I am proud to be part of the Educator Roundtable, an alliance of teachers, parents, scholars, and policy analysts who have come together in hopes of repealing the CURRENT authorization of the ESEA (No Child Left Behind Act). Over 23,000 folks from all over the country have signed on to our campaign as Congress debates the reauthorization of ESEA.
Thanks to activists like Kathy Emery, Susan Ohanian, Jean Anyon, Jim Horn, Philip Kovacs, Harold Berlak, Alfie Kohn and others for their efforts to build grassroots resistance to the NCLB and other conservative education policies that threaten public education.
Considering the power and position of the individuals and organizations behind NCLB, we are under no illusions about the difficulty of ending this destructive legislation. While no one has yet leveled an effective, widespread challenge to the law, we are hopeful. We are hopeful that thousands of disenfranchised educators, disillusioned parents, overburdened students and broken school districts will raise their voices in protest to reclaim our free, public, and locally controlled schools.
Apparently our call has not gone unnoticed by the leadership of the NEA who support a "positive agenda for ESEA" which seeks to reform NCLB or make it less harmful to schools and districts. The AFT is taking a similar approach - see their Let's Get it Right blog. But the Educator Roundtable strategy is decidedly different -
Recognizing that public schools are not perfect, we believe in education reform led by teachers, the professionals closest to our children, rather than ill-informed politicians or other representatives of corporate America. We intend to deliver 50 bills, tailored for each state, calling for an end to NCLB.
At the same time, we will propose legislation seeking genuinely representative solutions to the many issues facing students and teachers across the country. To begin both processes, we ask that interested individuals sign our petition so that our legislators can begin seeing how widespread the opposition to this legislation has become. Our goal is 1,000,000 signatures, to be printed and hand delivered to a national representative committed to ending No Child Left Behind.
As of today there are more than 23,000 people from all over the United States that have signed the petition in only a few weeks. Please join us - sign our petition!
For more progressive analysis on challenging NCLB, resisting high stakes testing, organizing for educational justice, etc. - Susan Ohanian's website, Kathy Emery's Education and Democracy, see also Jim Horn's Schools Matter blog, Jamie McKenzie's No Child Left, and
Mike Klonsky's small talk also points out the weakening of support for NCLB from the conservative right as well. San Diego State's Rich Gibson also offers a useful class analysis of the strategies to address the existing NCLB. The Rogue Forum is gathering March 1-4 in Detroit to further debate the issues as well.