Friday, October 4, 2013

Who's behind "thank a teacher" campaign?

You may have seen the full-page ad in today's Observer directing people to thankstoateacher.com.  "It's a tough time to be a teacher,"  the copy says.  "With virtually no raise for five years,  looming larger class sizes,  the loss of many teaching assistants,  the end of salary increases for advanced degrees,  and the continual charge to do more with less,  it's more important than ever to express appreciation for those who labor in our classrooms.

The web page asks people to write and post short tributes to teachers who changed their lives. Neither the ad nor the web site says anything about who's behind it,  other than to credit The Creative Stack for designing the web page.  But Heather Johnson at Creative Stack gave me the answer.

Turns out John Tate,  a longtime Charlotte education advocate who's a member of the N.C. Board of Education,  started talking to people this summer about  "ways to say thanks because we couldn't give them money."  He says about 130 people wrote checks for the campaign to let teachers know how much of a difference they make.  Jennifer Appleby,  president of Wray Ward advertising agency,  created today's ad and another that's slated to run Sunday,  which Tate says is "poignant."

Tate

Tate wanted to highlight the challenging conditions that are emerging in our state, but he says there's a reason he didn't make his name prominent.  "I worked hard to depoliticize this ad.  It is not a backhand swipe at anybody,"  Tate said.  "It's designed very simply just to say thanks and let the teaching ranks know there are a lot of people who support them."

Tate declined to say how much the campaign is costing.  And he said he won't know for a few days how many views and testimonials the site is generating.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait and give it time, the hacks will be on soon enough with disparaging remarks about teachers.

Anonymous said...

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Anonymous said...

Strange how the website from the NC House which you were told about, www.ThankYouTeachers.com was ignored by you.

It started back on April, 2011, asking for suggestions and thank you from the public, and for some reason no one in the media seemed to think it was great idea.

Anonymous said...

5:15,
Given the source, who could blame anyone for the sincerity involved from either party no matter the message? Sorry, the NC House hasn't had any cred in decades. Sort of like expecting Congressional Wacko Virginia Foxx to have the respect of educators in NC because she once worked at ASU.

Anonymous said...

So I went to ThankYouTeachers.com to see what suggestions and notes of thanks had been posted and there's nothing there but the inaugural post kicking off the site from April 2011.

I'm thinking the lack of content might be the reason the media hasn't cared to cover it. And maybe if the site's creators had, I don't know, publicized it, or recruited their friends and neighbors to contribute, or even wrote a bunch of posts on their own, it might, just maybe have caught someone's attention.

Otherwise to expect the world (or the media) to knock down your door just because you made a cute little website with a catchy domain is preposterous.

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiley Coyote said...

You can't make this stuff up....

..."It's a tough time to be a teacher," the copy says. "With virtually no raise for five years, looming larger class sizes, the loss of many teaching assistants, the end of salary increases for advanced degrees, and the continual charge to do more with less, it's more important than ever to express appreciation for those who labor in our classrooms....Courtesy of John Tate.

Below is from another story on the Education page today:

RALEIGH The North Carolina Board of Education has approved tough scoring requirements for standardized tests for students.

The board unanimously approved standards Thursday that will likely mean failure rates of more than 50 percent in most of the reading, math and science tests that students took last spring
....Courtesy of: Board member John Tate endorsed the tougher requirements, saying schools need to prepare students for the demands of the job market.

Let me see if I have this right.

The state wants to use student test results and tie them to teacher compensation, yet the NCBOE votes to raise the bar for students to pass the tests, acknowledging a 50% failure rate?

This will surely knock the "achievement gap" for a big loop, right?

How can the state hold teachers accountable for tests they have no control over nor the actions of the NCBOE appointees for implementing the higher threshold of students passing the tests, then turn around and tie teacher compensation to an increase in student failures the NCBOE created?

I am all for raising the bar of student achievement, but it seems the NCBOE is all over the place with their policies and direction.

