Friday, May 3, 2013

DSEA President now trying to backpedal furiously to "victory"

Yesterday the Senate proved once again that nobody there--despite party differences--actually thinks about public education critically by passing Dave Sokola's ridiculous SB 51, which is supposed to improve teacher preparation in Delaware.

I will have more to say on this later today, but here's the morning takeaway.

Earlier this week the DSEA Facebook page praised the bill because
It also gives DSEA a seat at the table to help develop the criteria for the exam and the assessment.
I pointed out that this is both disingenuous and dangerous.  There are already plenty of teachers involved in the teacher preparation programs at UD, DSU, and WU (which produce 95% of our new teachers), that there are already rigorous national standards being closely monitored (via NCATE), and that no research has ever EVER actually determined the preparation of our entry-level teachers in Delaware to be a problem.

Today I discover DSEA President Frederika Jenner, who has publicly endorsed this bill now backpedaling away from the (brutally honest) statement on her own organization's Facebook page:
DSEA leadership does not actually want that proverbial "seat at the table." What I would like to see is a greater number of working teachers involved in every aspect of teacher prep--the profession managing the profession, so to speak. I do not know which teachers were involved in any of the planning of this legislation. I have recommended that teachers be involved in planning, preparation, and implementation of teacher prep. A variety of working teachers. I also believe that lots more teachers could and should be involved in teaching college students about teaching.
Ms. Jenner, get real.

Your first statement is contradicted by your own organization's testimony in front of the Senate and other public statements.

And your agenda is for DSEA, not teachers, to become involved in teacher preparation, and involved not on the basis of professional quality, but involved on the basis of having state law MANDATE that involvement.

My guess is that you don't even know how many teachers are currently involved in such preparation programs.  There are dozens if not hundreds across the State.

Master teachers work with ALL the pre-service candidates for extended periods.

Teachers have a virtual veto over the credentials of all student teachers.

Many teachers are involved as adjunct faculty at our universities, and many retired teachers (or teachers who went on to get their advanced degrees and then switched career fields) are on the full-time faculty. Take a look at the teacher preparation faculty at our universities and you will discover ... teachers!

But apparently not the right teachers for Ms. Jenner.

Her rhetoric about not wanting a seat at the table is woefully thin at this point, given that such has been the argument she used while committing DSEA's full support for Vision 2015 and Race to the Top, both of which have been disasters for Delaware teachers as a whole.

How the teachers of Delaware continue to support a union that makes common cause with corporate officials who blame virtually all the problems of public education on them is beyond comprehension.


Anonymous said...

"How the teachers of Delaware continue to support a union that makes common cause with corporate officials who blame virtually all the problems of public education on them is beyond comprehension."

Its not like they have a choice. I am sure most teachers would stop paying dues if they had the chance.

Steven H. Newton said...

I am sure most teachers would stop paying dues if they had the chance.

First, teachers do have a choice. While DSEA is an "agency shop" it is not a "closed shop." This means that you CAN choose to pay the representation fee, not join the union, and not have a single dollar support DSEA political lobbying.

Second, DSEA--primarily through its local affiliates--does provide a necessary service for teachers in an collective bargaining environment. Having worked in such a union in an education environment for years, I can tell you that our teachers do need effective representation when administrators try to ignore contract, due process, and employment law.

Joanne Christian said...

I have to say I am totally flummoxed by this bill. Not perhaps 200 yards from Leg Hall sits the Townsend Building home to about every education subset task force, think tank, standards board etc., and this bill appears, endorsed, ratified and touted as the "Magic Bullet". Ah--hello? Proclamation is one thing--but law? Does anyone from the Senate realize there are volumes, and layers of regulations, rules, and rubrics already in place to insure quality teacher prep? And people are already paid to assess, deliver, design,investigate and implement at various checks and balances levels? And there are other regional and national considerations and benchmarks that need to be upheld? How come the Senior Class President is allowed to make rules for the District? Isn't there a process in place to navigate snafus, realities, and legalities, that brings this legislation forth? Would someone please tell the Legislature they are not just signing a high school petition of a really good idea. That really good idea hasn't even seen the sclera of ANY non-partisan educational panel/board in this state to my knowledge, but apparently is receiving much momentum because except for TFA--the assumption is made, it must have been approved or it wouldn't have gotten here! Tacit approval, implied consent ARE VERY DANGEROUS in this business. Demand the roots for this bill---and be prepared for all the weeding of a whole new imploded landscape of education--when the acreage we are already tending is well tended, rotated, nurtured, and weeded as necessary---with many willing hands.