CPS/CTU Displaced and Substitute Teacher’s IMO
By Patricia A. Breckenridge
Since the civil rights movement in the 1960s African American (AA) teachers have spearheaded in-classroom (curriculum, instruction, assessment, motivation, learning styles, teaching strategies, and classroom management – pedagogy) education reform, not school choice and high stakes testing, for elementary and secondary education in most inner-city at risk public schools across America. AA teachers have historically paved the way since the Cilvil Rights Act (1964), and segregated schools, Brown vs The Board of Education (1954), for any teacher teaching in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as well as public schools nationwide while one of the latest reading research-based scientific interventions, Fry Readability Graph, (1960s), for finding reading levels and students given ownership of their reading levels on a daily basis was left out of the education reform theory, equations, and formulation for per pupil capita as disparity in funding and equal rights to a quality education continues in unwealthy school districts. Subsequently, AA teachers are displaced and terminated at an alarming rate as though they did not over populate the profession in inner-city public schools during landmark decisions, and many AA students are underperforming.
Oversight of not allowing AA low-income students ownership over their reading levels during their formative years has resulted in the underprivileged AA population being at the bottom of the achievement gap as Hispanics/Latinos now surpass AA students on the achievement gap metric. AA teachers and students deserve reparation for this unfortunate oversight that has “robbed” our teachers of jobs and our students of their literacy as they endure the correlation of low-income and underperformance. Education reform does not occur until low-income is correlated with out-performance.
In memory of the civil rights leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful demonstrations, our society finally accepted the AA teacher as a means to educate the underprivileged and low-income students and families in America – a mission impossible without vulnerable low-income students and families given the education tools to actively engage their child as to where they are in their learning, reading, and literacy, and how to become more literate and proactive in their learning through measurements –metrics not seen in the School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) that determines level 1, 2, and 3 schools and LSC governing body authority - like the Edward Fry Readability Graph. This is an imperative education tool for a student to gain ownership over – independent reading level - his or her reading level by matching and graphing sentences and syllables in a book the student loves to read and retell, instead families are blind-sided as to why their child never mastered the 3rd, 4th, 5th..,etc., grade reading level as their child enters secondary education on frustration reading levels, and graduates with low GPA (grade point average) and standardized test scores or drops-out unprepared for college and career readiness.
Today, we depend on Common Core and PARCC standards, school choice, and high stakes testing to solve the problem of students reaching bench marks and meeting and exceeding standards while students are not universally “ready” to be assessed and tested – hence differentiated instruction, however the educators and legislators who implement this education policy soon forget that most inner-city at-risk students are being tested on frustration level, one of three reading levels, not instructional level or independent level. It’s as frustrating as you or me trying to take a test in a foreign language we never learned. AA and all elementary and secondary teachers have taken students a long way in developing literacy skills just to read and write standard English that our country was founded on more than two centuries ago – a common denominator that allows us to become more academically and technically inclined..
The underdevelopment and underperformance of our underprivileged children is planned IMO. It is a curriculum to stop the underprivileged – no matter what nationality or ethnicity - from ever academically out-performing the status quo IMO. Hopefully, all teachers continue to express the importance of our students given ownership over their reading levels daily -just like ownership over a new bike for Christmas, smartphone, latest designer jeans, etc. Students, teachers, educators, professors, principals, citizens, and community are IMO scientifically “robbed” – no ownership of reading levels - of their God given potential to have the same equal rights to a high quality education and academia as a child born into the elite or ruling class in order to live prosperous and self-sufficient lives.
Today as veteran displaced and substitute teachers aspire to teach, but we are “ostracized” from the school community. We are not allowed a seat on the Local School Council (LSC), governing body of the school, after spearheading education and transforming underprivileged students to literate adults. We are looked upon as failing society. We are not hired or circumstances are created to appear as though the displaced substitute is incapable of being hired as regular teacher with salary, benefits, upward mobility, dignity, respect, etc., and destined to a career of substitute teaching as students who never gained ownership over reading levels and literacy skills constantly disrespect veteran displaced substitute teachers. Many of us have to prove our worthiness by subbing even after a job interview instead of being hired “on the spot,” if we get an interview. Tenure and property of tenure is continuously under attack and taken – as to take measures to eventually return the AA teacher and middle-class to the lower class and Caste system through “draconian” observations and evaluations as students are assessed and tested on frustration levels. Many AA teachers are not rewarded with the typical 3-4 year time span for tenure as teachers have taught 20 years and never been appointed and rewarded with their due tenure while receiving excellent evaluations.
To this end, as society becomes more globalized and chooses to give its most wealthiest, privileged, and literate citizens tax breaks without caring for the meek and helpless, or general welfare, American families, teachers, and students lose opportunity to become productive citizens of society. America is not a “bully.” We are civic minded Americans who believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to live the American Dream with basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter as they love their family and friends while becoming academically inclined with the appropriate research-based education tools that intervene the myriad of impediments in low-income families’ struggle on a daily basis.
IMO, give our nation the right to our God given potential by meeting expectation of ownership over reading levels and “readiness,” and discontinue teacher bashing, union bashing, and public school bashing that serves no purpose and has no merit in a democracy or government for the people.
Food for thought: Acknowledge AA teachers for their contribution to humanity and society as much as any teacher from any other nationality or ethnicity with the same education, credentials, and experience.
The best things in life are free and that includes ownership over reading levels for all Americans.
Excerpts from March CUT issue:
“Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Ghandi