Maybe that's why there is a blank page when you click on the NCBOE Strategic Plan & Goals web page.

Thank you Mr. Tate.

Anonymous said...

Oh so the fact the Thank You Teachers dot com website, was not promoted by the media like this current one is proof positive that it was a bad idea. Good point. I did now know what the difference was.

Sadly the ThankYouTeachers.com site has some great ideas to actually help teachers instead of just thanking them.

You know low cost auto repairs donated by local dealers, low cost loans, day care, the stuff Teachers need every day. But lets keep up with the thanks you, that will help them more, apparently.

Anonymous said...

That's right, Wiley. Surprise, surprise. Let's spend gobs of money designing and administering tests without determining what the pass rates will be until AFTER the tests are taken.

Look, all the schools are failing! Here's what I've got to sell you... ('cause there's trouble in River City with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool...).

Missed you at Charlotte's Moral Monday protest.

Alicia

Anonymous said...

Teachers with 30+ kids in a class cannot meet all the needs - no matter how great they are. They have students that have been socially promoted that are years behind their peers, students with disabilities that have low IQs that also are developmentally delayed, students that don't speak English, as well as students with medical issues that take time away from the teachers because there aren't nurses available to deal with them. Not enough resources to support the teacher so they can teach. The teachers I know are already fried and its only October. They are so miserable they want out. So sad.

Anonymous said...

It has been and continues to be a tough economic environment for many people, not just teachers. Class dismissed.

Anonymous said...

I know a CMS math teacher with 36 kids in a 6th grade class. Because one human being can "differentiate" whatever the latest math reform curriculum is 36 different and exciting ways.

Alicia

Anonymous said...

I taught English in a private school in an Asian country years ago.

One way we avoided burnout from trying to teach students with all different levels of ability was fairly novel.

WE PUT THEM IN CLASSES ACCORDING TO ABILITY.

No low IQ's, no autistic children, no kids with behavior problems, and no kids who were either too far above or below the material we were teaching.

Wow. What a simple concept.

Too bad we are so focused on "social" promotion in THIS country.

Maybe it's why they are just now getting around to requiring that FOURTH GRADERS actually know how to READ.

Wow. Fourth graders who CAN'T READ?

What was the point of THAT "social" promotion?

Unfortunately, it's not the teachers as much as "the system" which is OUR problem.

Anonymous said...

Also, I might add that I had one advanced class with two 10 year old girls and a bunch of high schoolers (around age 16-17).The two girls were star pupils and we didn't have to worry about "harassment" like kids would in the US. It just didn't happen.

Here, parents are apparently TERRIFIED of mixing elementary with even Middle School kids because of, well, I suspect the "possibility" of sexual harassment (or even worse).

Which is truly shameful.

Anonymous said...

Here's a solution.

Teach sixth grade level math to the kids who are AT SIXTH GRADE LEVEL.

The class might have 3rd graders to 10th graders in it.

But they would learn essentially the same level of material.

Of course, rape prevention training could be part of that curriculum, too, just to allay public "concern" over mixing the kids.

Anonymous said...

10:10
"No low IQ's, no autistic children, no kids with behavior problems."

Yes, but I'd still rather be an American citizen than a citizen of Singapore.

Alicia

Anonymous said...

Yeah, too bad Americans don't know about special education.

Or have the guts to put kids in it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Singapore is just so horrible:

http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/special-education/schoollist/

Poor Singapore, great economy and nearly no crime.

Anonymous said...

@10:55...AMEN. I agree that parents are afraid of "special ed." I don't get why...it is to their child's benefit. Mainstreaming is over-rated.

My child has been so bored this school year since the TD program exists in name only. I am sure they are using these resources elsewhere to pull up test scores.

I use to think people who homeschooled where crazy-now I get it.

Anonymous said...

My son is also in a so-called talented program.

And it's pretty lame as well.

Good for "divergent" thinking, perhaps, but not much else.

We are considering more supplemental material for home.

