Raising texts and standards

It’s Monday! Hope you had a great weekend, and thanks for joining me today as I continue raising issues and questions.

Great program

On the last episode of the Micronesian News Broadcast the raise your text program was brought up.  Great program!

If you’re not familiar with this program, you can check out their website at raiseyourtext.com, otherwise here it is in a couple sentences, from the website:

 Our main goals are to reduce unauthorized teacher absenteeism while increasing educational data and teacher-parent engagement through an anonymous texting accountability and outreach platform.

Basically, when a teacher is absent, one can text that information to a designated number that will then inform the Department of Education of the absence.  Sort of like a role reversal here with teachers and students.  Again, great program.  I see nothing wrong with holding teachers accountable for not showing up to do their job, teach.

Raising and lowering

Here is my question, what then will happen to that teacher if they are absent?  How many absences will require action?  Will the Department of Education (DOE) use the same disciplinary action steps that are already in place?  Here is the “problem” as stated on the raise your text website:

In 2017, 25%  of teachers in FSM were absent beyond the legal terms of their contracts, with outliers being recorded as absent as many as 40 times, amounting to an annual loss of almost $2 million.

Are the 25% of those teachers who were absent beyond legal terms of their contracts still working?  If so, why? I seriously doubt that 25% of teachers in FSM were let go recently.

Here is the solution on the website:

  • Using “dumb” and smart cell phones, parents and students indicate teacher absenteeism anonymously by sending text messages to the Raise Your Text system.

  • Teachers can engage with students and their families about classroom updates, events, and issues via messages communicated through the platform.

  • Governments and Departments of Education have access to verified and reliable data on teacher absenteeism rates.

I’m rooting for this system to work.  Still, I have questions.  On the last point above.  When governments and departments of education do have access to the verified and reliable data, then what? Will it just be another reporting statistic that a certain percentage of teachers were absent beyond their legal terms of contract?  Will actual disciplinary action be taken? Students are expelled for excessive absences.  What happens to teachers? Especially those who are absent beyond the legal terms of their contracts?

See you on the next blog post, where we raise more questions.