Or: While I Admit the Persistently Problematic Issues Underlying Cat Macro Grammar, I Find Cat Macros Funny Enough to Borrow Their Structure; Alas, I Remain Unable to Utilize Their Non-Standard Grammar.
For all the alarmist rhetoric around tenure, one thing that's really really really really awesome about tenure (which I totally have...as you can see, I have not one whit of a problem with Valley Speak) is that it means I don't feel any particular need to keep my smart mouth shut.
Realistically, the number of Kindergarten teachers in SFUSD is not enormously large; the number of Kindergarten teachers in SFUSD at high-needs schools is even smaller. It would not be that difficult to find out who I am, and it's not like I'm hiding my identity or the school at which I teach. And why do I feel free to do that? I have tenure! La la la la la.
Teacher free speech rights are constrained within the classroom and without it as well. Moreover, I have actually witnessed vindictive administrators moving against high-quality teachers because those teachers had the very bad idea to explain that Open Court had some issues. (This did not happen in SFUSD.)
If you teach Open Court (California Edition) to the manual in Kindergarten, the kids get their last letter sound at the end of May. This is utter insanity. By the end of May, students will have finished off many of their End of Year assessments, and unless they picked up the last letter sounds on their own, they will have a lot of Open Court-caused misses on their assessments.
Additionally, Open Court's literature selections are...well. Let's just say that an Open Court trainer told me once that the purpose of reading these selections was not that students would enjoy them; no, it was to practice reading strategies. After all, we all have to do things we don't enjoy, right?
Dorothy Parker wrote a review of an A.A. Milne play wherein she claims to have shot herself in the head during a particularly twee scene. This is where I wanted to do likewise. I mean, this idea is wrong on so many levels I can't even begin to unpack it without instruments of self-harm near at hand.
And I'm not even getting into the Massive Flaw of Open Court: that it was written by Louisa Cook Moats, a woman who believes in the Language Deficit Hypothesis. You know, a hypothesis absolutely destroyed by William Labov in the 1950s. (Fun Fact: Vocabulary Deficits Don't Exist, Either...Unless You Don't Know the Difference Between 'Difference' and 'Deficit'.)
Okay anyway, so this teacher I knew questioned Open Court in front of an administrator. Her comments were pretty mild and had teachers nodding all over the place. When the administrator moved to shut her up, I also said some anti-Open Court things, and another teacher commented that the Louisa Cook Moats article we had just read had an underlying racist ideology of language. (Teachers are smart.)
The administrator blew a gasket. The kind where everybody in the room gets a letter in the file and the principals of the offending teachers get a phone call. (This administrator ended up working for SCOE and warned a trainer I had later about me and wanted to check my homework for that trainer. This backfired astoundingly, but I digress yet again.)
So we have three naughty teachers. Two of the naughty teachers have tenure and full credentials. One of the naughty teachers does not. That naughty teacher is laid off at the end of the year. When it ends up that her position still exists and she is the most senior person laid off, she is not offered her job back because she was so naughty they fired her for cause (mouthing off to administrators). Since we shared a room doing AM/PM Kindergarten, this means I teach two classes a day until they come up with someone to fill the position: a first year, uncredentialed newbie who is so low-functioning that she cannot bother coming to school before 10:30am.
Anyway, without tenure I sure wouldn't have a not-very-secret blog and I sure wouldn't be mouthing off to the BoE. But I have it. I suppose I should worry about anti-tenure forces and caches and all that, but honestly? The Jeremy's new arrivals email looked promising and that's far more interesting than playing hide-the-opinion on the internet.