What Valerie Strauss’ “Best and worst education news of 2013” means for the state of education:
Valerie Strauss, who runs the Washington Post blog, “The Answer sheet”, has complied an insightful list of the “Best and worst education news of 2013.” Strauss’ list is a must read to understand the current political moment in the struggle for the public schools–both the great potential and the bitter struggles to come.
The “Best Education News” included the Seattle MAP test boycott and the decision by several states to delay their use of Common Core high-stakes, standardized tests–revealing the growing influence of organized students, parents, and teachers who have been building a national grassroots movement to oppose the abuses of standardized testing. I am incredibility proud of my colleagues at Garfield High School who launched the MAP test boycott and helped inspire an uprising around the country to reclaim our classrooms from testing companies.
The “Worst Education News” included the mass school closures in Chicago and Philadelphia, as well as dramatically low teacher morale across the country. These stories demonstrate that, even in the face of a growing movement to defend public education, the corporate education reformers are as determined as ever to reduce the intellectual process of teaching and learning to a single score for the purpose of closing schools, demoralizing teachers, and weakening their unions.
Which side will win–the corporate reformers or the masses of families and educators–remains to be seen. But at least now there are two sides to this national struggle.
Must Watch Video: Support the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers in a historic contract battle against standardized testing and in defense of the public schools
Must watch video about the Saint Paul Teacher’s struggle to defend public Education–Please send out far and wide!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrAXRdoDsCI
Petition in support of Saint Paul Teachers: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/st-paul-public-schools
The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers is in one of the most important struggles to defend public education and have taken one of the boldest stances against standardized testing in the country. While the state mandates that students take the MCA standardized test, the SPFT—with the support of their many parent and community allies—know that it is a waste of time and resources and are attempting to bargain it out of their contract.
Beyond reducing standardized testing, SPFT’s contract proposal advocates for attracting and retaining teachers of color, education for the whole child, family teacher partnerships, smaller class sizes, culturally relevant education, high quality professional development, and preschool for all.
Yet on September 19, management at the St. Paul Public Schools walked out of negotiations and asked the state mediator to close negotiations to the public so parents and other members of the community couldn’t hear what we were talking about.
The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, have worked hard over the last year to partner with parents, students and community members to identify the top priorities to deliver the schools St. Paul children deserve. Combined with research, they turned these priorities into an amazing report, “The Schools Saint Paul Students deserve”, which should serve as a model for educators around the nation. That proposals can be seen at: http://www.spft.org/
Over the last few weeks, SPFT members have been having conversations and collecting signatures from over a thousand community members on this petition. Please join those that have already pledged their support by signing today!
Their struggle is ours!