My last post was December 1. That seems like a long time ago. The normal end of the year rush, trying to do my best by my students, and then the additional hassle of dealing with the politics and bureaucracy of the job that is my least favorite aspect of teaching.
But then comes Christmas! A chance to get away and not think about work at all except for tinkering with the web-based material of my classes a little and musing about my profession. After a rest and time with the people who love me and whom I love, I know that I am up for the battle that is ahead.
I will fight for the integrity of my institution of higher learning. Yes, it is just a small community college, but it has always been a place where I have been proud to work–where students have been expected to meet certain levels of competency before receiving a passing grade. Period.
Therefore, I resolve to put on my armor and fight the good fight. Too many are giving in to the pressures of administrators and parents who are data-driven down a road to nowhere. Not me. Not now. Not ever. I hope all teachers will follow me. It won’t be easy. Our arsenal is dwindling–decreased respect for academia, no tenure, dwindling academic freedom as well as the autonomy college-level faculty have so long enjoyed.
However, we still have at least one mighty weapon–a free press, who knows for how long, so let’s make the most of it. National Public Radio, that bastion of fake news, along with American University Radio (WAMU), has been reporting, if you can believe those bleeding hearts, on a high school in Washington D.C. that boasted of having all of its graduates accepted to college. Sounds great? Not really.
The report states that not only did the majority of the graduates miss more than six weeks of school, but also only 57 students met graduation requirements. Yet somehow all 164 students graduated and 164 students were accepted into college. Faculty members testified that administrators frequently asked them to give students who missed an assignment a 50 instead of a zero. One faculty member was called while on maternity leave and asked to change a grade for a student she previously failed.
A few months later, NPR has published a follow-up article with voices of faculty around the country facing similar circumstances–being pressured to change grades and pass students who can’t, or won’t, meet minimum requirements, witnessing the falsifying of attendance and other records but not saying anything out of fear of losing their jobs.
Here’s the article: “Teachers Around the Country React to Investigation at Ballou High School”
Interesting, but disturbing, especially because it’s no fake news. The things I have seen and heard this long month of December prove it’s all too real.
But I’m rested.
Bring it on.
King James Version (KJV)
19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.
21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.
22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.
24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.