Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parent Calls for Support of Oct. 9 "Win Back Wednesday"

Janine Sopp issues a call to her network. There are links to the Toolkit prepared by MORE for use in your schools, plus a great video prepared by MORE Media. The day will culminate with a rally outside the UFT Delegate Assembly (52 Broadway) on Oct. 9 at 4PM with a focus on the evaluation system the UFT leadership is pushing. If only the usual suspects are there they will be ignored.

The game will change when the day comes that we see hundreds of people with connection to hundreds of schools outside the DA putting pressure on the UFT leadership. (I still have to tell you my story of the Sept. emergency DA and the crap Unity tried to pull on distribution of lit.)

I know people -internally and externally who are critics of MORE for not coming up with an alternative system of evaluation. That is an issue for further discussion, though frankly, given there is no real way to judge a teacher's work through the use of data, maybe what we had (S or U - maybe add a middle rating like I) was the best way -- though I would create an independent investigative unit to take a close look at abusive principals who target certain people for political or economic reasons.

In Ravitch's "Reign of Error" she points to a question asked of many foreign educators: "What do you do about a bad teacher? Answer: We help them. Q: And if they are not improving? A: We help them some more. And if that doesn't work we help them find another profession." Actually, if they are basically competent in some ways but can't seem to manage the classroom situation, there must be some position in the ed structure for them.

Here is Janine.

Greetings Fellow Parents, Teachers and Friends,

As most of you know, we are facing a new year in our children's schools where standardized tests will have even higher stakes attached to them.  Because NYS has created a teacher evaluation system that is tied to the tests our children are mandated to take, we expect an even higher level of stress throughout the year.  With the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the creation of new tests that have not been fully aligned yet, and are often poorly designed, our kids will be used somewhat as guinea pigs, but the stakes are too high for this kind of experimentation.  Even our youngest students, in K-2, will be subjected to these measures and we will see the quality of teaching deteriorate under these circumstances.  

If you find all of this troubling and feel you have no power over what is happening, you are wrong. Now more than ever, parents are taking charge of their children's educational destiny and saying NO. At a time when we are choosing a new mayor to lead our schools in a new direction, we actually have more influence than we may realize.  We have the power to vote, we have the right to opt out, we have a voice that needs to be heard and many organizations with which to organize.  

Whether you are a parent, a teacher, an administrator, a student or a concerned citizen, you can show your support by joining others who are actively working toward shifting the conversation and the direction of education, the runaway train that needs us to step on the brakes.

Attached is an incredible tool kit, created to help your schools organize for a day of action to kick off "Win Back Wednesdays" on October 9.  Please share this tool kit with your school leaders, PTA, SLT, PAC, your families, teachers and administration.  There are ideas for actions, small and large, to support the empowerment of our students and our schools.  Know that there is a state wide movement to end the use of high stakes standardized testing and it's punitive effects.  Adding your voice, your action, will help grow the movement to make the shift to a more balanced, holistic approach to our children's education and give our children the schools they deserve.

Feel free to post photos of your actions to Change the Stakes and MORE Facebook pages.  Check out and share this Win Back Wednesday video.
 Want to learn more, come to Brooklyn for one or both of these events.
With regards,

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