Teachers Fight Back

Defend and Support School Teachers of America


leave a comment »

The American Academy of Pediatrics declared the chronic sleepiness of our nation’s teenagers a public health issue. To help fix the problem, the organization called for middle and high schools to push back their start times 30 minutes to an hour to allow students to get more rest. The pediatricians say that sleep deprivation is widespread. Eighty-seven percent of high school students in the U.S. are getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep, and high school seniors get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, on average. In addition, 28 percent of high school students report falling asleep at school at least once a week, while 1 in 5 say they fall asleep doing homework with similar frequency.

Oh, the poor dears!  Oh, the humanity!  By all means, let’s start school an hour later and have teachers now get home an hour later than normal. Teachers who come home and get their own children settled and prepare dinner, can now just put that off until maybe six or seven in the evening. High school coaches ?  You’ll now be getting home at eight instead of your usual seven at night.

Of course the answer to this problem can’t just be having teenagers go to bed earlier.  Oh, no, that wouldn’t work.  Pediatricians say that the adolescent brain takes longer to wind down and fall asleep after being awake for 14.5 to 18.5 hours than it does for people in other stages of life. And of course, studies show that at the onset of adolescence there is a delay in when the body starts to secrete melatonin, a hormone that tells the body it’s time to go to sleep.

I can think of a hundred reasons why teenagers don’t go to bed earlier, and get to sleep earlier, and NONE OF THEM HAS A THING TO DO WITH MELATONIN !

This is another perfect example of what has happened over the last few decades as we continue to make everything easy and perfect for our children at the expense of teachers and the adults in their lives. The majority of parents today wouldn’t dream of making their teenagers have a “wind down” period before their bed time. Insist that teenagers go to bed at a reasonable time ?  What nonsense!

The only possible answer is to once again inconvenience the teachers and the schools, to make sure the lives of our students are perfect. This has happened in so many ways over the years that it has made the job of teaching become an almost impossible task.

When I was a teenager, I can’t imagine my parents giving me a later bed time FOR ANY REASON.  I’m trying to imagine what would have happened if I had told my parents the following: “But I can’t possibly sleep now, my melatonin hasn’t started to secrete yet.”  My mother’s response would have been something like this: “You better get to bed now or you’ll be lucky if your body has any melatonin left when I get through with you. “

Written by alkleen

August 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

The rate of reported childhood mental health disabilities – such as ADHD and autism – increased by 21 percent over the 10- year period of 2001 to 2011, according to a report published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Am I the only one alarmed by this ?   Why aren’t our school administrators, teachers and health officials screaming about this to anyone who will listen ?  Why are our government leaders and politicians seemingly oblivious to this ever-increasing problem ?  Where are the national studies and scientific research that should be working on this crisis ?  Why is this not a top priority of our government and of our health officials ?  How bad is this going to have to be before we get some answers as to what is causing these problems among our children ?

Hello, is anyone listening out there ?  Why do I feel like I’m a voice crying in the wilderness when it comes to this problem ?  What is it going to take to make solving this a top priority of our nation ?  Perhaps when one out of every two children has some form of mental health disability we might see some concern.

We need all of our teachers to really push our government leaders to wake up and make this a top priority. Let’s go folks, get to work.


Written by alkleen

August 24, 2014 at 10:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Michelle Rhee, the big mouth education reformer seems to be getting out of the education arena.  We won’t miss her constant bad mouthing and scapegoating of teachers and teacher unions.

Rhee was chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s schools in 2007 and abruptly quit in 2010.  In 2011 she started an advocacy organization called Students First.  Now, according to news reports she is preparing to step down from her role as head of Students First at a time when the organization is facing questions about its effectiveness.

She is supposedly taking a new position as board member of Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company that makes lawn, garden and home protection products.  That sounds like the perfect position for you, Michelle. You’ve spouted so much crap about education and teachers, you might as well throw some crap on lawns as well. The lawns might be more receptive to your crap, (fertilizer in this case).

What’s so amazing about most “education reformers”, is the fact that they are never teachers who have stayed at a teaching position in an inner city school for any length of time. None of these people would have the fortitude to teach for many years under extremely difficult conditions. These are people who cut and run the minute things start to go wrong in their chosen occupation. Just once I would like to see one of these so-called “education reformers” be someone with 20 or more years of teaching in a disadvantaged area.  No, these so-called “experts” are much better suited to the private sector where they can make a lot more money and experience way less frustration.

Michelle, you would never have what it takes to be a teacher.  Glad to see you run off to the business world where money is king and you can show what really motivates you. What about all the poor suffering children you were so concerned about ?  Why not take a teaching position in an inner city where you can be on the front lines and really help children ? Now we know that you would rather see blades of grass grow rapidly then children grow in wisdom.

So long, Michelle, don’t let the door hit you on the way out of education. And this time, please stay out, we don’t need people like you.


Written by alkleen

August 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

It’s time for retired teachers to copy from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  I know there are a thousand more worthy causes than the plight of Illinois retired teachers, but we have to do something in these desperate times.  Once Bruce Rauner wins the Illinois governorship, retired teachers in Illinois are going to be in big financial trouble. We will need all the money we can get. Therefore, I am imploring all the people of Illinois to help retired teachers by accepting the “Tolstoy Challenge”, or contribute $100 to the Teachers Retirement System of Illinois.

