This is the 102nd and last post of 2014 for this blog. Here are some of my favorite quotes from it’s pages during the past year. The quotes are my words, unless otherwise (and often) noted. Go to the links provided for the original context of the quotes.
“If we were serious about education, we would never entrust our nations [sic] educational leadership to men who have no training or experience in education at all and who only listened to other men with no training or experience in education at all. If we were serious about education, we would demand leadership by people who were also serious about education, and we would demand leadership based on proven principles and techniques developed by people who truly cared about the education of America’s students.” — Peter Greene
“Your editorial sends the message that our public schools are failing. They aren’t. When researchers control for the effects of poverty, American schools rank near the top of the world. Our overall scores are unspectacular because the child poverty rate in the U.S. is very high, 23%, second-highest among all economically advanced countries. Children of poverty suffer from hunger, malnutrition, inferior health care and lack of access to books. All of these have a powerful impact on school performance. The best teaching in the world won’t help when children are hungry, ill and have little or nothing to read.
“Our focus should be on protecting children from the impact of poverty.” — Stephen Krashen
How do you respond to voucher supporters who claim that they should be allowed to take “their tax money” out of the public school system and use it to send their children to private schools? What good are public schools to people who don’t have any children or whose children have grown?
- What would happen if citizens withdrew the portion of their tax money used for public libraries because they wanted to buy their own books instead?
- What would happen if citizens withdrew the portion of their tax money used for fire departments because they had purchased a fire suppressant system?
- What would happen if citizens withdrew the portion of their tax money used for roads because they didn’t drive a car?
- What would happen if citizens withdrew the portion of their tax money used for parks because they never used them?
- What would happen if citizens withdrew the portion of their tax money used for police departments because they hired their own, private security force?
The government — local, state and national — is responsible for various aspects of our lives, from safety to clean air to public parks. Public money is spent for these “public goods” because everyone benefits — even those who never use the services.
Professional educators provide students with high quality education — we know this because wealthy “reformers” make sure that schools for their children are filled with highly qualified, well-trained professionals. In high poverty schools, however, educators alone can’t overcome the effects of societal neglect. Nearly one-fourth of America’s children live in poverty which has the single, largest affect on student achievement, yet the billionaires’ battle is against teachers…not politicians.
When will politicians and their billionaire handlers accept responsibility for their part in the education of our children?
Jack Schneider, LA Times quoted in Making it easier to fire teachers won’t get you better ones.
Instead of imagining a world in which teachers are easier to fire, we should work to imagine one in which firing is rarely necessary. Because you don’t put an effective teacher in every classroom by holding a sword over their heads. You do it by putting tools in their hands.
“Somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten that education is not about getting this or that score on a test, but it is about enlarging hearts, minds, and spirits. It’s about fulfilling human potential and unleashing human creativity. It’s about helping children understand that the world is a place full of wonder, truly wonder-full. It’s about giving children the tools they will need to participate in a complex global world where we can’t imagine today what the next twenty years, let alone century, will bring.” — Susan Zimmerman, in Comprehension Going Forward
Homeless children comprise one of the fastest growing demographics in America’s public schools. We know that poverty has a negative effect on student achievement, and homeless students, like other students who live in poverty, have lower achievement levels and a higher dropout rate than children from middle class families.
Politicians and policy makers can’t solve the problem of homelessness, hunger, and poverty. They dump it on the public schools, and then blame teachers, schools, and students, when the problems don’t go away.
American schools are not failing…American policies towards unemployment, poverty, and homelessness are failing.
“Public education is a promise we make to the children of our society, and to their children, and to their children.” — John Kuhn
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.