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:

  1. We can’t forget our other Rotten Apple whose inspiring passion for helping the disadvantaged and enslaved extends well beyond the walls of our school and even the borders of our country. #Globalize13

    I do understand that money talks and drives politics, but I cannot understand why much of the public has been so eager to swallow and regurgitate this hatred for teachers.

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  2. As a former student of Ms. Chewning's, I heartily agree with her sentiments here. Teaching is one of the most important, yet underappreciated, jobs in the US.

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  3. Thanks Nancy! I will continue to stand up against the attacks on public school educators and education. ~Thom Ryder

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  4. I wish I lived I Roanoke so I could work for such an intelligent woman.

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  5. What a wonderfully written piece! Thank you so much for standing up for and supporting teachers, education, and the children.

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    1. Easier to read if the long paragraphs were broken.

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    2. Thank your teachers that you can read at all!

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  6. Thank you for your well thought out and written blog. As a first grade teacher in an urban 100% free lunch and breakfast district, I see dedicated teachers working under the most difficult circumstances being professional, caring and hardworking. We must respect those in our country who are doing the work that is important. Our government, media and Wall Street world must be seen for what it is: a shameful front for the greedy few.

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  7. If all teachers felt empowered to speak up like you just did imagine how we could change things...

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  8. Perfectly written. Thank you.

    Rotten Apple, Andi

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  9. Thank you for so eloquently stating what I, and my fellow Rotten Apples, have been feeling for far too long.

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  10. Excellent response! I agree with everything you said. Teachers need all the support and respect we can get right now. Boo Time magazine.

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  11. Thank you for standing up for public education and educators. Very well said.

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  12. Thanks, it so nice to see such a well written defense of teachers by a school administrator! I wish my administrators stuck their necks out for me the way you have! Nice work!

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  13. Your words ring out strong & true but they fall on ears deafened by greed. We need to support teachers & public education more than ever in this age of corporate takeover, but appeals to corporate stooges masquerading as a news source is destined to fail.

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  14. I hope you actually sent this to Time Magazine. Well said, every word!

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  15. Thank you! from a retired rotten apple who's not rotten anyway.

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  16. Well said and thank you for saying it!

    Ann Whitten

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  17. Thank you! An exhausted Michigan teacher shares your outrage.

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  18. Your article absolutely hits the mark on so many levels. Our children, and the minute they cross our classroom door they are ours, deserve the truth. Has anyone asked them what their teacher does for them? Certainly not Time magazine. Thank yoy for standing up to a big bully.

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  19. Thank you so much for your amazing letter. Thank you for sticking up for all of us!

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  20. Thank you for doing the research that the writer of this horrid piece refused to do. Americans need to open their eyes & see what is happening to our children.

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  21. Thank you for doing the research that the writer of this horrid piece refused to do. Americans need to open their eyes & see what is happening to our children.

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  22. This makes me very emotional. Thank you for your words and true statements.
    Rotten Apple

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  23. Well said and high time someone said it. We need to be braver and stand up for ourselves. If every teacher in America worked strictly to contract for one full school year, imagine how things would change! We need to stop telling ourselves that we have to continue being treated like this "for the kids."

    If every parent exempted their child(ren) from high-stakes testing, that would be a powerful message to those keep raising the stakes.

    Two simple and powerful ways to instigate change.

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  24. Thank you for such a wonderfully written piece. Our teachers in this country are underpaid, overworked and under appreciated for the countless selfless acts that they do for the children of this country. These children are our future and that seems to be forgotten by some.

    From. A Rotten Apple in training.

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  25. I am so proud to be a former student of Mrs. Chewning. I had the best teachers in the world. And I would bet.money that any other person would say the same. I was always taught to stand up for what I believe in. As the years go by, my past teachers are doing just that! Teachers make more of an impact on students than people think. They are not rotten apples, they are the shinniest of the bushel!!

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  26. Well done and thank you. Your response to Time magazine is nothing but the truth. Teachers deserve respect and I don't understand why we are so vilified. It's just wrong. Something I always say on the toughest days is to remember, my students are someone's child. Treat them the way I would expect my own children to be treated. It's all about respect and Time Magazine has none. Thank you again.

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  27. Thank you for being the voice of many. I am continually shocked by the lack of respect that teachers have in the face of people I meet. Many still have the idea that teaching is for those who can't do other jobs. I would like to see some of those other professionals try what we do. After 14 years in the classroom (public, inner city charter, and private), I've yet to see teaching become easy. If we don't approach our calling with seriousness, excellence in everything and love, our nation's future is at stake.

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  28. I love all the "Rottn Apples" who taught when I was in school. So then I too became a "Rotten Apple", this article has no clue!

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  29. Thank you for supporting the teaching profession in such a well thought out and carefully written letter. Teachers need to stand up for ourselves.

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  30. Dear Ms. Chewing,
    When I saw the Time magazine cover, I was so angry I couldn't articulate a coherent argument, let alone write one. Thank you so much for saying everything I wanted to say and more. The Loudoun County Rotten Apples appreciate you standing up for us!

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  31. Thank you! So well said!!

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  32. Thank you for your wonderful letter!

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  33. Thank You! Well written! After 10 years of teaching, I still can't find time to use the restroom during the day! But I love what I do!

    I'm a bright shiny apple! CarolynKnower

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  34. Thank you so much for your eloquent response. I've never been prouder to be a "Rotten Apple"!

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  35. Thank you on behalf of Catholic school teachers, too!

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  36. I am retiring in 2 months after 37 years as a "Rotten Apple". I can assure you that my students and parents would be appalled to hear myself and my colleagues referred to in such a manner. We are passionate about teaching and making an impact in students lives. Hooray for Ms. Chewning!

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  37. What is unfortunate here is those teachers who have been in their positions for WAY too long, as evidenced by a lack of drive to educate their students in a productive way anymore. They are tired, uninspiring, and quite frankly not helping their students to be the best they can be. They require the bare minimum from their children resulting in children who don't 'need' to do more because their teacher doesn't expect them to. It's a recipe for failure. But, due to the setup of teacher's unions they are protected. Protected from anything that might make them have to be accountable for not doing a good job. In any other profession, your abilities to do your job in a proficient way is what gives you merit. Not in education. Unfortunately, good apple or 'bad apple' , you are all protected. Those who aren't doing their job should be accountable for what they AREN'T providing to their students but they aren't....when will this change?

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    1. You just don't have a clue and believe what you are told. Teachers can be removed just like everyone else. If they are rated poorly they will be removed the rater just needs to do their job too.

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    2. Hm.... sounds like someone's assessment was accurate. Profanity has no place in this posting.

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    3. All tenure guarantees is "due process". Simply put, it means that, "before you can fire me, you need to allow me the right to defend myself". Any teacher can be removed from their position, as long as their administrator follows the procedure set forth under their mutual collective bargaining agreement.

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  38. I've been blogging against the public education reformers and teacher bashers for a few years now. Once in a while I will get discouraged...like after almost every election!

    It's writing like this that lets me know that there are still caring folks left who haven't given up. Thank you!

    A retired rotten apple...

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  39. Thank you for speaking so well for all of the Rotten Apples out there!

    Rotten Apple Amy

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  40. I think you're missing the point - the article isn't saying that all teachers are rotten apples, just that there are some rotten apples mixed in with the good, and it is impossible to remove the rotten apples from the bunch.

    I'm not a teacher myself, but I did go to public schools and I had some very invested teachers that were very interested in their students. I also had one or two who would show movies like "Nightmare On Drug Street" in a geography class. Teachers like that should definitely be held more accountable, right?

