This is a conversation I’ve had with quite a few people.

I know quite a few friends who are teachers and through conversation have made myself aware of their struggle.

It has always seemed strange to me that someone who chose to dedicate their life to educating the future leaders of the country are so poorly cared for and underpaid (it took me years to care about this because most of my Jr. High and High School teachers were useless clowns, though not all. Yeah, I said it).

Anyway, during a specific conversation with one, I asked for her to write her concerns and I could post it here with the idea that through this little blog we can at least make the difference for her (and her students) that nobody else seems willing to do.

Needless to say, I ask (and challenge you) to participate in helping out knowing that in this case we are talking about someone who cares, but the system fails them. Please share this link on your Facebook. Reblog this post. Let’s make a difference where others choose not to. Without further ado:

Charter schools, standardized testing, Teach for America, Common Core, Students First and the No Child Left Behind Act. These are the tentacles of the evil I fight. Because of them, public schools suffer, especially the kind that I teach in. Evil may sound like a harsh word but this is Lee’s blog and if you are reading his blog on a regular basis, you’ve got the practice to handle raw truth.

My friends and family ask me why I stay, discontented as I am with new reforms. It is because the public schools need the fighters. Social justice will not be attained if people like me leave and get replaced with a fresh-faced “yes” man without a backbone who will let corporate-data-driven-America mess with the developing minds of our future. My students deserve so much more that.

Who are my students? They are mostly the children of working class Latinos who live in the Central Bronx area of New York City. I’m not going to tell you it’s all kittens and rainbows. The students are not well behaved and read well below their grade levels but I have developed my craft so those issues are not the difficult ones. As one of my close relatives observed, it’s never the students I complain about.

I teach them science. It is a welcomed break in their day of test prep and endless writing assignments. My students like experiments best. Those don’t happen often because my school doesn’t have the supplies for it.
Before I came to this school, they purchased $5000 worth of science textbooks approved by the NYC DOE. It’s such a crap textbook someone had to be sleeping with someone to have been awarded that contract. They collect dust, too, because I refuse to use it. I am currently halfway through the process of rewriting the curriculum so it fits the needs and interests of my students.

When Lee offered to help, I almost said no. It always catches me by surprise when people ask to donate to my classroom. I don’t expect outside help. I see no point in asking people who already paid with their taxes for more especially when I see how wasteful the DOE is with the money it has. My administrators and their bosses are supposed to be providing but they’re not. Why should anyone step up and compensate for their ineptitudes? New York State spent 32 million dollars on standardized tests but teachers have to buy their own copy paper. My blood boils at stupidity.

So what do I do? Who is really suffering? Why should I ask for help? It came down to this:
#1: Because, eventually, I have to admit I can’t deliver a quality education without any support at all. I need new equipment to replace the old. Triple beam balances are $120 a pop. There was an amazing density experiment I could not do with my class because the supplies cost $350. The LCD projector (donated to me 3 years ago) blew out a lamp. I could (and I will) ask admin to replace it but it is faster and more dependable with my credit card and Amazon.com. Sad. At the end of the day it’s still just me standing on my own with no budget but my personal pocket book.

#2: I can run my class on a dime. I know exactly what and how much I need. I do the unheard thing and keep inventory. Nothing gets wasted and every thing has a purpose.

#3: I know how to teach kids not to waste. I know what they like and I know what they love. I know how to teach them to want to pick up a book. And I know the books they want are not in my school. So I buy them. The impact on the student’s day is astounding.

Asking for help has never been my style but I can ask for others, in this case 90 others. If you wanted to become a patron of my classroom, we welcome and extend many thanks to you for clicking below:

GET INVOLVED

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