Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dear Time Magazine...

Dear Time Magazine,

I am furious, incensed, and irate at your November 3, 2014, cover depicting every American public school educator as a Rotten Apple and a billionaire from Silicon Valley as the savior of American public schools.

 So forgive me, if this Rotten Apple, tells you exactly what I think of your reporting since you never bothered to interview a public school teacher for your piece.

First, let me clarify what it means to be a public school educator in the United States today. Unfortunately, at college campuses around this country, they are berated by their peers for their career choice. I was told on many occasions at the University of Virginia that I was wasting my time and talent on teaching. After graduating, the Rotten Apples are then afforded what the Economic Policy Institute calls “the teaching penalty”. The EPI’s studies and those of the O.E.C.D. show that teachers earn 12% to 14% “less than other similarly educated workers” and “60% of what their peers earn.” These Rotten Apples then spend their summers attending conferences and classes, which most pay for out of their own pockets, to learn skills and knowledge to enhance the instruction their students receive when they report in the fall. They return to their classrooms in late July or early August using their own money to pay for essential supplies for themselves, for their classrooms, and for their students.

Is anyone in Silicon Valley paying for their own office supplies? I can assure you they are not.

The Rotten Apples come into work between 6:30-7:30 A.M. because most are helping students in some way before the school day ever begins. They often feed their students breakfast. They teach all day even during their planning periods. They get less than 30 minutes for lunch, and many have students with them during their lunch breaks. The Rotten Apples then work with students after school either in the classroom or out on the playing fields coaching. After a full day they go home and grade papers, prepare lesson plans for the following day, maintain an online classroom and gradebook, and answer emails. Most don’t stop until at least 10:00 P.M. The Rotten Apples do this day in and day out throughout the school year. The O.E.C.D. report indicates that “American teachers work far longer hours than their counterparts abroad.” In addition, they have now been asked by society to be counselors watching for both signs of drug use and mental health issues in their students. They buy students clothes, they provide them with meals, they purchase medicine for them, and they worry about their safety after they leave school and go home to what are often unsafe neighborhoods. In our society, they are expected to keep every student safe at school as well. How many times have we recently seen where teachers risked their lives or gave their lives for their students? These are the people you have so crassly referred to as Rotten Apples. Shame on you and shame on your magazine for doing this!

In the spring of each year, thanks to NCLB, the Rotten Apples are held to a standard in this age of high stakes testing that no other profession is held to: a 100% pass rate. If teachers are held to this standard, why wouldn’t their working peers whom we have already established are paid significantly more be held to this same standard? Let’s look at doctors and nurses, for example. According to a new study from the Journal of Patient Safety, 440,000 people per year die from preventable medical errors. In fact, this study found that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the United States today.

Have you characterized doctors or nurses on your cover as Rotten Apples? You have not. Is the government setting impossible benchmarks for doctors and nurses to make to correct this problem? No, they are not. Why? Because money talks in this country. The American Medical Association spent $18,250,000 in 2013 and $15,070,000 so far in 2014 lobbying our government; in fact, they rank number 8 in terms of organizations lobbying our government for influence. The NEA isn’t even in the ball park with the AMA, as they rank 221st.

As Senator Elizabeth Warren has so aptly stated, “The system is rigged,” and it is definitely rigged against public education. In the latest Gallup poll, 75% of American parents said they were satisfied with the quality of education their child was receiving in public schools. However, the latest Gallup poll showed that only 14% of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job. Have you done a cover calling Congress Rotten Apples? Why no, you have not. In fact, I checked your covers for the last two years and not once have you said a disparaging word about Congress on your cover. Yet, the approval rating for teachers is 75%, and you have chosen to go after them. Why is that? Is it because as Gawker revealed earlier this year that your writers and editorial staff are required to “produce content that is beneficial to advertiser relationship”? So, was this attack on teachers really about pleasing advertisers and perhaps a billionaire from Silicon Valley with deep pockets as well?

You should be ashamed that you have not written about and publicized what is the civil rights issue of our generation: poverty in this country. As I was writing this response to you, JAMA Pediatrics released a study by Dr. Glenn Flores and Bruce Lesley. Some of the highlights of their study are as follows and directly quoted from there:
*Childhood poverty has reached its highest level in 20 years
*1 in 4 children lives in a food-insecure household.
*7 million children lack health insurance.
*A child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds.
*1 in 3 children is overweight or obese.
*Five children are killed daily by firearms.
*1 in 5 experiences a mental disorder.
*Racial/ethnic disparities continue to be extensive and pervasive.
*Children account for 73.5 million Americans (24%), but 8% of federal expenditures.
*Child well-being in the United States has been in decline since the most recent recession.

 When schools open their doors to kindergartners, some of the most important connections in their brains have already been formed. Those in poverty have had their brains in a stressful state since birth. Moreover, they arrive on the doorsteps of school with a word deficit compared to their fellow students who did not grow up in poverty. Address poverty and students will be more prepared for school from the very start. As Ewin Chemerinsky, Dean of the School of Law at the University of California in Irvine, wrote earlier this year as they took away teacher tenure in his state, “The problem of inner-city schools is not that the dedicated teachers who work in them have too many rights, but that the students who go to them are disadvantaged in many ways, the schools have inadequate resources and the schools are surrounded by communities that are dangerous, lack essential services and are largely segregated both by race and class. Taking the modest job security accorded by tenure away from teachers will address none of these problems.” Addressing poverty as a civil rights issue will. The American public even stated in the latest Pew Research Global Attitudes Project that inequality is the greatest threat to our country and to the world.  So it seems that everyone understands this issue except for you Time Magazine and the billionaires with whom you seem to be courting favor.

Your cover infuriates me because it is an indirect attack on poor defenseless children who so desperately need these people you have characterized as Rotten Apples. For your information, most people are not reading print media any longer. They will not read your poorly written and researched article, but they will see that horrid cover depicting every American teacher as a Rotten Apple as they stand in line to get their groceries at the grocery store. And so you have perpetuated an attack on the only people left it seems in this country fighting every day to help children. In the course of the week that I wrote this response, let me tell you what my Rotten Apples did. Rotten Apple One made sure a student had the basic necessities needed to attend school. Rotten Apple Two and Three made sure a student had the proper medical care when no one in the community responded. Rotten Apple Four stood up and begged for a judge to have mercy on her student when no other adult spoke on his behalf. Take away these people, drive these kinds of educators away from teaching, discourage others from joining the teaching force, and who will fight for children today? Who on a daily basis will look after the American schoolchildren?

Marian Wright Edelman said, “If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.” And Martin Luther King, Jr. said so eloquently, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." I have been silent for too long. I will no longer be silent as the media attacks public education.

The real question is who will stand with me and raise your voices to protect our children?

Nancy F. Chewning
Assistant Principal

Roanoke, Virginia

469 comments:

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heatherbc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heatherbc said...

In many Scandinavian countries where teachers and the profession are held in respect by communities, Time magazine would sell zero copies of its magazine with the inflammatory article. Blame is also shared by the networks who jumped on the story in the name of "news" without reporting another perspective.

Anonymous said...

Well written, and I agree with almost everything... except when you throw nurses under the bus! Nurses work long hours, many times off the clock, are underpaid, underappreciated and held accountable for not only their own work but that of the physicians they work with. They get sued regularly, sometimes for valid reasons, many times not! It is a very rare occurrence for a nurse to actually get his/her 30 minute OSHA required break-although they must be off the clock for 30 minutes each shift, they are usually doing work! Nurses work in unsafe, understaffed environments! Teachers do not deserve any of the garbage getting thrown at them from the media or anyone else...and Time magazine should be ashamed of themselves...without teachers none of the people at Time magazine would have the skills to do their job... But, in responding to the article we must be careful not to put down other professions that are in a similar situation!

Kathy Hornsby said...

FABULOUS in every way. Thank you, Ms. Chewning.

Jill Latta said...

Thank you for putting what so many of us feel in your letter. I am approaching retirement and never thought I would face the situation I find myself in at this time. When I entered this profession I did so with pride and enthusiasm. I feel like we are bullied and forced to constantly defend what we do. I will continue to teach with love and pride. I will continue to give more than I ever expect to get back because that is what we all do. I'm not sure if people realize that that without teachers and our support staff many of our students would not have shoes, coats, gloves, school supplies, or food. Of course, there are the thousands of hugs that are given to show that someone cares. They can call me a rotten apple, but I'm not ready to be thrown out yet.

D. Dietz said...

Well, spoken!! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Nancy..........very well written...........I would just like to add that in every profession that I am aware years of experience and knowledge is directly related to pay.......in education this is not the case...........

Anonymous said...

This is not the concern these days. If you are up to date on teacher assessments, which have become pretty rigorous, you would be aware that tenure is not what people once thought. The number of questionable individuals being so called protected by tenure is so small that you cannot put down a whole population. I am coming from a district with free breakfast and lunches. It is extremely challenging, but yet we all return day after day to try and make a difference in these students lives. Not to mention, while having to keep tons of data and other paperwork to prove that we are working our best.

Rebecca said...

THANK YOU. Her point could have been made without this stab at nurses and doctors.

ATurnbull said...

I fear for the children under your tutelage.

Either you really and truly think the cover of Time Magazine depicts "every American public school educator as a Rotten Apple" or you're being deliberately deceitful.

The cover says, and I QUOTE: "It's nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher."

Shame on YOU for implying that "every American public school educator" is a "bad teacher." (see what I did there? I used YOUR actual words and TIME's actual words to make an ACTUAL rational, logical statement based upon ACTUAL words.)

The fact is, you're dead-wrong in your assertion, and that's more than a little scary since you educate America's children. The fact is, the Time cover referred ONLY to "bad teachers" and the difficulty in firing them.

Perhaps you should bone up on your reading comprehension skills before you write another ill-conceived and irrational rant.

Carol Anderson said...

Brilliant article. Thank you for taking the time to write with such detail, examples, quotes and heart. I don't teach for the money, I teach because I want to make a difference in the life of a child. You have made a difference in our fight for all children and for our profession as well. Thank you Nancy!

Anonymous said...

It's not as hard as people think to get rid of a "bad apple" I see it done all the time. The problem is the administrators pick their favorites or the ones who suck up the most.
I for one am in the mindset that all students do NOT learn equally therefore should NOT be taught equally and for that I get "punished" all the time. After 16 years, I am ready to quit too because of administration bullying and lack of effort by students which is due to lack of carrying by parents.
I worked over 200 hours for free this summer JUST to move from one room to another and that was just the basics because I couldn't have my new classroom looking awful.
I dare anyone to try my class for a few weeks with my darlings who are ADD; AD/HD; etc.; who refuse to do their work; who have a month to do their assignment but "forgot" despite my reminding them daily and providing them EVERYTHING they need; they cry; they tattle non-stop; they "lose" their books; their parents sign their daily reports but they don't care that they "bullied" another student or refused to do their work or kicked another student or whatever they did today because the parent has the same issues at home so the parent will just let the student play x-box so that the student leaves the parent alone. Teaching is the hardest job. You are EVERYTHING not just a teacher....If I could just shut my door and teach and not have to worry about anything else that would be a lot easier...
I think this blogger did an excellent job.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Dealing with this teacher hate is exhausting.

