New York Mayor Said What? ’Dump Half the Teachers’


by Felix Perez, video and above graphic courtesy of

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time and self-proclaimed antagonist of the city’s educators, inflamed tensions recently when he proclaimed that the ideal solution to improve public schools is to get rid of half of the teachers.

“If I had the ability . . . you would cut the number of teachers in half, but you would double the compensation of them, and you would weed out all the bad ones and just have good teachers. And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students,” he said at a speech to college students November 29.

One parent, picking up her child after school, reflects widespread reaction to Bloomberg’s remarks this way: “Well, I think he’s whacked, to tell you the truth; this is the future of our country, and why should they [pupils] be cheated?” said Fran Magliocca. “It’s not fair.”

Michael Mulgrew, a high school teacher from Staten Island for students with special needs, says, “So the mayor thinks this is a good idea — in high schools to have class size in high schools of 70 kids. Clearly the mayor has never taught.” Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, likens the mayor’s comment to his appointment of a former magazine editor with no teaching experience to oversee the nation’s largest school system. She stepped down after three months.

Mayor Bloomberg recently made other education-related news after donating $100,000 to help influence control of the Louisiana state school board. The Michael R. Bloomberg Revocable Trust, of which Bloomberg is the principal trustee, donated the money days before an election that decided control of the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The majority of the board now has a clear path to pursue its pet cause: taking taxpayer money from public schools to pay for private school vouchers.

Should we pay teachers more and double class sizes to improve student learning? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Reader Comments

  1. It’s clear that Bloomberg is trying to break down the public school system, and he’s going after the whole country, not just New York. Middle class families can no longer afford to keep the economy alive by buying things they don’t need, so now the politicians and their supporting corporations want to privatize education and sell that. Even if we all agree that Bloomberg is an idiot, here’s my question. Where are the democrats, elected by teachers and other unions, when we need their support? Many of our senators, congress people, even our president, if not openly hostile to teachers, have been shockingly silent in the face of attacks like the one Bloomberg is leading. We need to demand that our leaders earn our votes.

  2. Based on Mayor Bloomberg’s comments, he never taught. When you increase class size there is a severe decrease in one-on-one time for the student and a serious increase in workload for the teacher. Increasing class size hurts students because teachers won’t have enough time to plan engaging lessons or properly grade truckloads of student work that require critical analysis of student understanding. This guy has no education background, yet he thinks he knows what students need to excel? Try using verified research, which all teachers are expected to do! Research tells us that poverty and low achievement are correlated. No matter what the government education mandates are put into place – if a child is hungry or has an unstable home or family, that child will most likely drop out of school. You can’t change this reality unless you address the root causes.

  3. One more idiot jumping on the band wagon of blame the teachers. In the America of today it is a miracle that teachers still want to help their students achieve inspite of the incredible odds against them We are a nation at war. Not in Iraq and not in Afganistan but here in our schools and communities, hard working Americans against do nothing politicians who continue to support elitism and ignore the backbone of what could make America a reasonable and healthy place to live.

  4. Let’s get rid of half the mayors in this country, starting with…GUESS WHO? Bloomberg! Let’s see what problems that would solve.

  5. Oh, sure! Let’s put 70+ kids in a classroom with one “excellent” teacher and see just how well we can address the individual needs of students. I don’t care how good the teacher is, literacy and graduation rates will plummet! Bloomberg doesn’t have a clue! Apparently, neither do the voters in New York City who elected this crackpot!

    1. I have an even better idea – how about we get rid of half of the mayors and have each one run 2 cities instead of 1. That way we could weed out all the bad mayors and pay the best ones 2x as much. Of course, they would also have to have half the staff to work with!

    2. A doorknob serves a useful purpose. Maybe a commode? No, a commode serves a useful purpose also. I can’t think of a household accessory that would fit him, Household items serve a useful purpose! Bloomberg doesn’t!

  6. Another idiot speaking out against education who knows absolutely NOTHING about education. I think what needs to be done is to “GET RID OF ALL OF THESR PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR EDUCATION…… any means necessary.

  7. Apparently, after some research, I see he attended Medford High School in Medford MA. He graduated in 1960… perhaps those misty memories of his own high school years must be what he is relying on for his inspiration?

