The following is an open letter to teachers’ professional organizations in Texas. It is in response to a recently-received, full-color mailing from an organization purporting to “Support Our Teachers.”
What, if anything, is our collective response to this organization’s political agenda (http://www.excellenceintheclassroom.com)? Should we not be mounting a defensive campaign of some kind?
It seems clear to me that this movement is a well-funded marketing effort to garner public support for a bill that, if passed, would mandate merit pay, impose TEA performance evaluations, and force the early retirement of many good, hard-working educators in our state. Rather than improving teacher retention (one of this organization’s stated goals), I foresee just the opposite happening. Public school teachers’ jobs will become even more frustrating and difficult than they already are.
Talk about a crisis in education! When enough teachers walk away from their careers in public education, they will be hired back by an increasing number of private schools that are funded, at least in-part, by school vouchers. In these schools, teachers will be free from government mandates and restrictions (these are the real problem as I see it). Once free, teachers will finally be able to focus on students’ individual learning needs. Hmmm… Maybe I should just relax and, borrowing from the title of a 1960s satirical film on the Cold War, “…Learn to Love the Bomb.” However, when the bomb finally drops there will no longer be even a pretense of equal educational opportunity.
Whether you are persuaded by this mailing (you should have received you own copy by now if you are a homeowner in Texas and not employed by one of our “independent” school districts), or see through it for what it is and really do side with teachers in your area, please contact your state representative to let him/her know where you stand.
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