When Politics get in the way of Education

This is my first post of the new year, and I’m pissed off.

In case you haven’t heard, New York City public schools just lost 250 million dollars in state aid. That’s not what bothers me. What bothers me is why we lost this funding. You’re sure to get a different opinion on this depending on who you ask, with everyone pointing fingers at someone else. But here are the undeniable facts: a school system with around 1.1 million students just lost 250,000,000 dollars of aid because a bunch of politicians couldn’t reach an agreement.

And what exactly was the divisive issue for which we lost all this funding? Was it about what we’re teaching in our classes? About how it’s supposed to be taught? Nope. Those would make too much sense. The issue that just cost our public schools 250 million dollars was how we should evaluate teachers.

Are you freaking kidding me?!

I’m not even going to get into whether the methods we currently have for evaluating teacher effectiveness in the classroom are useless (they are) or whether the proposed methods were better (they were). That’s not the issue here. At this point I don’t even care about that.

What I care about is that 1.1 million students are going to suffer now because the “adults” who are supposed to have their best interests in mind couldn’t get their shit together and think about anyone other than themselves for just a few hours.

The problem is that all of the people making the decisions about education are too far removed from the classroom. Whether they were classroom teachers in the past or not, they’re politicians now. Neither of the parties involved in this negotiation care one bit about the students. The UFT (United Federation of Teachers) only cares about protecting teachers (whether or not they deserve to be protected) and Bloomberg and the DOE only care about the budget. With people like this in charge, is it any wonder that public education is collapsing?

Regardless of who is “responsible” for this monumental failure (both parties share the blame), I have to say I’m disappointed in the Teachers’ Union. I’m disappointed because they’re supposed to represent us teachers, yet I find every single thing they do revolting. How can they possibly represent us when their interests are so drastically different from our own?

If the UFT really wanted to represent teachers, they would do whatever they had to in order to keep this funding. Because if the UFT really wanted to represent teachers, they would care about our students as much as we do.

But the biggest reason I’m disappointed in the UFT is because they’ve betrayed us. By refusing a deal that would make ineffective teachers responsible for their actions, they’ve cost our schools 250 million dollars. And what’s the first thing that’s going to go now that we’ve lost that funding? That’s right, teachers.

Way to protect us, UFT.