  8. I would love to know… how many students were in his High School classes? Did he even attend public school? When was his last visit to an inner city high school (lasting more than an hour)?

    This idea is beyond irrational! And… let me guess… Test scores will be the sole means to “weed out” the bad teachers, too?

  9. More class warfare. Class sizes of 70 for public schools. You will not see the elite send their children to public schools. Teachers are dangerous. They can teach children to think and to question the status quo.

    Clearly the goal is to not educate, just have a slave class to pay for the bad debts from casino gambling on wall street and to fight corporate wars. It’s silly anyway, the classrooms cannot fit 70 students, unless children sit on the floors. It’s bad policies from both parties that also created the debt: Bush tax cuts, unfunded Rx drug plans, two on-going wars, and bank bailouts that caused this mess.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if billionaires would do something positive for the community like build libraries, hospitals, and things to help people instead of kicking people when they are down, by destroying our last vestige of hope for our children, by destroying public education.

    1. AMEN! If only we could get lawmakers in a real classroom – and it does NOT have to be an inner city school! In order to make any decisions about schools, it should be mandatory that lawmakers substitute in a public school for one week – incognito! They would’nt make it through the first day!

  10. It’s time to figure a way to determine the effectiveness of a teacher that includes the many variables that each student brings to the classrooms that we are trying to teach in. How can any of us be 100% effective 100% of the time with 100% of our students year after year? The years that I get a class that is already doing well continues to do well. The years that I get a class that comes with numerous social and/or educational problems I do everything in my power to help each individual student make at least a year of progress from where they entered my class. If I’m lucky enough to get access to other professional support we can often increase these students’ learning to 2+ years of growth.

    Cutting teachers is not the answer to bringing our children’s education up to snuff…instead we should be searching for ways to increase the amount of individual and small group instruction with professional educators to accelerate the learning of every student.

  11. After spending 35 years as a teacher, it is clear to me that Mayor Bloomberg has no clue what is required of teachers today. Double the class size? Really? So, that would be 50 to 60 children in each class. Hmmmm….the classrooms I taught in were barely large enough for 25 students. The needs of the children today are enormous. The paperwork, meetings, test preparation, calls and e-mails to parents- all have grown to gargantuan size. Always amazes me that those who haven’t taught know so much about HOW to teach.

    1. I agree with you 100% . It is amazing to me how many people feel that just because they went to school years ago now they are experts in education! I would never claim that I know what I surgeon needs in his/her operating room, or a CFO of a corporation, or specialized equipment needed to mine coal- then why would others think they are authorities on what is needed in a classroom?! I love being a teacher but after 28 years of this constant negativity and insults early retirement is looking better and better !

    2. I agree totalIy. I taught and coached for 30 years have seen one thing really stand out. When teachers become administrators, they become politicians. They suddenly loose any memory of reality. Students and teachers mean nothing to most of them, just test scores to keep the man (state and federal dept. of ed.) off their back. Give teachers students that are teachable (TCS), the numbers and the tools to get their attention, and 90% of the time they’ll get a good education.

  12. I will not spend much time responding to idiocy. Watch the movie “Idiocracy”. That is where we are headed. That is where some schools already are. The claims have always been that those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Who taught them to do? That is such drivel by simpering fools who feel the need to punish teachers for their own failure to succeed.
    Those who really can’t either head to Educational Administration or run for office. The less competent they are, the higher they go.
    Until we realize that the USA was built by people who were taught by teachers who taught them to build it we will continue to spiral downward, out of control. Discipline, education, family values and respect are all gone from our schools & our society. If we don’t reverse our behavior, we will make the Fall of Rome look like a victory.

  13. I come from a family of teachers…both parents, both sisters. I am a Speech Therapist in the schools. My daughter has always wanted to be a teacher but now, given the changes in the educational system, the lack of support, the idiotic comments made by people like Bloomberg who are supposed to be working for us and our children, she no longer wants to be a teacher and I am 100% behind her decision.

    1. I am right there with you. I am a teacher in Ohio and everywhere I turn is another news story of politicians’ efforts to turn education into a money making business. “Stack ’em deep, teach ’em cheap,” is the new motto for education. My husband and I, both teachers, flat out refuse to allow our two young daughters to pursue education as their future careers. It’s a sad day for any parent when she can’t encourage her child(ren) to pursue the family profession… especially one so noble.