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    1. Of course they should. However, the system makes it impossible to get them.out. In education classes and seminar, we are constantly hit with the idea that "every child learns differently." This is VERY true. Yet we test them all the same. That doesn't make sense. Some.students need to have the test read to them or need extended time or have test anxiety or are extremely skilled with their hands and brilliant in a project based course yet they have a hard time deciphering the a certain bubble out of hundreds to fill in. I have a very good friend who is a phenomenal nurse and scored VERY high in all her clinicals, yet had to take the NCLEX 3 times because her test anxiety was so bad. Those students deserve just as Mich of a chance as the rest, and yet we are basing their teachers' competency on their scores? That doesn't make any sense. Standardized testing is the root of all evil, but its cheaper and streamlines things; makes individual students into a test score number so that the bigwigs and those with the money don't have to worry about the PERSON, the face, the future of the child that goes along with that score. I teach agriculture. Literacy is important and so is math, but when the majority of your students have IEPs and 504s, how can you base my pay or right to teach on their test score? My students are PHENOMENAL and each hold a special place in my heart, but testing is not their strong points. They excel at hands on project based work....and you can't test that with a scantron.

      So, when you tell my students, all PEOPLE, with a future, they have to reach a pre-set level in something they have no interest and therefore no drive to reach, you are setting them and their teachers up to fail. Those who can, do and teach...those who can't pass laws about teaching. I DARE legislatures to spend a week trying to do my job.

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  41. My school is blessed to have a supportive administrator like you who stands up for his teachers and believes in us as educators. Shame on TIME magazine for portraying educators as rotten apples. I appreciate your support and well written response. Thank you for speaking out for all of us.

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  42. Wonderful letter....too many teachers are leaving the profession due to the disrespectful attitude of parents, politicians and bullying administrators. It needs to stop...our kids deserve the kind, caring teachers that truly make a difference.

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    1. After 32 years, I left b/c of bullying administrators. "I know I'm 20 years younger than you, and I only had 3 years teaching exerience....but YOU will DO as I SAY!" LOVED teaching, the kids. Never dreaded going to work. The parents/public were fine as well.
      Now I'm retired.....but I miss what I though I did very well.
      p.s. I'm making more money now than I ever did teaching. Never would have anticipated that.
      A retired rotten apple.

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  43. Retired CT yeacherNovember 2, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Thank you, Nancy, for your bravery in speaking up for educators everywhere. I applaud you!

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  44. Thank you for your well-written letter. Public education needs people to stand up for our students AND our teachers!

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  45. Very well written response! I have been a school nurse for many years and I love those "Rotten Apples." Just curious though--several times you mentioned that the teachers had to help a student with meds or to get the medical care they needed. Do you not have school nurses?

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    1. I have retired from teaching. One of my biggest complaints concerns the lack of nurses on campus. Ours was at the school 2 days a week. (shared with another school). All teachers were trained in asthma and epi-pen procedures. But when it came to checking blood sugar, recording carbs, changing catheters, administering suppositories for seizures, I said "enough is enough!" If I wanted to be a nurse, I would have gone to nursing school. All said and done, each school needs a full time NURSE!

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  46. Thank you Nancy for being our voice! Time magazine is out of touch.

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  47. I live in Honduras an the same happens in the public system here, we have been labeled for some congressmen and politicians as lazy and untrusty. but those politician only get the picture with the kids and teachers for election times.

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  48. Thank you for acknowledging what we do day in and day out. It's nice to know we are appreciated at least by our colleagues.
    A Retired Rotten Apple

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  49. Thank you for standing up for teachers!!

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  50. I researched the cover of the magazine. It didn't depict every single teacher as a rotten apple. As in every profession, there are those who do not meet expectations. And again, as in every profession, substandard employees must be fired. What is wrong with making it easier to fire unsatisfactory teachers? Your response to the situation was dramatic. Keep calm, reread, and try to view the supposed "offense" from another point of view. That is exactly what I try to teach my students. It shames me that people my own age- supposed adults- are closed minded and blinded by pride.

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  51. Some of the most honorable and hard working people I know are teachers. Some of the most despicable and incompetent people I know are teachers. That means teachers are like everybody else. Some rotten apples and some red delicious.

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    1. Those are pretty much my thoughts on the matter in a nutshell.

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  52. Thank you for this response. I am also an "exhausted" rotten apple but somehow feel we are all actually "golden delicious". I have canceled my Time for Kids subscription at school. Disgusted with the teacher bashing...without teachers, no one would be educated enough to have a job.

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  53. After ten years this "Rotten Apple" is considering leaving teaching. Parents are not supportive of teachers, even good ones, students feel thek have the right to upend teachers though they have not discussed what their issues are with teachers. Teachers work 10-12 hours a day, yet have families of their own that need attention and support.

    The pay is awful...a teacher often makes 25K or less, but is required to have a Master's Degree and updated training as Ms. Chewning alluded to. Out of that not only do you provide for your personal family, but the things mentioned before.

    With the new Common Core and other things forced upon teachers, the students are actually "dumbing down" as more time is spent teaching to the newest "requirement" and to the "test" than actually teaching curriculum.

    Exhaustion comes earlier each year...though I truly feel I belong with and teaching students, weight that versus what "teaching" actually is today. Low pay, exhaustive and unrealistic standards, lack of respect from students and parents.

    Some want teacher's pay connected to grades, but is the teacher responsible for whether that student got breakfast, was abused last night, couldn't sleep due to fighting or wasn't warm/cool enough, etc? There are so many factors that affect grades that this is an unrealistic comparison.

    Teachers are who give your kids attention and lessons during the day. If you want the system to be better, let us teach, not teach to the test; volunteer at your child's school, even if you work do one afternoon a month, etc; communicate with your child's teachers and support them; make sure you know what is going on with your child both at school and in their out-of-school life. Kids need that though they may not want you to think they do.

    The bottom line, is though there are "some rotten apples", labeling an article like that is inflammatory and inaccurate. The percentage of "good apples" is very high. As a whole teachers care and want to help your child.

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  54. Thank you for describing my days as a teacher. Delivering the curriculum to our students seems to be a small part of a teacher's responsibility. I am exhausted daily by the 10 - 12 hours days I work: Before and after school tutoring, IEPs, Child Studies, Professional Development classes, required attendance at extra curricular activities, clubs, committees,, and then I go home and grade papers or prepare lessons. Four months into the school year and I have already spent $1000.00 on supplies, food for students to take home so they can eat over the weekend, and clothing to replace items that are too small or grossly worn out. A students home burnt down last week and our school is pulling together to get the family clothes and furniture/beds for their apartment they now live in. So, yes I''m tired, yes I feel stretched thin, yes I feel under-appreciated, but, no. No, I would not want to do anything other than teach. The reward you receive when a student returns years later to tell you what a difference you made in their lives is worth all the long hours. How many people have the opportunity we as teachers have to impact the lives of so many young minds and hearts? Oh, don't get me wrong -- shorter days, weekends that are mine alone, summers off; I mean 'really' off, and a pay I could live comfortably on would be nice, but, I'm a realist. For now I will be satisfied with touching the heart of a child now and then. This Rotten Apple will keep her job, respect or not.

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  55. Thank you, Ms. Chewning. You are a hero for speaking up when the popular (and safe) response is to remain silent. I wish I could shake your hand to convey my gratitude for your honest response.

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  56. Thirty two years of sharing my life, and a lot of my money, and this year I realized I just can't do it anymore. It is the most joy-filled job I've ever had, but people like this have finally beaten me down. I've fallen in love with every class of kids, even the ones that tried my patience every day. I've shared my life, and taught them how to be successful in the classroom, and in life. The kids have never been the problem with this job. It has always been those who won't come alongside and work hard with me. They have finally succeeded in taking the joy. I will miss the kids, but the negativity thrust on us has finally beaten me down. God bless all of you who stay- you are all miracle workers!
    Ginger Hunt

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  57. Thank you for a perfectly precise explanation of what is happening to our children, our schools, and our teachers. As a teacher who lost her job in 2009, when schools lost a lot of their funding, I have now spent the past 4 years working as an At Risk Para. I still spend evenings grading papers, helping to plan lessons, and anything else that needs to be done because the classroom teachers are overwhelmed with Common Core, preparing students for State Assessments, attending in service meetings, sitting in on IEP meetings, oh and the "little thing" of teaching children. I am proud to be a teacher! I cannot imagine doing anything else! To quote a former professor from my college days, "Teachers make all other professions possible".

