Monday, August 4, 2008

5 Things Policy-Makers Should Know

Thanks to kiri8 and organized chaos for memeing me on this fine topic... and no worries for you faithful readers, we have not had a repeat offense by the pooper. I think the true offender may have been the cafeteria lunch. Hennyway... back to the point. First of all, faithful readers may have picked up that I had a previous career before teaching and that career was working for a policy-maker. So I am extra excited to tell him* (they're almost always hims) what he SHOULD know...

1. Just because you have been to one school, at story time, and read to an overprepared-for-your-visit group of children for the fuzzy press release and nice photo op does not mean all schools are like that tiny little snapshot you witnessed. Everyone was on their best behavior, administrators included. Every school is very different, every classroom is very different. Don't ever make assumptions that you know what goes on in a classroom. Let us tell you.

2. My job is not "cute." Please don't say "awwwwwww" or think I am super-sweet when I tell you what I do. It's insulting. What if I said, "Awwwwww... making laws that affect my life is so ca-ute!" Think about it.

3. Please send your kids to public schools. You work for the public, you serve the public, you are paid by public funding, you make laws that affect our public schools, so please put your kids where your mouth (and vote) is. You might be surprised at what a great education they get.

4. Please leave our curriculum, best practices, test scores, benchmarks, etc. to our county and if you must, to our state. I'm talking to the feds here -- just give us money to build. I know your slang on the Hill is "bricks and mortar." We want that. Figure out how to build us a nice school! How can you justify getting money to repave a main street in a podunk town you might retire to while the school in your community has mold on the walls and kids are learning in trailers? Which leads to me my final wish...

5. For the love of God, stop tying education funding to property taxes. It's DUMB. Yes, I know Title I funding is supposed to even things out, but come on. When have you seen a "rich-kid" school in a poor community? Never. How about a formula that's based on the number of children in the school and some other factors like cost of living in the area. I'm not naive, I know there is more to it, but you guys are smart. You can figure it out. Please understand that when everyone is moaning about the housing crisis and home sales are dropping, that translates directly into my inability to provide materials for my kids. Was my stimulus check supposed to buy supplies for my classroom? Was it? Did you use yours to buy your bloated staff scotch tape? I didn't think so.

Wow, that felt good.

*My policy-maker was actually wonderful on the subject of education. I think he hated school as a kid and thinks all classrooms should be petri dishes for creative chaos and individual thinkers. I'm not on board with the creative chaos but I did always appreciate his understanding and perspective. My list is directed at the majority of his colleagues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AWESOME. That was great! I learned so much more about you and I admire you all the more. Wow, I wish some policymakers would now READ what you wrote!