Saturday, February 11, 2017

Torn and Worried

I have been thinking about writing this post for the past week. Honestly, I thought long and hard about it because I do not use this blog much anymore but I also do not want to come across as complaining. I am an educator. I am in my fourth year of teaching in the public school system. I am one of the many teachers who expressed a great deal of concern when the Secretary of Education nominee was named. Betsy DeVos. I had never heard her name before a few weeks ago, but now I fear I will become all too familiar with it. Honestly, I was not too worried about it initially. Then I started seeing clips from her confirmation hearing. This is when my worries kicked in.

I ultimately decided to write this post because there are people in my realm who are genuinely confused or unaware of why so many teachers are against this nomination. So here are my reasons.

1. She IS unqualified
This is an argument that people seem to think is up for debate. It isn't. Trust me she is unqualified for this position. That much was made very clear in her confirmation hearing when she didn't know the difference between growth and proficiency, not terrible for a normal everyday citizen. But ANYONE who has been engrossed in the education community at all in the last few years should have at least a skeleton knowledge of these two terms. It has been a hot button issue in the education community.

2. She is unfamiliar and personally does not support public schools
She has never attended a public school, nor have her kids. Now, that is not a crime. I have nothing against private schools. I, myself, was blessed with the opportunity to attend private school 6-12 grade. However, I also have been blessed to teach in two public schools. I have specifically taught in two different Title 1 schools. The majority of the students that walk through my door know that when they are at school, they are going to get their two best meals of the day there. They know it is a safe place. We literally have students who do not want to go home at the end of the day because they know their world is more stable at school. It is heart breaking and challenging but it is my job and I love it. I love that I get to be a part of their world and showing them what they can accomplish no matter what is going on elsewhere. It is hard to support someone who is clearly not in support or at the very least does not understand what it is like to work in or attend public school.

3. She supports taking money away from public schools.
You might have heard about the whole school voucher issue. At first glance, you might think- well that seems great. I mentioned earlier I attended a private school throughout middle and high school. I am grateful for that opportunity and naively used to think it was silly that my parents' taxes went to fund public schools when they didn't have any kids in school there. If you or your kids attended or attend private schools, you might find yourself in that same realm of thinking. I also mentioned earlier that I am a teacher in a public school. As a teacher in a public school, I know there are often times where I spend my own money to fund things because I know I wouldn't be able to get it for them otherwise. I try my best to weigh out the cost and the benefits. I am very worried about having someone in office that would take money away from public schools by pushing the voucher issue.

4. Accountability 
In the time I have spent learning about Betsy DeVos and her campaign for charter schools through a voucher system, I have been troubled. The main trouble I have is accountability. This was also an issue that came up in her confirmation hearing. She flat out refused to answer the question about whether or not these charter schools would have to answer to the same accountability measures that public schools do. Here is a hint, the ones she has supported do not. So even though they would be funded with tax payer money, they are not held accountable to the same degree.

Those are just 4 bullet points that will maybe help you understand why educators are against this nomination and appointment. Personally, it is more insulting than anything else. If I had been asked similar questions and gave similar responses in a basic job interview for a teaching interview, I can guarantee I would have been ushered out the door and would have never heard another word from them about a potential job offer. Instead, we are ushering her into the most powerful position available in the education community. This is why we are worried!