We don’t use much of the true “call to action” around here, preferring directionless rage, invective and vitriol instead.
But here’s a “Call To Action”.
Here is what “The District” has told my middle school:
- We must add more Math minutes to the day to bring up poor Math test scores for around 300 of our current students;
- We must do this without any increase in staffing;
- We must do this without any additional rooms/portables;
- We must do this without any additional funding of any kind;
- And we must do this without any leadership or direction from “The District”, only the adversarial passing of the proverbial “unfunded mandate” buck.
My school has over 200 Gifted students (out of an enrollment of just over 900), a diverse music program featuring Band, Orchestra AND Rock n’ Roll classes, and receives the most transfer requests of any middle school in “The District”. Countless parents fabricate documentation every year to “prove” they live within our school boundaries.
Yet “the District” is mandating (while offering no assistance whatsoever) that we basically double the amount of Math taught, regardless of the peril to our Music and other highly popular and successful programs. We cannot lengthen the school day, so we must instead make a “Sophie’s Choice” to sacrifice something through a internecine process pitting content departments and teachers against each other.
Our popular, in-demand school is imploding, and all for some patently unreachable No Child Left Behind mandates that have never been funded properly, and are almost certain to be heavily altered in coming months. So like the last car in the roller coaster, my school feels the whip-like effect of the “death drop” just as the front of the car finally reaches a sane point of being level. And like that whip of the roller coaster, my school will continue to feel the pointless repercussions of these forced changes for a long time.
Something needs to happen. Frankly, my colleagues aren’t unanimous about much of anything, but every single one of them would tell you there is no one to turn to at “The District”. Nobody to talk to at the NM Public Education Department. Nobody.
So in that sense it’s an empty “Call To Action”. I can’t really tell you who to call, because it’s pretty obvious to us there ain’t anybody worth calling. More than anything, I’m throwing this “call to action” out there on the simple, faint hope that my colleagues and I are wrong, and that there IS somebody out there who will not only listen, but help us make changes designed to address both our Math scores AND the need to keep the great things about my school great.
Like I said, I hope I’m wrong. I’m hoping every single internecine fighting staff member at my school is wrong. Somebody, please prove us wrong. Somebody. Anybody.