Sunday, April 11, 2021

Progress Report

A friend reached out to me to share this quote from Tony Conti, the lawyer who represented the parents attempting to strip voting rights from the Student Member of the Board position.

Tony Conti, the lawyer representing the parents...wrote in an email. “... Our only hope is that the Court of Appeals will recognize the urgency and decide the case before our children lose out on another year of education.” (“Howard County parents lose lawsuit aimed to strip student school board member’s vote” Jacob Calvin Meyer, Baltimore Sun)

What the heck? “Lose another year of education?” 

I wonder how the teachers who have been teaching those students day after day feel when they read that. As though their hours and hours of work didn’t exist, meant nothing. Of course distance learning is not the same nor did anyone ever say it would be. It has been the best that could be done during a health crisis that has overwhelmed all parts of our society. How mindblowingly arrogant it is to say that because you didn’t get what you wanted that education didn’t exist at all.

As we continue to load extra responsibilities on teachers due to the expectations of a hybrid teaching model, we are placing an unsustainable amount of stress on the professionals we need the most to support our children. A significant number have already left teaching. More will follow. It is not because they aren’t devoted enough to their students but because they have been treated egregiously by privileged parents who think their tax dollars buy them the right to boss people around.

When you treat people like nothing, you will eventually find you have no one to boss around.

By the way, the piece below shows where we were a year ago. As a teacher I’d have to say we have made remarkably little progress.

Rant Redux, April 11, 2020

I’ve already posted this on my personal social media accounts but it bears repeating:

You’re not a teacher. You’re not an administrator. You have no idea how a school system of almost 59,000 students operates. But somehow you are an expert at knowing what a transition to distance learning looks like for students from k-12, some in poverty, some who don’t speak English, and special needs students. All this during an ongoing international pandemic!!! You think you are an expert because you have this deep-seated feeling that people like you are not getting good service. That you’re not getting your money’s worth. 

You are breaking my heart, Howard County.

Some folks out there are having a hard time understanding what their responsibilities are during a time of crisis. And I’m not talking about mask-wearing and social distancing. I’m talking about what it means to be a parent when your community is weighed down by the effects of a quickly spreading and lethal virus.

I can’t for the life of me understand how anyone’s reaction to this could be “they owe me”. What part of unprecedented national emergency do they not understand? Imagine we are New Orleans after Katrina. Or Puerto Rico after Maria. Imagine this is London during the Blitz. This is the crisis of our lifetimes and they want to know why they aren’t getting better service?

Their children feel the anger and bitterness. They will absorb the disrespect for the school system. These parents are teaching that, in a time of great suffering, it’s all about demanding to speak to a manager. The lesson is: poor children don’t matter, special needs children don’t matter. The teachers and administrators and their families don’t matter. Only we matter.

Teachers and administrators who travel in the same social media circles read their diatribes and are demoralized. With every rant they weaken the bonds that connect dedicated professionals to the community they serve. As schools scramble to create the best learning experience they can, the specter of angry parents looms large.

We all drink from the same social media water, friends. What happens when you poison the well?

You are truly breaking my heart, Howard County.

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