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  58. Proud to be a "Rotten Apple"😉

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  59. Thank you! Sincerely, A Rotten Apple. As a Rotten Apple I an blessed to have former students stop in to see me and tell me how I made a positive impact on their life. So much for being rotten.

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  60. Please take time to read the article fully. It is embarrassing to others in your field that you have overreacted so. I am sure that you, an American public educator, would have your students fully read and analyze an article before blowing up and writing a poorly formatted and poorly thought out blog post.

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  61. This rotten apple adopted a parent of a student in his class serving in Iraq and began a year long pen pal campaign. This rotten apple also taught an 11 year old how to tie his shoes. There are thousands of us bad apples all across this great nation who would support, love and in some cases take a bullet in defense of their students. Yes, I am a rotten apple.

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  62. You nailed it! Thank you for speaking up for all of us Rotten Apples!

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  63. I commend you on standing up for your beliefs and your profession. I myself am not a teacher, but am surrounded by them in my family. I am disappointed that you chose to make your arguement by turning on other professionals. I am a nurse and I can assure you that the government does impose standards for hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc. Also, the AMA does not represent nurses. I think we can all agree that we all face our challenges with public preception. I just hope we can support each other rather than lashing out unnecessarily.

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  64. Very well written. When government stops trying to run education like a factory we will be in a much better place!

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  65. Amen! It's Sunday evening and I'm grading papers for the past 2 hours while also helping my own children get ready for their upcoming week at school.

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  66. ROSA LOPEZ (Brownsville TX)November 2, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    I commend you for saying what needs to be said in a way that puts things in perspective for people. I particularly loved the comparison about congress and doctors not held accountable.

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  67. Excellent article and well written. I taught high school English or teachers for 41 years. Finally have some peace in retirement except that I now and then read about what's still happening in our schools and to our children and their teachers (sarcasm there). On a side note, does anyone still read Time magazine?--Dan Cox, PhD

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  68. Thank you, Nancy! You spoke for the thousands of public school teachers across this nation! I, for one, have seen the demand of teachers increase substantially and it isn't getting any better, any time soon! We are expected to do more, constantly, with less. Yes, I can't even begin to count all the money I've spent for my classroom, my students and for additional education that ISN'T reciprocated! I love what I do….when I get to teach! I hate the mandates, the data collecting. Now, they want to diminish our already low salary, with a tiered salary plan. I wish…ONLY once, that those who make policy would have to teach in a classroom for a MONTH!!!!! Enough said!

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  69. It is because of the ignorance (of people like the authors of Rotten Apples) rather than in spite of it that we teach. Education and teachers are the only hope for our children. So we must grow thicker and thicker skin and carry on our important mission.
    We must hold our heads high. Shame on those that put their own agendas ahead of all else.

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  70. Ever since 1981 when Reagan replaced the air traffic controllers who went on strike, Republicans have made any profession tied to unions a nasty thing. Teachers are no exception. By doing so the middle class has been dramatically reduced while that old "trickle down theory" has only benefit the wealthy. People need to wise up, America was in it's most prosperous state from the 1930s to 1970s when unions created a thriving middle class.

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  71. Thank you for voicing your facts and your opinions.
    No more Time magazine products in my classroom anymore. I will not subscribe or buy.
    Some schools are very challenged to have enough staff for many reasons. Unfortunately those might be the very areas that need the most attention / opportunities.
    Time to tell Time we are fed up with views like theirs.
    Spoken from Kansas...

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  72. I agree with Ms. Chewning as well i will admit that i made teachers jobs difficult and even had some quit on me cause they that teaching me wasn't worth the trouble, and even though i was ornery to some of the faculty, its people like Ms.Chewning that didn't give up on me and i will defend her and all those at Byrd that never gave up on me.

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  73. Well written and called. It has become increasingly difficult to bring educators and families together in this environment of teacher blame. Every year, my colleagues and I face more aggression from parents at Back-to-School night and through the year. This attitude of tearing down teachers actually tears down respect for education too since teachers are the symbol of education. Countries with good education systems respect their educators.

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  74. Thank you, Nancy Chewning, for standing up for hard-working teachers and the dear students we serve. Your passion is inspiring. I am so very proud to work with you!

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  75. Thanks for your support. I taught kindergarten and had a child who had been on the streets of Mexico for many years. He was 8 years old when he entered my kindergarten class. No school before coming to me. He thought I was the mother of the other 30 children in my class. Spoke no English. Hit, kicked, scratched bit me on a regular basis. When they put him in my class, they told me to civilize him. Not teach him. If you remember the dining room scene in Helen Keller, that was what it was like to have this child in my classroom. Did I civilize him??? Yes, I did. Did it take time away from my class? Yes it did. Did I let it hurt the rest of my class? I tried to not let it. But that is the life of a gen ed teacher. So do I lose pay because I have this student in my class? If he doesn't pass the test, I would. I want those silicon valley businessman to spend a day in my shoes and I guarantee they won't last the day. Until you walk in my shoes, don't tell me what I need to do.

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  76. Thanks for writing this. This Rotten Apple teaches at a charter school where the children are more privileged than many others and yet, the work load doesn't change. The tears over what other adults are doing to these kids, and the worry about their futures doesn't change. I cry every day, tears of sadness for the child whose parent is serving our country, tears of joy for the one child who finally learned to read, tears of sorrow for the boy who tells me his dad and mom are getting a divorce and dad has already picked a house, tears for everything imaginable. Each year, I think that my heart can't expand another inch, and it does- 30 times over to hold every single one of those students in my heart. Thank you for standing up for all of us "Rotten Apples"

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  77. Very well said! Shame on Time Magazine... Perhaps our schools should cancel all their subscriptions.

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  78. VERY well said. I am a teacher and work tirelessly for my students. I know that I am not alone. Thank you so much for addressing what so desperately needed to be said, and for doing it with grace and style.

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  79. I used to subscribe to TIME. They have been hounding me to return and have dropped the subscription to $20. I just wrote them to inform them I will be donating that $20 to a mother of one of my students who is recently homeless and is unable to access mental health care for my student/her son. I will be delivering this on my own TIME (unpaid). I will be telling her she can thank TIME Magazine for the donation. I will also look at some old issues to find their biggest advertisers to let them know I am a teacher and former subscriber.

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  80. As a TIME subscriber and proud supporter of public education, I have to say that this was clearly written by someone who simply looked at the cover and did not actually read the article. Edwards (author of the piece) is highly in support of teachers and speaks out against the unrealistic test based assessment of teachers (specifically those in high poverty schools). The main point of the article is that there are -believe it or not- bad teachers out there, and they affect students education. This, more often than not, impacts students of color in neighborhoods of low socioeconomic status and that is a violation of their equal protection rights. Welch (silicon valley millionaire/focus of the article) is simply against the tenure practices that protect bad teachers, and is using his own wealth to support charter schools to combat these issues. Perhaps this article was written with a bias against teachers unions and practices therein, but at no point did I see this as the attack on teachers that Chewning makes it out to be. Perhaps next time take we should listen to our own teachings, and read the text to inform our opinions?

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  81. I think what frustrates parents so much, is they have very little say in what is taught to their children. Common core, sex education, indoctrination into socialism, man made global warming, etc, etc, etc.... and all the while teachers hide behind their tenure and claim to be victims. Parents want a say in what is taught to their children, and accountability for those who teach them......

