Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CEC 19 Meeting - Back to the Past - Plus Parent Outrage at What Test Did To Her Child

Oh what memories - I went to the Community Education Council 19 meeting last night to tape MORE/CTS member Katie Lapham (Critical Classrooms, Critical Kids blog) and CTS Fred Smith do a presentation on testing. The meeting was sparsely attended, but interesting all the same. CEC 19 (East New York - a block from Jefferson HS on Pennsylvania Av) is run by long-time activist Erica Perez. They are prepping for a visit from Carmen Farina on April 10 and there was a DOE parent liaison in attendance offering "guidance" on the prep - which led to some interesting exchanges as he tried to get them to modify/tone down some of what he saw as possibly inflammatory/confrontational language in the leaflet. Erica and crew didn't seem to be buying it. I have another event on the 10th but that should be an interesting evening.

But I want to mention a fabulous couple and their son I met. Dad is on the PTA at George Gershwin MS, a school due to phase out -- and partly or wholly due to the occupation of the UFT charter (which has been moved into another local school. I was in the first grad class at Gershwin - entering in 1956 and through 1959. When I threw those numbers out people looked at me as if I was an ancient Roman. But after the meeting, over pizza, I got to talk to dad and his wife and one of their sons and it was a pleasure to meet them -- aware parents and fairly newly ed activists. They love Gershwin where their 14-year old 8th grader is doing well and heading for a local vocational-oriented high school they seem happy with -- to their credit they are looking at what they think will fit their child at this point in his life.

I'm hoping we can get them involved in change the stakes at some point. I ran out to my car to give them a dvd of our movie and their son pointed to the elementary school he goes to 2 blocks away -- yes, my very own elementary school that I went to from 1950-56 - still standing -- and apparently still not closed - the only school I went to not closed under Bloomberg.

I do have some tape -- one guy in the audience was so full of knowledge about the evils of ed deform - he knew every angle - but doesn't want to be public -- but did say I could use his voice.

On a slightly different tack, this letter below came into the MORE today from an elementary school parent -- we referred her to CTS.
I am truly reminded today how stressful, taking state test are for children, my son spoke to me today, and said mommy the test was really hard, there were so many big words and nothing we study was on the test. I am going to get left back mommy.  Which almost brought me to tears, because I remembered my first state test, I was so nervous I was sick for 2 days and I had to take the make up test. Our children are not equip to handle such stress in life and the anxiety which comes with it.  I do not want my child or any other child to feel unprepared but realize they were never prepared and cannot regain the confidence they once had. 

Yes, it is time to change the stakes for a multitude of reasons, but the first reason is to allow our children room for expression and not depression. My son was singing Katie Perry's song I am Champion - this morning, and to hear him so distraught, this afternoon is a killer to a parent. 
......Emotionally submitted a Parent of a 3rd grader 

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