"I have a deep and genuine appreciation for the work you do. ... You deserve to be respected, valued, and supported. ... It is my goal to see that you are treated with the dignity we award to other professionals in society," reads the letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.Arne Duncan's open letter, "In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week," is symptomatic of the administration's poor relationship with the nation's teachers. In response, many teachers have pointed out the contradiction between the administration's words and deeds, between ideals and policies (See comments below Duncan's Open Letter).
Many of the issues date back to Duncan/Obama's support for the mass teachers firings at Central Falls High School. Since then, teachers have felt the full impact of Duncan's shock-and-awe policies embodied in Race To The Top, violation of collective-bargaining agreements, merit pay, evaluating teachers based on standardized test scores, and encouragement of school privatization, to name but a few.
"Respect? Value? Support? Not seeing much," said teacher and education commentator Sabrina Stevens Shupe, who writes about education on her blog, the Failing Schools Project.It's not about testing or about the letter or about any other single issue, said Mike Rose, professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles. The response from teachers is an expression of a broader frustration at not being part of the conversation about education reform, Rose said. Though teachers are as interested as any group in reforming education, Rose said, they feel like current reforms "are being done to them, not with them."
"They feel they are being dictated to from on high by people who have never spent a day teaching in a public school classroom." -- CNN