractured statehouse in his first 100 days), but, alas, formerly a man after Bill Clinton's deeply conflicted heart. Gotta give it up for the whore monger. And speaking of whores and the people who fuck them, let me get back on, um, message: Our high schools and middle schools are seriously fucked. While the reasons are multiple, I will do my best to focus on what I know: teachers, and teaching, and the multitude of morons supposedly trying to help them.
My purpose herein is not to denigrate teachers or the lifestyle imposed by the so-called profession (What, exactly, is being professed? A devotion to the almighty test score? Psychometrics? An over-reliance on dry-erase markers and their swoon-inducing scent?). No.
My purpose is to declare as loudly as I can:
Teaching is one of the most noble forms of public service. Our teachers need more help and support than ever. Our future depends on it.
The hyper-scrutiny they're subjected to amounts to a violent act of betrayal. We owe our good teachers much more than what we perennially, chronically give them on a number of fronts. And I am here to let you know: Something's gotta give. In fact, something will give, something is giving, and it's as ugly as our drop-out rates, as the still-relative dearth of Blacks and Latinos earning graduate degrees , as the business community's constant complaints of under prepared workers, as painful as the tens of thousands of dollars a community college freshman has to shell out for remedial coursework because s/he only learned how to bubble things in correctly, as ugly as the utter and abject waste of precious human capital on both sides of the desk (to put it in terms that even the assholes running the American Enterprise Institute would understand), so to speak. We all suffer when teachers and students lose on such an epic scale.
May this blog do what it can to change the game, bit by bit. After all, I'm a Highly Qualified Screecher (oh so much more on that later).
I'll conclude this maiden post with two pithy-ass things on my mind this very minute:
1) The only good things about Margaret Spellings can be found on her face: What she does with her bangs, and her exquisite choice of eye wear.
2) The worst thing I can possibly call you in this blog: Rod Paige.
Much More Soon,
My Love and Respect Now,