Renee Graham said...

Thank you so much.
You are an eloquent writer. I have to admit, it makes me very sad to read this. What has our country come to?
Exhausted Rotten Apple in Alabama

Karen said...

$100k? How about $32 after 32 years.

bj arrington said...

Thank for being the voice of so many. After thirty-two years in the classroom, it saddens me to have given so much of my life for lack of respect as evident in Time magazine's article.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting words to what so many of us are feeling! The actual act of teaching is the easy part of our jobs; the real trick is getting kids out of "survival mode" and ready to learn. As I often tell the kids, I have broad shoulders to worry about all the things they shouldn't have to, and all the unimportant worries just roll right off... I can already feel the title of Rotten Apple just rolling off my back! (Or maybe I should consider wearing it as a badge of honor to earn credibility points with some students?) In times like these, I am thankful that I teach for the students because they make it worth all the effort - most days, anyway! Keep calm and teach on!
~Liz McDonald~

Anonymous said...

As a recently retired teacher I can say that I am totally disappointed in Time magazine and the attacks made on the Public School System. It is a system that worked yesterday and still works today. We need to give educators the ability to teach and give them the respect they deserve. Wake up America or we will be so broken that we will witness the great country we love crumble. This cover should end the free hand that Time Magazine has enjoyed for years. I for one will not read and will ask every office I visit to cancel their subscription.

Diane Woodward said...

I keep rereading this piece looking for where school nurses were insulted. I don't think she was talking about the wonderful nurses who take a lot less than their counterparts to be SCHOOL nurses. As a teacher, I have the utmost respect for the school nurses. Unfortunately, in our district, they are spread very thin, covering multiple schools. They have to concentrate on the more serious stuff, like children who have diabetes or asthma, for example. Fortunately, a bag of ice or a bandaid takes care of most of the other problems, and those can be handled by the teachers and school secretaries. I don't think there was ANY intent here to insult school nurses. As for other doctors and nurses, she was not insulting them either, but rather pointing out that teachers are often held to a higher standard of accountability than even these most important professionals.

Anonymous said...

My aunt, a special education high school teacher, along with a high school coach, died in a school bus crash on the way home from a college visit. The day before the accident, my aunt took one of her students to buy clothes and shoes for the trip. The student will never attend college, but he always dreamed of going to Ole Miss. My aunt clothed him and attended the trip as his chaperone so that he could realize his dream.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who said:
"A century ago poor children came to school hungry and in rags, but they learned to read. A century ago, immigrant children came to school without speaking English their first day, but could read, write and speak English in months. A century ago, high schools taught Latin and Greek.
In 2014, we feed and dress students, but they are failing to learn to read. In 2014, we have "bilingual education" that results in children failing to learn English. In 2014, we have students who need remedial English in college.
Yet you want more respect and more money for doing an increasingly poor job?"
A century ago, an education was recognized as a valuable acquisition and something worth the effort to obtain.
A century ago, students were expected to complete both homework and chores and were held accountable by their parents. These same parents (or other siblings) were also on hand and able to assist the students with their homework when necessary.
A century ago, a student who got in trouble at school was likely in trouble at home as well.
In 2014, an education is something that children are "forced" to get, as it takes time away from their friends, games, and other activities that they want to do.
In 2014, both parents and children are too busy to worry about chores or homework, assuming that the parents are even able to be home when the children are there.
In 2014, if a students gets in trouble at school, the teacher is almost certain to have a parent complaining to the administration because his/her student is being picked on unfairly.

Long story short - society today is not the same as society a century ago. It is grossly unfair to base your opinions on outdated information.

Linda Robinson said...

I completely agree with this post! Teachers are the most neglected profession ever! They work constantly and most of those hours are without compensation.The quality of education determines how well a child will learn to become a productive member of society,yet they are treated as second class citizens! I am a registered nurse and I was astonished at the difference in pay for a teacher! My job is important, but a teacher's job is just as important! Yet they receive inadequate pay and have to continuosly spend their own money to provide a stimulating environment for the children! This is absolutely disgraceful for a nation like ours!
I am furious at your article and intend to tell others how i feel and why! People like you only compound the problem!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Incredibly well-stated. I cannot think of another profession where our evaluations rely whole-heartedly on the performance of someone else. There is so much negativity pointed at the profession, yet so many shining examples of the passionate educators that fill our schools.

Remind me to apply to your school when I graduate in May!

-Future Rotten Apple

Anonymous said...

Brava.

sally bratton said...

Your former English teachers are fist-pumping somewhere. That was extremely well-written and on-point in every regard. Well done! Know that I am speaking up down in Texas. We are battered and bruised from NCLB, seeing as how Bush framed the concept here so long ago, but we are still raising our voices, longing to be heard.

Mary Pearce said...

Bravo to you Nancy for standing up to the media! I am a paraprofessional in school to be a special education teacher. I have seen first hand all of the things teachers are every level of public education are doing to help children. Thank you for having the courage to tell the media the truth, when they cannot see it themselves because of their own greed.
Mary Pearce

Calla said...

~To all the negative commentators out there:
I would absolutely LOVE to see you work just ONE full day as a teacher! Perhaps after dealing with 20+ cheeky (and sometimes downright rude!) children for over 8 hours, having to listen to the parents tell you it's your fault their child is failing miserably in school, and then being reprimanded by the principal because an influential (aka wealthy) parent complained about your teaching methods...maybe you will find within yourself an iota of sympathy for teachers.
Obviously, NO ONE is in this field for the money. Teachers teach because they LOVE children; they always want their students to succeed. Sure, some teachers are terrible, but why should the great ones have to suffer because a couple of them are awful? Furthermore parents, do you tell Peyton Manning or Tom Brady how to play football? No, because that would be absurd. So why do you think you know more about teaching than someone who has a master’s in education? Frankly, it’s quite disrespectful to come to someone’s work venue, tell that person he/she is doing the job wrong, and that you know a much better way to do the job, when you have utterly no educational qualifications.
But, by all means, do keep making the lives of public school teachers even more difficult. Perhaps we can manage to drag the US even lower in the international education rankings. It’s mortifying really, we are a first world country, a supposed super power, and yet look at our illiteracy rate. I’d say shame on us America.
P.S. To congress, politicians, lobbyists and all you billionaires, the illiteracy problem in our country is costing BILLIONS in tax dollars!

Anonymous said...

I read the Time article at the doctor's office. I kind of think this lady "doth protest too much". Maybe the article hit too close to home? I notice she didn't address the idea of getting rid of tenure.

Anonymous said...

Thank you from a Rotten Apple who started working at 7am today and is FINALLY ending the workday!

S. Chun said...

Truer than people outside of teaching could ever believe! Thank you for such a well written piece. As a former Peer Assistance and Review teacher, I do care about the bad teachers. I care that they improve their practice, or move on! Support helps, where this cover just tears down!

Anonymous said...

The fact that you completely misunderstood the cover kills any credibility you might have had. You're an assistant principal and you lack basic reading comprehension skills. This is just sad.

K-Lee said...

Thank you so much for writing this piece. I have been a "rotten apple" for 30 years and I could not have said it any better. It is mind-boggling to me how difficult my job has become, but I still love teaching. There are "rotten apples" in every profession, but the majority of teachers are intelligent, hard-working, compassionate, dedicated people. I am proud of my career, but sick of people who have no idea what they are talking about (no classroom experience) telling me how to do my job. JUST LET ME TEACH!

Anonymous said...

Can read and count!
I am a substitute teacher aid in the public schools. I can appreciate what our teachers do because I see it every day that I take an assignment. I see the poverty of the children. And I see the unfair imbalance, even between schools in our district.
What I DON'T see are Rotten Apples: I see dedication, nurturing, and going out of ones way to make sure the kids learn something that day. The schools that have more parent involvement seem tonfair better than those that have less. It isn't as though the teachers and staff think parents should be taking over their jobs. Parents and volunteers help because they can help give extra tutoring, mentoring and guidance to kids who need it. And some classes have aids, also. As far as I know, the oversized classes, special ed, and kindergarten classes in our district are the only ones who have the aids/attendants.
Teachers are superhuman. If anyone is a Rotten Apple, it is those who haven't any clue at all what a teacher, or principal, does for our children, thus our communities. But they dare to criticize them instead of coming to the schools asking how they can help.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, from one Rotten Apple to another! This Rotten Apple spent $50 this weekend so my 170 8th graders could have a hands on science lab this week! I too work at a school that is 87% free/reduced lunch and these students NEED these labs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Chewning, So beautifully written and well stated. I know too many wonderful teachers who have retired early or simply left because of the pressures, the demands and the risk to their health. I have been feeling that stress myself but I am not in a position to walk away. Too many of us feel we need to continue to accept more and more and somehow this nonsense that Time magazine, the rest of the media and the politicians perpetuate because we are the political football they get to toss around. I stand with you Ms. Chewning and I think it is time we all stand together and support one another in what is happening to education. Thank you for writing this. I had a very bad day and I felt like a very bad teacher today, for not finishing, not doing enough, not being enough for this job and this helped rejuvenate my spirit. Keep up the good fight. Thank you. Denise

Joanie Chapman said...

I am proud to be a retired "Rotten Apple", after 32 years is a classroom, who still subs after 10 years because I love the kids and want to help the other "rotten Apples" that work so hard everyday...Just today, as a sub, I was still at school at 5:30 even though school was dismissed at 4:15 because I was completing grading for a friend so she would plan and get her grades in for the six-weeks...we both left at 6:15...no overtime, no tenure, just teachers doing what they love...taking care of children....Shame, Shame on you and all of the rich that would love to do away with public education so they can keep the masses under their control!!!

virginiagp said...

A few things that jumped out at me as I read the comments shared here:

*I'm glad that several people pointed out that tenure doesn't even exist in many states. I haven't worked in a state where I could earn "tenure" during my 26 years as an educator.

*I need to find out where the person who noted that "most teachers, cops, and firemen retire with $100,000 salaries" lives, because that isn't the reality where I live!

*As a few others said, the primary complaint is with the cover of the magazine, and its headline. Most people will NOT read the article, and base their "reality" of the situation on that cover alone. It was meant to be inflammatory, and it is. I would further state that mention of "Silicon Valley Millionaires" straightening out the problem is probably the biggest problem with the cover.

*Medical professionals, you have all of my respect, and I can't imagine life without you. Don't get derailed thinking these comments are about you. Just consider-- how would you feel if some Silicon Valley Millionaires came and tried to judge you on your work, or tell you how to do it!?

*Finally, all of you "bad apples", I encourage you, if you subscribe to Time for Kids for your classroom to end that subscription NOW.

karadimos said...

Thank you for supporting teachers!

MrsC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindia said...

Or to read their stupid magazine!
;-)

Legal Beagle said...

Ugh... I couldn't read beyond the opener: "I am furious, incensed, and irate"... it may as well have read, "I am angry, angry, and angry"... No thank you. I saw Bill Gates' name down a few lines, so I assume this relates to Common Core. I've read several articles and letters on the topic lately, but none that opened so poorly. This may have been a very informative letter, but it may also be the case that Common Core English could have helped this lady to avoid such blatantly horrid writing. I suppose I'll never know....

If this wasn't more Common Core banter... Well, whoops!

Mary Keesling said...

Thank you for speaking for all of us who know teachers are killing themselves (daily stress levels) because they are not only teaching, but parenting so many children (parenting includes providing supplies, clothing, food, medicines). TIME, I used to respect you.

mdoschu said...

This is precisely why, after living it for 24 years, I walked away. I never asked for more money. I only asked for more support. This article is a glimpse at the catalog of the nation's shameful response.

Kaylyn said...

Thank Heavens she's already in a leading role! Vote her in to a position that can further support children and change policy. This whole mess we are currently in... is bigger even than what she describes. The rest of the world is out-teaching us, and out-learning us, and out-LIVING us. We can jump back in this and take back our lives... Dream a better dream. Vote, google, youtube, turn off the TV, eat organic and COOK more and eat together, read together, do homework together, exercise/play together, clean together, support our children with their TEACHERS and COACHES. Be the change/example ourselves... STOP doing what people in white coats tell you to do without googling other possible alternatives. Doctors have less than TEN HOURS of nutrition in school.!!! TEN HOURS... Ever see a fat unhealthy doctor? That ever make you wonder why they are experts on health? Please Watch that movie: "Bought". Teachers and parents never have had a real chance...For a long time now. It's absolutely miraculous we are as well off as we are... considering what we've ALL been surviving... We are a resilient determined people.

Anonymous said...

I have read your article, and you make some valid points. However, you might want to take out the commas around "if this Rotten Apple" in the second paragraph. It was very difficult to take you seriously with such a disruptive error at the beginning of the piece.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Someone isn't living in a fantasy land. As someone still in school I can tell you it's rare to get a really good teacher most just collect a paycheck and some are just awful.

Anonymous said...

My photography teacher gave a lecture on Marxism the other day. Teachers have no accountability.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being the one voice that supports teachers. I, however, have had enough and after 13 years am opting out of this insanity. May God bless those with the fortitude and courage to continue on.

Kaylyn said...

TVs babysitting, Video games: violent & sexual; Kids in the classroom ARE less appropriately socialized/respectful, able to focus. Predisposed for drama & unable to find learning to be dramatic enough to FOCUS.
Eating fast, fried, GMO, pesticide/chemical fertilized, hormone & antibiotic, sugary CRAP. Food allergies are common & just add to the drama/ inability to focus.
Vaccines loaded with mercury & neuro-toxin Aluminum. Each vaccine should be evaluated/googled for it's effectiveness/risks. Not on the schedule of the corp making huge $ selling it. Never get more than 1 vaccine at a time. Amish don't get them.
Medications: We excrete these medications into our water supply to be recycled back into our bacteria free but not medication free water supply; so we ALL get more birth control medication, anti depressants, statins, pain killers. Whatever else we are all taking. The animals we eat are getting that water too before we eat them; & we water our plants with it. Sounding like a successful education nightmare yet? Not only do vaccines & some medications have Aluminum. Our air has aluminum too: chem-trails, settles into soil/water supply/food again. Aluminum pots, pans, & canned goods have extra plastic linings leeching into foods while they marinate on shelves & in hot trucks & warehouses. Aluminum foil.
Microwaves: destroy any enzymes that might have made it to you.
Sugar: 200 years ago average human had 2 lbs a year MAX; now we get 75 lbs each. Even fruit has been naturally crossbred to be sweeter than it was 200 years ago.
We all ate out; now most of us don't know how to cook; don't want to cook; don't have time to cook. We all point at each other & start blaming for why Johnny/Janie can't read; so we buy new books, take Teachers' precious vacations to retrain on the new miracle teaching technique; we exhaust them, & then when they are exhausted, we blame them & cut their pay, & take away their support staff & art, music, PE, special education, & field trips & we cut the money for lunch/breakfast programs so the kids eat even crappier substandard junk. Then all these new techniques further impede these over-worked exhausted medicated malnutrition-ed PARENTS from even attempting to support their children's "new" homework; eliminating a bond between parent & child that used to exist after solving homework challenges together. It puts MORE responsibility to teach everything all by themselves back on: THE EXHAUSTED OVER TRAINED UNDERPAID malnutrition-ed medicated TEACHERS. You can watch the movie : "Bought" for $5 & make some positive changes, detox, & forgive ourselves for trusting too many folks. Forgive each other & forge ahead on the same team again with tried & tested teaching techniques other countries' use: The same math, science, English skills the parents use in their JOBS. Question the accuracy of our history books with google. TURN OFF THE DRAMA ON TV. ALL OF IT or watch it on Netflix later. Remember what is appropriate for young minds developing morals & values. Stop watching adult shows with your kids. Who remembers The Waltons? Stop buying games with slutty outfits for anyone who can't vote yet. Get Fluoride out of your water supply. google it: Hitler was the first to put it in concentration camps' water systems; he wasn't worried about Jews having bad teeth. There is natural fluoride or chemical fluoride. EVEN if you believe fluoride is good, dosing in the water supply is irresponsible dosing of any chemical. Youtube or google have all sorts of short or long versions of ALL sides of these facts. We have never been fatter or less healthy as a people EVER! Our children will be the first generation to die YOUNGER than we do. That's a LOT of why teaching is so horribly frustrating today. Teaching is a calling. As is being a good parent. Blame is keeping us from recognizing the REAL problems here.

Danielle Christian said...

A much needed response to such an article. I have been an educator for 18 years and I amapalled at the state of education today. Thank you for such a well written response to this article. I agree with your sentiments and can only hope as we continue to give our voices we can help change perspectives.

Wendy J said...

We feel empowered, but we need our job to survive. And when most of us speak up in our nation today and voice our concerns and question our policy-makers, our jobs are threatened. Much of what was said above is true and what every educator is thinking. Thank you so much for speaking up for us!!

jayc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jayc said...

Could you correct the punctuation in your second paragraph?

Currently: "So forgive me, if this Rotten Apple, tells you exactly what I think of your reporting since you never bothered to interview a public school teacher for your piece."

Instead: " So, forgive me if this Rotten Apple tells you exactly what I think of your reporting since you never bothered to interview a public school teacher for your piece."

Anonymous said...

Long paragraphs or no, her straightforward and clear writing style made the piece very easy to read...even on the small screen of my smartphone.

Zee Anne Reishus said...

"Love this photo! So many great memories at Echo Elementary. You all were top notch teachers. It seems to me none of you have aged a bit! Please know that you all created an amazing environment for young children to learn, grow, and be ourselves. I appreciate all of the time an effort your put forth to mold me into the woman I am today. As an educator myself, I now know how difficult it is to pour my blood, sweat and tears into these children. I'm hoping to make as great of impact on my students as you did with me! Thank you!!!"

The above is a quote from a former student after I posted a picture of 7 teachers having a get-together, of which I was one of the 7. Doesn't seem like she thinks we were Rotten Apples! Did you even bother to interview students, especially ones like her who have decided to enter the teaching profession! I call it a profession because that's what it is, even though we are not paid as a professional or treated like one, especially in the media.

I signed the petition that was delivered to you. Sad to see that it made no impact on you, and you went ahead and disparaged one of the hardest working and underpaid professions, and worst of all, you put a negative connotation on a group of people fighting for our children everyday on the front lines!

I always used Time for Kids in my classroom when I was teaching..my students loved it and so did I. I hope that every teacher in America that is currently using it unsubscribes immediately. It seems like only money influences your decision making.

Shame on you Time! I hope the one good thing that comes out of this is to mobilize the teaching profession to tell their stories, since you obviously have no interest in publishing an article that profiles the truth about educators.

The above article was one of the best responses I've read. Thank you Nancy Chewing! I stand with you.

Zee Anne, another retired GOLDEN apple!

Deb Escobar said...

Thank you. I had tears, but truer words were never spoken. I'm standing with you.

Anonymous said...

Did the writer actually read the article in Time? She states several times that it characterizes all teachers as bad apples. Not true. Even the two-page glossy photo shows 3 out of 4 "good apples".

Robin said...

I'm torn between hugging you and shaking your hand. I was actually in tears by the time I finished the article. I saw my life in your words. Thank you so much for writing this. I hope some big name places pick it up and publish it. This deserves to be read everywhere by everyone.

Dirk Rozarie said...

I am so proud to be a "rotten apple".
:-)

Cat Buchanan said...

The Rotten Apples that my son has had the benefit of having help teach him so far have been wonderful. I have made sure that they KNOW that I consider us a team to educate my child and that they KNOW I consider it MY job to make sure that I support and supplement them.

We live in Culpeper Co. so I know what Ms. Chewning and all of her students are up against with Virginia's SOL testing and how the Commonwealth measures "growth" in the schools and how they assess teachers. I can not understand why politicians have gone after teachers and convinced the public that teachers are lazy, grasping, and suitable for derision. I am the product of a public school education in the 70's and 80's. I appreciated my teachers and am now "friends" with some of them. I make SURE that my son's teachers (and guidance counselors and Principals) know that I appreciate them and understand how much they give for their students with so very little thanks.

Anonymous said...

Reading all of these comments is hilarious. If all of the teachers who have posted actually bothered to read the Time cover, they would know it wasn't referring to all teachers as rotten apples, just the very small minority who are bad teachers.

You have to love all these teachers complaining that they don't get any respect when they are showing they don't have basic reading comprehension skills.

Anonymous said...

Nancy presents what we call in debate a "strawman" argument. She argues against something that was not presented - that public school teachers are rotten apples. Time's piece is about how the antiquated system of tenure protects what rotten apples there are in public education (and, yes, Nancy, there ARE rotten apples in public education - as with any profession). In any other non-public setting, rotten apples get let go - they are NOT protected.

Mickiel Bush said...

Thank you Nancy for your timely, explicit and true commentary. As a retired teacher from rural Oregon, you have exposed what real teachers do every day to help students become good citizens, good producers of quality work, and the ability to think. And teachers continue to donate time in schools and with children in need long after they retire. Their commitment to children is sincere and life long. Thank you again for exposing a very untrue article and writing a retort that will be read by millions. Your timeline for the daily and yearly routine for teachers is exactly perfect.

Laurie Gabriel said...

Thank you, Ms. Chewning. It will take many voices to make the public see that the media is portraying us inaccurately. Please help me reach the public with my documentary that gathers teacher voices from across the country. We need your help to get this message through. http://documentary.org/fsp/3654

Lynn Walker said...

As a California CTA State Counsel Member, I would like to let TIME know that State Counsel was very angry about the article. Watch us ROAR now! Goodbye to TIME magazine

Lynn Walker
LEUSD 6th grade - Math

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most eloquent, educated and emotional responses that I have read anywhere, from an educator about what has happened to our educational system and our public school teachers, today. If only we had more educators who felt free enough to speak out against such insults, as Ms. Chewning has, but many aren't. They know that politics plays such an integral part, in their being able to keep their positions, and to support their families. I would be proud to have my children belong to whatever school and district Ms. Chewning is a part of. I have so much respect for the public school teacher's of today, who deal with so much, for so little, in their paycheck as well as in respect. What an amazing and well put letter.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Chewning,

I commend you on your well written, thoroughly researched, and heartfelt response to the Time magazine article on 'Rotten Apples'. It is obvious that you're very passionate about education and take very seriously your responsibility to serving the children who are impacted by the public school system.

However, it really doesn't appear that this article is suggesting that teachers as a whole in America are 'Rotten Apples'. Nor does it appear to be an attack on the public school system, but more so is bringing to the forefront some of state laws that undermine schools' abilities to effectively manage the workforce on a local level.

I think that Campbell Brown, the founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice, said it best in her reply to the article, stating that 'the label and imagery of “Rotten Apples” at the front of the magazine has driven much of the debate about the article. That is a shame, because it has overshadowed the substantive reality explored in the piece.

We know the vast majority of teachers are committed, caring and conscientious. They are not rotten; they are the core of our success stories in public schools.

The real issue is covered in the body of the story itself, and in the victorious Vergara case on which the Time piece is based: tenure, dismissal and seniority laws that work to keep grossly ineffective teachers in class."'(See http://time.com/3544600/campbell-brown-rotten-apples-cover/).

Tannerthoughts said...

If you are held to a 100% pass requirement, then the author of this article should pass the same standard. And you have pointed out all the ways in which that standard wasn't met.

Kim Jones said...

As a 51 year old future educator, I begin student teaching in January, I am constantly amazed and yet appalled at the treatment of the American educator. It is the teacher that shapes the future of this great nation by illuminating the minds of those they teach. To the management of the magazine, I have one question for you...where would you be right now without the Rotten Apples who educated you?

Rivethart said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am currently a student teacher from Radford University, and the article Time published made me see red. I teach in a school that has a 51% free lunch rating. Students have said they don't want to go home on Friday because they don't get to eat. I've seen child abuse cases being filled out on a regular basis. I've seen patient teachers hold children as they cry. I've seen them speak to children who are neglected or ignored at home and make them feel loved and important. I've seen teachers fight for their students rights, in order to teach the students using the best methods they know, even if it's not SOL friendly. I've listened to these teachers share stories about their students, and vent to each other about the small annoyances of the morning, before going out after lunch and making sure each and every child is taught, is learning, is being supported both educationally, emotionally and mentally.

Teachers do more than teach. They inspire. They create. They care. They give. They learn.

Thank you for standing up for teachers everywhere with your letter.

Jaime Walsh said...

Beautiful article. Thank you for standing up for our children and for our profession. It makes my heart smile to know I am sending my elementary students up to your middle school. I know they will be in great hands!

-Fellow Rotten Roanoke Apple

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate the time and effort you put into writing this letter. I agree with everything you said. Even as a retired teacher, my thoughts still turn often to the kids under my tutelage(sp?). It is the praise a teacher receives from his/her students and parents that keeps him in the trenches despite all of the negative press.
Nothing is more fulfilling than teaching!

Anonymous said...

The title caught my eye and I fully understand the blogger's sentiment (I am a tutor in college at the moment and working for a teacher's certificate). However, as a journalism major, I looked up the original article. Interestingly, the article doesn't label all teachers as bad, nor does it say only silicon valley tycoons are the "saviors". It's really about the guaranteed tenure and union system, particularly in California, that make it difficult to evaluate, hire and if needed, fire a teacher that is doing a poor job. The image is controversial and therefore TIME used it to get people's attention and get them talking. The article is long, but documents the issues of having a good standard for worthy teachers very well, and who has the power AND taking action for change: http://time.com/3533556/the-war-on-teacher-tenure/?xid=time_readnext

Anonymous said...

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Amen!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent points, and a truly well thought out letter. I'm not sure the people at Time will take the time to read your letter, or know what you are even talking about. My children have long been out of school, I now pray for my Grandchildren. I remember going out when my boys were in school, and spending a small fortune so their teacher didn't have to. I know this seems trite compared to your other points. I applaud your letter and your true efforts.

Anonymous said...

The author was not throwing nurses or doctors under the bus but pointing out that no other profession is held to the same ridiculous expectations as teachers are. Every profession has their share of rotten apples and you'll find that most people have a story or example of one. I suppose it's easy to sit by and justify all the bashing because it's not happening to you. Ask yourselves, though, could it happen to my profession? Such a scary thought that some PR and bogus data can systematically destroy a profession...reminds me of the witch trials. If you think it can't happen to your profession, you're wrong. Who's next? Who will replace belittled and demoralized teachers as public enemy number 1? Why not nurses? Maybe some billionaire will address the nursing shortage with med student temps who can sign up for a 5 week crash course in nursing and committ to a year of service in exchange for loan forgiveness for medical school.

Anonymous said...

Until society is willing to respect and value educators and the future of our country and our children as much as they do entertainment (actors, athletes, musicians etc) we will never progress.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written and I agree entirely. But it wasn't fair, either, to blame print media for the statement of one magazine. :( As an education reporter who's about to be out of work because "most people are not reading print media," it was a kick in the stomach to read that. I've written countless articles about teachers, students and education in my community, and I daresay they're a far more accurate portrayal than Time Magazine's one. Please consider that.

Anonymous said...

It saddened me that at parent/teacher conferences, one of my students commented on the fact that she wanted to be a teacher. She then followed up with how her dad wouldn't let her because teachers don't make enough money.

I understood that before I chose my career path, I wouldn't be making a ton of money, and that I would be working very hard. My passion comes from helping kids realize their potential. I don't wish to get trophies and awards for all of my hard work. I would not argue with getting a raise, but I would not quit my job based on that alone.

Appreciation from the general public and government would suffice. We are not miracle workers. The situations we face in the classroom are brought on by the environments that children are raised in, from when they are born to when they come through our doors.

We do the best we can with what we're given. And we love who were given as if they were our own children.

- Third Grade Teacher

L. Keipp said...

As a former Rotten Apple who used to teach the kids no one else wanted to teach, and got told that I must be a bad teacher because I CHOSE to teach the "bad" kids, I had a success rate of 95% - that 95% graduated high school. Without my efforts when I was ill, during my weekends, my winter and spring vacations, my summers - those kids would have still been treated as if they were worthless. None of them were. They're all fine adults now. I still work in schools, but not as a teacher, because of policies and perceptions that mark us as worthless human beings, even though every person on the planet can tell a POSITIVE story about the effect a teacher had on their lives.

S. Ramsden said...

Holy Chalkboard, that was a great blog article!

Winfield said...

Thanks you very much Nancy Chewning for chastising those ingrates at Time Magazine. Teachers, firemen, policemen, military personnel, all medical personnel and volunteers are at the top of my daily prayer list. Our society, in general, has it all wrong! We tend to idolize athletes, entertainers, politicians and others rather than showing appreciation and giving due credit to those who shape the very fabric of society. It is TIME for time magazine to disappear! I wouldn't waste my hard-earned money on it! Best regards!

K Housley said...

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to stand up for teachers. I have been teaching 18 years and I love the children and I love teaching, but the profession has declined so much over the years. I often feel under appreciated and very often over worked. I do what I do to make sure kids can learn in a safe, loving environment. It is sad that people are out there that want to bash our profession, when our profession make all of those high and mighty millionaire jobs possible. Thanks again!!! You rock!!!!

Cathy Burns said...

Thank you for standing up for all educators in this country! I often wonder what would happen if these so called "Rotten
Apples" just didn't show up one day.

Samina Naseem said...

Very well written. I stand by you and all teachers around the world. And I loved Lynda's comment about not letting anyone define her.

Samina Naseem
A very proud teacher

Kaz said...

Just remember that it is our fault. We do not have kids run around enough. Yet we waste to much time on recess. We do not have children practice their skills enough, yet we are the ones in trouble for giving out homework. Oh and if your student hits someone else you are getting yelled at by the parent for bothering them at work because they are to busy (and have a real job not just baby sitting left unsaid about 40% of the time). Why is it our fault that parents wont raise their own children.

Sue Nokleby said...


While I agree with many things you say, I am giving you a rotten apple for clumping nursing in with medicine for healthcare economics! Nursing, like teaching, has been challenged to be recognized for the dedicated professionalism as teaching has. As a school nurse, we see similar issues for the children who come to us-childhood trauma and poverty. We certainly feed, clothe and love them so as to keep them in school and becoming educated. Teachers are not the only ones in schools who care.

School nurses are also the hidden healthcare system. As gatekeepers of infection control, providers of healthcare for many children without insurance/money to afford medical care, managers of students with special ed needs and medically fragile children, and liaisons between education and healthcare, we strive to help students be successful. We are not in it for the money, but for concern about our kids.

Anonymous said...

You get angry when people call you a rotten apple but then you turn around and say you're the only ones who care about America's kids. I hate to break it to you but children's PARENTS also care a hell of a lot about them, and we have our kids 365 days a year while you're taking the summer off (assuming you don't coach or teach summer school, but you still get breaks).

YES, I know some parents are bad and don't care. Know what? That's true of some teachers too.

You want us to work with you and then you throw us under the bus just to score political points. It is no wonder teachers and parents are so often at odds.

Anonymous said...

I will say upfront that stepping on the backs of other professionals to help your cause does not go over well with professionals. Every profession has its good and bad. If you don't think that nurses have issues in their profession just as you have in yours then you are sorely mistaken. Maybe it's time for a job change???

Margie Welniak said...

Thank you from a parent and now grandparent. We have been blessed with some wonderful 'Rotten Apples' over the years. Shame on you Time Magazine editors for your narrow minds.
~Margie Welniak
Milwaukee, WI

Anonymous said...

One poster said, ""Parents want a say." I can't imagine my own parents ever thinking that they knew more than my teachers, my doctors, my coaches, etc. when I was growing up. Where does such entitlement come from? "

Entitlement? You are saying that everyone BUT the parent knows the child. Ridiculous. Yes, parents should have a huge say in what their children learn (and a huge say in the other fields you mentioned). I am the leader of the medical care my child receives. I make all medical decisions from if they get a band aid at home to if they have a major surgery in the hospital. I should have a huge say in their education as well. The "experts" are not experts in my individual child. They know the latest strategies for teaching specific types of math concepts, how to calm a classroom, how to do all the management of their area of a school, etc, etc, etc, but my child is not their field of expertise. I DO know what is best for my child (you said earlier that we, as parents, do not). This is the mindset that is causing huge issues in our schools. They are not your kids. They are not the school's kids. They are our children to love, raise, foster dreams in, and help them to become productive and wonderful members of society. IF we choose to bring a public school into the equation (or coach, doctor, etc), they need to realize they are part of our team, not the other way around. Yes, we want them there. Yes, we value them. Yes, we desire to have their input and their knowledge. But they are part of a team and not the leader of that team.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Time for Kids is no longer needed in my classroom!

Matthew H. said...

The system IS rigged people. Not only in regards to this tragically needed article, but in regards to every aspect of American living. Stop voting republican and democrat. Stop letting our government rail road our freedoms. And for damn sure don't let the education level in the country fall any more.

Karl Odom said...

Thank you for writing this. I was seething when I saw Time magazine on a table in a doctor's office. The plan is to do away with public education. Then only rich children will have an education and the rest will be serfs. I will be fighting this plan every step of the way.

Charles Albrecht said...

I agree completely. One more thing....consider the adjunct instructors at college who make about 1/3 of their full time counterparts and make up over 60% of the instructors. Great to be teaching (something we love), but not making a living wage.

Barb said...

Wow! Wish I'd said that. I see teachers' "ordinary resurrections," as Jonathan Kozol labels them, every day in every classroom in which I have the privilege to work -- teachers who rise up every day and come back to do the heroic things needed for our children, and children who would not survive without these teachers.

Curt said...

There is no profession, from politics to plumbing, that is without a few people who are sub-par or sometimes even wrong for the job. Singling out teaching when we, as Nancy Chewning points out, have Senators and congress people who embody blatant hypocrisy, corruption and incompetence is contemptuous. Hundreds of thousands of individuals work for corporate entities that are the epitome of rampant greed and utterly horrible business practices (regardless of harm to people, environment, even the educational system, etc.) and such people are never held accountable. As a teaching artist, I've seen and worked first hand with the conditions under which inner city teachers are expected to function. They are battling social and cultural situations that are beyond anything people who have not seen it for themselves can possibly imagine. They bring basic supplies like paper and pencils to the classes, paid for out of their own pockets because the schools cannot afford to. They work tirelessly trying to reach out to the parents of many students in support of the children. In my experience, it's the teachers who are providing a greater measure of stability and safety than the students can find outside the classroom. Let the writers of the articles, the politicians and corporate executives send their kids to these schools and see how quickly they change their opinions of the "apples."

Anonymous said...

From one Rotten Apple to another, thank you for writing this and speaking up for all of us. I teach middle school and every day I see the struggle my kids face and I see the rest of the country stand by and do nothing and then yell at us, the only ones doing something to help our kids/students succeed.

Karen @Baking In A Tornado said...

Well said. I can only speak of my own experience but I live in a school district where the best interest of the child is a tag line, not a reality. I went through hell for years to try to get my son what he needed. Went all the way up to the Governor's office where the only comment was in reference to how far I'd taken a well known issue. Despicable. I had to do it all myself and my son thrives despite his school system, not because of it.
Through it all, despite the stance of the school system, many of the teachers (put into the absurd situation of wanting to help the child but incapable of publicly challenging the system) heard me out privately and did what they could to help their student. I'm so grateful to those dedicated professionals.

Julie said...

This is for one of the anonymous posters who stated that "bad" tenured teachers couldn't be fired. I was the union president of my school union for 4 years and vice president for 6 years. During this time, 5 tenured teachers were fired for what the district believed was poor teaching performance. Things have changed greatly in the world of tenure. It is not a job guarantee.

Cptmike said...

I'm glad to read your article of how Rotten Apples are not worthy of our pay and tenure. I being one of those "Rotten Apples" have been fighting an uphill battle with individuals who have no clue on what it takes to be an educator. All they hear is what the media puts out and the load of garbage they dump on the US public. It is about time that all of us so called "Rotten Apples" start to speak out and educate the so call uneducated public. We need stronger representation in Congress, that has teeth to bite into the government and also put the media straight. We are taking our jobs too lightly, and we need to unite together and tell the public that if it wasn't for teachers their sons and daughters would not be able to get a great education. Also if it wasn't for teachers who had a high standards in their teaching principles, these so called experts and everyday parent would not have a great education.

Jackie said...

I saw that cover and wanted to write to time myself. As a dedicated reader going on 9 years I was incensed. You said everything so eloquently, I hope time reads this and learns a lesson.

Jo Doran said...

Nancy,
As a current Assistant Professor at a mid-sized mid-central university, I have never berated public-school teachers. On the contrary, I have _always_ had the utmost respect for public school teachers... knowing what college students are like (maturity-wise)... and trying to imagine what it would be like to spend such a great amount of energy teaching elementary, middle-school, and high school students. In my book, you are to be admired and respected. I could not do what you do.

Also, while I have a term position as an Assistant Professor, I have spent most of my teaching years as an adjunct (and probably will do so in the future). Like you, most adjuncts spend their own money on school supplies, buy snacks for their students to help them stay awake, and put on pizza parties monthly (for social reasons - and here I refer to my position in teaching ESL students) and pay for it out of pocket, buy medicine for re-situtated students from Saudi Arabia, the Congo, the Czech Republic, etc. when the students are too afraid or too shy to ask for help, (etc...). And like you are treated by too many university instructors, adjuncts continuously battle against the arrogance and belittling attitudes of tenure-track professors.

I appreciate your well-written and well researched article on your blog, Nancy. Much more than university instructors (whether adjuncts or tenured), public school teachers are politically abused and completely underappreciated by far too many individuals.
Jo

Jo Doran said...

Nancy,
As a current Assistant Professor at a mid-sized mid-central university, I have never berated public-school teachers. On the contrary, I have _always_ had the utmost respect for public school teachers... knowing what college students are like (maturity-wise)... and trying to imagine what it would be like to spend such a great amount of energy teaching elementary, middle-school, and high school students. In my book, you are to be admired and respected. I could not do what you do.

Also, while I have a term position as an Assistant Professor, I have spent most of my teaching years as an adjunct (and probably will do so in the future). Like you, most adjuncts spend their own money on school supplies, buy snacks for their students to help them stay awake, and put on pizza parties monthly (for social reasons - and here I refer to my position in teaching ESL students) and pay for it out of pocket, buy medicine for re-situtated students from Saudi Arabia, the Congo, the Czech Republic, etc. when the students are too afraid or too shy to ask for help, (etc...). And like you are treated by too many university instructors, adjuncts continuously battle against the arrogance and belittling attitudes of tenure-track professors.

I appreciate your well-written and well researched article on your blog, Nancy. Much more than university instructors (whether adjuncts or tenured), public school teachers are politically abused and completely underappreciated by far too many individuals.
Jo

Becky Lorenzen said...

Where would those CEO's be without a Rotten Apple? Every professional has had a Rotten Apple that has made an impression on their life! Thank goodness for these Rotten Apples! Without them. You would not be able to read or write!

Becky Lorenzen said...

Where would those CEO's be without a Rotten Apple? Every professional has had a Rotten Apple that has made an impression on their life! Thank goodness for these Rotten Apples! Without them. You would not be able to read or write!

brendalina said...

I stand with you!

Richard said...

Thank you! From one rotten apple
assistant principal to another!

Anonymous said...

Teachers are held to a higher standard than most citizens as it should be. We are not rotten apples and Time should be ashamed to print such a universal assessment on our profession. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

While I do agree with your article and felt your passion for teaching, I also wanted to thank you for your extra effort to include citations/links to the external information referenced.

In the age of the internet it is all too easy to write whatever you'd like, and though I believe your passion for teaching would have shown through even if this were the case, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to fully research and cite your support. The internet could use more thorough writers like you.

Neumann said...

As another public school educator I would like to applaud you for your article, I have always loved being a teacher, but as a teacher of over 24 years I am tired of being scrutinized and blasted at every turn, also I am really tired of being told how I need to prove I am a good teacher to others who have no idea what it is like in the classroom. Proving I am a good teacher, and spending time documenting every thing I do only takes time away from my little ones in the class. Again, thank you for your wise words.

Anonymous said...

If a factory is given defective raw materials, they return them. The children coming to school come with many more defects today than in past. No standard bedtime. Nothing wrong with staying up until midnight, not bathing child, and never feeding child anything. Everything is school's job today. No parental responsibility. But teachers have to make silk purses out of sow's ears.

Anonymous said...

They should home school. We Ss teachers dint run their homes, so let us run our schools and classes

CPERKS said...

I just read this article and all I can say is that I am an inner city teacher, and it is now 4:57 AM and I have not gone to bed yet because I am up preparing booklets for my students to morrow WHO DO NOT HAVE BOOKS....I spend more than $2,000 a year outof my own pocket to make copies, to buy pencils, to purchase my own dry-erase pens for the whiteboard and my own cleaning supplies to clean my classroom! Until they walk in our shoes these writers should SHUT UP!
I am so angry at people calling teachers BAD and ROTTEN APPLES...I'd like to know what employees have to buy their own supplies to do their job!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an eloquent, reasoned, fact-based, and impassioned defense of Rotten Apples everywhere, demonstrating that superior journalistic skills are more likely to be found in a classroom than on a "news" stand.

Jeff said...

You have the same critical thinking skills as the students you have been turning out.

For starters, the NEA is the second biggest organization in lobbying and political contributions - larger than the AMA.

Second, how can you quote an article that says that 1 in 4 children are food insecure that also says 1 in 3 children are obese?

Anonymous said...

I'm very concerned that there are so many teachers who do not understand that "bad apples" does not mean "all." There was a proverb that stated "one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch," i.e. the mold from the bad apple can spread to the GOOD ones and ruin them. I'm no fan of Time Magazine and I'm less of a fan of Common Core but this whole blog post is based on an alarming level of ignorance of common language.

Patti White said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l_dy8wzZuE&feature=youtu.be

Thought you would enjoy "Keepers of the Flame"

Anonymous said...

WOW, I've never seen someone go off so much based on a total misinterpretation of an article. Maybe part of your problem with the article is that you completely missed the point of it. I'm pretty sure it didn't say ALL teachers are rotten apples. But, when there are rotten apples, they are very hard to get rid of.

Anonymous said...

If you are a good teacher, the Time article wasn't even about you. Why get so worked up about an article that doesn't apply to you?

Anonymous said...

Teachers are amazing. Many of my mentors have been teachers. They put incredible hours into what they do and are under appreciated and under valued. I loved the PUBLIC school I went to. And it was ranked very highly in my state. So thank you for standing up for them. Time should be ashamed.

Cheri Scott said...

I completely agree! Often the criticism of teachers as being the root of all evil, is simply to get the heat off other professions and people who are not doing nearly as well as your everyday teacher! Thanks for writing this!

Jane Ramey said...

I believe teachers have been ridiculed and maligned at least in part to justify the pittance which they are paid. After all, if we can believe they are 'rotten apples', they we can justify paying squat, right?

Anonymous said...

Teachers are courages! Nancy is a prime example of a GREAT!!! educator.

Staci Charles, KS teacher said...

Thank you for telling it like it is! The corporate workers must be feeling unimportant, like so many bullies, they have to pick on those who are making a difference in the world - teachers. They must be feeling ashamed that they aren't really very important in the grand scheme of things. As you said, teachers, who make a about 100 thousand less per year (at least) work so hard, make such a difference, but make so much less money.

Ann Paul said...

Thank you Nancy.
Your response to the "Rotten Apple" article was spot on.
My husband is a middles school principal with 26 years in education. I was a high school History teacher for 12 years, before we had our son.
When I saw the cover, I cringed. Here we go again blaming EVERY negative issue in our society on public education. What an easy scapegoat it is. I appreciate you explaining a few things to the ever so "knowledgeable" and "astute" reporter from Time. I get so tired of trying to defend what my husband does for a living. I am told over and over again how easy it would be to be an educator. I always return to the old adage: walk a mile in their shoes, and then talk to me about how "easy" it really is.
Thank you,
Ann Paul

Anonymous said...

If you want ultimate control over what your kids learn, and are that afraid that your children will be exposed to say, science, in, for example, a science class, then you will have to homeschool. You can teach all the "science" you want then (Creationism, climate change is a natural cycle of the earth-just ignore studies that show it's occurring at an extremely accelerated rate, etc.). Just a word of caution-- don't expect them to do well if they enjoy science and decide pursue a degree in it! Their college peers will laugh in their face at their misconceptions (or worse, pity them for their ignorance).

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your ability to express what so many feel. God bless!

Chuck J, Perham said...

I agree with Nancy's premise that public school teachers have earned and deserve our respect. HOWEVER, she totally mischaracterizes the Time article...which I have read. Its premise is that the system has bad apples who taint the system. It clearly states that this is a very tiny percentage of the teacher population, but their impact on students is profound. A bad teacher can set the students in their classroom back by nearly a school year. It's hard for some...and impossible for others...to recover from this. Unfortunately, these bad apples are shielded by tenure. and it is nearly impossible to winnow them out. Tenure is important, because it protects teachers from whimsical firing. But when it protects incompetent teachers, its purpose becomes twisted, and kids are victimized. By totally mischaracterizing the Time story and giving the impression that it was a general attack on public teachers, Nancy contributes to the problem. Improvements will not come about until blunt, honest and truthful dialogue about problem teachers takes place. Nancy's diatribe contributes nothing aid this critical issue.

Unknown said...

Thank you for speaking out and standing up for our dedicated teachers.

Megan said...

I'm about to be certified as a teacher and I'm glad folks are going to fight back for teachers. I knew I wanted to be a Rotten Apple in 11th grade and I still do even after a hard student teaching placement and a not-so-adequate ed department at my college.

Anonymous said...

I have to say "Chapeau bas" Nancy, wish there are more educator like Nancy to speak their mind. Our government keep nagging about higher education but dismiss the facts that no higher education can be achieved without going through public education.

Teachdakids said...

Thank you Nancy! The current system of evaluation of students, that in turn evaluates the effectiveness of a teacher, ignores the component of free will! How do you make a child take a test if they don't want to? Most students and teachers are in unairconditioned, poorly ventilated small classrooms that were built over 50 years ago. My students attempt to use technology that is 9 years old and now the new PARRC assessment will require it to be used to measure student ability.
I propose we could create a little understanding if all governmental offices were given the same budget as a classroom teacher and were forced to be measured on the proficiency of their 30 plus employees that fight them every step of the way. ~Just Another Rotten Apple

Unknown said...

The sad thing is, rotten apples disintegrate. My fear is that young people will run from this wonderful profession (at least used to be) like the plague. Home schooling, computer schooling will be the only options for educating our society. WHY would anyone go into a field where they are so grossly disrespected.

Anonymous said...

I've been a Rotten Apple for sixteen years now and couldn't be prouder! I've worn about 15 different hats this week alone! Thank you for your article it was honest and inspirational.

Anonymous said...

I am a high school teacher in a poverty stricken area. My students come to school each day with little food, sleep, or parental support but are expected to be proficient on standardized tests that do not measure knowledge gain or improvement. Why does our society spend millions (billions?) on sports teams and athletes, actors, and artists but cares very little for the ones who directly impact the future of our country?

Anonymous said...

I am a high school teacher in a poverty stricken area. My students come to school each day with little food, sleep, or parental support but are expected to be proficient on standardized tests that do not measure knowledge gain or improvement. Why does our society spend millions (billions?) on sports teams and athletes, actors, and artists but cares very little for the ones who directly impact the future of our country?

Anonymous said...

To people who have never stepped into a classroom YOU have no idea what teachers deal with. I am in a very specialized position as I am the emotional support teacher in a regular high school.. Let me give you a glimpse of what that is like. I work with students who have been sexually abused, hungry, beaten, neglected and unwanted. My students are violent, they hit, throw, cuss and cry. When the media reports information about teachers and have the nerve to even refer to us as ROTTEN APPLES!! This is what I would love to say. I didn't pick my students, but I am proud to teach them. To many of them I am the only person who cares. I feed them, counsel them, buy them holiday presents and make sure they get to the doctors when they are sick. I educate them about life and how to act in public. I do all this in-addition to trying to teach.To put this in perspective I am a modern day Helen Keller, but instead of one special girl, I have 21.

Marian Dunn said...

So well put. Our election showed that in this country we are promoting wrong people and wrong ideas. It is the children we are neglecting and their teachers who should be praised are vilified. Marian D
unn

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know where 3:15 works because that experience surely does not reflect my own. I worked as an IA at an Indiana school system rotating through several class rooms and also a mother of two public school educated children. I know very well the teacher/ heroes who are dedicated and passionate about their mission. I also know about a teacher in her last year who took her accumulated time off for four day work weeks and had her para educator lead the lessons. I've worked with teachers who are lazy and one was was borderline sadistic. She got transferred to another school to deal with. I would have more respect for an article acknowledging the "bad apples" in the schools and what is being done to sort them out, because they truly are hurting the reputation of the rest.

Anonymous said...

Assuming this post was in response to Time's October 30 article on Teacher Tenure... because the blog post really only references the activities of teachers, not the issue of tenure, which was the crux of that article. I did not get the impression from the Time piece that teachers were portrayed as lazy or bad at their jobs; I did get the impression that tenure is a bad idea, which is an idea I have long-since agreed with on both the child education and secondary education levels.

Most teachers do work very hard, but not all. Most teachers do care for their students, but not all. I get tired of public school teachers feeling they can play the part of martyrs all the time. You CHOSE that profession. You have fewer contact hours on-site than most occupations. You have fewer weeks per year on-site than most occupations. Yes, I get that many teachers spend summers planning for the upcoming year, or working a second job to bring in more income - but again, you have a job that provides you with that time off to do those things. I am a former teacher and am presently a homeschooling parent. I wish teachers would stop thinking they have the toughest job, or that society is so down on them. It's really not true and just makes them sound like a bunch of elitist crybabies.

Anonymous said...

Assuming this post was in response to Time's October 30 article on Teacher Tenure... because the blog post really only references the activities of teachers, not the issue of tenure, which was the crux of that article. I did not get the impression from the Time piece that teachers were portrayed as lazy or bad at their jobs; I did get the impression that tenure is a bad idea, which is an idea I have long-since agreed with on both the child education and secondary education levels.

Most teachers do work very hard, but not all. Most teachers do care for their students, but not all. I get tired of public school teachers feeling they can play the part of martyrs all the time. You CHOSE that profession. You have fewer contact hours on-site than most occupations. You have fewer weeks per year on-site than most occupations. Yes, I get that many teachers spend summers planning for the upcoming year, or working a second job to bring in more income - but again, you have a job that provides you with that time off to do those things. I am a former teacher and am presently a homeschooling parent. I wish teachers would stop thinking they have the toughest job, or that society is so down on them. It's really not true and just makes them sound like a bunch of elitist crybabies.

Anonymous said...

Many states do not have "teacher unions".

Andy Stewart said...

You have cited some examples that are not true of every teacher. You are applying characteristics of the whole to every individual teacher. We don't need logical fallacies in our defense.

As for pay, salaries in the business world are determined by supply and demand. Should a basketball player earn more than a doctor? No, but there is a shortage of elite basketball players, and their value has a clear procedure to be computed. Teacher salary is determined by the arbitrary value placed on them by their local school boards. But this is a red herring, since the Time magazine article was about getting rid of bad teachers.

And the basic point is true. It is nearly impossible to get rid of a bad teacher. Its even harder to define a bad teacher versus a teacher having a bad day or bad week. There are bad teachers. Many are not in fear of losing their jobs. These facts are undeniable. Shouldn't we as teachers be just as outraged at that?

Anonymous said...

Excellent! On-Point!

Anonymous said...

A little confused here ~ have those that are belittling Teachers forgotten something ~ they are where they are because of the Teachers they had.

Lisa said...

It is refreshing to see someone so bold. So often people are afraid to speak up for what is right for fear of losing the low paying, underappreciated job they have. I congratulate you for your courage and I am hopeful that this may ignite a fire in others to stand up for the work they do. I encourage everyone to ask questions and continually seek answers even if the questions aren't popular. Once we stop asking questions, we become victims of helplessness and the status quo. We have a voice!

Anonymous said...

