Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MORE Teachers: Silenced NYC Public School Teachers, remove gags and speak out and Stand with Students & Parents to support “Opt Out” actions

I hear this was a great joint venture between Change the Stakes and MORE.

Videos from Michael Eliot with the awesome ladies from MORE: Jia Lee, Alexandra Alves and Katie Lapham. All are current or past steering
committee members.

Jia Lee

Alexandra Alves 

Katie Lapham

And one gentleman: Marcus McArthur

Press Release

Contacts: Michelle Baptiste:      John Antush after 3:30 pm
May 5, 2015
Silenced NYC Public School Teachers, remove gags and speak out and
Stand with Students & Parents to support “Opt Out” actions
Reclaiming our ethical profession New York City Public School Teachers demand real education, instead of high-stakes tests
Washington Square Park, (Garibaldi Square, just east of the fountain)
New York City.
In the wake of the April 2015 testing period in New York State and a growing opt out movement, public school teachers have been blindfolded and gagged. We are not allowed to look at the tests and our right to speak with parents about our concerns is restricted by ambiguous threatening rules from NYSED. Without the ability to view, openly discuss or engage meaningfully around the tests, we are unable to support our students and families, which, as teachers, is our ethical responsibility.
“Not only have we been blindfolded and gagged, but our hands have been tied as well: Test prep prevents me from addressing my students’ particular life situations, cultures, languages and concerns. I have a responsibility to help my students learn to think truly critically, and to know what it means to be a citizen who is an active participant in democracy and contributes to the common good. You can’t have it both ways, offering in-depth learning and just practicing for tests. The incessant testing interrupts real teaching where the student’s actual work that informs what teachers do. We have an ethical imperative to promote learning in service of the public good” - Karen Arneson, a Reading Recovery teacher at PS 2.
Alexandra Alves, a teacher at PS 1 Meyer London said, "The testing obsession has hurt our English Language learners in the most insidious of ways. Instead of using the conversational English that is used by newcomers, the Common Core NYSESLAT test samples, which are now available for public viewing, require academic language that the students don’t know yet. And to make a bad situation worse, as a NYC teacher I am not supposed to discuss this problem with the parents of these children.  We have a moral imperative to serve our communities, including the students who are just beginning to learn English.”
As public school teachers from across New York City we cannot stay silent about the consequences and harm being done to children as a result of policies that lack input from teachers, parents and educational experts. Colin Schumacher , a teacher at the Earth School, has called for teachers to reclaim the ethical basis for teaching, and presented An Ethic For Teachers of Conscience in Public Education.”  Colin, who refused to administer NY State tests, said “We have an ethical responsibility to preserve public education.”
Across the state, many teachers and principals who are also parents have opted out their own children.  “I am a teacher and a parent. I opted my son out, because high stakes testing is unethical and any policy that ignores the concerns of stakeholders is problematic and void of democratic principles.”- Jia Lee, Earth School teacher, parent, and Conscientious Objector.
“The weight placed on high stakes tests takes time and resources away from our school’s ability to develop students’ creative and academic potential. I’ve known students who would thrive in a setting where the arts are valued, but because the tests always come first, many students never even get exposed to the depth and joys of working in the arts. We have a moral imperative to attend to the development and well-being of each of our students.” - Katie Lapham, PS 214, 1st grade, bilingual Ed and ESL
"High stakes tests are nothing more than legalized income discrimination. We know that your parents' income is the greatest predictor of how you will do on those tests, but we use them to determine who graduates from high school and gets employment, who gets into specialized high schools, and who gains access to the Ivy League. They're used to justify the rich's access to the nation's best opportunities while the poor are denied opportunities, not because they're not just as talented or skilled, but because the game is rigged in favor of the rich." - Marcus McArthur, Special Education teacher, City-As-School High School. 

1 comment:

  1. Every teacher in the City of NY is now indebted to these truth tellers. They have broken the silence. They are the true leaders in NYC education. This is what real student and education advocacy looks and sounds like. Take note, Mulgrew and Weingarten....and the rest of the world. American activism at its best! Thank you for telling their story, Norm. Roseanne McCosh


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