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    1. Believe it or not, teachers don't have a big say so in what we are expected to teach. Blame the government officials who are far removed from a school who are making those decisions. I guarantee you that if teachers were making the decisions the curriculum would look a lot different. If you want a say then speak up and make your voice heard by the people who are making the curriculum that you don't like.

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  82. This could very much be the sentiment of a UK teacher too, although I think we are slightly better off on the resource front.

    I would be interested to know what percentage of your teachers are women, as I feel here in the UK that this has an influence on how hard we work and how badly we are treated. I think in more male dominated professions people stand for less bs before standing up and saying enough.

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  83. Interesting how so many individuals think that all teachers belong to a union or that getting rid of unions will make it easier to gt rid of a bad teacher. Getting rid of bad teacher isn't all that difficult if those in charge of said bad teacher does all of the correct paperwork and follows the law, just like any other profession.
    Teacher are not like any other profession and should not be treated as such. What other profession do you know of where it is common for the employee to bring supplies from home to use at work?
    How many professions do you know of where you can lose your job and your license because someone lies about you?
    Teachers need protections from vindictive parents and students. Teachers need protections from the outrageous swings in testing laws.
    Teachers have no issues with being accountable. We must, however, draw the line at being scapegoats.
    We cannot control a student coming to school hungry and unable to concentrate. We cannot control the student who decides to not take a test seriously and just bubbles in random answers, then places their head down on the desk five minutes into the state mandated, high stakes test. Teachers cannot control many of these things, yet we are evaluated on them and in many places the teacher's pay is connected to them.
    Hold a teacher accountable for the things they have the ability to control.

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  84. Thank You Nancy!! Thank You for writing an outstanding article about teachers who care for their students and worry about them everyday!! (Teacher of students PreK-2nd for over 25 years!!

    Michele

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  85. Thank you!!!

    A retired, tired Rotten Apple

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  86. Scratch the surface of any major issue today and you will find a billionaire behind it.

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  87. You are so right, Nancy! Definitely appreciate your words and sharing with the readers on my Facebook page now.
    Carla

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  88. I think the writers at Time need to remember without the Rotten Apples they wouldn't be able to read and write. They wouldn't understand the freedom they have to disparage teachers which seems to be popular this year.

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  89. One Anonymous said, "I think what frustrates parents so much, is they have very little say in what is taught to their children. Common core, sex education, indoctrination into socialism, man made global warming, etc, etc, etc.... and all the while teachers hide behind their tenure and claim to be victims. Parents want a say in what is taught to their children, and accountability for those who teach them......"

    Are you suggesting that parents select the content and develop lessons for classrooms, rather than trained professionals? I understand that parents love their children, but parents do not always know what is best for their children. That is why there is an entire host of trained community members who assist in raising children to adulthood. Some are more visible than others, but they are there all the same.

    And what do you mean by "indoctrination into socialism"? Are you aware that the same accusations were bandied about in the 1950s when Senator McCarthy ran around the nation, destroying people's lives by falsely accusing people of being Communists? How insulting for you to make such an accusation.

    And how about you let your child make up his or her own mind about things? What is the harm in being exposed to new and different ideas at school? Are you suggesting that you would prefer to indoctrinate your children with YOUR thinking so that they grow up with exactly the same biases you seem to possess?

    "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?

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  90. 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?

    PS, the misplaced comma in your second paragraph is an embarrassing illustration of the problem.

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    1. Shame on you....

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  91. Thank you for saying so well what has needed to be said for so long.

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  92. All this public criticism of teachers, and yet not one banker charged with a crime in four years since the mortgage crisis took place. Those criminals receive no criticism. What is happening to this country?

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  93. Thank you for your support and words of truth. I believe every school and school district should stop subscribing to Time and Time for Kids and find other forms of informational text to use in our classrooms. I personally will turn over ever Time magazine I see at the grocery store. How dare they attack the people who teach the people to read that will some day read their magazine.

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  94. I too am not happy about your reference to nurses. Yes, there are bad ones as well as good. You act like there are NO bad apples among teachers. Let me inform you tgat as the mother of 2 special ed studentsthat there are indeed bad apples among teachers. Thanks to that I now homeschool my sons and work a full time job. My sons were picked on and yes even by teachers. Their potential was never tapped into because they were special ed. My youngest son was told that he wasn't studying or even trying because he could not remember his multiplication tables. Well, he happened to have had stroke at the age of 5 and his memory was affected. And as far as nurses, there are those of us who go the extra mile and buy our patients things as well, such as their medicine, cleaning, bills, food, and we too are required to have a certain amount of education every year that we pay for ourselves. That is simply part of our job. If you personally were not targeted, that's great but at least be smart enough with all of your "education" to realize that there are bad apples in any profession.

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  95. I am extremely proud and honored to be a teacher, but it angers me to hear and read such contempt against teachers. Are there awful teachers? Yes, there are few. The same as there are awful lawyers, police officers, firefighters, etc. but the overall majority of lawyers, police officers, firefighters, etc. is hard- working and does the best they can under the worst of circumstances. If the "bad" teachers are so difficult to get rid of because of tenure, it is because the administration, board of education and the state do not want to invest the time in fair and honest observations and the school districts do not want to pay the legal costs. Tenure for public school teachers is a right to due process. Without some kind of tenure, teaching positions would become a revolving door with teachers being fired for unfair reasons. Tenure is not in any way related to pay and it is not a guarantee of a “job for life”, as most have been brainwashed to believe by so called “education activists” and anti-teacher union Republicans. Any increase in salary comes from teacher contracts that are negotiated by the teacher unions and the school board. Members of these school boards are elected by voters living in a school district. If a voter doesn’t like any of the terms of the negotiated teacher’s contract, then it is up to each voter to be well informed on the day of the school board elections and elect the BOE candidate(s) who supports that voter’s opinion.

    Is there abuse? There can be and there is, but is not does not happen as much as most have been led to believe. No one understands the abuse teachers put up with. This abuse can come from parents, school administrators, and even classroom students. There are parents who don't return phone calls or emails, don't attend parent-teacher conferences, and those who believe that when their son or daughter is in school he/she is the teacher’s problem, the teacher needs to handle it, that’s what the teacher gets paid to do". Wrong. Teachers are expected to educate using the school curriculum. Parents are expected to educate their kids to be respectable, law abiding people.
    What about those students who need school supplies but don't have them? What about those students who come from families that don't value education enough to understand how important education is? What about those students with parent(s) or guardians working more than one job just to be able to pay the rent and buy some food to eat? What about those students coming from (or suffering from) substance, physical, mental and or sexual abuse?! These are all things a teacher cannot control and yet a teacher is expected to educate that/those student(s). Teachers are also expected to prepare their students for state assessment tests that have been created so that students cannot pass and whether a student passes or not, the “corporation” responsible for these tests makes a huge profit on each and every taxpayer’s dollar. Schools are for educating not for “corporate America” to profit from. Politicians, especially Republican anti-union politicians and some Democrats don’t agree because these “corporations” are one of their biggest political contributors. Teachers are also forced to purchase school supplies out of their own pockets because school boards with their “cut this and cut that” budgets won’t even bother to spend money on a copy machines let alone a box of pencils.

    Instead of accusing & continuing this pathetic blame game towards public school teachers and their benefits, everyone who truly cares about our kids and their future and the future of our country need to start working together & fix what's not working correctly first.

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  96. As another retired rotten apple, I found teaching music in a public school system the most rewarding job I have ever held. I retired 2 years ago. I was berated, cursed, back-talked, hit, pinched and bullied. Our children are out of control and they are allowed to behave as they please and are so very disrespected. What will happened when all the rotten apples are gone? How many people are majoring in education now? Maybe Time Magazine has the answer! As you sit in an air-conditioned building, corner office, I have worked in a no-air, 45 yr old building teaching precious children with wet hair and sweat rolling down my checks and clothes stuck to my body. All the while, I'm teaching precious children. Thank God for all of the rotten kapples like me who have changed
    many, many lives. Time Magazine is clueless.

