Sunday, March 2, 2014

My second day at Network for Public Education Conference

The morning's first session included a panel on the Common Core:

Randi Weingarten:

  • The push back from teachers on Corporate School Reform is not being ignored. It's noticed by those who are in power and it frustrates them.
  • During this period of privatization and de-professionalizing of teachers, the idea of public education as a public good is under assault.
  • National standards might be a good thing to help raise the standards and opportunities for children living in poverty.
  • The Common Core standards are not appropriate for children in K-2.
  • The testing will conflate and destroy any good that might have come from Common Core.
  • The middle class is disappearing. We need to rebuild the middle class.

Paul Horton:

  • If you are from Chicago, then you are angry. In the coming weeks, some Chicago teachers may be fired.
  • No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top were born in Texas. The Texas 
  • The Common Core is tied to data collection, the tests and Charters. There is no legal way of separating the Common Core from the Tests.
  • The people who created the Common are test makers.
  • Teachers don't need multi-billion dollar corporations to create curriculum and assessments that they should be paid to do.

Geralyn McLaughlin

  • Kindergarten is no longer the child's playground.
  • Young children are being exposed to developmentally inappropriate, sit and get, drill and kill stuff.
  • Many of the Common Core standards are not developmentally appropriate.
  • The Common Core assumes that all children develop at the same rate. 
  • Average age for learning to read is 6.5 years. Half learn earlier. Half learn later. Early readers are not better readers. 
  • The Common Core demands that Kindergarteners read with fluency and accuracy.
  • Let's stop demanding children be ready for school and have schools be ready for the children. Meet them where they are at.
  • Children need play today more than ever.
  • What the US can't learn from Finland.

Mercedes Schneider

  • Common Core is not the same as national standards
  • Common Core is the noose. Standardized testing is the scaffold. The high stakes and cut scores are the tightening of the noose.
  • Common Core and Corporate Reforms ignores teacher professional judgement. 
  • Common and standardized are not the same thing.
  • No Child Left Behind has morphed into Common Core. Both need to be rejected.

Jose Vilson

  • Unions rightfully protect outspoken teachers.
  • I don't teach kids for a higher teacher evaluation.
  • The Common Core feels intentionally rushed.
  • When we know that more than half of the children will fail the test, there is something wrong with the test.
  • Too often we have the "experts" in one room and the teachers in another. Teachers are not considered the "experts" in their classrooms.
  • Corporate School Reforms are destroying public education by demanding schools do things that they wouldn't make their own children do.
  • We need to focus on the whole child -- not testing.

Opposing standardized tests that have no stakes is low hanging fruit. The real work is in opposing standardized tests that have the highest stakes. 

Diane Ravitch:

Diane Ravitch and me.

  • Network for Public Education is a grassroots movement made by people who understand that public education is a public good not a private interest.
  • Network for Public Education was Anthony Cody's idea.
  • Randi Weingarten provided free legal aid to help start Network for Public Education
  • Why we will win? 
  • Robert Scott said we now have an educational-industrial complex and it was born in Texas.
  • The assault on public education is a feature, not a bug, of Obama's administration.
  • We may be out funded but we are not 
  • I'm angry that powerful billionaires beat up on teachers who make less than their secretaries.
  • I'm angry when legislators tell teachers how to teach.
  • I'm tired of hearing people say they care about children and then do nothing about the 1 in 4 children who live in poverty.
  • The Department of Education is an enemy of public education.
  • The Democrats and Republican have merged into a bipartisan agenda that is really the Republican Agenda.
  • I'm tired of people who say parents should have choice but then don't let them opt out of the testing. 
  • We are going to win for several reasons: Everything proposed by the Corporate School Reformers fails.
  • If privatization works, it should have worked in Milwaukee. It didn't work in Milwaukee. 
  • Value Added Measurements shows who the students were in the class -- not the quality of the teacher. Value Added Measurements is junk science.
  • We are being over run by 'disruption'. Children don't need disruption.
  • Charter movement in US is resegregating America. 
  • A 'for-profit public school' is an oxymoron.
  • 90% of charters are no union schools.
  • Every dollar of tax payers for public education should go to public schools not investors.
  • Standardized tests measure the achievement gap -- they don't close it.
  • Virtual Charters are a ponzi scheme.
  • Main stream media is failing public education -- so we need to find other means to get our word out.
  • Politicians and Legislators who think so little of our children should have to take the standardized tests and have their results published.
  • Deborah Meier has been the voice of wisdom for longer than I have.
  • Pittsburgh got a new school board and cancelled their contract with Teach For America.
  • We are going to win because we own social media.
  • Michelle Rhee was suppose to debate Diane Ravitch but Rhee wouldn't sign the contract. Rhee said she needed a partner -- so she got Rod Paige -- but then she wanted a third partner but couldn't find one so she wouldn't debate Ravitch.
  • Corporate School Reformers are stealing tax payer dollars.
  • We must stand in solidarity. We must be united. We must abandon ideological purity. We need a big tent. We need to stop pissing in our tent.
  • Corporate School Reformers are the status quo
  • Liberals think that facts persuade people -- conservatives know that stories persuade people. We need to reclaim the narrative. We must re-frame the argument against public education. We are defending democracy and children.
  • We need retired teachers to speak up -- they can't be fired.
  • I'm not going to be here forever. Who is going to take my place? You will. 
  • Walls of Jericho will come tumbling down.

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