I have this blog from CAPE (Concerned Advocates for Public Education) listed on the sidebar, but I just read it again and it gets better and better. There's a whole lot of strong insights in this piece from a Red Hook based Brooklyn group.
The Traveling Trio on Meet the Press this morning
A few excerpts:
Read it in full qt The Traveling Trio on Meet the Press this morning
Public education was called for and created because our citizens, many of them first generation immigrants, in the late 1800's, realized that if we did not provide a system where all of our future citizens could share in access to a free and fair education, we would not be able to build a great society. It was realized then, that we are only as strong as our weakest members, that we are judged ultimately by how we treat our children, and that our success as a nation lies in our ability to teach each child to become thoughtful, educated citizens of the world. "Race to the Top" does not even begin to represent the earliest and most important ideals of public education: if this is a race, then there are winners and losers- who will the losers be? Inherent in the components of current reform, is a belief that teachers fail, schools fail, that choice and competition will bring about equality.
Choice and competition, and private interest and money, the capitalist ideology now driving education reform, has weakened and harmed these important and vital aspects of our country and our social policies. This is not the solution for education. The unwavering belief in a free market ideology in a time of great economic turmoil that has been propagated by these very beliefs is unbelievable to me... how can we be so blind?
At the foundation of education reform is standardized testing; these tests are the centerpiece of all that reform is to be measured by, all we should be accountable to and for, this is not only a fundamental flaw, but it is outrageous. The current reform movement suggests that, we, and specifically teachers, should accept yearly test-based standards for their students/children, should stop whining about testing because it does no good, that if teachers teach, it will show up on the tests we give... this is a very narrow view not only of what teaching is, but of who our students are. We teach students who are hungry, whose parents did drugs and alcohol while they were pregnant. We teach students with disabilities, language delays, and medical issues. We teach students who are being abused and neglected. We teach students who don't know where they will sleep tonight. We teach students who trust no one, who are afraid, who seek love, who need love. We teach students who have had little to no rich experiences, whose prior knowledge is limited. We teach students without parent advocates, without family, without the safety and security that is a fundamental requirement for learning. These students do not necessarily represent the vast majority of students; but should we ignore their reality? We all know who the losers will be in Race to the Top and in the new Education Reform agenda, it will be these children.