  14. Maybe we could get rid of half of our mayors…..”weed out the bad ones and just keep the good ones.” Maybe mayors could take care of *two* towns or cities instead of just one. Doubling every mayor’s workload would be a “good deal” for residents because it would save so much taxpayer money. Surely a fine mayor such as Mr. Bloomberg could handle the needs of another city in addition to NYC. In fact, in light of his expressed philosophy regarding appropriate workloads/ratios, one could accuse him of sloth in not having initiated a “double-city” plan himself.

  15. People, like Bloomberg, who offer these preposterous solutions are not serious. They do, however, want to see public education completely broken and discarded. Teachers and parents should stop attacking and blaming each other and start working together to make sure public education remains a viable option for the majority of American families who cannot afford private schools.

  16. If there was ever a case for a stronger, strengthened teacher’s union to push back against the idiot in charge of New York, this is it. Not until a Wisconsin mentality takes root at the root of his gold-leaved tree, shakes him and his cronies, sycophants, hired guns, and a**kissers out of their roosts, will this war against teachers be stopped. There are no politicians brave enough to actually favor incentivizing teaching as a profession, to make American schools world-class, to work with teachers and not dictate or worse, to threaten, to oust poverty as the number one impediment to success in education, and to reveal the true statistics about the mostly sham successes in non-public schools. They talk the talk but walk out as soon as they get our votes. This is not a rant…it’s my line drawn on the sidewalk saying “Enough!”

  17. Well, to truly compensate teachers under Mayor Bloomberg’s plan wouldn’t decrease funding because in order to truly compensate, we’re looking at more than doubling salaries here..this is a profession and not factory work. I have read all the wonderful comments regarding the “illiterate” response to solving problems from a person in such an influential place such as Mayor, which should demand more “smarts”. Adding anything more at this time would jeopardize the time constraints around this time of the year because my hours per day have increased from 10 to at least 12; half of which includes the clerical jobs attached to teaching: data keeping, recording, reporting and analyzing…you know that 15 week progress report!! So, unfortunately, my personal time is cramped with trying to enjoy the supposedly time away from school/work in preparation for healthy festivities. My message is brief….I refuse to participate in a dialogue with a person who has absolutely no knowledge of what he purports; however, I am very appreciative that this kind of stupidity from so-called leaders comes to the public via “their” words. As a teacher, he becomes one of my bosses—will the public begin to understand what we, as teachers are up against here?! Merry Christmas!

  18. Sounds like Mr. Bloomburg has more of an issue with a teacher from his past – maybe one with a personality conflict with “the perfect one” and he’s taking it out not only on teachers but our students as well.
    Get over whatever it is Mr. Bloomburg, as others have suggested anonymously substitute in a few classes in various school and make sure you include classes that have students from disfunctional homes and those with ADHD and those who are the result of parents using drugs and or alcohol while the baby was forming. Teach those students, in a large class and see what results YOU get!

  19. The mayor’s comments reminds me of a school board member who, years ago, thought that teachers were overpaid and underworked (sound like something you heard before?).
    I challenged him to spend not a day, but a week with me and I reminded him to pack a lunch since we usually eat in and often work while eating. I was not surprised that he never took me up on the offer. Or consider my neighbor who always bashed teachers until his daughter become one. Talk is cheap. If you deem the pay, benefits and working conditions to be that great, become one and then we will have another conversation.

  20. Mr. Mayor, you know not from whence you speak.

    We are preaching to the choir here. I so wish that the entire teacher’s union would challenge Mr. Mayor to teach, or to at least observe… closely observe, for just two weeks, in a school that has not been “prepared” for him, with students that have not already been prepped that he is the God of New york. Anonymous observation. Or maybe as a substitute teacher, perhaps. Good God, this rhetoric is just ridiculous. And I am a supporter of what Mr. John Gatto espouses, but good God, Mr. Mayor. Give us a break.

  21. The ignorance of the New York Mayor is appalling! The facts about the successes of public schools in America are hidden from view frequently. I have made those facts clear in my new book, Why America’s Public Schools Are the Best Place for Kids. It will be released on December 17th. I note according to the research that vouchers and charter schools DO NOT IMPROVE teaching or learning for students. Neither does NCLB do either of those.

