We Are An ARMY of Teachers

By Dave Russell
I just got finished reading a post on United Opt Out National’s blog titled: “A Teacher Story: Why I’m Leaving Public Education.” It is a real story about one teacher’s experiences with abusive policies surrounding testing mania that lead to the hard decision to leave education. If you haven’t read it, do so. It is raw, brutally honest, and exposes the realities of “reform.” After reading it, I was compelled to leave the following remark:

“God Damn-it! This pisses me off so much, I am seeing red. I so understand your feelings of defeat and fully support your decision, as will so many of us who are facing or have faced this Gauntlet of emotional, professional, and spiritual beatings. Understand, I wish you nothing but the best in whatever the future may hold for you - may you land on your feet and once again find your bliss.

What has me so pissed off is that this scenario is EXACTLY what the Oligarch's are gunning for. Here is an experienced, caring teacher with SO much to give to the kids and her fellow teachers who is being so systematically scrutinized, criticized, demoralized, demonized, and a whole lot of "ized's," I haven't thought of that he/she has finally tossed in the towel and is walking away from a lifetime of service and a career born of a deeply rooted passion for kids.

This is nothing less than "teacher cleansing" where teachers are systemically targeted for professional scrutiny and punishment based on salary, political reasons, or some other arbitrary or capricious reason. As the "business model" continues to invade schools like the tentacles of a corrosive cancer, we will see more and more of this type of decimation happen among our ranks.

And don't kid yourself, as Michelle Rhee continues to successfully lobby for the removal of LIFO and tenure, we will see our most experiences (read expensive) teachers get bloodied by the very tactics our author experienced. The outcome is predictable. Toss the expensive teachers on the curb like so much trash, gather all that salary and hire short-term contract scabs and pay them gobs of bonus money for successfully teaching to the test and raising scores.

We are an ARMY of teachers fed up with this! We are a sleeping giant ready to roar, claw back the oppression and RESTORE education to a colorful world where kids are free to explore the world around them in a safe and encouraging way. Fear has us paralyzed. Tradition has us waiting. The machine is counting on our passivity. And if we don't coalesce and act NOW, before long we too will be walking the gauntlet, getting bloodied, and being tossed out on our own ear.”

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