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  97. As a parent of a teacher, grandparent of four and the mother in law of two teachers I applaud your letter. I KNOW what they make, how long they work, how many weekends they work, how many times the children at times show disrespect (which is a parent's responsibility not a teacher) and at times have been abused by children. That doesn't include the money spent on school supplies out of their own pocket. We do not have teachers we have SOLs and Core whatever (I don't need to know) and if the students are not learning it is because of overbearing parents, stupid govt programs and unable to discipline when needed. So now you have brats and they grow up to be brats. And for dear sakes don't teach in a military base school because they are twice as ignorant as public school administration. Proud of you!!! Too bad it will not change one heart in Washington.

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  98. Great work! Many great teachers are driven away from doing so because there is such a lack of financung ; from pay to classroom instructional materials. Yet, expectations are unattainable because basic necessities are left unmet. Sad. I'm a fellow educator ready to embark on a new journey...yet every year I say that, and every year I just can't walk away from the children.

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  99. Wow, excellent! Thank you!

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  101. This Rotten Apple was asked to speak the eulogy for a first grader from my class of 2013/2014 that recently passed from a head injury. I, too, am ready to stand up and speak the truth.

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  102. The cover doesn't say *every* teacher is bad. It just says that it's difficult to fire bad ones, which is true.

    Every story you gave was a story of an excellent teacher. None of them are the subject of the piece.

    This post is an overreaction at best, and completely out of touch with reality at worst. Please try not to be so oversensitive.

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    1. Our school district of 5 schools where I am a parent, just ended a month long teacher strike. The teachers are among the lowest pain in our state, while the superintendent and asst superintendent of the district ranking in the highest paid in the state, with salaries of $265,000 each, plus bonuses, etc, inlcuding an all expenses paid car paid via taxpayer money, and free family insurance. Don't be oversensitive? It's MUCH more difficult to fire the superintendent and corrupt "unpaid" board members.

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  103. Well said!! Thank you for taking a stand for all of us rotten apples! People do not know the sacrifices we go through to provide a meaningful education for our students!

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  104. Thank you ! Wish you had been my principal when I was teaching ! I quit after a quarter of a century because I was unappreciated by the administration.

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  105. Your eloquent and articulate response is a perfect example of the influence of rotten apples in your life. Well said! Thank you! 30+ years in the apple basket

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  106. While I certainly agree with the sentiment of your thoughts regarding teachers, you have comopletely mischaracterized the situation with doctors. You're statement that the government is not setting benchmarks for doctors is grossly, factually incorrect. In fact, doctors and healthcare organizations are benchmarked and monetarily penalized/evaluated on multiple platforms including accountable care organiztions, meaningful use reporting, recovery audit contracting and patient centered medical home intiatives just to name a few. Even a cursory knowledge or bit of research on the subject and statements you have chosen to make would reveal this. Worse, you then go on to throw the medical profession under your political bus based on your incorrect facts. Interestinngly, while there seems to be broad condemnation of these benchmarking efforts in the education field, there seems to be absolutely no concern or even effort to understand the exact same processes that are being forced on the medical profession.
    While I fully support your thoughts regarding teachers, I propose you lead by example and actually put in the appropriate research to avoid complete misrepresentations, erroneous statements and condemnations of kindred professions based on your lack of understanding in the topic you have chosen.

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  107. I thought you made some good points, that is, until you decided to throw my profession under the bus. I am a nurse. While I agree that educators are grossly underpaid, I don't think that pinning the responsibility for 440,000 deaths per year on "doctors and nurses" is a very stable soapbox to stand on. Do you work 12+ hour shifts, mostly on your feet, in a stressful environment? By that, I mean at the bedside of extremely sick patients, while their concerned loved ones are looking to you when things aren't going well.

    Have you ever been spit on, kicked, or hit at work? There's a good chance you have. Was it by an adult? I once had a patient wipe their feces on me. And I continued to give them the same care I would give my grandmother.

    Are you at risk of contracting an infectious disease when you go to work? I'm not referring to the flu or chicken pox, although I've been exposed to those, too. I mean Hepatitis C or HIV.

    I'll admit that I don't have any earthly idea what it's like to be a teacher. And after reading this post, I am certain that you don't have the slightest clue what it's like to be a nurse. So I'll tell you what. Why don't you avoid shitting on my profession in the future? And I'll grant you the same courtesy. Fair enough?

    Sincerely,
    Tracy, RN

    P.S. I think I'll buy a subscription to Time Magazine now.

    P.P.S. Would you be proud to show this blog post to any doctor or nurse charged with your care?

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  108. I echo so many of the folks above--thank you for such a well-written and documented article. I am celebrating my 42 year as an educator, and appreciate you giving a voice to all of us!

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  109. First of all, to "Anonymous" the nurse, the writer of this article wasn't crapping on your profession, she was pointing out that Time had not unfairly slanted health care professionals in the same way it had done to educators.
    Secondly, my mom is a special ed teacher at a public high school, and she has had feces smeared on the wall of her classroom, and she is at risk of HIV by some of her students.
    Finally, this article was so well written, thank you so much for it!

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  110. I am a retired teacher with 17 years of teaching service. Second career: I chose to teach in the public schools after retiring as a lieutenant colonel after 22+ years in the Marines. I am a conservative, and loathe the NEA. But I don't hate teachers, and I agree wholeheartedly with what this lady said. NCLB and "Common Core" are both terrible ideas. I have looked at the standards and materials in the Social Studies portion of "Common Core" and they are propagandistic clap-trap, not facts and actuual History. As a result of my military career I have lived for extended periods in Europe and in the Pacific Rim and I can tell you that teachers' social status are much higher in both places than in the U.S. They are valued and high-status members of their societies there. There is something critically wrong with an educational system that spends more money perr pupil than anywhere else and produces results that keep getting worse. Federal control has only made it worse, not better, and under the Feds more money and resources go to administration at all levels than to students and classroom teachers. Fix it.

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    1. Social Studies/History is not a part of the Common Core Standards. The Common Core only cover English Language Arts and Math.

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  111. I am not a teacher. I am a school bus driver and a Special-Education Paraprofessional, working with students on a daily basis. I will be the first to admit that there are many teachers who should hang it up, stop teaching. However, there are countless teachers who should be rewarded for their efforts. They play teacher, mother, nurse, counselor, coach, etc to the children of our community. They spend untold dollars of their meager earnings to benefit these children, many hours attending classes to sharpen their skills, shed many tears for way too many inner city kids who are raising themselves, trying to instill values where they are lacking! Your article was very lax in praise for these angels who give so much for our children! Shame on you!

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  112. Your article was stellar! I would like to add that we also have to fundraise and write grants to obtain items, such as technology, to meet the rigors of our current standards. If the teachers in our profession are so rotten, why doesn't our government get rid of it and require parents to teach their own children. Where would our society be then? TIME magazine... shame on you for attacking such a sacred profession! This rotten apple will never purchase another TIME magazine.

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  113. As I read your article I knew you had walked this road. It was well said. Thank you.

    Bashing education and the unions I believe happens because, we are easy targets. Years ago critical thinking was valued. When I listen to anti-education talk. I believe that many self serving people in industry who would prefer lambs to the slaughter. Lambs who will accept 38 hour weeks and no benefits. People who will not question what we are doing to the environment.

    Sadly bashing education and teachers has become the norm. We are the scapegoat for all the wrongs in our society. We do not blame dentists when people come to them with cavities.

    It is good to have the work we do validated. Thank you!

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  114. Thank you for writing this post. It's kind of ironic that Time Magazine puts out "Time for Kids", which they push RELENTLESSLY on the "Rotten Apples". I guess our money (yes--most of us buy these types of "extras" ourselves)is good enough for them. Never again!

