I love when Tom Whitby pushes the envelope! If you read his blog on a regular basis, then you know that he often pushes the envelope. This week, Tom wrote about the Tenure and Poverty issue facing educators across the country, specifically in California. The long and short of the argument is that teachers who service lower socio-economic communities are being vilified for being ineffective. Lawmakers want to strip tenure from these teachers because they are “grossly ineffective.” Tom pointed out throughout the blog post how complicated this issue is, and he also points out how high the stakes are for those who can benefit from it! The shame of this is that these teachers are beginning to believe they are less effective then their counterparts in white suburbia! Little do they know that they are sometimes more innovative, caring and effective given the challenges.
The fact of the matter is that a teacher’s role in a child’s education is very significant. It is not however, the sole influence on that child’s education. Tom Whitby
Tom goes on to champion the cause of the impoverished in this country. As he says, “Poor schools are a symptom of poverty, not the other way around.” Very often (having had the opportunity of working in two different impoverished districts) teachers and administrators are brain-washed into believing there is no link, and poverty becomes something ‘out of our control’ or simply an ‘excuse.’ There are countless research studies that highlight the struggles those in poverty face in education, with a smattering of success stories. I agree with Tom, that the answer is not to vilify these teachers in the media, label them as ‘grossly ineffective’ because this will solve the achievement gap?