Teachers Fight Back

Defend and Support School Teachers of America


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I hate the over testing of students.  I dislike the Common Core tests.  I hope people keep pushing politicians and school officials to stop this testing madness.

I also hate the idea of encouraging individual students to opt out of school mandated tests.

Some states allow students to opt out of the tests if they bring a note from home or any other form of communication from the parent.

A note won’t work in Illinois. I believe the child must be present with a paper testing booklet or a “test ticket” to a computer-based exam and refuse to take each section of the test.

Having an individual student opt out of a test can set a bad precedent when it comes to future activities that a student might not want to participate in. I could envision the following scenarios:

Child: “Mom, you know I hate gym, do I have to take it ?  Can’t you write a note or tell my teacher I would rather opt out of gym, just like I opted out of the tests ?  I’ll be happy to go to a study hall instead of gym.”

Child: “Mom, do I have to go on that field trip, you know how I hate museums. Why don’t we just opt out ?”

Child: “Mom, my teacher is mad at me because I was chewing gum. I told her I wanted to opt out of the no gum rule, and she got mad and gave me a detention.”

Let’s fight this testing madness in the right way. Allowing children to refuse school mandated items can open up a whole can of worms. That’s not the way to go about dismantling this testing madness.

Written by alkleen

March 4, 2015 at 10:18 am

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The Forbes World’s Billionaires List is out, and I’ve yet to see an opinion anywhere in the news about the billionaires. Every billionaire related story just tells the facts. Who the people are, how much they are worth and how they earned their money. I haven’t seen one politician, one news person, one government official, or anyone give an OPINION about the billionaires. No criticism of their wealth, no outrage about their lifestyle, no hint that being a billionaire should somehow come under scrutiny or draw outrage.

I’m fine with that. That’s how it should be in capitalist America. You know my favorite quote from Mitt Romney when he refused to apologize for his wealth. “This is America, in America we honor success.”

Notice what happens when Governor Rauner or an “education reform” group finds a teacher earning a $100,000 a year salary ?  What happens when they find a retired teacher with an $80,000 a year pension ? Oh, the outrage. Editorials in the newspaper, outraged reports from the “Illinois Policy Institute and all the other so-called “watchdogs.”  Oh, the humanity !

If governor Rauner has his way, I will soon have to pay more for my health insurance coverage and my cost of living increase will disappear. Bruce Rauner refers to teacher pensions as “overly generous”.

I’m sure most billionaires worked hard for their money, I have no ill will towards them. I know I worked hard as a teacher for almost 40 years and earned every penny of my “overly generous $33,000 a year pension. Can’t Rauner and the watchdogs just be happy for my success, as I’m sure they are for the billionaires’ achievements ?

Written by alkleen

March 3, 2015 at 10:43 am

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Did Wisconsin governor Scott Walker really say that encountering thousands of protestors in Wisconsin certainly qualifies him to destroy Isis if he were president ?

Sounds good to me. Why wait until you are president to destroy Isis ?

I’m so impressed, I will personally provide the money for the airfare to Syria, the parachute, and all the arms and ammunition you desire. Go get em Scott, don’t forget to write.

Written by alkleen

February 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm

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When Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel first took office he decided to pick a fight with the Chicago Teachers Union.  We all know that fight ended with a badly bloodied nose for the mayor. The mayor thought he would borrow a page from the school reformer’s handbook and blame teachers and the teachers’ union for the so-called “education crisis” in the Chicago schools. The mayor like so many other reformers refused to believe that poverty, unemployment, gangs, drugs, lack of parenting, and all the other ills of an inner city could possibly be the reasons for underachieving students. No, it had to be all the incompetent teachers and especially that evil teachers’ union.

The teachers’ union decided to continue their battle with mayor Emanuel by opposing him in the mayoral election and promoting their handpicked candidate, alderman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Most people thought Emanuel would win the mayoral election by a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff. Most people don’t understand the determination and the power the CTU has in the city of Chicago. The CTU is unlike all the other teacher unions . They are not your conservative, wimpy,”don’t make waves” typical teachers union. These people are not to be messed with. They refuse to allow themselves to be scapegoats, and to be intimidated like other teacher unions have been.

Mayor Emanuel is still the favorite to win the runoff election, but if nothing else the CTU has helped put a scare in the mayor and he will have to work hard during the next six weeks leading up to the election.

Those of us who grew up in the neighborhoods of Chicago and or taught in our inner city learned a valuable lesson about fighting. You need to be very careful about who you pick a fight with. Emanuel’s reputation as a short-fused combative person might have intimidated some people when he was in Washington D.C., but that style won’t work here.

Mr. mayor, you picked a fight with the wrong people, and it just might cost you your job.

Written by alkleen

February 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm

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I am shocked and amazed at the news media and medical professions’ reaction to a potential cure for those at risk of having a peanut allergy.

A new study has concluded that the number of people with peanut allergies can be sharply reduced by feeding peanut protein to infants at risk for the condition.

