Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Double Dipping

If you're wondering, I have been avoiding comment on the whole debate emanating from Wisconsin and not limited to that state's borders. In part because the media is rife with both sides. This video defending teachers is making the rounds: The Truth About Teachers. And so are stories like the one in last week's New York Post.

I have met a lot of teachers and been in a lot of schools all across the country. I believe that the vast majority of teachers are like those in the video and that a handful (less than 5%?) are like those in the Post article. I think from the lay point of view (and that includes the student point of view), what is confusing is why the effective teachers put up with and even defend the ineffective teachers.

A friend of mine sent me this email from his son's teacher:

Our state standardized testing week is fast approaching.

Beginning the first week of March, I will be offering a "Test Prep" session after school on Thursdays from 3:00-4:00. This will last 5 weeks and end just before testing week. We will work on test-taking tricks, reducing anxiety, and time management strategies.

I will only be able to take 6 students. The cost is $50. This can be paid each week or all at once.
Please email your confirmation at your earliest convenience if you are interested in this for your son or daughter. Thank you!

My friend commented in the email: "Excuse me??? Why isn't Timmy's teacher covering this stuff as part of her regular teaching responsibilities? Wouldn't this be like me charging my boss overtime for something I should have gotten done during regular working hours? If I don't give in to the extortion, does my kid do less well on the test? It's one thing for a teacher to tutor on the side....other kids! from other grades!! or other schools!!! Isn't there a conflict of interests here that someone should be paying attention to??" Besides his venting to me, he said he was going to write a letter to the school board.

This would not be an issue if the administrator of Timmy's school or the other educators there made the thought of sending out such an email completely unthinkable.

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