From Diane Ravitch
If every teacher and principal voted, things would change faster. If every parent who wants a neighborhood public school voted, things would change even faster. We have the numbers, we have the power, we must use it to support democracy.
Not every educator has the luxury of being able to quit their job and leave the system rather than participate in forced education “reform.” Those who can, however, should stand up and speak out like Carol Burris.
From Carol Burris
I cannot be part of reforms that eat away at the moral fabric of our schools. I cannot be part of a system that puts test scores based on a set of flawed standards before the interests of the whole child.
Until there is adequate public oversight of charter schools there will be corruption and chaos. Public school systems run by publicly elected school boards are not perfect, but the right of the people to speak via the election process is a better safeguard than the unregulated “market.”
From Peter Greene
It makes no difference whether the charters bill themselves as for-profit or non-profit. They are always profitable. Non-profits know many tricks for still turning a profit (eg, hiring themselves to run the school, or leasing the building back form themselves). A non-profit charter is just a for-profit charter with a money-laundering department.
We’re still judging schools, teachers, and students by test scores. The so-called accountability is nothing more than an economic ranking system. Schools with lots of money, and the students and teachers who work in them, do well. Schools in high poverty neighborhoods, and the students and teachers who work in them, do poorly.
by John Kuhn
The school accountability competition wasn’t really a contest at all. It was more like a children’s tale, with schools starring as the Three Little Pigs and the test as the Big Bad Wolf. The schools that had bricks did well; the schools that had straw did poorly.
This quote refers to Illinois, but it is applicable to every state in the union. Test score data is an indication of the level of poverty. Despite school “reforms” like closings, charters, higher standards, evaluating teachers by student scores, and “better” tests, low scores still correlate with poverty.
From WBEZ Radio, 91.5, in Chicago.
…poverty remains a frustratingly accurate predictor of how well schools will perform. Schools full of middle-class kids rarely perform below average on state tests; schools made up of low-income kids rarely score above.
IGNORANCE AND DOUBLE STANDARDS
From Sarah Mulhern Gross in the Reading Zone
Two quotes here. The first is from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie talking about public education. In the video embedded in this post Christie shows his massive ignorance of what teachers actually do and what schools are actually like. The vast majority of teachers work more than the 6 hours a day which Christie imagines. Christie also adds up all the time in which teachers are not in school and comes up with teachers being “off” four months a year. This assumption is faulty as well. Teachers work when students are not in school (see here and here). If Christie spent any time talking to teachers instead of just bullying them he would know this…
“It’s the same as it was in the 1800’s for God’s sake…It’s a row of desks facing forward to a black board or a white board…a person standing in the front of the room…talking to the people at the desks…
“And they do so from roughly 8:30 to roughly 2:30 or 3 o’clock, and they’re off four months a year.”
In her response, Sarah Mulhern Gross said…
You know where else I see those dreaded rows? In charter schools. In fact, I see that in your friend Eva Moskowitz’s Success charter schools, where students are routinely humiliated and the teacher turnover rate is astronomical. You know what I do not see in her charter schools? Students with disabilities and students with behavior issues. Charter schools like Success usually achieve their test scores because they do not serve our neediest populations, while our public schools do.
TEST SCORES VS. GRADES
Krashen gives evidence (complete with references) that high school grades are a good predictor of college success. Where is the evidence that standardized tests predict success?
From Stephen Krashen
[There is] research evidence showing that high school grades in college prep courses are an excellent predictor of college success, and that standardized test scores (the SAT) do not provide much more information than grades alone.
The Democratic administration in Washington D.C. is no better than the previous Republican administration. The goal is to defund public education, make public schools look bad, and privatize.
From Nancy Bailey
It is amazing the lengths high ranking authorities at the U.S. Dept. of Education will continue to go to make public schools, teachers and their students look bad, all while they are breaking up special education and converting public schools into charters.
The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.