Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Teacher Respect Starts At The Top. However, From President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg All We See Is Teacher Bashing.
One of the reasons that teachers are being disrespected by the news media is that they take the cues from the politicians that get the most publicity and has the most power. Yes, there are the new wave Republican Governors in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and New Jersey who believe teacher bashing is some sport. However, the two leading anti-teacher politicians have to be President Obama who thought it was appropriate to fire the entire high school teaching staff because of the failure for the heavily immigrant student body to meet Rhode Island academic standards. Of course Obama ignored the fact that most of those teachers gave their sweat and blood to help these students but were stopped by lack of resources, and the social-economic community that the students came from. With the President bashing teachers, it became open season for those education deformers to attack teachers and their "due process rights". To most people if the President blames the teachers for the student shortcomings it must be true.
That brings me to the Emperor, Mayor4Life Michael Bloomberg who has taken "teacher bashing" to a new low. Over 80% of his proposed layoffs are teachers while he ignores a 10% increase in the DOE Central Bureaucracy. The Mayor not only wants to layoff teachers wholesale but proposed the elimination of teacher seniority based layoffs known as "last in, first out" or LIFO. The Bloomberg Bill to end LIFO was a transparent attempt to get rid of highly paid senior teachers and replace them with inexpensive and unvested "newbie teachers" in his "education on the cheap" policy. Day in and day out the Mayor grips about LIFO and has Fox News as well as the New York Daily News and the New York Post almost daily lobby for the end of LIFO. Even Newsday was on board but only if it was implemented Statewide. The Mayor even paid for million dollar commercials to press his case against LIFO and has so far failed miserably when the Governor and Assembly refused to allow Bloomberg's Bill to see the light of the day. In fact, Bloomberg's attack on teachers has backfired with historically low approval ratings of 40%. Now he has fired his incompetent Chancellor and put his poodle in charge who stated that he will be champion the same old failed Bloomberg reform policies that have alienated parents, students, and teachers alike.
However, the damage is done. Parents talk disrespectfully of the schools based upon politician actions and the mass media. Their children then tap into their parent's feelings and many students no longer give the teacher the respect he or she deserves. Ask students how they feel about their individual teacher and they will tell you that their teacher is "great" but if you ask them about teachers in general, a different answer appears. These students will tell you that many teachers don't care or are disinterested in the students. Where did that feeling come from? I just said that most students respect their teachers, it is the others that the students complain about. The answer is quite simple it is what they hear and read which is an unrelenting stream of teacher bashing and as Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbles once said "if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth".
We need to make a concerted effort to show that teacher respect is positively correlated with student academic achievement. The only chance to narrow the student academic achievement gap is to give back the respect teachers once enjoyed, until the politicians decided that the teachers were the blame for the nation's financial and educational woes. They make excellent scapegoats in a nation in crises.