TO: All Teachers, Students and Public School Districts
RE: Budget Crisis
The State of Michigan has a budget deficit. "WE" all need to pitch in and get it under control. Therefore, expect a few financial cuts and legal changes. Students you will need to help out as well. Don't raise your hand as much in class. From now on if you feel you must raise your hand to get help make it fast because there will be at least 35 others in class with you. If there's 35 or more of you in class and class periods are 40 or 50 minutes long that's... let me see... allow the nerd in me to compute this off the top of my head... I estimate that each student will have 1.142857 minutes per class for questioning their teacher; presuming of course there is no external delays or interruptions. Well, good; we are on board then... double knot those laces, roll up those sleeves, guys take off those ties and lets get to work team...
For starters, in the education profession everything seems to be gauged on earning a letter grade. When you truly analyze letter grades there is more room for improvement in the failing category (from 0-59%) but the grade will still appear on the report as failing. Yet, the improvement in the failing category may in fact be more significant for that individual than a student in the "A" or 90-100% range. Okay, not convinced, what about measuring all the teachable moments pertaining to respect for others, compassion, morals and ethics, human value, etc. Are these typically measurable on a standardized assessment. Not likely, but a prompt on one of these topics could appear as a persuasive essay on a standardized test. Yes, it certainly could be evaluated there. Who is responsible for correcting those responses? Is your response a private sector company that has no background in education? If so, you are correct and this is what is used to measure the success of a student and will ultimately measure a successful teacher against his or hers colleagues. One test, one opportunity, one result... data.
The fact is Mr. Governor measuring and paying teachers like those in the private sector is not compatible. When you were doing so well financially in the 1990's, as well as others in the private sector, teacher pay and compensation, per pupil expenditures and retirement costs were never on any of your radars. These budgetary items weren't on your radars because at the time they were mildly cost effective for the times. These things are no longer cost effective, not because of the poor economy but because of your prioritization. Cutting funds to education will not make for a more efficient business out of the public schools. Teachers and schools are not in the business of making a profit; we are in the business of educating; we are in the business of inspiring; we are in the business building individual character one stone at a time. Cuts to education in the short term may help to balance the State's budget quickly but in the long term it will hurt students and the future of the teaching profession. Those in the teaching profession now are resourceful, highly educated and will, like all other hard working Michiganders make ends meet some how, some way. Make sure, however, Mr. Governor that you don't spin this educational crisis as being that teachers will not make sacrifices, because this is a crisis precipitated by your prioritization and nothing more. Good Luck.