Last time I took time in between posts, I apologized. This time I took time off to sit back and ask myself a number of questions about the proposed sick out, the state of Dallas ISD, and a look at myself. Here is what a week of reflection has shown me.
The Sick Out
Efforts like this have fizzled out in the past, and perhaps this is heading down the same path. There are really four different ways Dallas teachers are approaching the idea of calling in on February 29th:
1. The Hardliner
The Hardliner is the teacher that supports the idea with all their heart and soul. They are the convinced and these teachers will definitely be absent on the 29th, regardless of whether or not I post again. I am not certain as to the number of these teachers (as I keep no logs or records of supporters) yet from e-mails and Facebook posts I can tell that there is a good number of them out there.
2. The Motivated
The Motivated is the teacher who is also tired of the mistreatment and disrespect of the board, yet is not quite certain that they will participate. Many of the Motivated want to do something about our situation, but are unsure that a sick out is the right move. They may feel that there will be possible repercussions to missing school on Leap Day, whether on their individual campus or from the board itself. They need their job, and want to keep it, and are willing to support a movement for change but are nervous of putting their employment at risk. These may also include people who do not have enough days remaining to miss school on the 29th.
I respect your reservations and completely understand them. Just like you, I do not want to be "punished" for missing school on Leap Day.
If the description of "The Motivated" describes you, then I urge you to ask yourself a few more questions....
If you do not stand for change now, then when will you? Next year? At some point you simply have to draw a line in the sand and announce that you will take no more. Personally, I feel that such a time is now. Next year will be too late. If you allow the board to continue down this path, there will come a point where standing up is pointless. Perhaps that time has already come and my ideas are already too late, but we cannot go backwards and undo the past, nor can we allow the district to move forward in this direction.
Fear is a powerful force. Historically, fear has been used to maintain control in situations where those in power know they cannot get popular support. Fear can go a long way, but once the people stand up against the powerful and declare that fear will no longer maintain control, the people become the powerful. The longer the people choose to wait, the more challenging this transfer of power becomes. My question to the Motivated is: If it will only get more difficult to stand up in the future, than what are you waiting for?
3. The Unsure
The Unsure either remain uninformed by the changes being made, or are frankly uninterested in what is happening. I cannot believe that the number of these teachers is that large, but again I have no data to back up any of this. These teachers may also not be aware of this blog, or a suggested sick out, or of the impact the recent board decisions have made upon Dallas ISD.
If you know of the Unsure, by all means find and educate them. Do not let people ask you "what happened?" on March 1st. Give them the address to this blog and let them decide.
4. The Detractors
The Detractors are two-fold. They are those who feel any form of protest is pointless and therefore a ridiculous suggestion, or they are those who feel that the school board has been fair in all their decisions to date. I cannot really imagine anyone who falls in the latter category, but I will not claim that they do not exists simply because I have never met them.
Perhaps the sick out is a fruitless venture, and I highly encourage anyone with a better idea to start their own blog or send those ideas to me and I will happily champion their cause.
Our District... God Bless 'em
I have been sitting back this last week, shaking my head at the downward spiral our district has been in. The possibility of losing $79 million in Title I funding due to misappropriation and failure to service students and the use of $57,000 in Title I funds to take our fifth grade boys to Red Tails has been all over the news. Things just keep getting better and better....
Red Tails has received lukewarm reviews, at best, and is not the only option out there for a film about the Tuskegee Airmen. If you already have determined that a PG-13 film is perfectly acceptable for 10 year old boys, then why not show The Tuskegee Airmen. The film has the same rating, it covers the same topic, and has higher reviews than Red Tails (7.1 on IMDB compared to Red Tails' 5.9). Oh yeah, The Tuskegee Airmen is also available on Amazon for six bucks a copy.
Also, by purchasing The Tuskegee Airmen on DVD, you could afford to show it to the girls as well, demonstrating that in Dallas ISD we believe girls may also benefit from learning about the contribution of African-American fighter pilots in World War II. I could rant and rave about the decision to take only boys to see the film, but I am trying to keep this post of a reasonable length and free from profanity.
Summary: Purchasing the DVDs of The Tuskegee Airmen instead of the "Red Tails field trip" has resulted in one less teacher working in Dallas ISD. If you were riffed last year, at least you know that your job was cut so our kids to go to the movies and watch a film this is not the most historically accurate account of the events depicted, nor age appropriate.
Finally, I would like to assign a little homework for my friends. Check out Uplift and the plans to use DISD bond money to build a charter school in Deep Ellum....
Until next time,