The Hard Work of Educating
The rhetoric about public-sector workers’ doggedly, thanklessly doing the hard work that the community requires, recently promoted around here by Phil, comes to mind especially with the item that I’ve italicized in the following:
EAST PROVIDENCE — The city’s teachers have voted to withdraw from volunteer activities in the district’s schools.
The roughly 500 educators won’t help with afterschool activities except for those that are accompanied with paid stipends, nor will they chaperone dances, buy supplies for their classrooms or participate on committees for curriculum development, accreditation or school improvement.
This isn’t just a temporary imposition affecting only the irreplaceable educational experiences of current students — which is egregious enough; it’s acceptance of decay in the system itself. Teachers may see school committees come and go, they may see budgets swell and ebb, but in East Providence, they apparently don’t consider themselves to be guardians of the city’s education system. Of what value are they, then, beyond replaceable cogs in the public machine?
Perhaps it should be encouraging that Education Commissioner Deborah Gist included the East Providence teachers’ actions among the issues of concern that she highlighted at yesterday’s Board of Regents meeting, but a contrast of emphasis emerges. In the case of Woonsocket, she threatened the superintendent’s certification over the hiring decisions of the school committee. If she believes, as she states, that educators should never “make decisions that directly impact students” (in a negative way, we can assume she means), then perhaps she should be looking into revoking their certification when they behave as if their jobs are more a matter of entitlement than calling.