Mike Matthews just posted this on Facebook, and he is absolutely correct. It is NOT about the teachers Jack. But you already know that, don’t you. It’s just easy for your game plan if people think that!
Some individuals truly believe that the *best* teachers are at schools where students perform great on the state test. I have never and will never buy into this belief that so many #edreformers (and our governor and Department of Education) hold.
As full-time president, I get to visit lots of schools on a regular basis. I’ve visited a majority of Red Clay’s elementary schools. When I tell teachers I taught at Warner Elementary, the response from a few dozen of them has been “Really?? I started my career at Warner!” or “I started my career at Shortlidge!” or “I started my career in the city!”
I’ve asked some a follow-up: “Why did you leave?” And most have given similar answers: “I never felt we got the support that we required to address student needs” or “I couldn’t balance having my own family and continuing to work until 7 or 8 at night” or “Classroom management was a huge issue and support was limited.”
So, according to our Governor and DoE the problem with the inner-city schools and low test scores is poor administration and teachers. But many of the teachers — a good portion of whom started their careers at inner-city schools — who are now working at “successful” (based on standardized test scores) suburban schools are having their students perform magnificently on the test.
So what’s the problem here? Do the teachers at “low-performing” city schools suck? Should they all have to reapply for their jobs? Because it’s very likely that the same “low-performing” city teacher today will in two or three years be a “high-performing” suburban teacher after they’ve chosen to leave the city school because of any number of stressors.
How do we get these ALREADY GREAT teachers in our city schools to STAY so that communities and relationships can be BUILT and SUSTAINED?
I continue to believe that the answer is easier than we all make it out to be, but too few people are willing to confront those tough questions and have the courageous conversations needed to move forward.