No Child Left Behind? Thoughts on education and special education in title 1 and other charter and public school settings.

Why does the “No Child Left behind”, and other educational initiatives and related laws leave so many children behind and much to  be desired. 1-Corporate America, Capitalist and competitive approach to education. 2- Administrators remove resources from special ed departments, requiring teachers to wear more hats than humanly possible. Teachers who began with ideals, find themselves leaving the initial goal of the student welfare behind. Other teachers realize that if they do not comply with the culture, they will be unemployed. For this reason, many feel compelled to follow and overlook the inequities, unethical remarks which undermine not only co workers but their ability to contribute to their highest degree, but also create a culture of malice that is witnessed by our youth.  Who will be equipped ,in the next generations to run our country in a free and equal, but also knowledgeable manner if we allow these undermining practices to steal their educational years in this manner.

.  Meetings, pre-meetings and post-meetings which undermine some of the hardest workers are often condoned.  Allowing it to happen without negative consequence; rewarding with political promotions based on “tactical friendship”  and partiality perpetuates the problem.  Education will be benefited when we move away from the requirement of tactical networking and more toward creating learning communities for the adults.

1-Corporate America, Capitalist and competitive approach to education. 2- Administrators remove resources from special ed departments misappropriating it for other uses and leaving teachers to give an unmanageable level of service hours to students while removing chunks of time for assessments, various duties, and a myriad of time consuming meetings. While being told to be a substitute at one school for 2-4 entire days during many weeks, participating in IEP meetings, MRT meetings, FSA testing, and various other forms of assessments, in addition to duties of creating and evaluations for assessment tasks, writing IEPs doing observations, and writing ongoing support notes, lesson plans and progress reports .This year the accumulating total of students in my latest school surpassed 40. As 5 more students were sent to be added to my list, over 6 grade levels, I pleaded for the principal to add another ESE teacher over the 6 grade levels K-6. Time and time again, I was told that my Charter school administration would not fund this. I explained that for every 10 students, the school received $38,000 (now $42,000) for special education. I asked why that money was not used to add another teacher; and made no friends in asking that.  Each time. I explained the need, in terms of time and testing, the answers became increasingly condescending. I was advised to see each student for 7 minutes. On many occasions, I was asked to reset my schedule, and after a district evaluation and corporate review, their was a sudden “Concern” that I was not seeing students enough. Signature pages, were scrutinized, teachers were required to sign to verify that I saw students, but were seemingly advised to refuse. I was advised that during testing, I still must see students the required number of hours, and hours were added to every student to make up for the time that sharing students with another teacher would have provided.  Teachers (instead of thanking me, scrutinized me and began to berate me in front of students). The IEPs were rewritten extra times, and verbiage was scrutinized with lists of critiques including, “did students require this accommodation” , Why did I not use the specific verbiage which had never been shared with me, but was a good addition too the “got ya” game. “Did I bring it on myself by refusing to add to a paper trail for other teachers who were set to be out of favor?”.

I have often heard it said that educators leave education because of the behavior of the children, who are their students. Often they leave because the actions and behaviors of their own coworkers and the competition which hinders cooperation and learning communities among the adults. As teachers focus on overcoming a constant onslaught of gossip meant to make one person look better at the expense of another, this removes the focus necessary for those employees to succeed as well as to help our students succeed.  I believe these ulterior motivations are what causes children to be LEFT BEHIND in the educational process. Networking in all companies leaves those who try to focus on the business of teaching, to serve as stepping stones for a career path. Acceptance of this form of competition (looking the other way or rewarding the behaviors with promotions and power) remove the focus from education of students.  If teachers compete against each other, and schools follow suit, the practice of keeping secrets about how to help students is fed. Teachers are rewarded if they are at the top of a heap, which usually means they are knocking others over so they can scaffold themselves upward by climbing up the bodies of their coworkers. A morbid and cynical picture, but it illustrates what is wrong with education.

B-It answers that eternal question, “Why do teachers leave the profession?” as well. In order to remain part of the current education system, you must be willing to play the political games of gossip, and networking. Those who are good at this, remain, even if they do not spend time and energy to positively impact student motivation and learning. They must have the gift of gab to profess the “group think” verbiage, phrases, such as “Its all for the children.” as they work on their relationships with those they feel may help their career. Time is spent in meetings, writing and at events that ensure they are in favor with the appropriate people and that the small amount of time spent working ,  is leveraged t appear more than it is, often taking credit for the work of others, and finding scapegoats with the remaining hours. The cross section of the population of people who fit the needed requirements for these political games, and people who have the desire and ability to want to teach, make a difference, and have the innate ability to do all of these is very small. The component of nurturing you would think should be part of the teaching community, is dying out of the pool of teacher candidates, through what I like to call a form of corporate Darwinism. The survival is of only the most treacherous, therefore filtering out those who are unwilling to put full energy into participation, of these cut throat practices. Just as it affects the banking system and other corporate entities, such as Enron. It is so much worse, when our children’s futures are at stake.

Is it just that the bullies from high schools everywhere, did not move out of the schools, but became the administrators, and lead teachers? Their time spent in this cycle of abuse is now rewarded with promotion, while the onlookers believe the shades of blame they so adeptly pass on to the new teacher recruits , and  milder teachers, (“do-gooders” who would follow a dream of helping children were it not thwarted by the leaden  shoes of these giants, bullies, abusers of power).  These are the same people who give voice to how much they care about students, teary eyed, they express there purpose in helping low income students, new teachers, and  parents, while the need for someone to squash is the underlying driving force behind their actions. Feigning helpfulness, just enough to be able to brag, but not enough to actually be helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28(2), 117. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.capella.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.library.capella.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=6412974&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-Efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change.  Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

 

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

 

Pajares, F. (1996). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of Educational Research, 66(4), 543-578. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/214115079?accountid=27965

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