Here is the challenge :  You must read Leo Tolstoy’s novel, “War and Peace”.  You must complete reading it in three days, or pay the $100 to the retirement system.  Those of you who accept the challenge, and find the first several pages to be extremely boring, and filled with so many characters that you can’t possibly remember them all, may substitute a book for the challenge. You may switch to Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, “The Brothers Karamazov.”

Remember, you only have three days to meet the challenge.  Please don’t excuse yourself by claiming to have already read both novels. The only people to have read those novels were old folks like me, who were forced to read them back in the ice age, before education reformers started changing the English curriculum in our schools.

Now, everyone please spread the word about the “Tolstoy Challenge”.  I’m sure you can find a picture of Tolstoy somewhere online, copy it, and hold it up proudly for all the world to see. Challenge all your friends and acquaintances.

Please don’t be angry with me for selfishly copying from such a worthy cause. A retired teacher has to do what a retired teacher has to do.

Written by alkleen

August 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

The National Education Association may finally understand that their ultra conservative approach to the last decade of attacks on teachers was just plain wrong, and worse yet, down right cowardly.  I have always accused the NEA of being a wimpy, “don’t make waves”, ultra conservative union. The NEA has virtually done nothing over the last decade to reverse the trend of ever-increasing teacher scapegoating and union bashing.  To me, the NEA name has always stood for “Never , Ever, Agitate”.

In three weeks Lily Garcia will take over as the head of the NEA, the nations largest labor union.  I like what I’m hearing from this lady.  She has urged teachers to revolt against “stupid” education reforms.  In regards to standardized testing she has said, “I’ll be damned if I will sit quietly and play nice and say diplomatic things about something that has corrupted the profession I love.”

“Wow, radical tough talk from an NEA leader !  If only we had heard this a decade ago when teachers stood by meekly as they allowed the profession to be dragged through the mud and stomped on by every would be education expert in the country. I suppose it’s better late than never, but I fear it’s going to be hard for teachers to regain the respect they’ve allowed to slip away.

I hereby award a prestigious “Golden Chalk Award” to Lily Garcia. You go girl ! Rally the troops. Tell people we’re mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Finally, an NEA leader that gets it.  If teachers are ever going to stop the scapegoating and disrespect, we need to fight, scratch, claw and stop following the wimpy, diplomatic approach.

Written by alkleen

August 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized


with one comment

I hate to be an “I told you so”, but what I predicted many years ago has finally come to fruition.  The schools have virtually taken over the role of the parent. We only need to add overnight stays for the students and then parents will have officially transferred all responsibilities of parenthood over to the schools. Here is the latest change in this area.

All the students in my neighboring school district will now receive a free breakfast and lunch this year. It’s part of a federal program to ensure kids have access to nutritional meals. In order to qualify for universal free lunch, at least 40% of the students must be receiving free or reduced lunch to begin with. Fifty-five districts and 295 schools in the state have signed up for the program so far.

I won’t bother to mention all the parental responsibilities that schools have assumed over the years. You already know most of them. Physical exams, meals, after school programs (basically extended daycare), dental exams, sex education, homework assistance, and clothes when needed. The schools actually have assumed more psychological needs of kids than they have physical ones. Schools are now responsible for the children’s happiness, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

It’s been a long gradual process to reach this point. The Latin phrase “in loco parentis,” (in place of the parent), is the legal description that many believe allows schools to do most anything that is considered beneficial for  children under their care. The phrase actually comes from mid 19th century England, and referred to orphanages being allowed to take what responsibilities would normally have been reserved for parents. Now we have modern schools viewing themselves as a sort of orphanage.  The schools and the government must feel parents can’t be trusted anymore to do what is in the best interest of the child, and so we now have the schools taking over what at one time were normal parental responsibilities.

That’s it, I’ve stumbled upon the truth.  Our schools today are similar to orphanages. The only difference from past orphanages is that once in a while the students get to see their real parents for a few minutes of “quality time.”

I’m going to petition my legislators for a bill that would make schools eligible to keep students over night. Let’s complete this transition from school to orphanage. We just need one final step.

Written by alkleen

August 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

How many times must I warn teachers to avoid any forms of social media and especially blogging ?  YOU ARE A TEACHER, YOU HAVE NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH, what part of that don’t you understand ?

Now we have an incident where a teacher was allegedly  fired for writing a blog post that was purely for educational purposes and not even an opinion.

A teacher in Provo, Utah was allegedly fired for writing a blog post about homophones. The administrator that did the firing allegedly was concerned about his school being associated with homosexuality.

There’s more than a slight difference between a homophone and homosexuality, but that’s not the point. Perhaps in Utah, the two words are close enough to be dangerous.

Teachers, if you want to be safe, HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PUBLIC STATEMENTS OF ANY KIND. Even in the classroom you must be extremely careful with what you say or even what you might have a student read. When I was a science teacher, I had a student read aloud a passage from the book and it contained the word “organism”.  The student pronounced the word as “orgasm”.  It took me 15 minutes to restore order in the class.

Let this be a lesson to all you who are contemplating a career in teaching. It is the most difficult job in the world for many reasons. Language confusion is simply one of them.

It’s (too, or two, or to) bad this teacher lost a job because of homophones. I advise all English teachers to avoid teaching about homophones, or teach the concept without introducing the word. Music teachers should especially be careful when teaching about melodies; you must avoid the word homophonic. (music consisting of a single accompanied melodic line).


Written by alkleen

August 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers