Red for Ed

Let me first say, it’s about time.

I was happy to spend this past Tuesday in and around the Indiana Statehouse with about 15,000 of my friends, family, colleagues, and at least one former student. We gathered as a collective voice for our kids, your kids, and all teachers throughout the state.

Side One

For my kids,

Your kids,

And all teachers

Side Two

The last time I came down to the statehouse with some of you was in 2014. My sign back then read,

They’re trying to steal your vote, Don’t let them steal your voice

Five years ago or so we were rallying against the increasing of testing, funding, and obviously nothing truly changed. It’s just my own belief but the State of Indiana’s teachers may have the loudest voice in the state. When asked to organize, rally, march, and hopefully for me when called on to vote. We have always showed up.

But this was way bigger

I spent 12 years in the classroom myself. During those years I saw testing go up, my salary stay stagnant, and my time during the school day be wasted with too many meaningless meetings. Not all the meetings were meaningless. But my own personal sentiment as a teacher was too much of my day, week, and year while in the building was in fact, wasted. Because of the State of Indiana.

Lets talk standardized testing

As a student I honestly didn’t care about this test. It was the late 80’s through ’98. There was one test in which I remember filling it in as ACDC the entire way through.

Another test I took I filled in the bubbles of the wrong test. I realized it when I ran out of bubbles. “Oh shit” I thought. The testing time was almost over and the last thing I wanted was more testing. I quickly erased those bubbles and filled in the corresponding bubbles to the correct test. Then, filled in the rest of the bubbles just as time was expiring.

My teachers never really seemed to care about the test. They always implored all of us to do our best. They told us this test was just to check where we were in terms of our learning. I knew at worst it meant summer school, or an awkward conversation about my intelligence with my parents about why the dots on my chart were sometimes below average, most often right above the low line, but sometimes I would shoot way up. Those were the writing pieces come to find out : ^ )

No matter how important any lawmaker, principal, teacher, parent, news agency, fellow student, or government sub committee may want any standardized testing to first show intelligence, and use that score as part of any formula that rates student, teacher, school, district, or state education. It can’t. It wont. It’s dumb. Of all the different assessments used to measure student growth it’s probably the least effective. In my opinion. To tie that score with the pay of a teacher, and the funding for a school is asinine. In my opinion. But what would I know. I am just a teacher.

The entire teaching world changed when I was in College. First, Columbine. Then, Sept. 11th.

The entire teaching world, at least in Indiana, changed almost concurrent to me beginning my teaching career back in 2006.

I voted for Mitch Daniels in 08. Even though he wasn’t my man. Everything seemed fine in the state. Then, he basically turned his back on teachers and started a systematic process of discrediting the profession. Then, as far my overall quality of life is concerned, Mike Pence became Governor. If you’ve gotten this far and haven’t read my Open Letter to Mike Pence. Do yourself a favor and click the link.

I often wonder what life in Indiana would have been like had John Gregg won in 2012.

As a young professional educator I was so busy trying to be the best teacher, coach, and new husband that I could not find the time to raise my voice outside of my classroom, those of my fellow teachers, or during our staff meetings. So, after unsuccessfully trying to organize my own protest in Noblesville. I joined our Union. I had been teaching for 5 years and hoped joining would give me a voice. It did. We rallied together and at least got enough parents, and former educators to check Mike Pence when we elected Glenda Ritz as our Superintendent. One person can do so much. Even against a super majority.

When I started my profession I had nothing to compare it with. I knew I wouldn’t ever be rich as a young educator. But after 10 years you think I’d be clearing 40K. I never did. But, yet I still hear so called reporters online, in print, and even on TV tell me that Indiana teachers salary average around 50K. I beg to differ. But do admit I know you can find facts, or data to support any position you may want to take on that, or any, topic.

All I can tell anyone reading this is my truths as an educator in Indiana.

Testing is a waste of time, money, resources, and effort in that order.

Our funding formula needs to be fixed, beginning at the State level.

We need educators in politics

That’s where I come in. I talked to so many people at the rally who voiced their concerns about politicians not truly understanding anything about schools. Be it testing, funding, curriculum, licensing, et al.

They’re trying to steal our voice,

Don’t let them steal your vote,

again

I’m going to stop. But if you care to talk more about the other issues in education. I’d be glad to. My daughters are just about up and it’s already been two days.

Our future, the future of every child in this state, and a large amount of our work force depend on the adults of this state fixing this mess. Indiana is on the bottom of too many lists as compared to the rest of the nation in terms of education, literacy, quality of life, pollution, etc.

One last comment. For those that haven’t heard Speaker Bosma’s quote from the mic on the statehouse floor Tuesday,

We get it

Brian Bosma
Tuesday, November 19th

You obviously don’t

Me to you

I was thrilled to hear of your retirement. You and the majority of the State of Indiana’s Representatives have done enough.

Thanks for reading,

But there is a lot more to discuss,

Ken

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