Teachers in the Trenches Aren't Impressed with Arne Duncan's "Appreciation Letter"

Duncan's open letter to teachers expressing his appreciation for their hard work hasn't exactly been well-received.

"Sorry, Arne. I think this is just lip service."

That's one of the comments left on Monday for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's latest missive, "In Honor of Teacher Appreciation Week: An Open Letter From Arne Duncan to America’s Teachers." The letter's on the official site, and in it Duncan says he considers "teaching an honorable and important profession," and tells educators, "it is my goal to see that you are treated with the dignity we award to other professionals in society." As of this writing, there are only two comments on the letter on the official site (the other comment isn't complimentary, either) but from the reactions around the web, many educators don't seem too thrilled by Duncan's words.

In the 10-paragraph letter Duncan also recognizes the hard work teachers do with students in challenging situations, and says he wants "to make sure that the 3.2 million teachers in America’s classrooms are the very best they can be." He tells educators he wants to

work with you to change and improve federal law, to invest in teachers and strengthen the teaching profession. Together with you, I want to develop a system of evaluation that draws on meaningful observations and input from your peers, as well as a sophisticated assessment that measures individual student growth, creativity, and critical thinking.

Part of the problem is certainly that many teachers aren't exactly feeling the "work with you" vibe. In the posting of the letter over at Education Week, the comments are copious and skewering. Commenter Rachel Levy wrote,

To put it simply, I disagree with the neo-liberal education policies you promote: merit pay based on test scores, accountability based on standardized test scores, standardization of the curriculum, a punitive approach to struggling schools, larger class sizes, and running schools and school districts as businesses. Nor do I share your preference for mayoral control, top-down reforms, and for the by-passing of democratic processes. I am also very disappointed by your allowing corporate interests and the uninformed opinions of a few extremely wealthy individuals to come before those of public school students and parents. There is solid research showing that the policies that you are implementing have not worked in the past, are not currently working, and will not work in the future.

Ouch. And there are more.

The teachers speaking out on these sites don't represent all educators, but given the outcry from many in the profession when Duncan didn't show up in Wisconsin to support the teachers being stripped of their collective bargaining rights, or when he applauded the mass layoffs of teachers in Rhode Island, Duncan's appreciation might be too little too late.

The big question for Duncan, and his boss, President Obama, is can the relationship with educators be repaired before they head to the polls on election day?

photo (cc) via Flickr user Medill DC

via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

Keep Reading
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

Keep Reading