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  115. The same is in my country although they don't call the teachers names so explicitly. I think it's a global phenomenon and we can hardly do anything, but your letter boosts hope - only the best and the bravest among us are able to speak up and out against the ruination of the profession and the public education consequently. Bravo Nancy, you have done a brilliant job!

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  117. I hope to be a new MS/HS teacher with an M.Ed (moderate disabilities) in a 21st century classroom in 2016 with 20+ years of experience outside of education. I am preparing NOW for the loss of salary, the constant need for finding supplemental materials, the otherworlds that children face each night. Thanks for being a shining example for all of us. And nice job Time.

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  118. "Unintelligent people always look for a scapegoat."
    Ernest Bevin

    I would revise the quote a bit by using the word "ignorant" instead of unintelligent.

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  119. Thank you - amazing article!! When we lose due process, our students are the ones who really lose.

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  120. where would we be if we were never taught anything?

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  121. Such solid, eloquent arguments, and then a nasty turn. The writer could not make a case for teaching, without throwing another profession (one similarly rooted in compassion, comparably under-compensated, and--in my state--lacking the considerable benefit of union representation) under the proverbial (big, yellow) bus? Delightful.

    Speaking of being held to daunting standards: After choosing to dedicate your life to protecting others, and working diligently to maintain a current knowledge base in a field where the technology evolves with breathtaking speed, do you begin each day with the gut-wrenching understanding that the smallest omission might be the direct cause of someone's death? Every single day? And that, should harm result from such an event, you will bear that guilt for life--but you will also lose your income, your worldly possessions, and your licensure to practice?

    I accepted those terms when I began my career, along with a host of other negatives, My intention here isn't to compare difficulties. I, like my peers, remain a grateful beneficiary of the efforts of teachers who've gone far beyond what's required (or what's publicly lauded, much less financially rewarded.) The best representatives of any profession--mine included--do the same. I'm simply saddened that the writer felt her (otherwise powerful) piece was insufficient It would have stood on its own without that bit of negativity.

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  122. Well said! Thank you. As a fellow educator, I am so tired of working so hard and getting bashed by ignorant poeple.

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  123. Preach sister! Brilliant letter and entirely true. Sharing with my FB teachers and other friends and reminding all we have a voice and we need to speak up as well. We've been polite to long. Thank you for taking a stand.

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  124. F- for failing to engage with the points the original Time article brought up re: tenure. That's like if someone looked at this piece and, instead of reading it, decided that you were probably wrong just because your haircut makes you look like someone who regularly gets snippy with minimum wage workers over things that aren't their fault. Not saying you do, just saying that that's about how shallowly you've thought through the actual points re: tenure, entrenched mediocrity, etc.

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  125. Beautifully written letter. It would be nice if TIME also published YOUR letter, as well as some of the comments here.

    I am in special education and have seen how education has dramatically changed. Because of this, I have discouraged my daughter from entering into education as a profession. She loves kids and would be a gifted and insightful teacher. Because of the lack of respect for the profession and the amount of paperwork that is mandated for teachers, I truly hope she doesn't pursue a career in education. It's very sad when I have to tell my daughter, that I can't support her choice of education as a career. Very sad.

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  126. Nancy, Thank you for speaking for all of Rotten Apples. I am now retired, but still sub some. I loved my career and am glad you have spoken for so many of us. This, indeed, should be published in it's entirety in the Time Magazine!!!

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  127. Good article except for one point in which she is as bad as Time was in their reporting. The government is setting unreasonable standards for doctors too. If she doesn't want to be called a rotten apple, she shouldn't push it on to others.

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  128. Well said and thank you! - Just another rotten apple of middle schoolers

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  129. Could one of you great clip artists make an answering design? (Maybe an apple being stabbed in the back?)

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  130. Well said regarding the Media's outlook on Public Education and Teachers specifically. Anonymous's comment about tenure and mediocrity teachers is incorrect. There is not tenure in education. That was done away with many years ago. This person needs to also get their facts correct. There is a system whereby teachers can be dismissed for not educating their students or for poor performance. There are very few teachers that do not go ABOVE AND BEYOND the requirements of the job, loving their students, providing basic needs of their students, and supporting the families the students come from. Thanks for speaking out!

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  131. What a shame that a magazine with a reputation of quality journalism should sink so low and write an article that is so blatantly incorrect. What each of you should do at Time Magazine is get done on your knees and thank every "rotten apple" that taught you how to read, taught you how to write, and how to think. How could you be so far off from reality? When was the last time you spent time in a classroom? It's easy to cast criticism from the cheap seats. I suggest you go back to school and get certified, cut your salary by two-thirds and get down in the trenches with the rest of us that work day in and day out trying to make a difference.

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  132. What a shame that a magazine with a reputation of quality journalism should sink so low and write an article that is so blatantly incorrect. What each of you should do at Time Magazine is get done on your knees and thank every "rotten apple" that taught you how to read, taught you how to write, and how to think. How could you be so far off from reality? When was the last time you spent time in a classroom? It's easy to cast criticism from the cheap seats. I suggest you go back to school and get certified, cut your salary by two-thirds and get down in the trenches with the rest of us that work day in and day out trying to make a difference.

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  133. What a shame that a magazine with a reputation of quality journalism should sink so low and write an article that is so blatantly incorrect. What each of you should do at Time Magazine is get done on your knees and thank every "rotten apple" that taught you how to read, taught you how to write, and how to think. How could you be so far off from reality? When was the last time you spent time in a classroom? It's easy to cast criticism from the cheap seats. I suggest you go back to school and get certified, cut your salary by two-thirds and get down in the trenches with the rest of us that work day in and day out trying to make a difference.

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  134. sounds like a CUNT

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  135. No one is FORCED to become a teacher. Other professions are available that utilize the same skill set. Feel free to change jobs if you're not happy with your current occupation's hours, work environment and/or salary. Did you know that there are other exempt-occupations that are required to pay for their own continuing education, work more than 40 hours per week, and care for other people with the same level of concern as you expressed? Oh and by the way...those occupations require working on holidays and summer months.

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    1. I support and appreciate your stand for teachers however your criticism of doctors and nurses is not accurate. While getting upset that others do not understand your hard and sacrifice in teaching, you do not understand the sacrifice of those in the medical field . Did you graduate with your teaching certificate with $350,000 of debt with an interest rate of 7% and never see your family as you work days AND all through the night? I don't think you did. I could tell a lot more but my point is that attacking other professions you know nothing about just as Time did to you is a double standard.

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  136. Thank you, Ms. Chewning,
    100% agree.
    Signed,
    Another Bad Apple

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  137. Excellent letter & shame on Time for belittling the teachers who are expected to be the caregiver, the counselor, the advisor, the provider, the parent, all in addition to being the teacher. If only our country would get their priorities right & pay teachers the money & respect they deserve.
    Many professional athletes don't deserve it, yet it was those very teachers/counselors/coaches who helped that young person through rough, unstable times; now they earn the big bucks & are idolized.
    Sadly there are untold numbers who also learned, grew, survived, even flourished, thanks to their teachers, but the recognition, the appreciation, the pay & the respect is too often lacking.

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  138. I have read through many (most) of the comments on this article and I'd just like to note, for those of you accusing the author of unfairly representing the Time article, that she several times referenced the COVER of the magazine and it was the COVER with which she took issue. She correctly pointed out that few people will actually read the article, but many will see the COVER as they stand in line to buy groceries, gasoline, etc. And by the way, there have always been bad teachers and there are ways to fire even tenured ones. If your school board is not up to that task, then it is time to vote for some different school board members. The solution is not to attack teachers in general, or their unions, who are often the ONLY people advocating in the best interests of their students.

