Friday, February 5, 2016

A Call to Action:  You Control Accountability!
By:  Artie Leichner



I have been given the opportunity to write a piece to address this very significant organization. My name is Artie Leichner. I am a retired teacher, former union leader and a current candidate for the Florida House of Representatives.

I want to talk to all of you about accountability. It used to be such a simple concept. Individuals were assigned tasks and there was an expectation that those specific functions would be carried out. We were expected to be on time, teach and evaluate our students, communicate with parents, guardians and administrators as appropriate. We had a contract and it needed to be followed by all parties involved in it.

Of course we as teachers had a different level of accountability. Our students needed supplies, classrooms needed to look right, Xeroxing without paper, providing occasionally food, as well as ongoing management of the crisis of the moment. We held ourselves to a higher standard and placed the needs of our kids above all else. What did it get us?

It got us where we are today. Somehow the control of the dialogue has shifted. It used to be that teachers followed clergy among the most respected and responsible members of society. Now, all of a sudden it is we who are constantly tested, challenged to insert a scripted curriculum, designed for ...by....? If we follow the script with fidelity and those placed in front of us have a "script-ose" intolerant system, we have few if any alternatives to turn to. At the end of it all is a career ended.

So why continue to go above and beyond? I offer you two challenges. First, simply stop and "work to the rule." The teacher inside of me is violently grinding in my gut as I type this.  Second, and far more important you need your lesson plans in exact accordance with your District Rules. I know some places have a contractual controversy, but you need to give them what they want. Now the important part - you need a calendar. Every day you record, by name, time and incident every single interruption. Who, how long, why. You need to record any student called to a meeting or late to class because of one. You need to record assemblies that disrupts your plan and how it throws you out of synch with the required daily expectation. You need to record when mechanical failures or sufficient supplies are not there. If you don't have books record every date. If you're assignment is Internet based, you need to record all students who have no access and the write an email and have the school send physical letter asking for verification. You need to record when extra testing is scheduled - time and date, and how much time there is to prepare. You have to have the evidence and be able, in a confidential setting, explain causative agents to any results.
Sick and tired of the blame game - take it to a new level.
It seems like an annoying amount of work. It also lets you have an arsenal. I had to do things like this as an advocate in many cases, but without a long term plan we were insufficiently prepared.
NOW YOU CONTROL ACCOUNTABILITY!
Then you begin. One school at a time. You need your administration to see the end game and show them they are in the same boat. They need to do the same thing.

2 comments:

  1. Sadly, it has come to this. My fear, having retired in 2008, is that the reformers are ruining education.

    ateacheronteaching.blogspot.com

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  2. From day one, I document everything. I have to; I am a specialist teacher with an over-burdened case load. I write time, date, who I see, what we did, etc. I even document where I teach (usually in a hall or lunchroom) and for how long. Sometimes I have to walk to another building, pick up students from several rooms, bring them back to my little space, teach them, return them, all wasting precious teaching time. All the while, teachers complain because I am not picking up students at the exact times or returning them 2 minutes early. After 25 years, it's time for me to consider retirement or another job. Anything but this. Teaching has become a knight mare. It's no longer fun. Accountability is all on the teacher but nothing on the decision-makers. According to Danielson, my classroom environment sucks because I don't have a classroom and must rely on the lunchroom or hallway. It's disgusting and disrespectful. I'm done!

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