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Al Tucker

Education 2011: A case study in seniority-and burn-out - Buffalo Spree - September 2011... - 74 views

  • The following year teachers are required to “map” curriculums, a long process with no apparent functional use. Teaching for Understanding and Cross Curriculum Literacy are two trendy new programs promoting the latest hot topic. Everyone reads Active Literacy before author Heidi Hayes Jacobs arrives amidst great fanfare to promote her comprehensive program, which administrators cherry-pick, then forget. By 2008 the latest buzz-phrase is Professional Learning Communities. The high school adopts this concept at considerable cost and strife. Three years later Principal Power moves on, and PLCs fizzle. With each new initiative Sara’s enthusiasm diminishes. She has twenty-two years of books, binders, and workshop folders stacked in a file drawer, representing hundreds of hours of abandoned work. Sara digs through the strata like a scientist noting geologic eras. She ponders the energy spent on each new program, technological advance, and philosophical shift, and decides the only way she’ll make it to retirement is to stop caring so much. President Obama introduces the Race to the Top Fund, and by 2010 New York has successfully secured its slice of the cash cow. Common Core Standards are developed in 2011, and a system is put into place to rate teachers based on student test scores. Epilogue In 2013 the anti-union movement hits NY State and teacher unions lose the right to collectively bargain. With the help of key Assembly members, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo push through legislation they had endorsed for years eliminating the time-honored practice of laying-off teachers by seniority—“last hired, first fired.” A new math teacher is hired at Sara’s school. Being young and unattached, Bob impresses the new principal, who sees to it that he is not assigned the “problem” kids. Sara remains a competent and dedicated teacher, but the fire is out. She is asked to mentor Bob, but feels no motivation to train the competition. Bob can’t help but notice that Sara shows little interest in the newest reform initiatives. In 2014 a math position is cut due to budget constraints. At half the pay, Bob is clearly the better choice. Sara is laid off, and at age fifty, with a son in college, she joins the unemployed.
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    this article seems to chronicle the last fifteen years of my career - but the characters names are all different.
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