    The facts about our public schools must be revealed before more policy makers attempt to overthrow a quality system—America’s Public Schools!

    Dave F. Brown, Ed. D.
    Educational Researcher

    1. Where can I get a copy of your book. I am a teacher and president of our county teachers union and very interested in reading your book.

  22. I have been retired since 2009. I taught high school chemistry and physics for thirty five years. Since September of 2011 I have been tutoring 3rd – 5th grade students in math, two days a week. I have from four to eight students each time.
    This is an official invitation to the mayor: You are cordially invited to come and tutor in my place for the first two weeks of January. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn how stressful teaching can be! I’ll observe and you get half of the salary I get.
    Frank Lock
    Gainesville, GA

    1. Yes indeed, 30 students is way too many in any classroom let alone doubling it to 60. This guy is an idiot. Of course, he’s a politician, what should we expect?

      Here’s an alternative. Put every laid-off teacher in the politician’s job and make the politicians take the teaching job for at least one (1) year. No doubt their tune will change.

      Certainly, there are teachers who should not be in classrooms but in today’s environment they are fewer and fewer than ever before. By the same token, we seem to have more and more idiot and crooked politicians than ever before. Perhaps there’s a correlation.

      Fine, give the wacko right-wing religious zealots vouchers for their religious training schools. BUT, it is contingent on having those schools use only state-accredited teachers; they must take every and any student who applied regardless of ability to pay; they must provide all special services required by public schools; they are required to obey all rules regarding SOLs and their students must pass SOLs like any public school must; and they cannot eject a student for any reason–just like public schools. Let’s see how quickly they make their changes so they can get vouchers.

  23. Not great in math, but this seems like basic math to me: Pay more in compensation and double (if not more than double) the number of students = same or less in compensation.
    You gain: more work to do in preparing and checking work; management; contacting and “pleasing” parents/parent-teacher conferences; just in general, more responsibility overall. I’ll keep my present pay and “lower” student numbers!

  24. Of course not. There’s no teacher-student with 30+ kids in the room. Classroom management? You’d need a tazer.

    Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, pass laws about teaching.

  25. As a 37 year public school educator, I continue to be incensed and amazed at the simple minded advice and broad sweeping bad legislation brought to bear against educators and what they do from politicians, business leaders, mayors, super PAC groups, entertainers,… everyone EXCEPT educators themselves! Teaching children, at any level, pre-school, elementary, middle, high school is NOT a simple task, with “black & white” or “either/or” directives made & then results accomplished. Teaching, by its very nature is a complicated, long-term, (over time) effort that requires a whole set of skills, attitudes, and yes, knowledge. When I think about what kind of teacher I wanted for my own child, I wanted a well trained, experienced, committed, and compassionate person working with my child on a day to day basis. This kind of person doesn’t just happen by accident. By and large, MOST teachers go into teaching with a long term career in mind. They are trained with a 4 year background and intensional practice with their pedagogy. A license to teach means something and should be respected. Over my career, I acquired a BA, Masters, plus 45 additional hours of professional development training. Over time, my knowledge of content, child development, training, and experience with parents and staff counts for something. My experience matters. Mr Bloomberg and others like him wish to continually demean, devalue, and diminish the value of educators by continually framing the discussion in the context of “good vs bad teachers.” THAT is a false argument. I am personally so sick of that kind of rhetoric. If all these people spent as much time trying to uplift, support financial budgets, and asking US to participate in the legislative policy discussion, we’d be in a much better place! The children are our future and great public schools are the best avenue to serve all children and bring the greatest opportunity to the masses. Education is NOT like a business. I don’t want to cut corners for profit or shove 70 to 100 students in a classroom. (like college) I don’t believe in “education for profit.” So let’s stop defunding public schools through the expansion of vouchers. There is local accountability through school boards and local taxpayers. Let’s lift everyone up instead of dividing and tearing down!!

  26. Mayor Bloomberg, like many politicians, likes “politispeak”… have simple solutions to complex problems. His statement about firing 1/2 the teachers is ridiculous and callous.
    I am a retired teacher. Before college, most students are a captive audience and many need individual attention. Teachers need to provide motivation as well as instruction. Large class sizes make this really difficult.
    New Yorkers deserve a better leader… hopefully at their next election, an enlightened one.

