Written and edited by Norm Scott:
EDUCATE! ORGANIZE!! MOBILIZE!!!
Three pillars of The Resistance – providing information on current ed issues, organizing activities around fighting for public education in NYC and beyond and exposing the motives behind the education deformers. We link up with bands of resisters. Nothing will change unless WE ALL GET INVOLVED IN THE STRUGGLE!
As the summer comes to an end, it's the perfect time to reflect
on your summer experiences in the fight to save our schools. Send your
story to us at networkforpubliceducation
@gmail.com and you could appear in our next newsletter!
Welcome to the twenty-first edition of our newsletter. This
week's newsletter is overflowing with news from across the country,
including the CPS demolition of La Casita in Chicago, dire budget cuts
and what they'll mean for Philly's schools, and states that are starting
to question whether implementing a Common Core curriculum is really a
good idea. Plus, Diane's new book is coming soon, and already it is
beginning to stir up heated criticism and ardent support. Read it all here! And like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and JOIN US at our website.
Diane's New Book Opens Heated Dialogue
Diane's new book draws pre-publication criticism, but why are Diane and others being monitored and ignored?
new book will not be released for another month, but already we are
seeing a glimpse of the dialogue it may open up. After Peter Cunningam
(Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S.
Department of Education) published 'Ravitch Redux'
online, many of Diane and NPE's supporters popped up immediately to
decry Cunningham's piece in blog posts and other social media (we have a
list of links to particularly great pieces below).
More importantly than being "shoddy and unsubstantiated,"
Cunningham's piece points to a significant truth: Diane and other
members of the fight to save our schools are being systematically
monitored and ignored by education officials. Cunningham and others are
clearly hearing the critiques posed by Diane and other members of the
genuine education reform community. However,
instead of listening to any opposing opinions, Cunningham and others
are choosing to monitor dissenters and attack any criticisms of their
corporately backed policies.
In his piece 'Monitored and Ignored--Ravitch and the Rest of Us,' Anthony Cody suggests one way that we can fight this phenomenon: preorder Diane's book now, and
when you do so, order an extra copy and send it to your Congress person
or state legislator. We must raise our voices and change the status
quo, go from from being 'monitored and ignored' to watched and listened
Here are some more well-written and provocative pieces we encourage you to read about the attack on Diane's book:
Elementary School is not any ordinary school-it is a school with an
incredibly strong community and history of intensely engaged parents.
In 2010, parents staged a 43-day sit-in to save the school's field
house, which was also used as a makeshift library for the students and a
volunteer-run community center. At the time, the community won and the
CPS agreed to keep the field house in place.
over the demolition increased as new information came to light. Members
of the community were outraged when they discovered that Mayor Emmanuel
plans to replace the community center with a soccer field that will
serve a neighboring private school, Cristo Rey.
This week brought with it more news on how dire the financial crisis for Philadelphia's public schools
really are. Faced with a $304 million budget shortfall for the
district, the city managed to receive a $50 million grant that will
allow it to continue functioning. The first day of school will not be
delayed, but at what cost?
Parents protest that while the $50 million grant may allow schools to open, it is not nearly enough
to allow schools to continue holding classes and extracurricular
programs that students need. "Nobody is talking about what it takes to
get a child educated. It's just about what the lowest number is needed
to get the bare minimum," says Helen Gym, who has 3 children in the
city's public schools. "That's what we're talking about here: the deliberate starvation of one of the nation's biggest school districts."
Many agree with Grey's assessment of the situation, including Philly's public school students, who have begun to unionize and protest the district.
The students argue that the city is looking for how it can spend as
little as possible on public school students, regardless of whether the
amount will suffice to provide the students with a good education.
Up until now, higher-up officials and politicians have been largely dismissive of Common Core critiques. However, some states that have announced that they will implement the Common Core are beginning to have doubts.
Florida, the Common Core standards have invited criticism from school
communities, and a group called Florida Parents Against Common Core is
urging Floridians to call state officials and protest the implementation
of Common Core Standards. Furthermore, Common Core standards have caused political turmoil within the state's Republican party.
Conservatives and Tea Party groups are outraged by the standards,
claiming that implementing national standards is a mistake because
curricular decisions should be made by state governments and local
elected school boards.
Tennessee Ties Licensing to Evaluations
Photo by Ron Cogswell, Creative Commons license.
states have begun to tie teacher evaluations to teacher salary and
tenure, a practice that is critiqued by teachers and school communities
as unfair. These evaluations are poor measurements of ability, they say,
as they are based on arbitrary evidence such as students' test scores
and do not take classroom practices into consideration.
NPE wants to hear from you! We would like to publish real
stories about the effects of misguided school reforms on our Friends
& Allies. Please share this and send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.