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  139. My mom is second generation in becoming a teacher. My grandmother taught in the one room school house before they could be married and had their own families. She drove long distances to do what she loved and yet neglected the children she had at home. The only thing that I remember about her was her putting a L and R on my shoes to get them on the right feet. But back to my mom who was told by her school teacher mom who never went to college, that she wasn't college material. In mom's education classes she met young girls that didn't like kids and said so. They also went nuts if one of these kids were to touch them. They said that they were only in the program to meet men and get married. I have a son that had teachers in the special education classes that would give 14 year old students work that was for primary school work - cutting, coloring, and pasting. I had one teacher that had no classroom management that I had fired. My other son had a teacher that he flunked 3 classes and she passed him anyway. So I homeschooled him the rest of the way through his schooling. He works doing fabrication. There are a few good teachers yet there are twice as many bad ones and its those we need to get rid of.

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  140. Thank you for taking the time to write what most of us feel and never say. As for teachers we will continue to help the children we love, because if we didn't love helping them we would have never become a teacher. I have relatives that remind me, you get three months off during the summer and I just smile and begin my list of things I do over the summer and how I spend a typical day. "We can't fix stupid!"

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  141. THANK YOU so very much for your articulate article. Children are the future and the present in the world. Yet those who teach and care for them are undervalued just as they are. If you think teachers are underpaid look at the pay for child care providers. Many make no more than minimum wage. Keep up your great work on the behalf of children and teachers.

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  142. Last week, this "rotten apple" made sure a pregnant teen got help; this "rotten apple" attended three meetings outside of school hours to help one suicidal student; this "rotten apple" spoke with a student who had to witness domestic violence between her parents; this "rotten apple" had a phone conversation with a mother about her depressed daughter following the death of her father; this "rotten apple" attended four meetings for IEPs and 504s, two faculty meetings and one district training. This "rotten apple" did all of this in one week, with nearly a decade of experience and a masters for the paltry salary of $40k/ year. Shame on you Time Magazine...

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  143. You seem to have dramatically misinterpreted this article (as well as the term 'rotten apple'). The Time Magazine article was not "depicting every American public school educator as a Rotten Apple," as you've stated in your blog post. In fact, it was specifically targeting bad teachers, and talking about how it's difficult to fire bad teachers.

    I'm not sure why you've misinterpreted it this way; presumably, as an Assistant Principal, you must understand that there are bad teachers at every school -- just as there are bad employees at every company, in every profession. My guess is that when you vent frustrations to your loved ones (as we all do), there are half a dozen teachers that regularly come up as objects of your frustration because they don't live up to the standard of excellence you expect from your teaching staff.

    If you disagree with their characterizations around teacher tenure, that's understandable, but what you've done here is a classic example of a strawman argument. The Time Magazine article (or even just the cover) did not in any way imply that all teachers are rotten apples; in fact, the term 'rotten apple' itself (from the phrase 'one rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch'), implies that there are very *few* rotten apples compared to the whole. However, in order to make your argument seem more powerful, you have attributed to Time a poor argument that they never made (that all teachers are bad apples) and then proceeded to attack that non-existent argument.

    The plus side is this, though -- if your school offers any courses in logical argumentation, this blog post can be used as a wonderful example of what not to do when constructing an argument.

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  144. I love what I do and don't appreciate the direct or indirect backhand about our efforts to help kids prepare for the next level. And I live with a principal so I see how hard this career is from two levels. Thanks for you piece. It is well done.

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  145. Wonderful response! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. Hopefully TIME will choose read and print your response and will think a bit more about who and what they choose to feature.

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  146. I have teachers in my family. They are not rich but they are doing pretty well for themselves... better than I am. I do not hate teachers.. in fact, I can identify with them.

    In my profession, I purchase my own tools, clothes, and vehicle. I start my day at 8 but often do not get home till well after the streetlights come on. Oh yeah, I'm on call 24/7 and have spent many a 72 hour day... I need to pay for books and continuing education to stay current and I make a lot less than teachers... Why do I do it? It's not for the money. I really like my job and I really like my customers. I believe the good teachers feel the same way... they work hard and care about their "customers".. but I've also seen teachers who strike and try to convince us that they'd do a better job if they got a pay raise. Specifically, I'm referring to the Chicago strike of a few years back. Yelling, screaming, demanding... excellent role models. Those are the bad apples.

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  147. Thank you from a fellow Rotten Apple in PA! I hope that you sent this to Time Magazine.

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  148. From one Rotten Apple to another. I would love to work for you.. This Rotten Apple has been in education for over 25 years and we do the most and are treated the least. Well said......

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  149. I read the entire article and I will re-read it. The impression I got was not of Time bashing the teachers, but that there are a few who need to be removed from the profession and can't, because of overprotection from the union. I am a former union person and I know of many in my ranks that should have been fired but were not. Not a union basher, just stating the facts as I saw them over 30 plus years. Time was merely pointing out some flaws in the system for removing teachers that really have no business reporting to work every day. Its crazy how many teachers were offended If you ARE doing your job, then why so defensive?

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  150. You should be the head of the NEA as you speak for the students.

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  151. James L below has it right!! -- I am so tired of the teacher/martyr complex -- so many people work just as hard or harder, just as long or longer, and get paid just as much or less! because they teach, they don't make tons of money, and they continue to complain because they are doing things for our kids. I know a lot of great teachers, and a lot of lazy, bad apples. One teacher told me about how an art teacher was not fired after numerous complaints for years from kids, teachers, parents, everyone, because the Union kept stepping in...the problem does exist. Tenure is a joke. Why does that exist? I don't have tenure in my job and I have been doing it for 15 years! Parents do just as much as well, we are constantly bringing in supplies for the school (where is all the 12K per student going anyways?), volunteering after working 10 hours a day (where are the teachers?), volunteering all summer, helping in the classroom when we can, getting our continuing education credits on OUR own, etc...this is life!

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  152. I don't think anyone is complaining about their job, but we are complaining that our job is underestimated and maligned by this article. I knew my pay and my job meant long hours. I don't mind that, but I do mind being labeled as if we all are not doing our job. I absolutely do not want out of my job, I do believe we deserve respect for the job the majority of us are doing.

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  153. No one buy a magazine from Time or any other source that does not promote the real challenges of educators. Start now

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  154. From a fellow principal in KY...well written and factual. I stand with you! It's time to take back our classrooms!

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  155. Did the TIME writer spend any time at all in a classroom? Did the writer spend a full day with a teacher (or four) to see what it's like? Did the writer experience the total disrespect of authority by the students? Did the writer have to fill out the endless e-forms to recommend a Psychologist &/or Child Protective Services to engage a student's home life? Did the writer have to spend a good $500 per year out of his pocket for basic supplies for the classroom?

    Just another piece of poor journalism. It is so sad that the once respected publication TIME has lost all of it's credibility.

    Starting teachers in my district (Suburban Sacramento) earn $40,462, teachers with 20 years & Continuing Education units top out at $80,958. Is it any wonder why it is becoming so hard to find good new teachers? Their peers are walking into jobs starting at $50-80K in CA.

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  156. The article didn't address the teachers that are FMD teachers. They have to change diapers, do tube feedings and so much more than can be written in this article. It is time to let the world know that teachers with passion for their careers are our children's future. Thank you for standing up for all.

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  157. Ms Chewning, our society owes you gratitude for standing up for the educators out there who do work tirelessly to make things better for our country's children. I was a parent very involved with the PTO and other student activity groups when my daughter was in school. I witnessed our teachers working way past classroom time and on weekends to make a difference for all students in their classes. These are definitely not Rotten Apples. They represent the heart of America and are helping to shape the next generations of our country's leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs, physicians, scientists and educators. The same teachers inspired my daughter to want to help inspire others so she graduated in 2012 with a Secondary Education History degree and has been substitute teaching plus working 2 other jobs to pay for her education. You and all those like you have my deepest respect.

