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Governor Andrew Cuomo admits it takes more than a good teacher to get poor children to succeed. During a meeting with the Democrat and Chronicle’s editorial board, Cuomo said the following:

“…unless you understand the dimension of the need that student brings into the classroom and unless you are providing the services and are aware of the variety of needs, you’re never going to be a success.”

“We often say the answer the for all children everywhere is the same and it’s education. You take children from an impoverished neighborhood, broken family…that is a different problem than just educate the child. That’s a housing problem. That’s a nutrition problem. That may be a social service problem, counseling problem. That school has a lot more to do than just educate Johnny 9 to 5, 9 to 3.”

Cuomo appears to be acknowledging his new teacher evaluation system isn’t going to solve those issues. What is the governor doing help urban districts “educate Johnny?” How much can schools do to solve housing and social service problems? Cuomo has already said metro schools are not an option.

During the meeting, Cuomo also acknowledged what we all assumed: Buffalo got $1 billion because it needs money more than Rochester. But the governor also said Rochester is shortchanged in the per capita aid formula.

“People of Rochester should be treated fairly and these allocations of resources among cities is very important and very controversial and I am 100 percent in favor of making sure Rochester gets its fair share.”

“I know you’re not doing great, but we’re in the middle of a national recession also but Rochester economically is doing better than Buffalo. That’s true.”

– Monroe County buried a woman in a cardboard box without notifying her family. The Democrat and Chronicle asks if the county and Strong Memorial Hospital should have done more to find her relatives.

– A Chicago teacher was suspended for using the N-word during a lesson about racism. I remember reading Huckleberry Finn in school and discussing the use of the N-word in class. It’s appropriate to talk about the N-Word in the context of history and culture. This is a good example of why tenure and due process are important for teachers.

– When is it time to stop trying to prolong the lives of elderly patients? A doctor writes a thoughtful piece on the end of life and our unrealistic expectations of medicine.

– I’m pretty sure I have nomophobia.

6 Responses to Educating Johnny

  1. February 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm Michael Bloch responds:

    Why is tenure important? Doesn’t it make it difficult, if not impossible to get rid of truly incompetent teachers?

  2. “Why is tenure important?”

    Because it prevents our best, most creative and ambitious educators from being fired for political reasons. Because historically intellectual freedom has always produced superior results over conformity in the long term. This teacher would have been fired for addressing something important that their politically correct bosses would prefer to be ignored. Every time tenure comes up and I agree that there needs to be reform, but assert that without some sort of protection for academic freedom education will suffer and teachers will be fired for doing their job (teaching evolution for instance) the response is that this could never happen. This proves it can.

  3. This teacher was not fired.
    This teacher was suspended for 5 days.
    I am not agreeing with the decision or defending the teacher. But the process seems to be working. The teacher was suspended. The teacher doesn’t think it was appropriate and is carrying out an appeals process and suing for damages. Seems like this is all still in process.

    As for the general idea of tenure….why does a gym teacher have tenure? A kindergarten teacher? Shop teacher?
    Tenure for elementary and secondary teachers is unnecessary. Our current legal system should be enough teachers. If it is good enough for everyone else it should be good enough for them.

  4. Tenure is important for all teachers. The pressure to conform and do something that an administration wants is great. Thinking of putting a child in special education – pressure is put on staff to not inform parents of their rights, a team is supposed to make a recommendation but pressure is put on staff all the time to “get on the same page” and it takes a lot for a teacher to speak up. Happens all the time now, if they could be punished now, think without tenure what the professional implications are for a teacher to keep their mouths shut without tenure? For calling child protective if they administrations says no? What if a child needs English for Speakers of Other Languages and the district isn’t providing it or having parents sign papers in English when they don’t know what they are signing? Being a teacher can be very scary and families often don’t know the laws nor get advocates that understand what they doing – often a neighbor or a friend if anybody. If teachers can’t give professional opinions without fear of retaliation, they will either keep their mouths shut or leave the profession. What if the school or district is doing something against the law and there is no protection? Teaching can be a scary profession at times and not for the light hearted.

  5. “This teacher was not fired.
    This teacher was suspended for 5 days.
    I am not agreeing with the decision or defending the teacher. But the process seems to be working…”

    …so we better change the process and eliminate tenure immediately!

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