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After spending nearly two decades as a teacher and school administrator, you might expect Kristi Rangle to enthusiastically praise the teaching profession.
She did the opposite, however, in a powerful blog post on The Urban Edge, where she largely disparaged the current state of teaching and explained the reason why she advises her daughter, currently pursuing an education degree, not to go through with it.
“I fear she – like many other teachers – will be scapegoated as the reason public education is failing,” Rangle wrote.
She laid out the systemic reasons for the failure of public education, asserting that the quality of teachers, while touted as the most important factor of student success, is not the real problem.
“We have created schools that are functioning well below their capacity because of a lack of funds,” Rangle explained. She spoke about the need for adequate funding, especially for teachers who work with disadvantaged populations of students.
The lack of funding sets teachers, and students, up for failure, according to Rangle. She argued that teachers these days are required to pick up more responsibilities that traditionally fell upon other faculty members, like school counselors and social workers.
Though Rangle’s piece focuses on her experience teaching in the Texas school system, her argument could apply to many school systems in the US.
More than half of states are providing less per-pupil K-12 funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did in 2008 during the financial crisis, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found last year.
Funding is not the only problem, however. Rangle also fears that in today’s system where teachers are evaluated based on student performance, good teachers who work with low-income populations have been set up for failure.
She’s troubled by this trend, but says experienced teachers can’t in good faith recommend that new teachers try to work in low-income school districts.
“New teachers, like my daughter, are urged by veteran educators not to begin their careers in the types of schools where we found our passion for students and learning – the sort of places that need eager, energetic teachers the most,” Rangle wrote.