Most of the commercials for the governor's race here in Texas have been from Republicans. It only makes sense. But a Democrat, Farouk Shami has begun running ads. I saw this one the other night and got all kinds of irritated. Then Holly came home from the gym and started telling me about this commercial she'd seen that made her angry. What do you know, Holly and I agreed on politics! Farouk Shami is a uniter! In that we are united against him!
Naturally, the topic is education. Here's the ad:
Cleverly titled "Every Child Left Behind". Thanks, Farouk! We think you're doing a bang-up job too!
The ad explains that No Child Left Behind mandated testing, which leaves every child behind. (Cut to footage of teacher looking sad and children taking tests.) And then, it gets upsetting.
The ad promises that, as Governor, Farouk Shami would ensure that our schools are teaching reading, writing, math and science instead of just teaching to the test.
Oh no you didn't, Farouk Shami.
My outrage is multi-tiered. It is many-faceted. It is best expressed in list format:
A. Farouk Shami, gubernatorial candidate, doesn't care whether schools teach social studies.
B. Further, he believes that we are not currently teaching reading, writing, math, and science. This gets my brain all explodey-like.
C. WHAT DOES HE THINK IS ON THE TESTS? I'm no proponent of standardized testing. No, I am not. But seriously, if I am teaching TO a READING test, what is it that he imagines I am teaching? The test involves the following: children read a passage. The children answer comprehension questions regarding the passage. If there were no test, that's what I'd be having them do anyway because it is how you discover whether children understand what they are reading. Does he think that I am devoting days and hours to teaching kids how to fill in bubbles on scantron sheets?
D. Farouk Shami believes that these are innovative ideas he is sharing. Teaching reading, writing and 'rithmatic are innovative ideas. Farouk Shami is deluded.
E. No Child Left Behind is a federal law. The governor of Texas has no power whatsoever to change it. Farouk Shami, gubernatorial candidate, either has no understanding of federalism, or (this is my guess) is banking on most voters having no understanding of federalism.
F. Farouk Shami believes that public schools are an acceptable whipping boy. He's willing to belittle hard-working teachers who, on the whole, care far more about their kids actually learning than they ever have about test scores, for a quick soundbyte. He can live with that. I think it's despicable.
Here is my message to Farouk Shami: I teach reading and writing seven periods a day to special ed students, many of whom will never pass a standardized test. By this commercial's reasoning, I wouldn't even bother. I teach TO my students, not to a test.
If you'd like to see what happens in a public school, you're welcome to come by any day. But don't tell me and everyone else statewide that I'm not doing my job because of a law and a test or suggest that your innovative vision is needed in Texas to make sure I do it.
I am a civics nerd and a Democrat who votes in Texas. You wanted to win me over. Unfortunately, it's too late.
Farouk Shami, you just lost my vote.