Saturday, September 05, 2015

APUSH Facebook group bans prospective APUSH teachers because screw you that’s why.

I’m included in a variety of Facebook groups.  They are:
-AP Economics
-AP Comparative Government and Politics
-AP U.S. Government and Politics
-History and Love of Ukiah
-National Parks and Monuments
-The Mike O’Meara Show Fan Page
-History Geeks Unite
I lurk in most of them and offer up ideas when teachers need some help with lessons and content.  The Advanced Placement pages (especially AP GOPO) are gold mines for ideas and lesson plans.  Even better the ideas are at a higher level and thus I end up teaching my standard Government and Economics classes at a higher level.  It’s a total win and a great example of collaboration and support. 
Unless you request membership to the AP United States History group.
I taught AP U.S. History for about five years until last year when I took over the Varsity Basketball position, and the administration thought that teaching four APs (APUSH and Comp Gov) plus coaching equaled serious misery.  At our school most teachers teach APUSH for about four-five years before handing it off to another teacher because of workload.  I’m one of the few teachers that would actually like it back eventually.  This was part of the reason that I requested membership in the APUSH Facebook Group.  That and APUSH lessons often go with standard Government lessons all the time, especially when you deal with Constitutional Convention era issues and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. 
Well, my request to join the group was denied and this conversation actually happened.  The gatekeeper of the group was XXXXXXXXX.
“You have requested to become a member of the APUSH teacher only group. Only APUSH teachers are granted membership. We do not grant membership to anyone who cannot prove that they are a APUSH teacher. The best way to prove you are an APUSH teacher is to take a screenshot of your audit approval from College Board. We look forward to your response.”
That’s…interesting.  Not very welcoming at all.  And while I get the idea of keeping out unsavory characters, this is pretty much telling a whole lot of teachers to go away.  My response…
I taught APUSH for four years at Ukiah High School and I'm not teaching it this year but may in the future. Any reason why you boot teachers that want collaboration from any group?
In an area where teachers are begged to collaborate, where the College Board is clamoring for teachers to share and model and create connections this particular group seemed to be rather exclusive.  XXXXX’s statement?
Yes, because the guidelines for membership state that you have to be teaching APUSH. The years that I do not teach AP European History I withdraw from the group and then rejoin when I alternate back in.
This makes no sense at all.  And I asked for clarification.
And that benefits teachers how? You censor teachers from the group that might be teaching APUSH in the future. That makes no sense at all.
Just to be clear, you are denying teachers just because they don't teach the subject, correct? Prospective teachers...veterans....Honors teachers.....all "no"?
XXXXXXX never answered me and that was the extent of our conversation.  Within two minutes XXXXX blocked me from the conversation and from even viewing the front page of the APUSH group.  So much for the positive message for teachers.
In fact what kind signal does this send to teachers?  APUSH teachers should be some of the best resources for Common Core instructors because the class does exactly what Common Core wants; critically analyze primary sources and write and write and write.  But this generation’s future APUSH teachers on Facebook won’t have the ability to collaborate with veterans because rules are rules.  Or something. 
Unfortunately this is another example showing that teachers are part of the problem.  In a time when the nation is desperately short of good teachers, a small group of them has gone exclusive and creates the exact attitude we DON”T want the next generation of educators to have.  We don’t want to be exclusive.  We don’t want to keep resources to ourselves.  We don’t want to deny access of the best to the newest.  And we don’t want to stay in our classrooms while living in fear that new energy might just be pretty damn good for education.
PS,
Here’s a screen shot of the conversation.  I really couldn’t believe it was happening. 

Update 9/5/15:

So I took down the screenshot and removed references to the teacher's name.  I'm not interested in making someone's teacher life, especially if they are a good teacher, more difficult.  But a word to the wise, if you are going to create a forum for teachers, create a forum for teachers.  And when a colleague asks for knowledge, asks for your help to add to the well of passion for education, don't bullshit them with "well, you don't teach it" and then make up some idiotic excuse that you can't maintain security within your own group.  If you are actually exchanging sensitive material on a Facebook page YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

The people in the comments should remove the moderators name too.  But they should really leave the comments because they are frightening in their reasoning.  Get a grip here people, you are supposed to make kids passionate about history, not live your life in mortal fear that John the hack is going to take a lesson found on EdSitement and sell it on the Dark Web.  And seriously, if you are exchanging files with sensitive materials; email, Dropbox links, Google Docs, carrier pigeon, there much better ways than closing off to everyone else.  
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