Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Save Our Schools- march

Educators and families from around the country say they are fed up with so-called “reform” policies that falsely label more than 80% of U.S. public schools as failures. To counter what they call unfair attacks on teachers and public education, a growing coalition of individuals and organizations is mobilizing for a national day of action in support of public schools. 
On Saturday, July 30, 2011, thousands of people will gather at the White House in Washington, DC and at locations around the nation to express their desire to reclaim the right to determine the path of education reform in their own communities. The “Save Our Schools” March and allied events are being organized by a network of teachers, parents and community activists. 
“For too long, public school stakeholders have been treated like second class citizens in our own communities,” said Sabrina Stevens Shupe, a former Colorado teacher, who is a member of the March’s organizing committee. “Teachers’ knowledge has been dismissed because we are falsely presumed to be self-interested and incompetent.  Students and parents who vocally oppose the disruption and destruction of their schools are often entirely ignored.  At the same time, ideologues with little to no experience in public schools have made misguided decisions that devastate educational quality and equal opportunity.” 
Addressing high-stakes “accountability” policies, such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, Florida businesswoman and parent advocate Rita Solnet explained, “A decade of NCLB's incessant focus on high-stakes tests narrowed curriculum in many schools. Each new initiative ratcheting up the stakes behind these tests, has resulted in the abandonment of the very children NCLB sought to serve. NCLB has not improved overall achievement, and it has diminished the quality of teaching and learning. We must reverse this wrong-headed direction.” 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mr. Duncan. You are a shining example

By David Reber, Topeka K-12 Examiner   May 21st, 2011
Mr. Duncan,
I read your Teacher Appreciation Week letter to teachers, and had at first decided not to respond. Upon further thought, I realized I do have a few things to say.
 I’ll begin with a small sample of relevant adjectives just to get them out of the way: condescending, arrogant, insulting, misleading, patronizing, egotistic, supercilious, haughty, insolent, peremptory, cavalier, imperious, conceited, contemptuous, pompous, audacious, brazen, insincere, superficial, contrived, garish, hollow, pedantic, shallow, swindling, boorish, predictable, duplicitous, pitchy, obtuse, banal, scheming, hackneyed, and quotidian. Again, it’s just a small sample; but since your attention to teacher input is minimal, I wanted to put a lot into the first paragraph.

Your lead sentence, “I have worked in education for much of my life”, immediately establishes your tone of condescension; for your 20-year “education” career lacks even one day as a classroom teacher. You, Mr. Duncan, are the poster-child for the prevailing attitude in corporate-style education reform: that the number one  prerequisite for educational expertise is never having been a teacher.
 Your stated goal is that teachers be “…treated with the dignity we award to other professionals in society.”  Really?
 How many other professionals are the last ones consulted about their own profession; and are then summarily ignored when policy decisions are made? How many other professionals are so distrusted that sweeping federal  legislation is passed to “force” them to do their jobs? And what dignities did you award teachers when you publicly praised the mass firing of teachers in Rhode Island?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Schools state of emergency