Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where's CTA On THIS Issue?

I'm the first to admit it--I don't want CTA worrying about education issues. I don't want them worrying about political issues. I want them focused solely on Darren's pay, benefits, and working conditions.

It's interesting to note, however, into which education issues they interject themselves, and which they do not. Right now, CTA seems to be expending beaucoup energy to defeat the No Child Left Behind reauthorization, certainly a quixotic battle as all indications are that it will be reauthorized. What occurrence, then, does CTA seem to be totally ignoring?

The effective cancellation of summer school.

I admit to not having 100% of the details, but this is what I have gathered from talking to our school counselors and administrators: state funding for summer school is being cut, and, at least in our district (I don't know about others), high school summer school will be only for those students who haven't yet passed the exit exam.

Think about that for a moment. If a student fails English, four years of which are required for graduation, summer school is no longer an option. We have a few exceptional elective programs at our school, enrollment in which essentially require students to attend summer school so they can take basic courses like "health ed" and free up electives during the school year. These magnet-type programs, like AVID, will have to be severely curtailed, altered, or canceled.

This is a big deal. And our Democrat state legislators are bought and paid for by the CTA, but I don't hear one peep out of the CTA on this topic. "It's for the children"--except when it's not.

One of our union reps brought the topic up at a union meeting, and was told that it's being addressed. If that isn't a blow-off answer, I don't know what is.

As I said, I don't really want a union getting involved in education issues, but I find it notable that they aren't involved in this one. I wonder why this one is apparently no big deal for them? After all, this has "it's for the children!" written all over it.


Anonymous said...

We don't really expect the CTA/NEA to get involved with anything like this, do we??? At least CTA puts the word TEACHERS in it's name, while the National Education Association tries to pretend that it is interested in the EDUCATION of public school students.

Case in Point -

The NEA boss Weaver was interviewed just today by Shepard Smith about the One Out of Ten Drop-Out Factory/High School situation. and it was strange that anyone would ask an NEA boss about anything that affects students, graduation and/or drop-out rates.
Besides the fact that the NEA is probably more responsible for any shortcomings and most of the problems that hinder the full implementation and noble intentions of NCLB...people don't seem to realize that the NEA/CTA are only in existence for TEACHERS (bad ones primarily).

As Al Shanker once said, when students (or in this case potential drop-outs) start paying union dues (to the NEA/CTA) then the unions will start caring about students, & high school drop out factories, Exit Exams, or Summer School.

By the way, NEA Boss Weaver totally stumbled through the interview, and Shepard could have been a whole lot tougher on him!

Darren said...

If only the teachers unions *were* worried only about the teachers, instead of about every liberal political cause that comes down the road.

In fact, I could be a member if they only looked after teachers.

Anonymous said...

Fifteen years ago, at the middle school level, summer school was fairly comprehensive. Courses in math, English, science and social sciences were offered for those who had failed them, plus there were a variety of enrichment classes offered.
In recent years, enrichment offerings have sharply dropped off and, even worse, we stopped offering science and history in summer school, so students who failed science or history have to take math and/or English in summer school. You tell me the sense in that?
Plus, how can a year's worth of knowledge be learned in 5-6 weeks?
The only positive thing about remedial summer school is that it is punishment for those who fail--it cuts into a kid's summer freedom (and their parents, sometimes, as well).

Anonymous said...

You've got a point. They have most definitely abandoned teachers with their liberal greed. Perhaps this is because they are somewhat obsolete even in their very existence. This is similar to the Civil Rights dinosaurs who continue to fan the flames of Minority Victimization, in order to stay in 'business'. Teachers Unions are, quite simply, unnecessary in the information age.
I can negotiate my own salary!

Ellen K said...

I can foresee a situation where the cost of summer school will be so prohibitive in terms of staffing and facilities, that only students who failed the state mandated testing will be allowed to attend. That means that seniors who mess around their senior year will be out of luck. And maybe that bit of consequential learning is as it should be. I don't like it that kids assume they can take every single class over the summer. It's too much of a safety net and let's face it, there's no way you can get the depth of learning in the short summer term that you can get during an entire school year. The kids know this and they use it as an out. Why they want to, I have no idea, but I have heard such opinions expressed.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I could have made it through high school without summer school opportunities. I took my most challenging subjects each summer - biology, chemistry, and physics.
I feel that students today need opportunities to do the same. As a college prep High School student (1964-1968), I was not messing around, nor was I making up credits. I was simply taking the opportunity to focus on subjects that were not easy for me, and which I probably would have done poorly in, (with the intense college prep curriculum I was involved in) during the regular school year.
I daresay that I cannot remember ever using the concepts that I covered in those required subjects, since I passed them in those 8-week summer sessions.
Summer school is as essential to a students progress and academic achievement in the 21st Century as it was in the 1960's.