Add these to the previous list.
Teachers are tired of relentless data collection and don’t like being conduits for companies to collect and track information on students, families, and themselves.
Improving privacy laws for children has been slow going. Here’s a video covering concerns about data collection in schools.
Here’s a description of the problems, Report – Online and Observed: Student Privacy Implications of School-Issued Devices and Student Activity Monitoring Software.
Data is so important to corporations that the ed. secretary of the State of Virginia is from the Data Quality Campaign, not an educator who supports that state’s teachers.
2. Democrats and Republicans
Democrats and Republicans have been unsupportive of teachers. Teachers need to be able to rely on one political party.
In 2011, the NEA described what they hated about Arne Duncan (never a teacher) in Education Week and Huffpost. Democrats supported the Central Falls, R.I., teacher firings, created unrealistic Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, and short-sighted competitive grants. They weighed in too heavily on local decisions, embraced charter schools hurting real public schools, funded School Improvement Grants for turnaround strategies, and pushed teacher evaluations based partly on student scores.
Republicans have been about choice and have relentlessly pushed vouchers since the Reagan administration and A Nation at Risk. They have worked to destroy the Separation of Church and State. Republican astroturf groups have dominated school discussions and worked to change the nature of public schooling, making demands about book banning and how and what they believe teachers should teach. They have been swayed by those like Betsy DeVos and politicians who vilified teachers, especially during the pandemic.
Public school teachers welcome all students and appreciate diversity. While formal CRT isn’t usually taught in public schools, social justice issues have evolved to help past marginalized students feel part of their school and society.
Instead of teachers and parents working together, witch-hunt measures make teachers look criminal and create fear in parents.
In Florida, Gov. DeSantis and the Florida legislature passed the extreme anti- “woke” and a “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In Virginia, Gov. Youngkin and his administration created a tip line to ban teachers who discuss what they see as divisive concepts.
The anger generated puts well-meaning teachers on the spot and creates a tense backdrop for instruction. It drives parents out of public schools.
Student academic expectations have become developmentally inappropriate. Expectations are raised beyond a child’s development with high-stakes assessments, and when children don’t do well in school, they fail, and teachers are blamed.
For example, in 2016, we learned kindergarten was the new first grade. Since that report, there’s been little pushback on the harm done to kindergarteners. The Common Core State Standards are found in many states and are inappropriate for kindergarten. See Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain Much to Lose.
Teachers recognize inappropriate expectations, understand the pressure placed on students, and fear being blamed when children cannot reach unrealistic goals.
Teachers are rarely valued for their expertise.
In 1998, the National Reading Panel repeatedly cited to support the so-called Science of Reading, which is being used to create more online reading programs, excluded elementary teachers, the people who taught children reading. Here is a list of the members.
Also, few real teachers with classroom experience were included in creating the Common Core State Standards.
When the expertise of teachers, who are the real educators, are repeatedly ignored for the advice of novices, they will leave, and parents will be left to those who know little about teaching.
6. High-Stakes Standardized Testing
High-stakes standardized testing took over schools to make teachers appear to fail. This became a huge issue with No Child Left Behind and continued with Race to the Top and the Every Student Succeeds Act. Forcing teachers to teach to the test creates lackluster schools that parents hate and sets teachers up to fail.
Watch for more testing conversion to online assessment to collect more data on children, like Florida’s new progress monitoring. These programs will use commercial testing to track children after they hand over their personal information.
Placing students online for assessment for data pushes teachers out.
For years, a glut of education leaders with little background in working with children in state or federal positions and nonprofits have worked on behalf of corporate school reformers to privatize public schools.
New Leaders is a good example, where outsiders with no teaching experience become administrators. Or former Teach For America corps members with little training or experience lead state education departments.
It’s demeaning for real teachers to follow those with lesser backgrounds who don’t support their work and are more interested in school privatization than the welfare of students.
Parents and teachers working together are critical for children to learn in school. Parents and teachers need each other if public schools are to survive. When this bond is broken, teachers find it difficult to support students the way they deserve.
Colleges of Education should be where teachers become qualified professionals, but the system is deprofessionalizing teachers through alternative profit-making programs.
Question apprenticeships, high dosage tutors, and the lack of clarity surrounding Grow Your Own programs. What qualifications are required for those placed in classrooms to work with students? Are they fast-track programs?
Groups like Teach for America, Stand for Children, Teach Plus, The New Teacher Project, Relay Graduate School of Education, Deans for Impact, and dozens more nonprofits have anti-teacher agendas. Most are funded by corporations that seek to privatize public education.
Also, EdTPA is a roadblock for young teachers in college. EdTPA problems were described in 2015. A multiple-measure uniform assessment scored by Pearson Education, a private, for-profit corporation also amassing the largest amount of student data in the country, costs $300 per student (they pay for), became more of an unnecessary stumbling block than helping students become better at teaching.
Teachers have had to grovel for resources to effectively teach, relying on well-meaning Americans like those found with Donners Choose. This makes public education charity work.
