Skip to comments.A brave Baltimore teacher speaks the truth about schools, students
Posted on 08/01/2013 6:41:37 AM PDT by markomalley
Dave Miceli doesn't know me from a hole in the ground, but he's my new hero.
Anyone that can dredge up the guts to teach in Baltimore's public schools automatically becomes a candidate for hero status in my book, especially if said anyone has taught in these schools for 20 years, as Miceli has.
But it was his bold, insightful, no-punches-pulled letter to the editors of the July 15 edition of the Baltimore Sun that put Miceli on my hero's list. I'm reprinting that letter in its entirety.
"Regarding your recent editorial, 'How to end the killing,' your last paragraph made me want to vomit. 'No doubt, Baltimore needs effective police and prosecutors, ample drug treatment, better schools, and more economic opportunities.'
"How dare you accuse, through implication or otherwise, that the need for 'better schools' is a reason there is so much killing. Had you defined the loosely used term, 'better schools,' perhaps I and probably others may not have been so nauseated.
"I have taught in the Baltimore public school system for the past two decades. What we need is better students. We have many excellent teachers. I cannot count the number of students who have physically destroyed property in the schools.
"They have trashed brand new computers, destroyed exit signs, set multiple fires, destroyed many, many lockers, stolen teachers' school supplies, written their filth on the tops of classroom desks, defecated in the bathrooms and stairwells, assaulted teachers (beyond constantly telling them to perform certain impossible acts upon themselves) and refused to do any homework or class work.
"Need I go any further? I won't even bother addressing the other 'causes' you listed. Too inane. In summary, the problem seems to be a total disregard for life that exists not only in our crime-ridden city, but also in all of the major cities throughout the United States.
"So, go blame other root causes, but please leave our city police, prosecutors and teachers out of the finger wagging."
Touche, Dave Miceli! Finally, someone has cut through the bat guano and had the guts to say precisely what's wrong with way too many public schools and public school systems in America today.
That would be "Bad Students, Not Bad Schools," as author Robert Weissberg named his 2010 book. Weissberg, like Miceli, recognizes that American schools won't improve until students attending them do.
You can bet that Baltimore school honchos and some elected officials want Miceli fired so badly they can almost taste it. Oddly enough, what probably saves Miceli from being canned are two things that conservatives rightly so, in most cases feel are precisely what's wrong with American education.
That would be teachers' unions and tenure. With his two decades of teaching, Miceli has tenure. Members of the Baltimore Teachers Union and its leaders probably don't know whether to love or lynch the guy.
So Miceli probably knew that he wouldn't be fired for his letter, but he's courageous for saying what he said in a city that's majority black, with a school system that's majority black, and where most of the elected officials are black Democrats.
Miceli didn't bring up the issue of race in his letter, but you can bet that, somewhere in Baltimore, someone or a bunch of someones are chomping at the bit to call him a racist for his observations.
That's because, among liberals and Democrats, there is this notion that the poor especially the black poor can do no wrong. If you criticize any poor and black person who displays inappropriate, boorish or egregiously bad conduct, you'll be dismissed as a racist if you're not black.
And as an Uncle Tom or sellout if you are.
Miceli decided to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. That's why he goes to the top of my 2013 list of heroes.
He is absolutely right
these students are p o ed because 200 years ago, some black people (but maybe not their relatives) were slaves
so they feel justified in rebelling against any and everything and being completely destructive little assh8les
The BSun will cue the accusations of racism in 3...2...1...
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Truth is Racist...
The teachers can blame the parents all they want, but those “bad students” were raised by the product of public schools. Those “excellent teachers” are those using methods in which he believes, methods that are certain to fail, as designed. I would bet the farm that he would turn in any parent with the guts to commit “attempted discipline.” I have no sympathy for him.
They wouldn’t be po’d about slavery if the left hadn’t constantly rubbed their noses in it for political gain.
Saying we need “better schools” is just one more typical liberal lie.
The truth is public schools are for the most part a waste of taxpayer money. There several good public schools but for the most part they are run by incompetent liberals who waste the money given to them.
If we got rid of the public school system America would be a better place.
In order to get better students we’ll need to find better parents. I feel sorry for the students who actually want to learn.
They have been told for so long that whitey owes them that they think they can do and have anything they want and whitey will pay for it. If lawmakers would allow the schools to throw out the troublemakers who think education is a joke, then the rest could stand a chance.
You better believe the real goal is the elimination of parents and the end of the family.
But you must admit that when a you have a majority of inner city black students in your class, you can just about guarantee that the job of teaching becomes about 500% harder.
Yes, but how do you change the evil culture of entitlement?
How do you change the evil gansta culture?
Because of political forces, no one will stand up and speak the truth.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
You are making a lot of assumptions about the teacher. Considering the tenor of what he wrote, he does not fit the profile of the NEA/communist types that proliferate in the school systems. How do you know he espouses "methods that are certain to fail"? An ignorant undisciplined kid from a single-family home immersed in a culture that eschews education and civility is likely to be a "bad student" from day one.
They may not be able to fire him but they can sure as hell make his life miserable by various and sundry means. I bet this guy has an exit plan as we speak.
Badly behaved students are without doubt part of the problem. But then so are weak teachers and school administrators, weak or non-existent parents and a general culture of instant gratification and license. So what is the solution? Any parent who has had to put limits on a child’s behavior or correct bad behavior knows that a real price has to be paid by the parent and the child. Who is willing to extract and pay the price.
While I do not believe for a second that schools are solely responsible for the mess public education serves up 10 months out of every year, I believe they have done themselves no favors by participating in the grand hoax—that being that students are receiving anything approaching a quality education. By tolerating/socially promoting the destructive, the non-productive, the uncooperative, public education says with each diploma they hand out, each “promoted” student who did not master anything that, “Yeah, we don’t care about your education much, either.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve expressed to my students in the classroom that they’ve been lied to, that those involved in their education have hated, HATED them or been utterly indifferent to them by allowing them to get to high school reading at a 3rd, 4th, 5th grade level. How can those teachers, those administrators, and, yes, those parents have had any other attitude toward them but hate or neglect when they have passed them along to the next class incapable of doing the work, when they’ve not been interested in the least to see if they are keeping up with their studies/demanded to see a report card/disciplined them for failing to excel in school? After I let that sink in to marinade their little skulls full of mush, I say, “If no one else cares, you had better. I assume that, given you have not dropped out, something inside is telling you that this ‘education thing’ matters. And, not to worry. I, too, care. I love you and I assure you that what we will be doing this semester matters to me a great deal.” Most of my students are willing to give it a shot after that.