I knew this would happen. It's been since August since I've written in this blog... even though I said I was going to write in it more often. Well, school has basically had me hung up by the ears with stress and homework. But that's not what I'm going to concentrate on right now.
Yesterday, Issue 2 did not pass, repealing senate bill 5. There are a lot of issues that I had to think about, as I am in a program that will end in me being a k-12 school teacher. Of course there are good things about that bill, but there were also a whole lot of bad things.
The bill is mostly about collective bargaining (aka unions). It prevents those who work for the government like police, fire fighters, and public school teachers from negotiating wages, their work schedules, etc. I think the part that I had the biggest issue with was that the Board could decide what could be bargained on, so in most cases, the board of directors of any program, school, or any other government organization is going to want to keep as much money in their pockets as possible, and they can deny ALL bargaining rights of both individuals and unions.
Like I said, there were a couple of things I did like about senate bill 5, like holding people accountable by paying based on performance. We've all had those teachers who sat at their desks all day and made you copy things out of a book while all the students complained that the teacher was horrid and wasn't teaching anything. Those teacher's couldn't be fired because of seniority and all they would do is take it to the union and the union would never let a little ol' lady be fired, no matter how senile.
Teachers NEED to be held accountable, and so do all other government workers, but especially the board members. But the way that this was implemented was that teachers were evaluated, not by being observed by an official, but by their student's grades. Didn't you know a few kids in school who just didn't give a crap about their grades? Should a teacher get their pay docked just because they have a few kids who just don't care about school and will eventually drop out anyway? But in order for our country to progress and get back on top of the world's education scales, we need better teachers, and parents who teach their kids that education is important. We need a community who is willing to invest in the future of their world (these are the people who are going to be taking care of you in 20 years! wouldn't you want them to know how to read properly?!). And we need students who are self-motivated. We need more liberationist teachers.
At least in the Arts, we're not taken seriously because we don't get assessed by the state. You know there are art questions on the SATs? What if you've never taken an art class? You'll miss 15% of the questions.
Despite the lack of state evaluations, we're still teaching according to a curriculum, and according to standards. Your kids are going to get a very different kind of art education that I did when I was little. Will they remember who most of the artists are once they get in college? Probably not. But will they be able to observe, think critically, tackle problems with creativity, and make informed choices about what they know and what they see? Yes, yes they will. Art is an avenue to learn about everything else around you, and most people in this day and age learn visually, not auditory. What are we doing to accommodate them?
But now I don't have a lot of time left, I need to get to class. But all in all, I'm glad senate bill 5 was repealed. Everyone should have the right to negotiate. And well, what really matters to me as a teacher, hopefully in the next few years we will have to opportunity to integrate art into the other main subjects more since teachers won't be fired when the students don't do well on high stakes testing. When we don't have to worry so much about scary tests that are an all or nothing for the teachers and students, we'll have more of an opportunity to work together and have fun!
Besides, the best way to learn is to connect everything together. Cause in life, are these things really separate? At least, in the Art World it isn't. History, culture, philosophy - these are all things that are infused with Art and understanding it.