News reporters and their medical reporter colleagues were amazed that the very cause of an illness could possibly turn out to be the cure for that same illness. They were reporting on this discovery with the shock and surprise of someone who just witnessed an alien walking into their newsroom.

Wow!  I realize people today know very little about history and I’m sure the medical profession has little use for the study of history in medical school, but really ?  People are amazed that the cause of an allergy or illness might lead to its cure ?

This was common knowledge hundreds of years ago.

I will give you one personal example. I had an allergy known as hay-fever when I was a youngster. I was outside constantly running around among the prairies that had great amounts of ragweed, (the weed whose pollen causes most hay-fever). One day my elderly grandmother told my mother how to cure my hay-fever. She said to make a tea out of the ragweed and give me small amounts of it over a certain time period. She claimed this was how all hay-fever was cured in “the old country”.

Do our medical schools teach anything about the history of past herbal cures ?  Do they know that Native Americans cured dozens of their medical problems with plants ?

My intent here is not to promote the cause of “herbal cures”.  Who knows, many of them are exaggerated or outright false. What I am here to promote is the study of some basic history, especially as it relates to the medical profession and to researchers.

The fact that informed, intelligent people would be surprised that a cause could lead to a cure is simply amazing and actually quite frightening. Two percent of our population is now allergic to peanuts, and it took researchers this long to try this method ?  That’s disturbing.

Disclaimer – ( I took one drink of the ragweed tea and spit it out in disgust.)  In that case, the cause and the possible cure was worse than the allergy itself).

Written by alkleen

February 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

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Apparently, a preschool teacher, who had recently been named, “Missouri Preschool Teacher of the Year”, was dismissed over a dirty diaper incident.

One of the school’s rules was that students were not to come to school in a dirty diaper.  Supposedly this child came to the room with a dirty diaper and the teacher called the parents.

The news was reporting that the popular teacher was dismissed despite the support of the parents of the “dirty diaper kid” and many other parents who supported her. Supposedly the students were very upset and were crying that their teacher was no longer there.

I’m confused.  Was she fired because she called the parents and followed school rules ?

The way I see it, she had three choices. 1. Follow the rules and call the parents. 2. Ignore the rules and change the diaper herself, thereby opening herself up to all sorts of accusations. 3. Just leave the dirty diaper on the kid for the remainder of the school day.

None of these smells right to me.

What complicates this unfortunate matter even more is the possibility that the dirty diaper occurred between the time that the child left the custody of the parents and the time that the child officially was under the custody of the teacher.  I’m sure being of preschool age that time is very short, but could it be long enough for a diaper to be soiled ?  Perhaps.

Being the parent of two children, and now two small grandchildren, I can attest to the fact that a diaper can be dirtied in a very short time.

I believe the superintendent and the school board need to clearly define the rules. I would suggest the school board attorney address the issue of potential diaper problems that occur between the time the child is being switched from parent to teacher. In fact, I see the possibility for a whole new faculty position being opened up. This district clearly needs an IDC worker, (Interim Diaper Checker). The Interim Diaper Checker would check the child’s diaper during the short time of custody between parent and teacher.

I realize most districts are strapped for cash, therefore I would suggest the principal, superintendent or some school board members assume the IDC responsibility instead of hiring a new worker.

Who knows, if the IDC position becomes more in demand, we might have created a whole new major in the college of education. I can just hear a potential teacher candidate relating their credentials. “I have a Masters in Education with a specialty in IDC.

Written by alkleen

February 23, 2015 at 5:15 pm

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Why does the news media feel compelled to disclose a teacher’s salary whenever a teacher is involved in a news story ?

There was an online news story about a teacher who allegedly allowed teenagers to illegally consume alcohol at her house. Apparently, one of the kids came close to dying from alcohol consumption.

The headline was something like, “First grade teacher who makes $115,000 a year charged with providing alcohol to minors, one almost dies.”

If this had been a plumber, instead of a teacher, would the plumber’s salary be part of the story ?  I greatly doubt it. The headline would simply be, “local plumber charged with providing alcohol to minors, one almost dies.”  No mention of the plumber’s salary, no one would care or even think to include it.

If the teacher’s salary was only $30,000 a year, there’s a good chance the salary wouldn’t have been mentioned.

The news media and people in general simply cannot accept the fact that a teacher could possibly be making what most people would consider a really nice salary. When it comes to teacher salaries, most people are stuck in a time warp. They all remember years ago when an average teacher like me made $20,000 a year, For whatever reason, the general public, and the news media in particular, can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that teacher’s salaries deserve to be above what most middle class wage earners take in.

Teachers, you need to learn from this. If you are near the bottom of the pay scale and get into trouble, people won’t have a difficult time forgiving you; but if you are near the top of the pay scale and get in trouble, UNFORGIVABLE !  Not only have you lost the community’s trust, but while doing so, you also had the audacity to make a large salary.

Written by alkleen

February 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

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