And the "Singapore Math" curriculum (yes, poor, maligned, overachieving SINGAPORE) seems to be exactly what we are looking for.

Anonymous said...

So...what you are saying is Autistic students can't learn in a regular environment? I'm pretty sure some of the most brilliant minds in America are on the AU Spectrum. I'm pretty sure an AU student I taught received a full university scholarship to study science. I'm pretty sure that pioneers such as Temple Grandin changed the face of industry in our country with her AUTISTIC mind.

Some of you need to realize that your "perfect" child won't be damaged by being in proximity with the "others"...the suggestion that we round them all up and keep them in their own spot is EXACTLY what is wrong. The self-entitled perspective that some parents bring to this discussion is sad. The post was about Teacher Appreciation and it has turned into "My kid is a GENIUS that no one in this city can challenge or provide education for because he is so much better than ANYONE else..." And this isn't the first time...at least if you are the same person who constantly posts about this on EVERY story...Seriously.

Anonymous said...

CMS School Board won a National Honor!

With apologies to Winston Churchill:

Never have so few
done so little
and screwed over
so many
(students, parents, teachers, you name it!)
PLEASE vote them all out. (Waddell, sigh, we are stuck with her...)

Anonymous said...

5:30
Singapore's government restricts freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Therefore, Mr. Freedom to be Obnoxious (10:10) actually reinforces the good aspects of an American education.

And on this subject, I'd like to thank my U.S. History teacher.

Alicia

Anonymous said...

Gee, poor Singapore.

No freedoms...

According to the US History teachers.

And Bibles are still banned in China, too...

And Japanese cars are Jap Crap.

Anonymous said...

Also, I am sure there are many in CMS who would like for us obnoxious suburbanites to take our "perfect" smart kids and move to Singapore or put them in private schools.

As long as we keep paying the bills for the schools for everyone else.

Anonymous said...

If Freedom Of Speech is so great in the US, why wasn't the American Renaissance group allowed to book a convention in Charlotte hotels?

Who stopped that and why didn't our "Free" press dig into it any deeper?

Were they afraid the "PC Police" would shut them down?

Yeah, we're "free"...

Just ask your Singapore History teacher and you'll find out.

Anonymous said...

But Scott Huffmon, a professor of political science at Winthrop University, said merely warning hotels about the upcoming conference is within the rights of elected officials.

"Alerting the hotels and saying this isn't good for our image is using the bully pulpit, but not necessarily unethical,"

Seig heil, baby...and call us when you get to Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and why would there need to be a "warning"?

Do these guys trash hotel rooms?

Can ANYONE name a SINGLE CITY where these people have met before (since they apparently aren't "good for the image" of those cities, either).

I'm sure you'd approve if Martin Luther King couldn't book a room in Birmingham because Bull Connor "warned" the hotel owner about him, wouldn't you?

Seig heil back, baby.

Of course, this is OK because it's blacks using their "power" to discriminate against those they disagree with.

And, don't forget, most Germans didn't realize THEIR Nazi's were such bad guys, either.

Since they were part of the "team".

Anonymous said...

For being a great urban school board. What about the rest of us? Not impressed.

Anonymous said...

in our public school systems, I don't think teachers are "allowed" to teach material beyond the grade level curriculum. Is this correct?

Anonymous said...

When you do not know the answer to something, please don't say anything. Yes, you are allowed to teach beyond and extend the curriculum. If you are not experiencing that then your particular CMS school is slack - complain to THEM. I can't stand these blogs when people take their one experience and act like it is system wide. I am a CMS teacher and a CMS parent. I plan for my above grade level students in my over crowded classroom during my weekends - "so called planning is filled with mandatory grade level planning and professional development". My son is in 9th grade - his schedule: Algebra 2, Honors Biology, Honors English, and an elective. I think his school is offering him above the standard 9th grade curriculum. In a side note: I could have signed him up for AP classes but chose not to. Please stop over generalizing and if you don't know if it is CMS policy keep it to yourself!