Teachers of the Inner-City

October 28, 2011

Teachers of the inner-city, how many people truly understand your situation and your hardships? Where are the collective voices of America speaking up for you? How many of these antagonists and policy makers of public schools  spent hard years of labor in these schools? I will make a 100 to 1 bet,  not many of them have done so. If they had truly worked in a hard inner-city school, they would never try to solve America’s education problems with the solutions they offer. If  they had worked as teachers they would offer solutions that are more democratic in thought and purpose.

There is a strange dichotomy involved in the battle over public schools and educational issues. The people at the top of the education ladder ( a great many from private schools) have directed and controlled the policies, funding, and educational philosophies of our schools. They have contributed greatly to the present problems in education. These same people, who have never lived or experienced the hell created by their decisions, are quick to transfer the blame for the problem to the groups most effected. The people living the hell are blamed for the hell and should, therefore, accept new  decisions and policies for solving their problems without their input. If  the people at the top want” no child left behind,” then provide a level playing field with money, resources, facilities, and opportunities between suburban schools and inner-city schools. If you can not provide a level playing field, for any reason, then shut up and accept the blame for the problems.

The next strange dichotomy is the lack of  a unified voice and collective action by the groups suffering the most. One would think the person or groups in education, that suffer the most, would have a strong voice raised in protest. Only when a person has been in the stomach of the education dragon does one realize how difficult it can be to speak out, to question, or to effect change.

As a co-steward of the union at my school, I have seen many teachers lives and careers change drastically from saying “no” one time, or being defiant one time, to an administrator. How many teachers  working sixty hours a week, working multiple duty stations, volunteering to work outside school activities have been ostracized and criticized for saying no to another duty or activity? How many teachers have had their loyalty or dedication to their students questioned or doubted after refusing to do one more duty station?  Many teachers have found themselves on the fast track to poor classroom observations, floating teacher status, and removal from the school, after saying no one time? In such educational environments teachers and administrators have not found their collective voice or will. The very same teachers and administrators that encourage their students to question, to speak out, to stand tall, to challenge wrong can not do this for themselves, the schools, or their students.

One last strange dichotomy is perhaps the strangest of all. Public schools and teachers have become  the bedrock and foundation of our democratic society. The ideals, values, and hopes of liberty and democracy have been taught, learned, and transmitted by teachers throughout the world through our public schools. Our schools, school systems, and teachers have been the role model and hope for people and nations around the world for decades.

Our schools today have major problems. There is not one major problem, I know and believe, that can not be solved, by our  schools, when proper discipline is re-established in schools (read earlier posts). When real discipline is established in schools we can all work together to save our schools, our core values, and America.

But, who is stepping forward to save our schools, our core values, and America?  Business corporations, holding companies, and billionaires have stepped forward with solutions. What are the solutions they offer? They suggest and want privatization of public schools (Corporation values of success and profit) and constant testing as the only true indicators of  success and worth. What is the history and track record when business goals, values, and profit are mixed with democratic ideals and liberty? The picture that emerges is not always a pretty one.

Our forefathers wrote the Declaration Of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights as a response to the exploitation and suffering created by British Corporations. The American Revolution was a response to the power, greed, and exploitation of British Holding Companies.

The world experienced four hundred years of colonization, greed and profit taking. British Corporations have left hundreds of years of profit and loss statements in India. They also left  records of the vast suffering and millions of lives lost due to corporations greed, power, and profit margin.

How many revolutions in history and present day have had the underlying root cause, the  greed, power, profit margin, or human exploitation created by corporations?

Teachers of America, the time has come to stand up for ourselves and our basic freedoms. Only when we stand up to protect our rights and freedoms can we pass them on to the next generation.


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