Relentless positive action

(Note to the GG: You mi’s’well quit reading right now. I know you’re sick of hearing me rant and rave and carp about this stuff.)

I guess that relentless positive action might work if you are big robot bugs who have arrived to take over the earth. I suppose if you lose a few of your comrades along the way, a 3D printer in the mother ship can just print more robot bugs and ship ’em down to earth. And your invasion goes on. Or if you are a tree who is intent on growing through a fence [wink].

Here in the god-forsaken Great Lake State, our wondrous governor is a firm believer in relentless positive action. And that’s okay up to a point. Except that some of the ideas that he has implemented via positive relentless action (and a bunch of radical tea party type conservatives in the legislature) could maybe use a second (and third (and fourth (and fifth))) think-through.

There’s the Emergency Manager law. Actually, there are two laws and one of them was repealed and it is much more complicated than my poor little blonde brain can process let alone ‘splain it on my blahg. Basically, it allows the guv’ner to appoint some random person to take over a failing school district or city. Last I looked, there were “courses” or whatever to “train” someone to be an emergency manager. So I guess it’s a “career path” now, at least here in the god-forsaken Great Lake State.

Does this work? How about Muskegon Heights public school district’s experience with it. The public school district in Muskegon Heights (a low-income area on the west side of our lower peninsula) was in financial dire straits. Our wondrous governor and his lackeys appointed an EM who decided that the ONLY way to “save” the schools was to sell (wrong word, see below) them off to a private big business for-profit charter school company. He fired ALL of the teachers at the end of the last school year and expected Mosaica to come in with a big Mighty Mouse cape on to save the day. Michigan Public Radio reported yesterday that one quarter of the 140 teachers hired by Mosaica over the summer have already quit. There were various reasons why they quit. They weren’t being paid a living wage and there were no discipline policies at the schools are two of them. … … …

There are a lot of problems with the public schools in the god-forsaken Great Lake State (and all over the country). Can we save our schools by having large for-profit corporations take them over? I do not think so. And what about those damn unions anyway? Is it hard to fire horrible teachers? Maybe it is. And maybe that kind of thing needs to be addressed. But, in my own experience as a student *plus* my childrens’ experiences, I can count the truly awful teachers on one hand, and most of those are on my own hand. Hey, there are terrible doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, and systems analysts out there too!

We need to FIX the public schools in our country. Do we have school boards who make horrible decisions? Yes, we do. But what about the children? Who is paying attention to the childrens’ experience. I spent a LOT of time volunteering over at my kids’ elementary (and middle and high) schools. (When they left for college, I took a well-deserved break.) I could walk to the elementary school in a couple minutes (I still walk through there every day). And during my volunteer work there and just hanging around with my friends there, I saw up front and personal, the kids and families who were struggling. Some of those kids attended multiple schools per year. Some kids survive that kind of thing somehow. Others may not.

My state is demoralizing its teachers. We cannot keep doing that. We cannot continue to go down the path of evaluating teachers based on their students’ test scores. Public school teachers are working with whoever comes in the door. They have no control over what is going on at a student’s home and they have very little control over what their administration (not to mention a bunch of damn ill-informed politicians) decides to do. I have never been in a union (The Comm was, as a teacher) but I understand why unions exist and I support them and I believe in the public schools. We need to educate all children, not just those whose parents can afford to either send them to a fancy private school or move into a “good” neighborhood.

Boy oh boy am I tired…

Updated in the cold clear light of day: “Sell” is totally the wrong word. The taxpayers of this state are *paying* Mosaica to perform the duties of the public schools. I do not think we are getting our money’s worth.

3 Responses to “Relentless positive action”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I agree with this rant. And thank you for seeing the reality of the situation, unlike so many who figure that magic answers are out there somewhere.

  2. Pooh Says:

    I agree with you also, and feel for the kids. If you want a feel good moment about education, check out Dalton Sherman’s speech to the Dallas School District. Mark posted a link on one of his blogs this week, or you can find it on youtube.

  3. Tonya Says: