Supt. Brooks Emails Teachers: "Don't Quit!!!!!!!!"

Think things are bad where you work?  Try being a teacher.  They have been abused by politicians and so-called educational "experts" to the point of telling the APS Superintendent of Schools they are ready to quit.  I have never seen morale this low.  Now, after a public meeting where Winston Brooks apparently got an earful from Albuquerque's teacher corps, he is pleading with teachers to stay.

In a truly remarkable email from a superintendent to his teaching staff, Brooks writes, "I need to say this to you;  DON'T QUIT!!!!!!!!  More times than I want to repeat, teachers are saying this to me.  Don't quit on our kids, Don't walk out on our kids, Don't succumb to those who really don't care about our kids."

Wow.  "Don't succumb to those who really don't care about our kids."   That took some courage.  Who do you think that comment was aimed at?

He continues:  "Those brown and blue eyes at Lavaland, Van Buren, Jimmy Carter, EG Ross, Double Eagle, Valley and throughout this District need you and more importantly depend upon you and me.  We cannot in good conscious turn our backs on those who need us the most!!!  This remains an honorable profession."

"This remains an honorable profession," he said.  Imagine what he must have heard from his teachers to have written that.  Teaching is work that comes from the heart--an informed heart.  Teaching is done with everything you've got:  from patience to insistence, from curiosity to drill, from tears to laughter.  Think I'm kidding?  Ask any teacher.

A school's faculty is the most important resource a child has in his formal education.  It isn't all those tests; it's not a national curriculum; it's certainly not a state superintendent (designate) who has never spent a day in a classroom.

The classroom and its happenings need to be the focus of education.  Everything should go to support these moments of learning, inspiration, growing, understanding, and sharing.  Instead, everything in the classroom is aimed at those administrators at every level whose reputations supposedly depend on ever advancing numbers sent up from below.  The emphasis has shifted from resources being sent down the chain to the classroom, to more and more numbers being sent up the chain to be filed somewhere in the clouds.

Superintendent Brooks mentions an upcoming board meeting and urges teachers to attend:  "This is not the time to be apathetic, it is a time for the Board, the Legislature, and those who run education in Santa Fe to know how you feel.  This is not about accountability, it is really not about evaluation, or school letter grades, or social promotion, or testing; it is about professionals speaking out about teaching and learning.  It is about professionals who have dedicated a lifetime to children because that is what we were called to do and it is what we love to do!!"

Winston Brooks knows that State Supt. designate Hanna Skandera will not listen to him.  He is hoping that Santa Fe might listen to our teachers and parents.

He concludes:
"We have a great staff in APS and we have great kids, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!

Don't Quit!!!"


The complete email is reprinted below.




From: Brooks, Winston
Sent: Thursday, October 03, 2013 3:02 PM
To: allusers
Subject: Weekly email


Wow!!  Thank you for the emails last week about my weekly emails.  Very positive, for the most part, even some understanding about “to” and “too”.
 
I want to first and foremost ask you to take advantage of the Teacher/Community meetings that APS is hosting on six different evenings and at six different locations.  The first was at Volcano Vista on Tuesday evening.  We had more than 75 teachers and somewhere between 85-100 parents.  Please look at the APS website for a schedule of the meetings and their locations.  You can also pull up the Power Point being used at these meetings and a new FAQ sheet on Evaluations.  Check it out.  Our Community meeting tonight will be hosted by West Mesa.  4:00-5:30 for teachers and 6:30-8:00 for the parents and the community.  There was a tremendous amount of interest, passion, and at times anger about the testing, EOC’s, Grad requirements, etc..  I will talk more about this later.
 
A teacher wrote me recently asking me to pat his Principal, Ben Santistevan, on the back for calling parents and complimenting them on their child’s success in school.  Ben didn’t do this just once, but several times.  Can you imagine the feeling a parent would have if someone from school would call and just say, your kid is great!!!
 
I had a blast this morning at Lavaland reading to 3 and 4 year olds.  I felt like Santa Claus!!  Lots of hugs, this is why we went into this business!!!
 
Finally and with a bit of trepidation, I need to say this to you; DON’T QUIT!!!!!!!!  More times than I want to repeat, teachers are saying this to me.  Don’t quit on our kids, Don’t walk out on our kids, Don’t succumb to those who really don’t care about our kids.  Those brown and blue eyes at Lavaland, VanBuren, Jimmy Carter, EG Ross, Double Eagle, Valley, and throughout this District need you and more importantly depend upon you and me.  We cannot in good conscious turn our backs on those who need us the most!!!  This remains an honorable profession.
 
On October 16th, I am aware that a group of teachers are coming to the Board meeting to have their voices heard directly by the Board on Education reform and the impact that it is having on students and teachers.  This is not the time to be apathetic, it is a time for the Board, the Legislature, and those who run education in Santa Fe to know how you feel.  This is not about accountability, it is really not about evaluation, or school letter grades, or social promotion, or testing; it is about professionals speaking out about teaching and learning.  It is about professionals who have dedicated a lifetime to children because that is what we were called to do and it is what we love to do!!
 
We have great staff in APS and we have great kids, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!!
 
Don’t Quit!!!

Views: 3217

Comment by Berin Kinsman on October 8, 2013 at 1:04pm

Every time the teachers get fed up with being treated like dirt, and with having to jump through bureaucratic hoops to perform tasks concocted by non-educators with no proven educational benefit, and want to walk out, they get hit with "Think of the kids!".

First, it's guilt tripping the teachers to stay for more abuse. It's like convincing an abused woman to stay in a bad marriage for the sake of the children.

Second, it assumes that the teachers AREN'T already thinking of the kids when they express concern about larger class sizes, fewer EAs, standardized testing, spending time filling out Teachscape when they could be planning lessons, and yes, dealing with an evaluation system that doesn't do anything to make teacher objectively "better" at their job.

No raises for 4 years - then a 1% raise that doesn't offset cost of living, plus increases in the amount deducted from paychecks for retirement and medical benefits. Teachers make less money now than they did 5 years ago. But think of the kids. You don't deserve to be paid fairly, you slackers! Think of the kids!

Comment by cc on October 8, 2013 at 9:13pm

"The classroom and its happenings need to be the focus of education.  Everything should go to support these moments of learning, inspiration, growing, understanding, and sharing."

Thank you, Johnny Mango, for pointing out what is the crux of education in your sentences above - the quality of interactions in a classroom - now and always has been. The school grading system being imposed by the Designate Secretary of Education for New Mexico is unfair! I am glad to hear APS Superintendent Brooks call a spade a spade. And, I am glad to hear AFT's Ellen Bernstein articulate that the school grade is not an effective way to measure teacher effectiveness.

Comment by jen-E on October 9, 2013 at 8:59pm
Shouldn't he have used "good conscience" not "good conscious"?
Comment by Francis Kittredge on October 10, 2013 at 6:01pm

Bernstein is a fool and Brooks is disconnected. The current state of morale has as much to do with his administration as it does with the PED. The current state of things did not just happen; it's a cancer that has been growing for too long. 

Comment by ched macquigg on October 12, 2013 at 7:49am

"The current state of morale has as much to do with (Brooks) administration as it does with the PED".  Truer words have not been written. 

Why are teachers never asked for their opinions? 

There are around 100,000 years of teaching experience in the APS, and no seat at the table where decisions are made.

Time for a full blown survey of teachers - let's find out what's on their minds; about morale and about public education.

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