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Reaction to Sen. McCain


Teach Baltimore of More Humbly did I Teach (formerly Epiphany in Baltimore) was surprised by the large applause Sen. John McCain received after declaring in his RNC speech that he will, “help bad teachers find another line of work.”

(It was) the applause that most struck me - a wild, frenzied cheer for teachers to lose their jobs. I just keep trying to imagine if the line was about another profession, like firefighters, or police officers … immediately thereafter McCain brings up the word "accountability," which is a euphemistic buzzword for standardized tests.

On the other had, TB says he got goose bumps when McCain called education the “civil rights issue of this century.” But he would take a different approach than either presidential candidate is proposing:

My answer for that is to create an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing equal public education for all, not on more testing "accountability." (And, make no mistake, I have nothing against accountability; I just don't think a standardized test is the end-all and be-all, or anywhere near it.)

The comment about helping bad teachers find a new job was very upsetting. I'm an award-winning, certified chemistry and general science teacher, who taught in an inner-city school for at-risk students. I loved my job. I loved my students. Yet the stress of abusive principals, gangs, drugs, shootings, murdered students, a riot, etc., took its toll on me and I left teaching. I wrote a book about the obstacles I fought, called NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND? THE TRUE STORY OF A TEACHERS QUEST by Elizabeth Blake, available on Amazon.com. I think perhaps administration should assume more responsibility for education. How can I educate a child when the principal expels my favorite student, for next to no reason? Kind of hard to educate him, when he's been expelled because the principal was in a bad mood! I had another principal who told me, "Don't bother with these knuckleheads. They're not going anywhere, anyway."
I was a good teacher who cared about her students. Even now, I get choked up thinking about it. But I left because of the stress. Teachers need support, not criticism, Senator McCain!

I suppose life's experiences sometimes affect how one interprets future experiences and even political speeches. I heard Senator McCain's comment about finding poor teachers another line of work and I applauded him. Yes, I am an educator of over 20 years and I am tired of ineffective, uncaring teachers giving those of us who work extremely long hours and often try to give more of ourselves than we have to give bad publicity. More importantly, I am tired of uncaring, poor teachers and administrators being allowed to continue robbing our children of a good education. The majority of our teachers are wonderful caring and effective teachers. But it shouldn't matter whether it is a teacher, fireman, policeman, doctor, lawyer, or Senator. If you're not doing your job, you shouldn't be allowed to continue drawing the paycheck. Senator McCain also said that he would call for more teacher accountability, but let's find out exactly what he meant by accountability before we assume he meant more standardized testing. By the way, I also heard Gov. Palin say that our special needs children will have an advocate in the White House if she and Senator McCain are elected.

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