Teachers pay out of pocket to serve students, but where do education funds go? Why aren’t teachers given the resources they need to teach effectively?
Despite the longtime need for teachers, and the long understanding that they’re underpaid, on August 16, the Economic Policy Institute reported:
. . . teachers are paid less (in weekly wages and total compensation) than their nonteacher college-educated counterparts, and the situation has worsened considerably over time.
Teachers should also get tenure after demonstrating good teaching for several years.
After years of horrific school shootings and after the Biden administration made some progress in addressing this issue, many teachers feel unsafe.
They have little hope that assault weapons, called weapons of war, will be banned or that there will be widely enforced background checks on those who carry, especially young adult males.
There are additional solutions to making schools safer in America. Still, they’re often ignored by those with little vested interest in the safety of students, teachers, staff, and Americans regarding gun safety.
Teachers don’t want to feel like they must put their lives on the line to teach.
Students have more behavioral issues. Large class sizes, lacking mental health support, and the inclusion of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities were already problems that escalated due to the pandemic.
Teachers face the student/s who act out or disrupt class, and too often, they get little support.
Technology for the 21st century is being promoted as revolutionary, but there’s little proof that this alone is positive for students or they learn more this way. Most parents want their children to be less connected to technology.
See how data is intertwined in all areas driving teachers out with the online programs school districts purchase. Usually, the research supporting such programs is done by those selling the programs.
It’s especially troubling to see young children who need to be active and socialize face-to-face with other children and their teachers facing computer screens.
Sawchuck, S. (2011: July 2). Thirteen Things NEA Hates About Arne Duncan? Education Week. Accessed at: https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/thirteen-things-nea-hates-about-arne-duncan/2011/07.
My district just made us switch from Goggle Classroom to Schoology as our teaching and learning platform. It is like stepping back in time to 2005 tech. It is a nightmare. We are also switching to Parent Square. Have you seen any trends towards these platforms? Have you seen any connections to a larger agenda with these? There seems no reasonable reason to make this switch. It is not disruption. It is destruction. Thank you for all your work for us and the children and their families.
Nancy Bailey says
No. I guess tech companies compete. Maybe someone else knows, Jo. I found that Schoology had a massive security breach in 2019 in Baltimore, but they are all concerning.
There are privacy problems with Parent Square (see below) too.
Maybe someone out there can give you a better answer. Thanks, Jo, and hang in there.
This change (along with my home issues) is pushing me towards retirement day. I just cannot teach this way! ????
Nancy Bailey says
I’m sorry, Jo. It’s hard to teach, especially today when there is so much strife. It’s hard to juggle personal difficulties too! I will keep you in my thoughts.
Susan Norwood says
I teach in Nashville, TN and we use Schoology. We started using it during the time we went virtual because of the pandemic. Some of the problems you encounter may be because of the package that your district bought. From what I hear (but nothing to back me up), some districts buy cheaper packages than others. The cheaper packages , so I hear, require teachers to do more. This is my 3rd year of Schoology and it’s been fine now that I know how to use it. The real problem, the one that continues to this day, is that we teachers are being overwhelmed with new technology, new apps, to learn what seems like every single day. I am sick of new technology. Let me learn about the technology I have now before loading more on my plate. Added to my plate this year is Remind. It’s good, but just one more thing to learn. One more thing, I have 180 students, but started the year with 195. I’ve had at least 250 students on my roster. They are added and dropped. Still, that’s a lot of names to learn and kids to “know.”
Nancy Bailey says
Thanks for sharing, Susan. That’s a lot of students. Unbelievable! Well no. Believable but not right or good for instruction.
Teachers have been under intense pressure to improve test scores for two decades. Pressure that comes directly from administrators and BOEs However the origin of the pressure comes from the DOE and, in turn, state ed departments. This pressure was cranked to 11 when RTTT and the NCLB Duncan waivers required that teacher evaluations be based, in large part, on student test scores.
This pressure was unfairly applied to math and ELA teachers (and science to a lesser extent) in grades 3 to 8 who had the burden of being the minority who taught, tested subjects.
Now to the demoralizing effect of NCLB/RTTT/ESSA:
Teachers in the TWO tested subjects are demoralized every time that bogus test scores are used to say that schools are failing. (Interesting use of conflation, no?)
The insane pressure to improve test scores has had a very negative impact on the morale of the majority of those who teach untested subjects because they have been completely marginalized. The over-emphasis on just two academic subjects, left far too many teachers feeling irrelevant. And nothing is more demoralizing than that.
In addition, pressure on administrators also provoked the most demoralizing tactic of all: micro management by principals who could not teach their way out of a wet paper bag.
Twenty years of test and punish reform has not only demoralized public school teachers but failing test scores became the leverage that Edu-Vultures needed to open the door for the school choice /voucher movement.
Nancy Bailey says
Rick. I’m working on a post that reflects this very thing. Thank you so much. You’re always on point.
I especially appreciate your point about the two subjects. I wish you were the ed. sec.