My State Rep Is Almost Illiterate

Andy Brenner, (remember him hiding behind the dumpster?) has done it again.  Pumped up with ALEC ideas — mostly because he never has had an original thought — and egged on by his #tcot pals, has now accused the system of public schools in Ohio of being “socialistic.”

Since Andy used his wife’s blog to deliver his groundbreaking news, I thought I would ask my spouse, a 30-plus year veteran teacher, to lend his thoughts on Andy’s news.  So, as my guest blogger today, here is the perspective of Douglas Joseph, public school teacher and private college adjunct.  Take it away Doug!

In response to your “legislator’s perspective” entitled “Public Education in America is Socialism, what is the Solution?”, I would like to express a 30+ year educator’s perspective.

Mr. Brenner, let me remind you of March 24, 1997, when Judge Frances Sweeney wrote for the 4-3 majority vote (Ohio Supreme Court) – “We send a clear message to lawmakers (I think he meant you and your ilk).  The time has come to fix the system.  Let there be no misunderstanding.  Ohio’s public school-funding scheme must undergo a complete systematic overhaul.”

As of December 2002, the 4th decision was handed down by the Supreme Court that Ohio legislators must do something about the way public schools are financed. Instead of criticizing the jobs teachers are doing, and that is what you seem to be saying, why don’t you do your job?

There are many points in this article to which I take exception, but let me point out to you that one of the biggest complaints I have about this article is the author.  You have been elected by the people of my community to serve the people of my community.  I have never seen you walk through my building during a school day so how can you judge the job I am doing?

You mention that Bill Gates can’t find qualified workers in America?  So you must be saying that the 93,000 people employed by Microsoft  around the world must not be very smart.

You mention teacher unions are running the schools.  Teacher unions do not decide curriculum, schedules, etc.  I have spent more of my time dealing with state initiatives (OGT testing, evaluation systems, OPAPP) in the last five years than ever.  The state mandated OGT testing disrupts the education system for over 3/4 of the students for a week of school.  I and my peers are taken out of classrooms to have meetings, grade practice tests, learn new state initiatives — anything but teach.

Your definition of socialism comes from Wikipedia.  For your information, most professional educators refuse to accept Wikipedia as a reliable source to be used by our students.

You are a product of a public school education.  Were you unfairly educated?  Were you able to achieve a college diploma?  Your parents lived in a specific school district and you attended that school.  Would you have taken the money and run?

You mention privatizing schools – I think you are referring to charter schools, which I know you have a vested interest in.  Are you still receiving campaign money from corporate owners of charter schools?  How about that license plate — that was cutting-edge legislation for schools.  Why are so many charter schools closing?  How many have been successful?  Lets compare report cards of public schools and charter schools.  How long can you protect your contributors.

I have to wonder if your fear of schools, educators and knowledge is something you should have checked out.  At any rate, Mr. Brenner, I invite you into my classroom at any time to teach for one day.  I look forward to watching an expert at work.  Maybe I can learn something.

Thanks, Doug — couldn’t have said it better myself!

 

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