Thursday, May 16, 2013


Change, they say, is good for the soul.
But change just for the sake of change is nothing more than a type of bullying imposed by those who want to demonstrate their power. We've seen this on a national scale with the various issues crammed through Congress with little concern over the opposing views. We are now seeing this worldview unwinding as their more egregious and illegal actions come into sight. Way to ingratiate the press Obama by tapping their phones.  But I digress

In my own small corner of the world, this has been a year filled with change. New online gradebooks, new attendance programs, new protocols and now an entire new mandate. See our district is experimenting on children under the guise of advancement. Next year first graders will get IPads rather than books. Desks and tables have been replaced with couches and beanbag chairs. The new paradigm is that teachers are facilitators and children will magically learn on their own. This is what passes for New Age educational memes. This year we were treated, at no small cost, to a program that was essentially glorified Venn diagrams that we were supposed to use to train our children to think. I have no doubt that last summer top administrators attended a lovely catered open bar affair that promoted how this silly program would increase our "good data". Each binder probably cost upwards of $200 and when you multiply that by the total number of teachers in the district, the cost is ridiculous. Most of those binders have not been opened since last August and for good reason-those of us who use various graphic organizing systems have been doing so for years and don't need a silly binder to teach us how to do it.

Next year, despite the fact that my district has shunned Apple products for years, we will convert to all Apple products. The problem is that existing programs do not work with Apple. Our foreign language class programs and listening labs won't work. Flash doesn't work. And years and years of material that have been shaped and honed will not work with this program. This puts experienced teachers at the mercy of both learning a new system, new programs and having to continue to teach at a higher level. The irony is that three years ago I wrote a grant for Apple computers and printers only to be told that if I got the grant, they would not provide support. So I changed the grant request. I got the grant and now those PC computers, with Photoshop and other graphics programs I need in class will be replaced by Apple Airs which will not have these programs available. Add to that the removal of teacher's printers in our classrooms and it is forcing a situation where already overstressed teachers are now having to reinvent the wheel. My district has more electives teachers leaving than the entire region does in comparison. I have five years before I can retire. I'm hoping their overspending on hardware we don't need just for the sake of change will result in the need to buy out teachers at the upper end of the payroll so I can leave earlier.