Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fremont High: Will it perform?

Fremont High's grand experiment begins

It is officially time to see if Mayor Villaraigosa’s grandiose plan of shutting down Fremont High School, due to low-academic performance, and re-hiring new and old teachers will work. The school re-opened July 7, 2010 with new and returning teachers.

Many of the experienced and caring teachers chose not to re-apply for their positions. It is not surprising that some of these teachers are missed by many of the students. The thing is that the educational system cannot punish all teachers at one school for low-academic performance when not all of them are to blame. There are many external factors that lead a student to perform low. Societal issues such as poor neighborhoods, gang violence, lack of employment, etc all play factors in a young person’s educational experience.

The school system needs to properly implement evaluations. Once a teacher reaches tenure the amount of times that they are reviewed decreases over time. It is obvious to me in my educational experience and from talking to actual teachers that such practices may not be the most reasonable considering that some tenured teachers are not the best teachers. The accountability of some teachers needs to increase as well as the evaluation methods and practices.

I know that some of the best learning I did from K-12 was in classes in which the teachers really cared about the progress of the students. Recently, I had a conversation with my 8th grade science teacher about the status of the California education system. I wanted to get insider perspective on it, especially from a woman who was by far the best, most dedicated and caring teacher I had in my youth. I voiced my thoughts about how teachers should have a passion for their career and not look at it as a job; they should care about the learning and progress of their students because that gives a space for students to reach their full potential. She replied, “The thing is, teachers are not paid to care, their paid to teach.” It suddenly struck me that she did not have to constantly remind kids to do their homework or provide extra tutoring and counseling when needed, she did that all on her own. Even though she wasn’t paid to care she still did. The reality is though that some students do not have the opportunity to have teachers who truly value their growth and as a society, how do we solve that? How do we address the teachers who simply have a job and not a calling? How do we measure each teachers commitment to their students when they are not paid based on those standards?

I feel that until something is done to address such issue as well as all the other societal issues that effect a student learning, simply shutting down and re-opening a school with some new staff will not bring the reform our education system needs.


1 comment:

Tony said...

Good post Agueda.
I just saw a film screening last night at Paramount (Waiting for Superman)that should create a lot of awareness and spur good debate about the issue of school reform. It makes a compelling case for teacher quality being a crucial factor in student success and documents the devastating affects of tenure for bad teachers.