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  158. Sounds like you need a better union and to remember you are an educator not a social worker.

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  159. Remember ... Time is the same magazine that tried to make the bomber in Boston in to a hero

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  160. I am having trouble understanding why society spends so little of our resources from pre-school thru high school and yet college education is so unaffordable and becoming more and more unreachable. money needs to be spent from day 1 on our kids, and the bloat at the top needs to be redistributed. let's finally get behind our schools with money

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  161. Thanks, Nancy! I retired after 39 years of teaching, because I was tired of all the BS. Teachers need to rise up and be heard, not accept the status quo! I don't think the teacher's associations do enough for their own except collect dues!

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  162. TIME was addressing tenure and the 25%. 50% of students graduate. So your satisfied parents are half of the student pop. Maybe. Some of those are to sports scholarships. No one should be guaranteed a job in perpetuity for three years of getting-by. Teachers should be accountable just like the students. Teachers were given many bennies in lieu of $ to enlarge their ranks. That's why private employers used to give them to attract employees. Most teachers, cops, and firemen retire with $100,000 salaries. Not so in the working class. Times change. Clean-up your act. Root out the incompetent.

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  163. Thank you.
    Sylvia, 10th grade teacher

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  164. Touché. I am a teacher with 28 years of experience, and I couldn't have said it better. You rock.

    And I hope you get their attention. I'm posting (and tweeting etc.) the hell out of this.

    cheers,

    Gordon Bonnet
    Trumansburg NY

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  165. I worked for a silicon valley co. owned by one of the wealthiest people in the county. We made big bucks. I retired early to a resort community, guess what? All my neighbors are public school teachers and in some cases it is their 3rd home they own. So from my personal knowledge, you are bull shit.

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  166. What a wonderful article.

    As a person with a PhD in Early Childhood Education ( and can I just say that if Elem Teachers are Rotten Apples, we in ECE are invisible ghosts who should create miracles with no money and no supplies)

    I can only emphasize the need for parent's to opt out of standardized testing. I teach my Teacher Candidates how the law works so that they can inform friends and family.

    This week, someone at Pearson spent a great deal of time on the post underneath. How long before I get called to the Dean's Office to discuss my words?

    http://www.balefulregards.com/2014/10/rebel-in-training.html

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  167. I recently took a stand for a student of mine in particular. It was a very hard thing for me to do but I am glad I did. More of us "Rotten Apples" gathered together, we might get someone's attention. Education is so political and it makes me sick. Thank you for writing this letter! I totally agree with you!

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  168. I am a retired teacher and am very proud to say I enjoyed my job and felt that I made a difference in the lives of a whole bunch of kids. I hear from them often on Facebook and never realized what effect I had on these youngsters. I makes up for a lack of money if you approach your career with the right attitude.

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  169. Interesting how forbes list teachers as the lowest paid yet we do the most.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careerandeducation/the-bachelors-degrees-with-the-highest-and-lowest-salary-potential/ss-BBa44Fp

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  170. Bravo! Sincerely standing and clapping. I've got 30 years in this profession, so different from when I first began. I teach Art, so that has a "free time" stigma attached as well. But, I have students from ten or fifteen years ago still sharing art experiences with me- sharing travels- remembering what they learned about a culture...did I make a difference? I know so!

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  171. Thank you for the eloquent description of a teacher. Having spent 30 plus years in the profession, I totally understand everything you stated. Having worked in the inner city, giving out lunch money, letting kids talk about their dilemma, seeing them graduate and then return with their stories is worth so much more. Having a student tell you that you saved their life. These are the rewards of a teacher. I have NO idea how much money I spent during those years but it is okay and doesn't matter. My concern was that I gave my students my attention 100 percent of the time.

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  172. As a recently retired teacher I want to thank you for expressing what so many teachers feel. Thank you for accurately painting a picture of what it is like to teach in public education.

    Again, thank you.

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  173. I imagine school nurses all over are offended when we read that teachers have to be the nurse at school. I agree that they wear many hats and some of them should go ahead and hang up those hats but I am not here to bash teachers as the author of this article tends to do. It is not an easy task being a nurse--you cannot just step into the position--you must be highly educated and have excellent knowledge and assessment skills. Just because you took a student's temperature or called their mommy to pick them up when they felt bad DOES NOT QUALIFY YOU AS A NURSE!! I will go a step further and I say nurses are great teachers though...

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  174. Well said! I retired in July after teaching 31 years of first and second grades. I always wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl. I knew I wouldn't become a millionaire..that was ok. I wanted to inspire children and make learning FUN! Sadly, school is not fun any more. It hurts my heart to see children hate school and become so frustrated. I have seen wonderful teachers leave the profession-how sad!

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  175. School Nurse GinnyNovember 3, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Agree with Anonymous regarding the medical field and especially school nurses. How about not saying you are a nurse--that is demeaning, not true and sheds a not so good light on the REAL school nurses that work alongside all the apples--good and bad.

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  176. "One bad apple ruins the whole barrel."
    This has never been true any more that ALL teachers match your comments. I would say 95% of teachers are, and do, as you said. Unfortunately, because you and others make it sound like they are all saints and the NEA refuses to work to get the bad ones out of the system, your argument loses some of its steam. Every parent and every teacher know of someone who slides by on the backs of the good ones.

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  177. Take a look at recent history and you will see that teachers are an easy scapegoat for the failure of those in power to address the real issues. In particular, the Republican Party and the mega-rich of this country have turned to attacking teachers in order to privatize education. Don't just believe me, look at their websites, listen to them speak, read about their vile hatred for public education. If public education becomes privatized, less students will be able to afford the inevitable tuition and fees. Less educated people means a less responsive voting public which, in turn, means more power and control for the oligarchs and more money for their friends running for-profit schools. I taught for 41 years and loved it and my students way back from my first years still keep in touch with me. I worked long hours and never complained. I made a decent living but started out at making thousands of dollars less than anyone else I graduated with from college. I always thought of it as a public service and an honorable profession. I was wrong. Society sees us a pariahs, expects us to work for whatever they feel they want to pay us, unions have been destroyed, money taken away by the millions from public education (see Wisconsin), and has determined that all of the ills perpetrated against students are our fault. We must be doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and social service workers all wrapped up in one. In what corporation do you see such tasks laid at the feet of educated employees? Make our schools more like businesses? Then I want the right to fire lazy or disruptive students and be paid a commission for each student I must work with. Do you really think that will work? We do what we do for students out of dedication and love. Want to see the real Rotten Apples in business? Just look at the CEOs.

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  178. For all the posters on this topic that clearly haven't read anything current or up to date on teacher tenure, etc...do some research and know what the hell you are talking about. Many, many states have long ago stricken this "invincible shield" that you think protects bad teachers. I've been a public school administrator for 15 years, in that time I've hired and fired individuals that weren't getting it done...that fake protection you like to tout no longer exists! Update your research and try again when you know what the hell is really going on!

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  179. How many other professionals who have a four year degree and in most cases a masters degree get treated as shabbily as teachers.I am so very tired of being blamed for all the ills of society. We have students who come to school not even knowing their last name or the names of their parents or sibling. Parents who have not idea where the bus is taking their children each day. Our poorest kids have all they can do to survive day after day and all we hear is "What is wrong with the teacher?" "Why can't these kids learn?"

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  180. So well said. So many teachers have been outraged by this article. Teachers fight so hard to "undo" the negative image we tend to have in society. Articles like this make it so much harder. You couldn't have been more thorough or accurate! Thank you!

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  181. Nancy Chewing:

    Beautifully expressed!

    Right on point on everything, including the power of the media to present pictures and headlines that carry a visual impact.

    I stand with you.

    Lynda, retired GOLDEN Apple
    (I will not let Time Magazine think THEY can define ME!)

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