  27. Bloomberg should be, as Dickens put it, boiled in his own pudding. He really must spend a day or two in a classroom with 70 students of any age. Classrooms would have to ne rebuilt, redesigned to accommodate these numbers. More students means more distractions. Bloomberg should spend a day in any classroom regardless of size before commenting on a field about which he knows little.

  28. Thirty years ago people earned decent wages that allowed them to afford the necessities and a few luxuries on a single income. But the playing field has changed and now even two income families can not make ends meet. This has been reflected in the lack of investment in education by lawmakers and families.
    Doesn’t anyone see the correlation between government education mandates and the supposed failure of public education? As more pressured for a business model in education they more we left behind. It’s time for a third party madeup of educators. Teachers need to vote out those candidates that care more about re-election than our nation’s future. We have the power of the vote and the ability to influence the future. What are we waiting for????

  29. True leaders are not knee-jerks. There is sound data showing that small class size totally trumps teacher talent in pree-teens. No I can’t cite it, you’re the one with interns! I sure hope New Yorkers are repulsed by this bluster.

  30. I agree with so many of the comments already posted. The assault on public education has been incredibly demoralizing for all of us who really care about our profession. Politicians and education ‘eggheads’ have used public education as a social engineering experiment long enough. I wonder what they would do if all teachers walked off the job for a week and left it to them to deal with the disaster. In Florida we are living the dream as Jeb Bush, Rick Scott, and the Republican controlled Legslature attempt to dismantle public educaion. Frankly, I would have thought we had taught enough Americans to think for themselves that a political/social hurricane of this magnitude would not be possible. If we ban together and speak as one someone is bound to hear us.

  31. Who decides which of these teachers are the “good” ones? America’s problem has never been one of getting rid of “bad” teachers. This is an illusion. Our bigger problem is atracting, training, and retaining “good” ones. Most teachers, even effective ones, leave classroom teaching after a short time because this field is not rewarded as it should be. The cost of this revolving door to our society is enormous. Great teachers are developed over time in good strong systems that support them. Intangible rewards like smaller class sizes that enable good teachers to be great are also as important as salary. No teacher likes being set up to fail by prescriptive curriculum, unrealistic expectations, test-driven mentality, and lack of respect for children as human beings. I would argue that more great teachers are leaving the field because of these intangibles. Not only are already great teachers leaving the field, we are losing a generation of potentially great teachers because of this kind of thinking!

  32. There is a serious absence of data proving that any of Michael Bloomberg’s educational endeavors are thus far successful. Until there is undeniable evidence that his policies benefit student learning, he should keep his ideas to himself. Just because he has bought the media spotlight and mayoralty, doesn’t make him relevant.

  33. Actually, the only disagreement for class size I would have would be in middle and elementary schools. Since high schools are SUPPOSED to prepare students for college and career, paying high school teachers more and increasing class size would be very much like a college environment. The problem is, most students are not PREPARED for high school. High school teachers end up teaching BASIC SKILLS to teenagers! In college, if you are not prepared, you go to work and take remedial studies (like I did, actually). One can stay in a dead end job or on welfare if one has no further motivation…that’s our problem! By the way, it is a SYSTEMIC breakdown, a CULTURAL breakdown, AND and EDUCATIONAL breakdown. Our greatest enemy to progress is often ourselves.

    1. Here’s why expanding class sizes to 70 across the board won’t work:

      1) High Schoolers aren’t college students. They typically are far less mature or serious than their college counterparts. Do you remember what a classroom full of freshmen looks like? High School is a process that prepares students to transition to college, but it is a PROCESS. Maybe think about larger class sizes for upper-classmen who are performing well.

      2) Who will replace the good teachers after they burn out from spending every free moment grading double the load of papers, tests, and homework? This is why college professors don’t give as many assignments, have grad students to teach and grade for them, and don’t teach straight through the day.

      3) Don’t you want your teachers to know the students they teach? The great teachers I know CONNECT with students and draw them into the learning process. I want my children to be able to learn in such and environment… to know their teacher and be inspired. I don’t see how that happens if you herd 350 students in and out of the teacher’s classroom EACH DAY.

      4) Are you ready to spend the money to knock down all the walls and reconfigure the size of the current classrooms to accommodate this cataclysmic shift?

