One teacher’s thoughts

This came in from Xavier Miranda:

Good Afternoon Brutus,

For your consideration:
Just a few thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 on our local education system:
The pandemic has revealed how corporate influence on our education system has sorely failed our students. Rather than relying on the expertise of educators, who best know the individual needs of our students, district administrators have been scrambling to replace their experimental technology initiatives that have little pedagogical value. (Prior to the outbreak, our superintendent had already spent $119 million on curriculum initiatives that have proven to be ineffective.)
GIven current circumstances, standards for mastery of content have been lowered, stifling our kids’ creativity and critical analysis, while favoring a one-size-fits-all curriculum.
Consider the following before the imminent transition of our education system to online learning:
1. Students are now limited in their interaction with their teachers, e.g., high school students now see their teachers two to three times a week for an average of 15 minutes per session. The one-on-one exchanges are now minimal, at best. (Our student to teacher ratios are typically 25 to 1; with class loads of thirty-five not uncommon.)
2. Families in areas such as the economically-disadvantaged Chamizal neighborhood, have limited access to WIFI, despite attempts to provide hotspots and laptops. Even when communication companies offer “free” service, such efforts entail having to commit to 1-2 year contracts that are a financial burden for struggling families.
3. In households with multiple children, access to online learning is limited by the bandwidth available. Time and coursework management is left to individual students that already need nurturing in terms of emotional development and skills acquisition.
4. Students designated as Special Education (SPED), Limited English Proficiency (LEP), and Economically Disadvantaged, are the ones bearing the brunt of the transition. Services typically rendered these kids have been restricted, leaving their parents to provide support of which they may not be aptly prepared.
No doubt there will be a push to empower online charter schools, and gradually close public schools after this pandemic runs its course.
Perhaps we need to acknowledge the hypocrisy of current initiatives that claim to address inequities, when in fact, these merely perpetuate them.
This is quite evident in the morass that our healthcare system is in, as a result of similar neoliberal influence on their management and operations.
One can merely look to the lack of coordination of resources, and shortages of PPE and ventilators as examples of a failed business approach to a social service.
Parents, students, and teachers must be included in the design of a post-pandemic education system, rather than those that dismiss notions of civically engaged and critical thinking students.
There are quite a few teachers that are devoted to serving our children, and are eager to step up to the task.
Respectfully,
Xavier Miranda
Teacher

**************************************

A few days later he sent this in as an addendum:

Good Afternoon Brutus,

I just wanted to follow up with the following development, and I am wondering if you can include it with my original submission:
The potential layoff of 275,000 teachers looms large; and it doesn’t bode well that our EPISD superintendent is a signatory on the plea to Congress
This pandemic will be the excuse to further decimate our public education system, and lead to more “radical reform,” which really means privatization. Our children will be the ones exploited.
It is essential that we all step up and restore the integrity and purpose of our schools.
***************************************************
We deserve better
Brutus

21 Responses to One teacher’s thoughts

  1. Anonymous says:

    A post-pandemic public school system should be minimally required to teach our children basic skills needs to exist and contribute to our society. The current system does not do that. This is simply an example of public school’s constant mantra of more, more, more. YISD just had a tremendous bond election. Teachers already do not have a typical work year but are paid similar to those who do work all year while working an average of 13 weeks less.

    If YISD cannot perform its basic function given the tremendous resources they already have at their disposal then they should have new leadership. Everyone is hurting and Miranda’s answer is that teachers should get more money from the other people who are not earning anything during this crisis. The sheer arrogance of his statement belies the common goal of public education.

    As for his inequities issue, pay the school teachers the same as regular workers, and make them work regular hours with regular benefits. Fix that unequal situation before demanding further inequality for teachers with respect to regular society.

    Miranda complaining about hypocrisy while decrying a non-education issue like healthcare demonstrates his lack of focus. He could have mentioned that when he was actively campaigning for the YISD school bonds in violation of state law, telling parents at school gatherings that the schools needed the bonds to pass.

    They passed, and still he asks for more. It will always be more more more while they perform less, less, less.

    Like

  2. Russian Bot says:

    Teacher pay is often negotiated to the political advantage of teachers and their respective unions. The average worker does not have the advantage of such a bargaining arrangement. If all of society operated in this way, normal life would be unaffordable and the choices we would have would be much less than they are now.

    Leaving aside the obvious issues and disparity in public sector unions (the taxpayer is represented by political interests concerned more with election/reelection than representation), it can be understood that obtaining a job within a given school system is also a process not open to the average member of our society.

    Given the disparities in pay, benefits and access to employment within a school district, it does not stand to reason that teachers should receive additional, special consideration that the other members of society must pay for.

