Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Teachers Just Want To Teach

Chalkboard fight! Or who gets to control the chalk.

I used to work in a highly federally regulated industry, I didn’t mind because I knew that there would be tons of “Red Tape” but now teachers are facing over regulations that they were not expecting.
‘They Came for the Schools’ details how GOP targeted race and identity in classrooms
PBS News Hour
By Laura Barrón-López and Karina Cuevas
June 14, 2024

In 2021, an affluent, suburban school district in Texas gained national attention when parents and local conservative activists falsely accused the district of indoctrinating students with critical race theory. Mike Hixenbaugh's "They Came for the Schools" details how it became a blueprint for Republicans across the country and exposes their ambitions. Laura Barrón-López reports.

Amna Nawaz:
In 2021, an affluent suburban school district in Texas gained national attention when parents and local conservative activists accused the district of indoctrinating students with Critical Race Theory.

That drew the interest of Republican figures across the country and sparked a Christian movement beyond the district's borders to restrict what children are being taught in schools.

Laura Barron-Lopez has that story for our Bookshelf.

Laura Barron-Lopez:
Mike Hixenbaugh has been at the forefront of covering the events in Southlake Texas.

What started as an earnest effort by the Carroll Independent School District to confront racist rhetoric and bullying devolved into a battle about much more. Conservative parents and activists turned a district cultural competence plan into a fight over protecting their — quote — "traditional way of life."

The result? Books and classroom discussion about race, slavery, and sexual orientation were effectively banned. In his book "They Came for the Schools," released in May, Hixenbaugh details how this school district became a blueprint for Republicans across the country and exposed their ambitions, which go well beyond controlling what version of American history makes it into high school textbooks.


Laura Barron-Lopez:
When you started investigating, you discovered that there were a number of racist incidents at the schools in Southlake, some that go back decades, but, in particular, in 2018, when a video of white students saying the N-word went viral.
And the district promised action. What exactly was their plan in response to that?

Mike Hixenbaugh:
After the video came out, dozens of parents came forward and said, it's not just a video. My Black child has experienced these kind of racist slurs and jokes in the school for decades.

And so the district put together a committee. And they formed — they put together a plan called the Cultural Competence Action Plan. They worked for two years on this from 2018 to 2020, and the plan essentially called for diversity training for students and teachers, initiatives to try to hire more diverse teaching staff, a plan to go through the curriculum to make sure that kids were learning an honest and full picture of America's history.
Ah… the ol’ pass it off on a committee approach to get rid of a hot potato. But they got bit in the butt by their inaction when another incident made national news.

But all the racists had a fit over the “Plan,”
Mike Hixenbaugh:
It was remarkable to watch, because the people who were advancing this Cultural Competence Action Plan, many of them were themselves conservatives, Republicans.

But the Southlake Families PAC painted anyone who was pushing this plan as a radical leftist, as a Marxist. And it was around the same time that Critical Race Theory was entering the national conversation, this phrase that Chris Rufo used to try to describe any attempt to address discrimination in schools and other places.

It became a battle between adults over who was welcome in Southlake, whose ideas were welcome there. And that fight ended up spreading all over the country.
The racist won, they elected a right-wing school board
Mike Hixenbaugh:
There are elements of the Christian right in America that have long argued that the separation of church and state is a myth, that our country began to decline in the 1960s, when prayer and mandatory Bible readings were removed from schools.

And they have seized on this moment to say, parents are upset about schools. This is our chance to try to chip away at those foundational principles. And so you're seeing in Texas and all over the country moves to, in this moment, not just remove LGBTQ content from schools or to ban how — restrict how teachers talk about race and racism, but to replace those things with Christian symbols.
So with all this racist, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-Christain laws teachers are reassessing if they want to be teachers.
Dive Brief:
  •     Among 2,000 teachers surveyed nationwide, 37% said they are more likely to leave the profession at the end of this school year if a push for laws that “prevent honest teaching and conversations” reaches their classrooms, according to data from Stand for Children, a nonprofit advocating for equity in public education, and SurveyUSA, an independent research firm.
  •    The Stand for Children survey further solidified previous data suggesting teachers are increasingly considering leaving the profession. Overall, nearly 3 in 10 teachers, or 29%, said they were likely or very likely to quit teaching at the end of this school year, according to Stand for Children.
  •     On top of that, 93% of surveyed teachers agreed it’s important for children to “learn to value and respect the humanity of every person and to recognize and reject racism,” Stand for Children found.
And that was two years ago and it is only getting worst.

