Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Joel Klein debate

Teach for America (TFA), which claims to be for equity in education, opposes education equity champion, Linda Darling-Hammond for Obama’s Secretary of Education and indeed, any role in the Obama administration! Why? In the words of TFA’s political arm, Leadership for Education Equity, Darling-Hammond’s appointment “COULD HAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR TFA!”

What is TFA afraid of? To ensure equity in education, Darling-Hammond has advocated for putting only qualified teachers in every classroom. She has opposed assigning unqualified teachers to the poorest and most vulnerable students. TFA teachers are just such unqualified teachers. Darling-Hammond’s research as well as the research of other objective education researchers has shown that the students of untrained TFA teachers do poorly on standardized tests compared to the students of trained teachers. Her research shows that once TFA teachers participate in quality teacher preparation programs and become qualified their students perform better. The problem is that 66% of TFA teachers never get trained. They leave at the end of 2 or 3 years. Darling-Hammond.

When put to the test, TFA puts its self interest above equity for students! TFA is supporting NYC School’s Chancellor for Education Secretary, because he will protect their organization, even though education equity under Klein has taken severe blows:
• Parents have been silenced. In a recent survey, more than 75% or parents felt that Klein was doing a poor job.
• The percentage of Black and Latino students admitted to NYC’s top performing high schools has declined!
• The percentage of Black and Latino students admitted to NYC’s gifted and talented programs has declined!
• The percentage of Black and Latino students admitted to NYC’s 4-year colleges has declined!
• The percentage of Black and Latino educators in the school system has declined!
• According to the NAEP, NYC students have made no gains in reading and math!
• Klein has only one person of color in his leadership team: the invisible position of Deputy Chancellor for Curriculum and Instruction.
• Klein has narrowed and dumbed-down the curriculum to all test-prep all of the time.

Tell the Obama transition team that you want a Secretary of Education who has a proven track record of equity in education. That is Linda Darling-Hammond! For over 20 years, Darling-Hammond has developed accountability policies and practices that focus on student learning and achievement, eliminating harmful practices and ensuring effective practices at the classroom, school, district, state and Federal levels. Her work is accepted by teachers, school, district, and state administrators, parents, policy makers, politicians, researchers, business leaders, and heads of teachers, principal and superintendent preparation programs. Like Obama, Darling-Hammond has been successful in bringing together diverse stakeholders to support education equity. She worked closely with former NY State Education Commission, Tom Sobol to develop NY’s standards, assessment, and accountability system.

If you like the education policies Obama has been discussing, let his transition team know that you want more of Linda Darling-Hammond: .
Jackie Ancess

To see prior posts on this debate, see

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