As a long-time school volunteer, disparaging comments about teachers drive me crazy, especially from the media and politicians. I wish everyone had the opportunity to see the hard work and dedication educators put towards their jobs. Thank you so much for eloquently voicing my frustration!

Anonymous said...

Teachers are not rotten apples, but there are ineffective teachers in schools. The letter is a misrepresentation of the article. The article was discussing the inability to remove ineffective teachers due to tenure.

Anonymous said...

I read that article. I didn't get the impression that the article was calling all teachers rotten apples. Thank goodness we all live in a country where we can express our own opinions. I hope all those who complain take that energy and do something to make things better.

Anonymous said...

I've been a public school teacher for 30 years; it's been an OK sort of profession but I've pushed my own kids to do something else for a living. I stay in teaching because I like it, not for the money; I've made more running my own side businesses, stocks and real-estate. Owning and running a business has always been much easier for me than teaching though less emotionally rewarding. Definition of a loser: some guy or girl with a business degree who has failed at business and thinks he can run a charter school or be a "leader" of a public school while still not having the graduate degrees and experience of the teachers he is trying to lead. Think of Marshal Tuck or any other "Educator" who failed at business and is now trying to privatize public schools.

Anonymous said...

As a Rotten Apple for students with significant cognitive and physical disabilities for the past 20 years - THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for expressing what has been in my heart for years...This attack on teachers takes place on many levels and effects us all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ms. Chewning for standing up for American teachers!! Teachers have felt disrespected in my state since a few years ago when rights were taken away!! We rallied peacefully for our rights and hence the student's welfare!! We as teachers know that what is done to us ultimately affects the children!! Our work environment is the children's learning environment!! But we were referred to as thugs!! Add that to the rotten apple club!! Now many decisions are made by administrators who spend little if any time with the students they make the decisions about. They say they listen to the teachers who spend their day with these same students, but we know that they don't. Expectations of what we need to cover daily and weekly are increasing constantly!! How do you stuff a size 10 foot into a size 6 shoe?? You don't!! So it leaves us feeling inadequate at the end of every school day!! Documentation has gotten so crazy as if administration has forgotten that the teachers are with students most of the day and also have the emotional and behavioral needs of the students to deal with as well as academics!! Poverty and special needs continues to increase!! Of course at one beginning of the year inservice we were told that nothing affects whether a student can learn except the teacher's effectiveness!! Socio-economics, mental health, family life, student ability, and anything else does not matter!! Really?? We can't go in an office and close a door to get our work done. How would they know or remember since they don't spend a day in the classroom teaching!! At the same time we are being given more recess duties and other responsibilities. On top of that our state educator evaluation system is insane!! Very time consuming!! Where do we find the time when we are constantly putting in many more hours than we are contracted!! Basically the evaluation system promotes, "You suck!! Prove you don't!!" Fifty percent of our evaluation system is based on testing results!! I wonder if those writing this process ever thought about what it would be like if they had to be evaluated that way?? There can't be a more rigorous evaluation system for any job in the world!! Teachers are near their breaking point!! Many are questioning retirement if they can!! Others are constantly thinking about what they could do instead of teaching!! Teachers are silent because they don't want to be a target and don't feel like it matters if they speak up!! Administrators and school boards across the state do not stand up for teachers or to public education initiatives handed down from the state!! We get state report cards for each of the schools in our district. So for those at the top, their goal is to do well on the report card which is based mostly on testing!! "Assess, Assess, Assess!!" seems to be the real school motto in our state!! I could go on, but then I might as well write a book!! Thanks again!! It is so much appreciated!!

Marilyn said...

ever since the collapse of the economy in 2008 from the derivatives disaster, I have watched in disbelief certain individuals blame public servants like teachers for what was clearly a greed-driven Wall Street disaster we are still paying for. To detract from the real culprits, certain immoral and greedy powerful people have relentlessly attacked policemen, firemen, and yes teachers. I too am furious about this trend and amazed that so many can be so easily brainwashed!

deb said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
deb

Jacqueline Kremer said...

BRAVO!!

This "Rotten Apple" (who works 15-16 hours almost every day) appreciates your words of support!

Jacqueline Kremer
Bozrah, CT

Anonymous said...

Well said! Thank you!
-A teacher in Newtown, CT

mb said...

Very good points! In fact I had sent them something similar a couple of weeks ago:
Dear TIME:
Please stop making us out to be the bad guys. We work very hard to be sure that we are reaching EVERY child in our classrooms. We buy supplies and reading materials (including your magazines!) with our own money- at the detriment of our OWN children....because the big corporations are vilifying teachers so they can push their own agenda and privatize education so they can line their pockets....all at the expense of America's future. The true problem in the U.S. regarding education is POVERTY. Do the research....if you disaggregate the numbers allowing for % of students living in poverty, you will see that US schools are actually at the top of the worldwide list of top performing countries. We are one of the poorest nations of the developed world. Why is THAT not reported? Is it because freedom of speech is no longer a guarantee any more in the U.S.? That journalists are now afraid of publishing the TRUTH, so they only publish what those in power tell them? This country is getting scary -- the new "rank and file" is setting our kids up to be simply test-takers, rather than thinkers. You can't take over a country when you have "thinkers" in your population; however, if you have test-takers, assembly-line workers, it is easy to push them around. Please help us! Get the word out - don't perpetuate the negative image of teachers that the big corporations are trying to portray. Do your research - have the ethics and integrity of being TRUE journalists, and TELL THE TRUTH!
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are the biggest whiners. They get paid less then other similarly educated professions??? Of course they do, they work way less. HELLO!! My friends that are teachers average about $50 an hour for the actual time they work during the year. I think that's pretty damn good. On top of that they have guaranteed pensions, which is unheard of almost anywhere else. They go to work early. Haha. Name a profession that doesn't. It's tough dealing with students and parents. Try being a salesperson or a plumber going to work at 430am. Cry me a river.

upcage1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
upcage1 said...

I have been a "Rotten Apple" for 40 years, but never more proud and appreciative of another's support. Well said Nancy, you nailed it. These are hard times for teachers, bless all those who still follow their heart and take on this very complicated and unappreciated task. Thanks Nancy!

Anonymous said...

As a public school teacher, I face daily the challenges of meeting the needs of my students, not just academic needs, but also the social, emotional and psychological needs of every student. Teachers wear many hats: counselor, educator, judge, lawyer, police officer, friend, mom, dad, therapist, nurse, doctor, administrative assistant,etc. Thank you for speaking up for all of us.

Linda Heine said...

great job thank you for speaking up and i hope passing this on will continue to get the message out.
Thank You
Linda Heine
Sag Harbor NY

Anonymous said...

Let's stop buying Time for Kids, usually out of our own pockets!!!

David said...

The comments are interesting about this response to the Time article. But I keep wondering if anyone read it, or actually looked at the cover photo closely. Nowhere in the article or on the cover is there a picture or writing that suggests that "every" (her words) teacher is a Rotten Apple. It even supports the view of teachers in the field that evaluation through testing is flawed, stating that recent research supports that view. What's your beef with the article? Is it that it's difficult to get rid of a bad teacher after tenure? It's true. Is it that a bad teacher can hurt a child academically? Not only is that true, but almost every parent has a story about either fighting to keep their child out of the classroom of a bad teacher or resigning themselves to the bad year they experienced for their kid. Writing about teachers who give coats to kids or pay for supplies out of their own money certainly elicits sympathy for teachers, but it wasn't relevant to the article. I'm not sure she read it. I'm not even sure she saw the article cover. Perhaps someone told her about it? There were 4 apples. One was bad. "Every" teacher? Teachers: read the article carefully. It supports your opposition to testing for evaluation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and do not forget those Rotten Apples who will lay down their lives for their kids when madmen enter the classrooms!

Anonymous said...

Why are teachers always so whiny. On social media, most folks would be fire for posting the whiny concerns and personal information by teacher friends post. Perhaps if they acted more professional, they would get more respect. They too often appear less mature than the students they teach.

Anonymous said...

Why are teachers always so whiny. On social media, most folks would be fire for posting the whiny concerns and personal information by teacher friends post. Perhaps if they acted more professional, they would get more respect. They too often appear less mature than the students they teach.

Anonymous said...

I have family members who are lifetime educators. The problem with public education is not the teachers. The comment referring to teachers buying their own supplies exemplifies what is wrong with the public school system. There are budgets and those who oversee the budget and administrators in many of the public schools extract handsome wages and benefits from the till and leave teachers to fend with what is left. I personally know a payroll manager in a large public school system who has verified this in more than one of their jobs. Teachers should be awarded for what they put up with.

Anonymous said...

After seeing this post yesterday I went back to read Time on this subject again. I do not think the Blogger actually read the article. It was about recent legal action in CA to try to stop the Tenure system in place there that makes it very hard and costly to dismiss an under performing or incompetent teacher. NO WHERE did it disparage teachers in general. Please read the Time article before you comment.

Bucky said...

IT's unfortunate that you and my D I L are painted with the same brush as my son's 5th grade teacher who only returned to teaching after her children were in school, and couldn't be bothered to spend a minute or penny to inform parents of bad behavior. She was the joke of the school for her control in her class, but couldn't be fired only demoted to elementary so she could affect children younger.

Anonymous said...

To those few critics who had the gall to post on this topic: I probably would have been classed as one of your "rotten apples" because after six months of being bombarded by spitballs, ground down by defiance from students and disrespect from parents,and finally being shoved by a student,I quit.

Anonymous said...

I have always felt that teachers should have the highest pay of any profession.
Thank you to all of teachers.

Melissa Stern said...

I am a hard-working, dedicated teacher as well. Thank you for your wisdom and leadership. I stand with you!

Anonymous said...

occur to anyone that every industry has some bad apples . . . the difference is in most businesses/organizations/efforts, the bad apples aren't so easy to shake off the tree

i'm married to a teacher who would be fine if tenure was gone tomorrow and she didn't have to help keep the small percentage of slackers afloat

most of the people reading this probably aren't the problem anyways . . . but please don't deny you either had or know a teacher that absolutely shouldn't have been teaching but was allowed to stay employed till whenever they decided their pension was big enough

Again, I respect the hell out of teachers and agree that most of you do incredible things . . . but why stick up for the bad ones any more? not every teacher in America is as passionate as the people spending their free time debating on a blog

I'm a lawyer and there are plenty of bad lawyers . . . i wouldn't want one working a case with me at my firm

Anonymous said...

*the bad apples aren't so difficult to shake off the tree . . . for anyone trolling

Cassidy Klements said...