  34. I would challange the Mayor to walk into a school in the toughest school district in the state of New York. Instruct a teacher to leave lesson plans for the week and let the Mayor go into that classroom and teach. Chances are he wouldnt last a week!! Probably wouldnt last a day. I would love to see what the Mayor would do in class with 35 kids who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth!

    1. These non-teachers who want to make up the rules wouldn’t last a week, and that is with the lessons plans and materials laid out for them!! The true test would be to have them last year after year, making all their materials because there is no money to buy them, taking care of all the kids’ (& their families’) needs, and their classrooms, and all the administrative/bureaucratic paperwork, and the motivational aspect, and seeking out relevant real world experiences for the kids, etc etc etc. TEACHING IS AN ART AND A SCIENCE AND IT TAKES YEARS TO PERFECT OUR CRAFT. IT IS INSULTING THAT THE POLITICIANS AND CORPORATE FOLKS FEEL THAT THEY ARE QUALIFIED TO MAKE DECISIONS REGARDING OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. That just shows that they don’t have a clue what all is involved in educating our youth.

  35. i don’t think it’s a good idea- increasing the class size into more or less 70 students. If we speak of quality education, there’s nothing we can get from it. It’s a shame for the United States of America to implement such for the underdeveloped countries are struggling to get rid of a hugely populated classrooms because of its bad result… If it happened, underdeveloped countries from Asia would be no different from them then.

    Your educational reforms had been the models for those countries not as privileged as yours.

    I am from the Philippines. I am a teacher. Heavily crowded classrooms are always the worst scenarios that drag down the quality we are aiming for.

    Salary increase is just right for the teachers. They need it more to sustain their needs.

  36. I have taught 24 years. The behavior of many students makes teaching an impossible task. While they talk about 70 students in a room in high school, this is unimaginable in elementary. No money in the world would convice me to teach 70 students, unless you also included 3 very good aids. I spent an hour after school today in meetings and on the phone regarding just two of my students. What I really want to see is for us to stop listening to people who have no classroom experience tell us how to educate our students. If somebody said that more patients per doctor would increase patient success you would laugh them out of the room, yet that is exactly what we are doing. Don’t listen to anyone who doesn’t have classroom experience. EVER!

  37. I have an idea. Let’s cut the number of pubic servants in NYC in half, double the mayor’s compensation and see if he does as good a job. Or maybe, in a more comparable scenario, let’s double his pay )(assuming he’s a good mayor) and give him two New Yorks to run. Will he still be a good mayor?

    1. Excellent idea. I’m sure half as many legislators will be able to do their job better as well. Merging legislative districts in PA was voted down by our legislators. Guess they don’t like being out of a job either. Too bad teachers aren’t able to do the same thing. We have a governor who despises teachers and education. We are stuck with him for the next three years. By the end of his term he will have destroyed public education. America needs to stand up for students before all is lost. Districts are already planning on discontinuing the art, music, phys.ed, etc…..How very sad for our students.

  38. Those who can, teach. Those who can’t, make laws about teaching.

    Bloomberg and his ilk have no idea how to incentivize the best and the brightest to the classroom. And they don’t give a damn about the public system which must work with ALL students. Their goal is simply to take public dollars and feed them to private, for-profit educational management companies.

  39. While those who have taught know why this would be a bad idea; it would be interesting to see what would happen by testing his idea. Start by taking a handful of mutually agreed upon excellent teachers and for two years pay them the higher compensation he suggests. One of the two years would be spent teaching a normal class size, the other teaching the bigger class size. And just for good measure, alternate which year different teachers had the bigger class size. It might be interesting to see the response to the results of the test. Besides, with such a drastic change even being suggested it would be asinine to consider implementing it without some kind of test run.

    1. The only way I can see this work is if you put one excellent teacher in a management position with new teachers working under them. But, there goes the money saving idea. Why is it everyone in America wants something for nothing? You get what you pay for. Quit cheating our children. I spent years working on perfecting my teaching skills and now “No Child” has tied my hands. I am required to teach in a way that is contrary to my philosophy of education. I try to squeeze in meaningful learning when I can, but they find new ways to make that less and less every year. Our classrooms are now driven by textbook companies and test writers who are earning millions of dollars on their lousy programs while teachers are still overworked and underpaid. I went into teaching for those beautiful “ah ha!” moments. Now my days are filled with student misbehavior because my students are not engaged with a curriculum that is all pencil, paper and lacks in art, science, social studies and music. Quit the educational science experiments on America’s children! Pick up a book from the early 1900’s and you will see how much our educational system has degraded. Give me mannerly, disciplined students and I can teach 60. But if you don’t give me the power to have disrespectful students removed from my classroom, then you better only give me 15. Why not make parents accountable while we are at it? Oh wait, now we are talking voters, aren’t we?

