The purpose of this blog is to know and understand the teacher's perspective concerning current issues on education reform and the teaching profession. Inputs from the ones who probably knows what is best for students academically -- the teachers -- are rarely considered in decision making of policies. Yet, these so-called education experts and lawmakers dictate how we do our jobs and what we should teach. That's not right!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let There Be Light

It appears the WFS honeymoon will soon be over...

Throughout this month, it has been so refreshing to see others within the village, particularly the parents, finally realizing what the education reform movement is REALLY about...

It first started earlier this month with the ousting of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, which resulted in the resignation of his school chancellor, Michelle Rhee... Why? They both were guilty of alienating the community from the reform process.

Then, via a blog entry at Failing Schools, there is a video clip of NYC stakeholders upset with the co-location plans of a charter school, expressing their frustration of the exclusive practices of not involving them in the process, not accepting ALL students, and removing students from such charter schools when these kids fail to meet the mark.

Speaking of WFS, Woodside HS, a suburban public school near the Bay Area, was profiled in the movie. One of the profiled children dismissed Woodside for Summit Prep Charter School. While Woodside HS is considered a "good school", the child opted to go elsewhere for fear of being tracked to a "low-level class", since she doesn't test well; Summit Prep do not track its students. Baffled yet sorely disappointed, the parents of Woodside HS created a large banner stating the following: Woodside High School Teachers – Man, You’re Super! Thank you for teaching ALL the students in our community! The banner was place in a prominent area of the school for the public to see.
Courtesy of the California Teacher Association
Even the principal of Woodside HS had to weigh in on the misguided perception perpetuated by the movie.

Last night, Queens Teacher blog posted an entry about how the NY Post literally made up a story about a parent's view concerning the possible release of teacher evaluation ratings in NYC. Well, that parent, Brian Rafferty, spoke out against the newspaper:

Now I am confident there are other stories of parents "finally waking up" and seeing the madness for what it really is. I believed Leigh Dingerson, the author of this Rethinking Schools piece on DC school reform as well as a parent, described best the role of parents (and educators) in today's education reform movement:

...Suddenly, decisions were being made at the top and carried out with atomic force. Parents have been treated like consumers—informed about options and outcomes but denied a seat at the table. The district’s teachers have been insulted in the national media, fired or laid off in record numbers, and replaced by less credentialed and less experienced newcomers. The model views teachers as a delivery system, not as professionals. High turnover is not just the result—it’s the goal. Principals, too, are isolated and expendable...

While the public relations war is surely far from over, if more of us cease in entertaining the blame game and continue to come together, then we can become a force to reckon with. The ed deformers' "spell" on the public perception is showing signs of weakening. As a village, we must continue the fight by first coming together in a common effort to save our schools and our children's futures.

Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. ~ Henry Ford

In closing, I would like to quote the protagonist of the award-winning movie Gladiator, Maximus, as he rallied his fellow slave comrades during their first gladiatorial fight:

Anyone here been in the army?... You can help me. Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together we survive.


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