You missed the point of the Rotten Apples article. I am an educator as well, and I think it was a great piece. TIME was not calling all teachers rotten apples, not even close. I think getting rid of ineffective teachers is something we have to do. If you don't think that then you are part of the problem. I am sorry to say that but it's true. I am not saying you are not passionate or effective, but if you feeling leaving ineffective teachers in their positions is a good thing you need to rethink your profession. The article was all about getting rid of the BAD teachers. It was cutting down the profession at all. You need to go back and reread it.

Counselor Connie said...

Thank you for a well-written response to the Time article. I am an elementary school counselor and I am impressed by my fellow staff who come in and stay late--long into the evening, to ensure that their students are receiving the best education possible. In this time, when preparing for high stakes testing has taken more than 1/3 of the teaching time, these teachers continue to do all they can to individualize teaching and provide quality education.
As a school counselor for many years, I can tell you that our kids are coming to school with many more problems than ever before: parent substance abuse, split families, multiple parental figures (or few), poverty, abuse, neglect, etc. More young students are displaying mental illness (anxiety, depression, personality disorders, etc.) and they are expressing themselves in increasingly violent ways, as young as second grade!
Yet, school staff are expected to have 100% success in student achievement! This is not a job that should be placed solely on educator's backs!

Pam said...

Brava!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for calling out the reality of teaching.

My wife is a “Bad Apple” with 15+ years of experience, multitudes of awards for teaching, yet still has to hear “Oh…” when she says she is a teacher. She pays for her own supplies, skips eating lunch to help students, misses out on most of her “summer vacation” because of mandatory meetings and workshops, has additional tasks heaped upon her to maintain school compliance for whatever check-the-box task is popular that year, and so on and so on.

Then you have nonsense like TIME’s cover story. Disappointing.

Last I checked, the abuses of the financial industry affected me far more negatively than any less-than-inspiring “Bad Apple” ever had.

On the other hand, a few exceptional “Bad Apples” positively impacted me in ways that still warm my heart decades later.

Thank you again for your honest, informative, and beautifully-written post.

Don

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have never hung my head for chosing to become an educator; however, after thirty-one years I was truly beginning to wonder what it was that I had done that was so wrong. In New Jersey Chris Christie has demonized the profession and made education an uncomfortable public topic. Thank you for restoring a little pride and faith in education.

Anonymous said...

Taken at face value, your statement regarding making it easier to fire a teacher has some merit. Who does not want to get rid of someone with poor performance. However, there is more here than meets the eye. If I am working for a computer company, and my boss does not like me, I may get fired. I can then apply for a new job at another company in my area. Yet with teachers that is not the case. Many schools systems are very large and when you are fired from your job at a school, you cannot apply to another school because the school system runs ALL of the schools. Thus, the county/city will not hire you back. You cannot another job, period! So the ONLY way to get a new job, theoretically, would involve moving to a new area. That may not be possible in other school systems either. One of the first questions you are asked on any teaching application is, "Have you been fired from a previous teaching job?" If you have, this automatically precludes a teacher from getting a job ANYWHERE. I have never seen another industry where someone has ONLY 1 CHANCE...get it right or find a new profession. This does not mean that jobs should be guaranteed. However, having a system of due process, can at least give a teacher the right to defend themselves. This may prevent a bad boss, and there are some out there, from ruining the career of otherwise competent professionals. I have seen this happen to an area's "Teacher of the Year." One year they were ranked nationally as one of the best teachers. The following year, a new boss, that did not like their philosphy came in and they were out the door. That ended the career of someone who was amazing at their job and had done nothing wrong...other than a difference of opinion. In effect, making it easier to fire someone does not have equal consequences in different professions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mrs. Chewning for your letter. Has Time magazine been fair enough to publish this letter hearing the side of the rotten apples? It's so easy for others, especially politicians, to critique teachers. Each person who complains about teachers and public schools needs to teach for at least one semester to get a reality check.
Not a rotten apple, Alice

Irene Pitsillides said...

I stand with you! Shame on the magazine!

Sally Aguero said...

This "Rotten Apple" says Thank You from the bottom of my heart! Thank you Nancy for standing up for us!

David said...

I posted earlier, and now I'm getting copies of all of the posts, and they make me sad. The list of professionals who could write in with stories of providing coats to children, buying materials with their own money, working hard to help others and not getting paid what they are worth is long. But it seems (if I can use Facebook as my data source) that only teachers post about it with indignation. And the ranting in these posts has gotten out of control, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the article.
Here's something that does relate to the article: Everyone I know, including me, has had to deal with the problem of our children being placed in a class with a teacher who we all know is mediocre or just plain bad. We've all tried to figure out how to keep our kid out of "Ms./Mr. Smith's" class, and if they were put there, how we would call the principal to get them moved. Or worse, resign ourselves to our child going through a year with a teacher who will do an inadequate job. The bad teachers exist. In every school there is at least one, usually more. Yes, they are the minority. But they exist. And EVERYONE knows who they are. The kids know, the parents know, the community knows and worse, the other teachers and the administration knows. Yes, there are bad doctors, but we have the choice to avoid them. And lawyers, plumbers, builders, business owners, and so on. But in schools, there are policies that are developed solely to avoid the tough conversation with parents when they want to avoid a bad teacher (I was a school administrator - I know this is true). Parents are told that there can be NO requests for the teacher of their choice.
I don't like Bill Gates, and I don't support the move of the guy in California who sued to end tenure. I think the test-based, draconian evaluation system that is dumped on teachers is horrible. And I think teachers who have the interests of kids at heart are amazing people. I'm a former teacher and administrator, and like so many of you who have posted, I believe that teaching is, indeed, a calling.
But when I read posts like so many here, I begin to lose sympathy for you. Seriously. Stop telling us how hard you work and how much you sacrifice. You aren't the only ones. Really you're not. It just makes you sound whiny. Stop allowing your unions (and I'm pro-union) to support and defend the teachers in your school who you KNOW are there to bide their time, collect a paycheck, and hang on until retirement. They exist, and they are not so rare as to be ignored or minimalized. And at the very least, acknowledge that they exist. They do. The article that was written in Time magazine was about THEM. Not about all of you. Read it. Please.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Time Magazine makes some money off of schools. I know in my school we subscribe to Time For Kids magazine. I think we should speak with our pocketbooks. I am unsubscribing to my Time magazine and suggesting that our school does too. No one is going to want to go into teaching...then where will our most vulnerable be? Maryellen Picker, St. Louis Art Teacher

Anonymous said...

A century ago, only 20% of youth attended high school, and only 10% graduated. Your argument is faulty and far more embarrassing than a misplaced comma.

Anonymous said...

Nancy,

Thank you so much for taking the time to present such an insightful, cogent response to TIME. Regardless of the response from TIME regarding the purpose of the article, the cover clearly communicates their attitude and thoughts toward public school teachers. Having been a high school administrator fro 14 years, I simply reject the premise that it is impossible to fire bad teachers. In addition to If school administrators do their job, do their homework, and make a sincere effort to work with underperforming teachers it is possible to remove these teachers. Fortunately, the percentage of teachers that I would put into the category of "rotten apples" represents only a minute percentage of teachers.

Let's also include in our response the myriad duties given school administrators. During my time as an assistant principal, my responsibilities included everything from discipline, attendance, attendance at games, concerts, banquets, school board meetings, cafeteria supervision, scheduling, and then, curriculum/instructional supervision and staff development. When I moved up to the Principal's office it got even more intense.

If we are going to improve our situation we have to improve the public attitude regarding teachers and more clearly define what "good" education looks like. We have to attract and retain the best and brightest of high school graduates into the profession which is unlikely to happen on a consistent basis given the disparaging manner in which we are treated by the media and public in general. We also need to improve the quality of our teacher and administrator preparation programs. All we need do is to take a look at Finland.

Increasingly, teachers are becoming disillusioned with the task that they are given. Canned lesson plans, impossible standards, and an evaluation system that makes little to no sense when based on the results of standardized testing. Following 25 years in K-12, I taught graduate classes to aspiring principals in the areas of School Law, Instructional Supervision, and Staff Development. We know what we need to do but sometimes we pretend not to. It's time that we make the investment in our educational system for kids, teachers, and administrators and stop using us all as political footbalss.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Which is also a misrepresentation of reality. If administrators do their homework, work with ineffective teachers, and keep accurate records, you can get rid of poor teachers. Been there, done it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! This was uplifting after a hard day teaching...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for voicing this so eloquently. You've fully highlighted what truly is rotten in our society. I like many of us apples am not rotten. I have the highest credentials---National Board Certification, Master's and Phd's, IB/ AP Teaching accreditation, Fulbright Awards, Teacher of the Year Award, and pretty much have had these standards my whole life. I could have chosen many other careers---but I chose teaching in the inner city as the best way to serve my country and address the social issue of poverty.

Anonymous said...

Awesome sauce!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I used to be a public high school teacher, but long hours, low pay, and the strain on my mental health were too much. It was so much more than teaching--it was counselor, surrogate parent, confidant, psychologist, doctor, and advocate, and those were just the hats I wore besides teacher and test proctor. I spent time and money on my supplies and my students (and I never once had a classroom--I was a "floating" teacher). I am still in contact with many of my students even eight years after I quit the profession (the wonders of Facebook), and I have been rewarded by seeing them grow into such incredible young men and women who have achieved so much in this world. They are such interesting human beings that I would love to sit down and have a drink with them and chat about the world.

Anonymous said...

Apparently you didn't make it all the way through her blog post. I realize it was towards the end, but she did say that since most folks don't actually read print, the cover:

"For your information, most people are not reading print media any longer. They will not read your poorly written and researched article, but they will see that horrid cover depicting every American teacher as a Rotten Apple as they stand in line to get their groceries at the grocery store.."

I agree that some people are too lazy to fully read and analyze a blog post before writing a poorly thought out reply.

Anonymous said...

Tangentially related comments.

I'm fine with "dedicated teachers who work in [public schools having lots of] rights." A big reason I no longer teach in an inner city school (nyc) was because many of the adults were "rotten apples." Unfortunately there is no easy way to address this. As much as I'm not a huge fan of charter schools, giving school level leadership control over their staff and holding leadership accountable seems like a reasonable start to solving the complex problem of education quality. I've witnessed some excellent administrators take years (presumably hundreds of hours between observations, coaching, meetings, hearings) to get rid of some genuinely awful teachers.

Unfortunate situation in inner city school:
Being a 'rotten apple' seems pretty easy. Being an excellent teacher might be a double-full-time job. I know many really great educators and wish they felt (were?) more respected. Most leave teaching for more money, more respect, more opportunity, and a much shorter work day.

Jan Priddy, Oregon said...

Thank you. Just thank you. I have written similar things. I wish I'd written this.

COURTNEY PHILLIPS said...

I agree! We need more principals like her.

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