      1. Each year my new students come less prepared to learn. Discipline issues, lack of manners, poor attendance, no reading or study skills and parents who sit at conferences and say they don’t know what to do.
        Now, when these same students fail to score, they want to count that against me on my review. When do we hold the parents accountable for parenting, making the students do homework and independent reading at home? My kids have x-boxes, iphones, $40 fingernails, $150 shoes but come to school without a pen or paper let alone have a dictionary to do homework. My review is based on the research of Dr. Marzano along with the Gates foundation. Let them come walk in my shoes for a school year! I still have success stories with many students. I am happy to see them years later leading productive lives. In the mean time, the state and district have cut my pay and I can’t pay my bills. I would like the compensation to be a livable wage. I would like the school to give me adequate material to teach with. I would like students to come prepared to learn. I would like to be valued as a professional educator, but I guess they would like ice water in hell and they aren’t about to get that either.

        1. Kudos to you for sticking it out! I taught for 2 years and had a similar experience. I wouldn’t do that job again for twice the salary. But it’s the students who need to held accountable, more than the parents. The students who don’t do the work should be allowed to fail and have to repeat grades. By the time they got to my class in high school, most students had learned one lesson very well: school administration was not going to let teachers fail a large number of students, no matter how little work those students did. The same administrators that wouldn’t take disruptive students out of my class or enforce the detentions I gave, would constantly harass me about the failure rate of my students. Then, when the school board decided that I should be able to teach physics without math, I gave up. I was trying to get these kids ready to succeed in college, but I felt like I was banging my head against a wall and it felt so good when I stopped.

          1. How sad for you Lori. Although I am not surprised. As a 37 year educator, I know that things have changed so much in the last 10 years on so many fronts of education. Once you get your job, there seems little support to DO your job in just the kind of things you suggest. It can be very lonely if we don’t lend adequate support & encourage our newly hired staff with a proper mentor and the tools to support and advance our students. No teacher goes into education expecting to become wealthy. But unfortunately, too many of our strong teachers leave for just the reasons you stated within the first five years. Good luck to you in whatever you endeavor.

        2. You sound like you are from AZ the lowest ranking state in the union! The legislature here, which has several heads of charter schools and charter school agencies, in office has done everything it can to destroy public education since I arrived here in 2008, Having been an experienced educator with English, History, and Special Education certificates I would have thought I would be an asset to this state. So far I have had a freeze in pay since I arrived, the legislature has outlawed tenure and cut the budget for education so severely that the kids are really being shortchanged. In my district there is no longer art, music , or PE in our elementary schools, we are down at least one third of the teachers, and class sizes are already violating the fire code.
          Many of the students come here expecting to be passed along, but luckily we have a good teaching staff who will fail them if they do not perform to expectations. The amount of electronics belonging to kids is just astounding, and yet I have several kids who never bring a pencil to school. I have been in contact with many of my students’ parents who have “given up” on their children, yet I don’t feel that I can give up on my students. The 60 hour workweek is killing me, yet I still have more work to do on weekends. (The 60 hours is purely time spent at school!) My students even tease me for having no life, but it is true! However, I am always there after school for extra help (when I am not running IEP meetings and going to other ones!) At the age of 61 I am planning to work until I am 69 so I can be fully invested in the state retirement system, but with the level of stress here I am not sure I will last that long! The state retirement system used to have an equal contribution from teachers and districts, but now teachers pay 53% and districts pay 47%. (An unspoken pay decrease for all teachers!) Do the districts get the 3% they save? No, it goes into the general fund so the legislature can use it to do more damage to public education in this state. I am so disappointed to be in a position of such disrespect by people who control the purse strings, both Federal and State, that I no longer encourage anyone to be a teacher, and yet I worry constantly about my grandchildren, who will start entering kindegarten next year. What will public education be like for them?!

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