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Page history last edited by joan@mathascent.org 11 years, 9 months ago


created May 7 2010 by joan@mathascent.org

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Signe Wilkinson

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson by Signe Wilkinson  August 11, 2010  Source: http://www.gocomics.com/features/222/feature_items/533700?msg_id=927062,533700.  


Ed Reformists blame the teacher for all the inadequacies of public education. Meanwhile the education experts and coercive district leadership tie the teachers hands; threaten teachers with job-loss if they don't cooperate with the reform priorities;  won't let teachers use effective curriculum; cut back funding for librarians, counsellors, and health care professionals (these are especially important to be available at high FTE in high poverty schools); make harmful changes to special education programs; raise class sizes; agressively persue high stakes testing, merit pay, and privatizing opportunities (especially school restructurings); shift funds to "mentors" and "coaches" that monitor teachers to make sure that teachers are (a) sticking to the district's aligned curriculum ("narrowing their curriculum") and (b) teaching-to-the-test.  Children's interest in school is diminished as a result of these reforms, and the classroom environment is rendered educationally untenable.


Parents, do you believe the Education Reform agenda is good for your child? 


The goal of Seattle Shadow School Board and Seattle-Ed 2010,  and other genuine grass roots organizations across the nation, is to help people recognize the trap that the Education Reform/School Choice movement way of thinking creates for the well-being of our children and their ability to be truly creative and critical thinkers and not a bunch of "garbage-in/garbage out" automatons.  It is also to help people realize that Ed Reform preys on schools that serve high proportions of low income children. It seeks to use "turnaround" of these schools to create business opportunities for "educational entreprenuers."  It seeks to turn these schools into test prep factories, but does not seek to better the educational experience and future opportunities of the children who attend these schools.


We are a society enamored of quick fixes and this invariably leads us astray from the more challenging work of developing methodologies that foster the true learning and deeper understanding that is necessary to engender the kind of thinking that allows for real problem solving.  It's something of an insidious self-fulfilling cycle as often those who are short-sighted and completely unaware of it because of their own education and experience, are the ones who decide what is best for our children.  The corporatist reformers have taken the quickest route that they could find to their position of authority, always with the short-term goal in sight with no consideration for the longer term repercussions.  The Haudenosaunee people (incorrectly known as Iroquois) have long had a practice that informs their decisions.  They believe that all choices must be made with an awareness that considers the impact of their decisions "unto the seventh generation".  It is time for all of us to embrace this wisdom, whether the issue be our schools and children or for the continued life of our precious and fragile "spaceship Earth". 


What does "constructive education change" look like?  Low central district overhead, great curriculum, rich electives and enrichment programs; adequate supplies of textbooks, classroom supplies, librarians, counsellors, and health professionals in every school, and most especially in the high poverty schools; putting students of similar education needs in the same classroom instead of putting the lowest and highest achieving students in the same classroom; early and effective identification of struggling students at every grade level, and - at every grade level, effective remediation programs so that every year the percentage of children withn the district that fail to reach or exceed standards at each grade level is dropping, and so that the on time graduation rate grows over time; fair, effective, humane, procedures for identifying weak teachers, helping them to become successful, and then exiting them when they prove unwilling or unable to improve their practice. 


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