Have you ever felt overwhelmed, angry, disappointed, or put off? How about at the same time, like so much has gone wrong lately you're not sure where to begin?
I've scheduled two meetings, since cancelled, with my Senator and Representative, Gayle and Nathan Manning respectively, so that my wife and I could discuss the issue of the Youngstown Amendment and its implications for Lorain, Ohio. Well, it's been a few weeks, I haven't heard back, and now there is simply a shitload (forgive my language) of other problems created by a Republican directed Department of Education and state government.
What irritates me the most is that they didn't fix the first thing we tried to address. THREE HOURS OF TESTING PER SUBJECT is still too long. The process is meaningless, the feedback for students is not timely so is meaningless, the data for teachers is meaningless. The time in testing, test prep, in anxiety over testing is too much. They keep saying it's a federal issue. WE ARE ADMINISTERING MORE THAN THE FEDERAL MINIMUM. Stop with the excuses. Fix it. Then move on to the other messes you have created.
For a glimpse at the messes, as I see them, below you will find the message that I just sent to a legislative assistant regarding rescheduling our meeting. I don't mean to sound impatient. I know it's their summer break. It's mine too, but I have managed to complete coursework toward my renewed certificate, begin planning for a new course I'm teaching this fall, keep up with the almost daily train wreck of education news from Columbus, and harass legislators. This shit is a mess. Let's do something.
I hope that you haven't forgotten about scheduling a meeting for my wife and I with Senator and Representative Manning. A lot has happened since we spoke last. We are still concerned about Youngstown as it applies to Lorain, especially as the Morning Journal has reported that the state appointed commission to facilitate Lorain's improvement has been almost entirely dysfunctional. We are also concerned with the utter lack of charter school reform, especially now as it is clear that Republican appointee Dr. Ross and his staff have purposefully cheated the system in favor of charters. Furthermore, the ODE's testing schedule has come out with 3 hours per test. This is beyond the federal minimum, if I am not mistaken, and clearly far too much meaningless testing. To make matters worse, the supposed "Safe Harbor" has done nothing to protect school districts from funding cuts in the likely wake of further parent refusals to take the test, and really only protects schools and districts from the use of letter grades and not other assessments of their progress. Overall, these policies seek to undermine proven public school education as provided by myself and my colleagues, in favor of unproven, unregulated, and underperforming charter schools.
As always, I appreciate the willingness of the Manning's to listen to constituent point of views. I trust you will pass along our concerns, and I hope that we can reschedule our meeting.