Must teachers toe the line?
It is very sad for me to read the article "Nothing worth saving?" in the October edition of the Notebook. This is but another example of a good teacher being ousted in favor of "the process" that is supposed to lead to better and more grand things for education. The sad thing is that this story represents so very much the state of public education in the country and especially urban areas. Bright teachers who are great role models to fellow teachers and students get cut for teachers who push more of the accepted status quo within education that has to do with test-taking, achievement gap jargon, and the bureaucratic process.
Neil Geyette is a great teacher, and he has been removed from a school that needed him very much. These types of teachers are on staff at every school. The teachers themselves know they are good, most of the faculty knows who the good teachers are, and the students and parents overwhelmingly know who the good teachers are too.
Why can’t the state get it together and give more of these types of teachers more of a leadership role within education? Nope, instead, they are seen as the problem and are moved physically, along with their ideas, out of the picture.
How long will school districts and the bureaucratic powers that be keep looking in the wrong direction for positive change? Maybe they’ll just do it long enough for all the Neil Geyettes to quit and move on to other professions that actually appreciate and value them more.
The writer is a substitute teacher in New Jersey public schools and at Philadelphia charter schools. He worked for five years as a social sciences teacher in the San Francisco public school system.