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.
This is one of my favorite quotes…
In order to heal the plague of poverty in America, schools would have to be equipped with medical facilities, counseling services, social workers, and psychologists, as well as all the necessities of a fully funded school like libraries staffed with trained librarians, specialists for students with special needs, specialists in the arts and physical education, nutritionists providing healthy food offerings, administrators with experience in the classroom and in management, and highly trained professional educators in every classroom.
Schools can’t be expected to solve a problem which politicians and policy makers have either failed or ignored for centuries. Even with all the amenities listed in the above paragraph (and any others I might have forgotten), schools would find it difficult to heal the national illness of poverty. Poverty has roots in racism, class structure, economics, a financially ruinous health care system, and a ubiquitous drug culture. Schools can’t repair this societal affliction alone.
Until we, as a people, develop the skill and desire to provide a decent standard of living to all our citizens, poverty will continue to be a major cause of school failure.
From Diane Ravitch
Poverty should be addressed by reducing poverty. No matter how high the standards, no matter how many tests, no matter how swell the curriculum is, those are not cures for homelessness, joblessness, and lack of access to decent medical care. This realization explains why I changed my mind about the best way to reform schools. It is not by turning schools over to the free market but by seeing them as part of a web of social supports for families and children. [emphasis added]
WHY TEACHERS QUIT
I recently took part in a discussion with my Indiana State Senator. This man is not a friend to public education and regularly promotes bills which
- divert funds from public to private and privately run schools
- support sectarian practices in public schools such as school sponsored prayer or anti-science legislation
- support abusive or excessive testing practices
- encourage the de-professionalization of teaching
During the discussion (which was with other educators), the Senator stated that, “The Senate is suffering from education reform fatigue.”
His point, which I agreed with, was that education reform in Indiana needs to pause and reflect on the changes made. I would, of course, take it a step further and eliminate the damage that “reform” has caused in this state.
In any case, he indicated that members of his branch of the government were tired of focusing on ways to hurt public schools. He blamed the excesses on the Republicans in the State House of Representatives.
My response to him was something along the lines of, “Imagine what it must be like for teachers.”
I wish I had said, “If it’s tiring for you in the Senate to dump all these damaging changes on public education, imagine what it must be like to be a teacher at the end of the dumping.”
From Ryan Heisinger in The Answer Sheet
Lasting relationships with teachers and peers aren’t forged over just a few months. An amazing arts program takes years to build. It takes a long time to develop a wide variety of student-led extracurricular opportunities. School pride comes when students feel they are a part of a community in which they’re able to express themselves and show off their talents. But in a marketplace in which schools compete for test scores, narrowed priorities and school closures erode the stable soil teachers and administrators need to put roots down and grow an enduring culture of success and school community and pride.
Every teacher knows the drill…it’s sometimes harder to miss a day at school than to go to school when you’re sick. I remember getting up at 4 AM to get to school and make up lesson plans in order to go back home and collapse into the bed waiting for the pain of some illness to pass.
Naturally, I’ve never been pregnant, but I’m not surprised that a teacher would do this…
From Jennifer Pope of Burleson, Texas
“Really, I’m no different than any teacher that I know,” Pope told ABC News. “They would’ve done the same thing. We think about our students like our own children. I’m grateful [people] are celebrating all teachers and working moms. Being a working mom is hard, but it’s also fulfilling. I can’t imagine not being a teacher.”
The “choice” crowd of “reformers” are adamant that parents know best and should have the tax-funded choice to send their children to any school they want – religious, corporate, or otherwise. They claim that it’s only fair that parents have “choice” in everything having to do with their children…
No one should get to “choose” to opt out of state mandated testing.
How many ways can you spell hypocrisy?
From Mercedes Schneider
One of the great contradictions within corporate ed reform is the promoting of a “parental choice” that stops short of the parent’s choice to opt his or her children out of federal- and state-mandated standardized testing.
TESTING: INAPPROPRIATE USES
From rlratto at Opine I Will
Anger doesn’t describe my feelings. Our society is being driven over a cliff by an extreme ideology that will destroy our nation. When we look the other way when children are being forced to fulfill an agenda, when we allow school children to go hungry, when we refuse to provide health care, when we demonize a segment of our population, we are heading for a fall.
The quote below is from Paul Waldman. He’s quoted in the excellent post by Sheila Kennedy. I’ve included both links.
Perhaps this bill will never become law, and its harm may be averted. But that would not mitigate the moral responsibility of those who supported it. Members of Congress vote on a lot of inconsequential bills and bills that have a small impact on limited areas of American life. But this is one of the most critical moments in recent American political history. The Republican health-care bill is an act of monstrous cruelty. It should stain those who supported it to the end of their days.