Saturday, March 5, 2011


I just received this. THe interesting and overlook fact is the issue that Ms. Stevenson and Diane Ravitch are raising. How are we doing in schools with less than 10% poverty rates....That seems to be a statistic "reformers" easily ignore as they attack teachers throughout the country. I've taught in both types of schools. I have mentored teachers in both types of schools. Good teachers know how to work with kids from both settings. Dumbing things down for poor kids doesn't do anything for their future. It simply makes test makers and prep for the test supporters happier.

"I teach in a right-to-work state, Texas, and it's more like a right -to- get- fired state. With the Texas budget shortfall projected at $27 billion in the next biennium, Wisconsin's shortfall, still in the millions, sounds like a pajama party. The Texas legislature is refusing to fulfill its constitutional duty to fund public education. It's estimated that 100,000 Texas educators will lose their jobs, and there is nothing we can do about it. Over 8% of our district's current staff has received RIF (reduction in force) notices, including 573 teachers. Now that the school board voted for financial exigency, our superintendent has the power to ignore our contracts. Here in Texas, our "unions" have no collective bargaining power. Our teachers rank 39th in pay compared to other states, and our student test scores are far below those of children in states with strong teachers' unions, such as Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Therefore, please do not blame the unions for the problems in public education. Even the pseudo-documentary, Waiting for Superman, which faked scenes so that it was ineligible for an Academy Award nomination, admits that only one in five charter schools outperform traditional public schools. Stop scapegoating teachers. American students who attend schools with less than 10% poverty outperform every other country but Finland in international tests. Blame instead a national student population of over 20% living in poverty."


Sara Stevenson
O. Henry Middle School Librarian
Austin, Texas

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