It’s summer and Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) has been loafing quite a bit. Also, he can barely start a reflection on an issue and a dozen other important things to talk about occur. So here is a random compilation of issues that won’t get the full treatment.
#hireavet: The latest and definitely not-so-greatest idea from Florida’s Department of Education is to issue 5-year temporary teaching certificates to military veterans or their spouses even if they had not earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Lots of outrage has ensued, mostly centered around the difference between military and school culture, soldiering vs. teaching, and professional knowledge about how children learn.
GOT agrees with everyone in principle, but these are desperate days. Look down the hallway; there are empty classrooms with 25 to 30 children needing somebody. There aren’t many options and every one of them will require the professional corps of certified teachers to take on something extra be it supporting a long-term sub, taking extra students into their classrooms, or giving up planning periods.
Then there is GOT’s district which came up with this solution: Raise class sizes and wipe out the vacancies. Presto chango, what teacher shortage?
The idea to hire military vets may not be the best idea, but it’s not the dumbest. (Not the least because the vet must have 48 months of service and an honorable discharge, 60 college credits and a 2.5 GPA, and a pass on the Subject Area Exam–in other words, they know their stuff presumably.)
As for qualifications, GOT starts here, whether we’re talking about a veteran, an alt cert teacher, or a graduate from a traditional teacher’s college: Do you like kids?
Anyone who can’t say yes can hit the bricks. Those who can, let’s talk.
#parentalrights: A/k/a, the Don’t Say Gay bill. The Gotterdamerung of public schooling has come to this: parent groups, among whom the most notorious is the group Moms For Liberty (M4L), will monitor classrooms and nail the teachers’ unions and their minions in the indoctrination of children. The latest reports say they will monitor teachers’ social media to catch them out.
Florida parents now have statutory permission to sue school systems if they disagree with something a teacher said in the classroom or they can report the teacher to their employer for discipline.
But how will they know? The problem with groups like M4L is that they don’t have children in the classroom, who will be the only source for naughty teaching. Even parents whose children are in public schools can only make allegations based on hearsay.
Do these people really think teachers are going to cry and fold? Looking forward to the false accusations and the defamation lawsuits. M4L, maybe transfer your assets offshore? Teachers are not going to lay down and take your abuse.
#bookbanning: If you study history, you know this is as American as apple pie, Mom, and Chevrolet. Well, maybe not Chevrolet. Open the hood and identify the parts that were manufactured in America. <Giggle>, if you drive a City Express van like GOT, you know it’s a Nissan that Chevy bolted their nameplate onto. But GOT digresses.
The point is that it’s been tried before. Didn’t work then; won’t work now. (But the van runs with no trouble as it logs 84,000 miles, six years, and counting.)
#CRT: The outrage of 2021, this one has about run its course. The roofer and his ginned-up outrage had fun while it lasted. Most people tried to explain that the actual Critical Race Theory, developed in the 1970s, isn’t actually taught in schools.
That misses the point. If you can stand the bald candor, what the outrage has been about is allowing school children to look at narratives other than the happy slave story. A Birthday Cake for Mr. Washington becomes the approved curriculum.
Woe to those who disagree.
#Groomer: For his next trick, the roofer will convince you that Mrs. McGuffin, your dowager kindergarten teacher, with her lilac-scented eau de toilette and mid-20th century English dress, is turning your kid much as a vampire might suck out their blood until they go <ahem> … rogue.
#Ukraine: While Florida digested teacher reports of indoctrination by their Department of Education via summer Civics seminars, news came out of Russia that they saw Ron DeSantis’s bid and raised him double. Russia’s version of a Department of Education has rewritten the history curriculum for Ukrainian schools to correct the history that is being taught (their words) and pushing their version into Ukrainian schools wherever they have taken over.
Ukrainian teachers in the affected regions (Kherson and surrounding environs) have fled. That is why Russia is offering teachers a huge bonus for agreeing to go to Ukraine and teach. According to reports, many Russian teachers are interested despite the fact that they might/will end up in a war zone.
It seems Russian teachers are as badly underpaid as US teachers and the offer is attractive to many despite the bombs that may drop on their heads.
Ron DeSantis has made sure that the Florida legislature pushed through laws that our schools must teach about the evils of Communism. Irony of ironies, he is determined to copy them.