Monthly Archives: April 2015
South District School Board member Carl Paladino is on the record talking about his plan to “disassemble” the Buffalo Public School District. Speaking before the Erie County Legislature’s Community Enrichment Committee, chaired by Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick, Paladino explained how he would dismantle the public schools: “We’re going to open charter schools; we’re going to hopefully help the privates and the Catholics to become better and be able to take more kids. We’re supporting the closing of a number of Buffalo Public Schools and turning them into charters….” He concluded by describing his (their) plan further as “…the game that we’re playing.”
How does it
To have a target
on your back
To have people
in every walk of life
Tell you how to do your
To be hated
All because you
and want to
see their minds
soar and their bodies
move in time
to a music all
BATs is not the same group as it was a year ago. It is far more urban and multiracial and has changed its focus. It is now as concerned with school closings and school privatization as it is with testing and common core and with fending off attacks on teacher tenure and due process. It is also much more explicitly concerned with issues of poverty, racism and social inequality than it was when the group first began. This has been a gradual evolution and many people have left because they are uncomfortable with the change. But history does’t stand still and neither did BATs . Some people may disagree with my analysis. But that is what I think has happened. The group is also far more collective in its leadership and I do NOT call the shots.
1. End all federal support for Common Core Standards.
2. End all federal grants that require teacher and school ratings based on student scores; end high stakes testing.
3. End federal incentives to close and privatize community schools and stop preferring charter schools over public schools.
4. Insist on high quality teacher-developed curriculum based upon knowledge of child development, rather than narrow, top down, test-based standards.
5. Replace Arne Duncan with a lifetime public educator, and require that veteran public educators have majority representation on Education Committees.
6. Promote equity and adequate funding of all public schools for all students; with appropriate class size for all students.
7. Ban all data sharing without parental and school district permission, with full disclosure about collection and sharing for informed consent.
8. Enact legislation that calls for all schools with public funds to operate with transparency and protect the free speech rights of teachers, principals, students and parents.
9. End ties to Teach for America, and support mentoring for new teachers as career professionals.
10. Restore the federal rights of children with special needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and protect the needs of English language learners.
Last night, during a very interesting thread on Teach for America on the Badass Teachers Association page which included some current and former TFA Corps members, one TFAer pointed out that the organization’s destructive and pernicious policy of placing its members in urban school districts like Chicago where large numbers of veteran teachers have been fired is a result of it’s desire to reduce “The Achievement Gap.” And therein lies “tragic flaw” that has made TFA a destructive force in the American educational landscape. Thinking that the most effective path to reducing poverty and inequality in the United States is RAISING TEST SCORES in low performing schools is strategy so bizarre, illogical and without historical precedent that it should have been laughed out of the conference room, but it has not only become an article of faith in Teach for America, but to a cross section of politicians and school reformers throughout the nation. The fact that child poverty and wealth inequality have actually skyrocketed during the years this strategy has been pursued has not given the TFA leadership and their powerful friends pause; but evidence based thinking is something they seem to never apply to themselves. They continue with their slash and burn mission, even though everything they are doing, as the article below argues, is based on false assumptions