Another study reports…
Teachers Are Quitting at Higher-Than-Normal Rates
By NAM News Room (National Association of Manufacturers)
March 5, 2024

 Educators are leaving their jobs at a rate that is likely to prove unsustainable for the national school system in the long term, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s going on: “Public-school teachers … are still leaving the profession in higher numbers than before the pandemic, a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from 10 states show, though departures have fallen since their peak in 2022. The elevated rate is likely due to a combination of factors and adds one more challenge to schools battling learning loss and frequent student absences.”

    The figures are the most comprehensive recent collection of national teacher exit data.
    In some of the states studied, turnover was small, but in states including Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas, “teachers were leaving in substantially higher numbers than they were prepandemic.”


Why it’s happening: The average teacher salary of $66,000 has not increased significantly in decades, adjusting for inflation, which could be making jobs offering remote work options more enticing.

    Some teachers who have left the schools cite a lack of support from administrators regarding student behavior, and others point to “political battles over issues such as how race and gender are discussed in class.”
Face it the Republicans are making it hard to teach, and that is exactly what they are trying to do, which is cause the public school system to fail.

Pew Research found…
Amid national debates about what schools are teaching, we asked public K-12 teachers, teens and the American public how they see topics related to race, sexual orientation and gender identity playing out in the classroom.

A sizeable share of teachers (41%) say these debates have had a negative impact on their ability to do their job. Just 4% say these debates have had a positive impact, while 53% say the impact has been neither positive nor negative or that these debates have had no impact.

And 71% of teachers say teachers themselves don’t have enough influence over what’s taught in public schools in their area.

In turn, a majority of teachers (58%) say their state government has too much influence over this. And more say the federal government, the local school board and parents have too much influence than say they don’t have enough.
They found….
This report also includes some findings from a survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 (Chapter 3) and a survey of U.S. adults (Chapter 4). For details about these surveys, refer to the Methodology section of this report. Among the key findings:

    *38% of teens say they feel comfortable when topics related to racism or racial inequality come up in class (among those who say these topics have come up). A smaller share (29%) say they feel comfortable when topics related to sexual orientation or gender identity come up.
    *Among the American public, more say parents should be able to opt their children out of learning about LGBTQ issues than say the same about topics related to race (54% vs. 34%).
So the parents want to raise racist, homophobic, and transphobic children.

What about us…
Gender identity
A diverging bar chart showing that most elementary school teachers say students shouldn’t learn about gender identity at school.

When it comes to teaching about gender identity – specifically whether a person’s gender can be different from or is determined by their sex assigned at birth – half of public K-12 teachers say students shouldn’t learn about this in school.

A third of teachers think students should learn that someone can be a boy or a girl even if that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

A smaller share (14%) say students should learn that whether someone is a boy or a girl is determined by their sex at birth.

Views differ among elementary, middle and high school teachers. But teachers across the three levels are more likely to say students should learn that a person’s gender can be different from their sex at birth than to say students should learn gender is determined by sex at birth.

Most elementary school teachers (62%) say students shouldn’t learn about gender identity in school. This is much larger than the shares of middle and high school teachers who say the same (45% and 35%).
So what does this mean? I think it means that they think we should hide in the closet again.

Just remember what people think is not necessarily right thing. If you took a poll back in 1850 about slavery in southern states the poll would probably be just about 100 percent in favor of slavery.

What it does show is that we need to get out and educate more. To make being trans not something abstract but familiar, and appreciate what it means to be trans.

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