    School districts have ample resources from which to operate, which they require the taxpayer to fund. Walmart doesn’t get to make taxpayers fund their operation, and their employees do not enjoy the pay and benefits given to the average school teacher. But Walmart employees must pay for teacher wages and benefits.

    School districts receive far above average pay and benefits that taxpayers are forced to subsidize. In this time of crisis they are presumably better able to weather the storm given that in the long non-crisis period preceding COVID-19 they have received more. Now they can live on what they have like everyone else.

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    in an equitable society teachers would make the same as janitors, and have the same benefits. they need to be more honest in what they claim to strive for. they decry inequity while taking every opportunity to secure special privilege.

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  4. Stop whining says:

    Has Xavier Miranda ever been happy or content with anything? Has he ever found the good in anything? As vocal as he is about how horrible everyone and everything is, I wonder if he is ever self-reflective enough to ponder how his students view his teaching? During this time of unprecedented change, while people are suffering all he can do is narcissistically talk about himself and his issue. People are dying, unemployed and families are apart. Students and adults are feeling isolated, depressed, and wondering where their next meal and paycheck will come from. Miranda is worried about keeping a paycheck and arguing for a raise because he has 25-35 students in a class. Talk about being out of touch with current reality. I sincerely hope he reads the comments as from the four so far, it does not appear that anyone views the issues through his lense.

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  5. chico says:

    Stop Whining, attacking the messenger is typically a sign that you don’t have a legitimate counterargument. #justsaying

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Messenger? Miranda represents the system, he is not some disinterested party. And no one has attacked him, but merely point out the hypocrisy of his statement and position. Teachers are not some privileged class and they should not be making demands of others who are in far worse shape than they are. #crybabies

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  6. Dan Wever says:

    Anonymous says: Your comment “Teachers already do not have a typical work year but are paid similar to those who do work all year while working an average of 13 weeks less.” shows you have no idea what you are talking about and makes reading any more of your post a waste of time.
    You are just another dufus trying to kill public education because they still have Unions. If public education is so bad, why don’t you tell us what is wrong with it and give some ideas of how to fix the best part of the American dream. Equality of Opportunity!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dan. Instead of being so hateful why don’t you just explain what you mean. Allow me. Teachers salaries are based on 10 months of work. However, most teachers elect to have their salaries distributed over a 12 month period so they are still getting paid over the summer. Those summer paychecks are for work already performed.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Except they make the same or higher wages as people who don’t get the two or three months off. And now they want more, because why? They do a terrible job of teaching children, so they don’t deserve the special consideration they demand.

        Public schools have not been about teaching for decades. All they are now is a method whereby more and more money can be paid in wages and less and less effort goes into doing their jobs.

        They started by offloading transportation to and from school. Then they started a new funding mechanism for building maintenance. Now they have just about spent all of the bond money.

        Show me a single private sector that gets away with demanding more money constantly while avoiding accountability.

        Like

  7. Anonymous says:

    Like

  8. I was doing pretty good until I ran into his use of this term: “neoliberal influence.” I had to look it up, and sure enough, he used it correctly. It doesn’t mean what you might think it means, and I would have substituted something like simple GOP/greed/big money. That said, our education system is already in a bad way, and this pandemic is not helping. Some of the strong reactions here to what Mr. Miranda wrote are proof of the pudding. I would suggest a step back, a pause for reflection, and for those of you too young to remember, or ignorant of history, a study of our history, beginning about the time of the Civil War.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, the Civil War. That was when Democrat slave owners were mad at the Republican President for ending slavery and refusing to allow the Southern states to secede.

      After the Civil War Democrats formed the Ku Klux Klan as a mechanism for terrifying the freed slaves to prevent them from voting, buying land, etc.

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  9. an excuse to do as little as possible says:

    Teachers in one district are directed to give students one weekly assignment that a student can complete in less than two hours. Teachers are told to grade the assignments, but they have also been told not to give any failing grades. Instead of working harder to address problems caused by COVID-19, it seems the school systems are using this as an excuse to reduce their work.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well I gotta tell ya. Many parents certainly aren’t doing their part either. My wife is teaching virtually and on the few days a week she actually gets to see her students live, half of them roll out of bed 5 minutes before they are supposed to log on, in their pajamas, without having breakfast or combed their hair or anything. Other times, she has to deal with their half naked dad’s walking around in the background, scratching their hairy butts. She’s seen more the past few weeks than any of us ever should!! I think the biggest issue with education these days are the home lives some of these kids are coming from. Do parents even PARENT anymore?

      Like

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