Posted in Curmudgucation, Election, John Kuhn, Jonathan Kozol, Public Ed, Teaching Career

Random Quotes – December 2014

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

John Kuhn is a strong voice in the fight for public schools. He understands that public education is not just for parents and children who participate in the public school system…public education exists to enrich and preserve our nation, just like public parks, museums, roads, street lights, and water systems.

Bush: Nuanced and Wrong by Peter Greene

We all benefit from America’s public schools. We should all contribute

School tax money is not a stipend paid to each individual child. It is an investment by the community in the community. I agree– the feds should play a secondary, or even quaduciary role, in education. Particularly when federal ed policy is being dictated by the kind of anti-public-ed amateurs we’ve been subjected to for at least two administrations (and probably the next one, too). But local communities and, to a lesser extent, states should be hugely involved.

Choice and charters are, of course, all about cutting local control and community investment out of the picture. That is simply wrong, and bad for education as well. [emphasis added]

Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America by Bob Herbert

Bob Herbert has written the most important book of 2014.

Quoting a parent after the 2013 mass school closings in Chicago…

“…they’re being scattered and displaced to other schools like they were pieces on a chessboard or in a Monopoly game. They’re not Monopoly pieces. When all you see are numbers, when all you care about is data, then you won’t understand that every child has different needs, speeds, and challenges. And you won’t understand the importance of a school to a neighborhood and to the families in that neighborhood. It’s just a building to you. You won’t understand how we’re anchored to these schools.

“It’s cruel, you know. They like to tell people that they’re offering us choice, but they’re actually giving us ultimatums.” [emphasis added]

Quoting Jessie Ramey (public education activist from Pennsylvania)…

It’s not simply a case of greedy people. For an awful lot of them it’s ideological. They’re playing this game of education reform not because they’re educators, not because they know anything about education, necessarily, but because they have an agenda. It might be political, or corporate, or anti-union, or they have an excessive belief in the wonders of technology, or they don’t believe government can or should be running the schools. They have something to prove, and at the moment they’re trying to prove it through education. They will all tell you that they genuinely care about the students. But when you look at what they’re pushing, it’s not good for kids. None of this corporate reform stuff has actually worked in practice and a lot of it is damaging, particularly for poor children and children of color.  [emphasis added]

and in summary…

Those who are genuinely interested in improving the quality of education for all American youngsters are faced with two fundamental questions: First, how long can school systems continue to pursue market-based reforms that have failed year after demoralizing year to improve the education of the nation’s most disadvantaged children? And second, why should a small group of America’s richest individuals, families, and foundations be allowed to exercise such overwhelming — and often such toxic — influence over the ways in which public school students are taught?

There is no reason why plutocratic school systems should be any more acceptable to a majority of Americans than plutocratic government in general.

No, America’s education system isn’t broken by John Staver (professor of Science Education and Chemistry in Purdue University’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction).

Today’s corporate education reformers use international test results to argue that American K-12 public schools are broken. Yet, research-based evidence calls into question such attacks on American public education. Analyses of students’ scores on two international assessments are not sufficient to provide thorough, sound, evidence-based insights about the status of American K-12 education. However, research has long identified a major problem for American K-12 education that remains at large. Its name is poverty. When will policy makers seriously engage and act to solve the problem of poverty? [emphasis added]

ELECTIONS

Record number of evil candidates elected. Teacher hating, school bashing, CCSS loving… by Ken Previti

Stop falling for the hold-your-nose, lesser-of-two-evils scam that is based in propaganda and corruption. Democrapublicans posing as whatever each brand used to be. Get active now!

Our children need you. Communities, teachers, and American public schools need you.

On Making Voting Harder by Lewis Black

Gerrymandered districts, voting restrictions, ID laws…

Elected officials shouldn’t get to choose who gets to choose elected officials.

THE JOB OF TEACHING

Let’s Talk About Teacher Retention, Not Tenure by Peter Greene

“Reformers” complain about “bad teachers” and then make the job of teaching less attractive by removing job benefits. Why complain about “bad teachers” and then lower the requirements needed to get a teachers’ license? Why complain about “bad teachers” and then make it easier to hire 5 week trainees to replace veteran teachers? Why complain about “bad teachers” and then denigrate advanced degrees and experience?

It’s not really about “bad teaching” at all, but rather about “busting the union” and running payrolls on the cheap.

…making teaching jobs crappier and less secure is not likely to get people to stick around.

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All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.