Over the years, I have had many moments where I have felt "Do they (the system, the chancellor, the mayor) want the schools to fail?" My dilemma is: do I continue to fight and potentially go down with the ship, or do I get out now? I still don't know the answer. You see, I actually love teaching. I seriously love my job, even in the New York City public schools. Don't get me wrong, I KNOW what goes on in most schools and I've seen it firsthand, I've experienced it, I've cried over it, and I tried to convince myself that if I just found that one school that was great, I could escape it. For a year, I did. I found this beautiful little school within the system that does beautiful things for children... but what I've realized is you can't escape the system. I can't escape that CTT classes EVERYWHERE in the city are completely out of compliance with IEPS and ratios. I actually don't know anyone at any school where CTT classes are functional. Does anyone? I can't escape the fact that our class sizes in first grade linger around 28 and we've been warned that next year they will rise to an astronomical 32.
As teachers we are accountable to make sure test scores rise and we become more effective, but how can we continue to do this? Last week we received an email that was sent to all teachers throughout the city that special education is completely changing in the city. There will be no more 12-1-1 classes anymore and all students will be in general education classrooms at their community school. Schools with similar catchment areas will no longer refer children to each other based on services available, instead every school is supposed to educate every child. Sounds great right? Sure. But when you work for a system that is completely dysfunctional how is this going to work? Do you think these special education students will actually receive the services they are legally entitled to in a gen. ed. setting? Is a classroom setting with 32 students appropriate for a child that requires small group instruction? Are they just going to pull them out all day or throw multiple para educators into our rooms?
My question is: What about charter schools? Do they have to educate everyone that walks into their doors? What about the fact that a charter requires an application, they have attendance requirements, homework requirements, behavior requirements? Studies have shown again and again that the special education population is disproportionately out of compliance in all of these areas in comparison to general education students. So where will they all go in disproportionate numbers: the community school.... the failing community school.
I'm so sick and tired of this corporate agenda and pretending like we're improving education when really rich people are just getting richer by exploiting the poorest children in the nation. It is DISGUSTING!!!!