Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Years Gone

I write more than I publish here. We're not talking volumes - just some stuff. Here's a nice example I just ran across browsing: a letter I wanted to send Obama back in 2010. While never intended for the blog, I think it's not a bad addition, and an interesting reflection of where I am now as compared to two and a half years ago.


Dear President Obama,

            I'm concerned. I am a teacher.

I'm twenty-three with a Masters from Bennington college in Teaching. Yesterday I learned that 23,000 teachers were laid off in California. Tens of thousands more have been laid off nationwide.

My best teacher in college was excellent because she was fearless. She was never afraid of being fired for teaching what she believed and teaching to a higher standard. This cost her many jobs, and a permanent off-on relationship with coffee vendors and bookstores to pay the bills.

My job situation is far from ideal, yet I have a job. I am one of the lucky ones. Our charter's administration is disrespectful and rude to faculty, salary cuts are promised for the next year. I have every desire to leave – but what jobs are there for me? Simultaneously I am over- and under-qualified. A degree that requires a higher salary, coupled with a lack of years' experience.

Your salary is $400,000 a year. Mine is $30,000. We're both poor compared to Barry Bonds who made  $20,000,000 this year.

Can you address this? We need as a country to prioritize education. Local control over education leads to the horrors of the recent Texas Board of Education's decisions. A lack of understanding from Washington can lead to No Child Left Behind. My proposal:

  1. A national standard in teacher salaries that reflects the challenges of being a teacher.
  2. More rigor in teacher training and qualification. You should see the tests they give us. If you can't pass them, and frighteningly many don't, you should probably not be allowed near a blender, much less students.

We can't have a nation of low standards and low achievement. If teachers were paid more and had more rigorous examinations and qualifications as they do elsewhere then our schools will improve.

And perhaps we should put a cap on athlete salaries.

Thank you. I voted for you, and hope to do so again.
I sincerely hope this reaches you.

~ Ross Dillon, High School History Teacher

No comments: