Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Diane Defends Detroit - Advice From Ravitch and Nancy Flanagan: Never Stop

Nancy Flanagan writes: 
I asked Ravitch how teachers can organize to preach our own experienced truth, if our unions have been rendered toothless and the media juggernaut has overwhelmed reason and research.

Oh--never stop, she said. Teachers need to build their own networks of social capital. Form and join groups. Read good books to arm yourself with information. (She recommended Richard Rothstein, Daniel Koretz and Linda Darling-Hammond.) [see ] Know that the struggle will last for a long time. Refer to other high-achieving nations as models--countries that have systemically designed their public schools and their teaching profession as long-term investments in civic excellence. It can be done. So don't give up.

[Flanagan closes with] In education policy, we are witnessing a power grab of epic proportion; the very folks we hoped would lead us toward equity and opportunity have decided that it's easier to rely on the market. Oh well. Never give up. Never give up.
So, yes. Follow Diane's and Nancy's advice. Don't give up. Blog. Join groups. We have choices here in NYC. Last night's GEM meeting was packed with a bunch of new teachers, mostly young, who we met through our action at the Superman opening. Will they stay? Let's hope so. Join them. GEM's next meeting is Oct. 26 and will focus on closing schools. 

And look for our new video of the rally coming out today on ed notes, gem and the inconvenient truth behind... blogs.

I posted Nancy's full piece at Norms Notes. Here is the original link:

From Teacher Magazine - Education Week's Blog, Teacher in a Strange Land, Saturday, September 25, 2010. See

1 comment:

  1. My husband, a public defender, doesn't share my passion about all this education stuff, but sometimes he'll chime in and say something that's spot on. This morning he was reading a story in the paper that provoked him to say this:

    "Who would want to be a teacher these days? You get paid s**t. You have to deal with unmotivated, disrespectful students and complaining, uninvolved parents. You have to deal with crappy administrators.

    "Not only are you busy all day, but then you have to go home and grade all those papers.

    "What pleasure could you get out of that?

    "Maybe if you were really into teaching, or if you are married to a millionaire and doing it to keep busy. Or if you were teaching in a school like Head Royce [one of our local hoity-toity private schools] where there are a lot of resources.

    "It’s a lot of work.

    "At least you have the summers off."

    I know this view is simplistic and unromantic, but it does contain some truth (and he didn't even mention the current teacher bashing, and how much money teachers spend on their own classes).

    My years of working in a Parent Center at my local middle school gave me so many insights about day-to-day school life. It's too bad more people don't have a chance to see teachers in action so they can become aware of what they do, and learn to appreciate it, too.

    That is the movie that needs to be made.


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