Saturday, November 22, 2014

What We Lose When We Replace Public Schools With Charter Schools

Among most frightening things about the replacement of public schools with charter schools in low and moderate income communities are the removal of schools from public scrutiny, the institutionalization of authoritarian school management, and the suppression of parent, teacher and student voices
Our public schools, with all their faults, were places where the public had input, whether it was by legislators, school boards, parents, or community leaders. They were public institutions in the best sense of the world, where community meetings were held, where programs open to the community were often sponsored and where voting took place during elections for public office. In contrast, all too many charter schools see the communities they are located in as toxic and seek to insulate the children and families in them from their surroundings. They run their schools as heroic outposts of civilization and progress in a grim social landscape, limiting access to their buildings to those enrolled in the school, and seeing the communities cultural traditions as more a threat than an asset to their efforts to march students to "college and career readiness."
Along with that approach comes a top down management style where high paid school CEO's have far more power than public school principals to intimidate staff, discipline students, fire teachers and push out students and families. It is not uncommon for charter schools to have enormous teacher turnover, high rates of student expulsion, and disciplinary policies which would not be tolerated in a public school. Fear of the school CEO shapes school culture in a way that leave teachers parents and students little recourse, since charter schools are freed from many of the regulations that public schools operate under.
What we are seeing, unfortunately, is that political officials, in a desperate effort to produce better results on test scores in low and moderate income communities, are willing to sacrifice democratic traditions, community input, and due process for teachers and students.
That is a fearsome price to pay for "global economic competitiveness" and "the production of a 21st Century workforce" goals which our public officials and education leaders claim they are pursuing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Attacks on Test Refusers- Rising Tuition at Public Colleges- The Dual Face of our Education Crisis

Two things few people connect show the depth of the crisis we face-

1. The systematic attempt, across the nation, to deny parents the right of Test Refusal or Opting Out, saying that one of the requirements of enrollment in public schools is taking all tests those schools give and having the data put in a national data base, The number of states doing this simultaneously cannot be accidental. It reminds me very much of the eviction of the Occupy Protests within weeks of one another, something else which was coordinated nationally.  It also been accompanied by instructions to teachers to NOT discuss the politics of testing with parents.

2. The rise in tuition at public colleges, especially in flagship state universities, putting them beyond the reach of most middle class families in a time of income stagnation and decline. This is happening in California, Wisconsin, many other places,

Taken in tandem, this represents an attack on low and moderate income America's, the bulwark of our public schools, denying their rights and opportunities in the sphere of education from pre-K through higher education.
It does not speak well of the kind of country we are becoming

How PAR (Peer Assistance And Review) Has Become a Vehicle for Abusing Teachers- Written by a Former PAR Coach

Take it from a former PAR Coach. PAR is a scam. 
We were taught how to do backwards mapping- this is when we are told by administration what the candidate's score will be, and then we fill in the blanks and justify the score we give them.The candidate has no control over what score he or she will get. We have absolutely been given a score to give them. Nothing they do or don't do will change that.

We are also taught Gas-lighting Techniques to break the candidate down and get them to resign without finishing the PAR process or holding the district and union to task.The technique of Gas-lightings is used to completely break down the candidate and confuse the candidate. As PAR coaches are instructed to be vague, so the candidate doesn't really know what is expected. We were told never to model and we given many conversation workshops on how to answer questions without answering questions.We were given more money and promised advancement if we helped them fail out candidates. It was scary and I only did it one year.I'm always haunted by my involvement in PAR. Everyone should know the signs that you are being Gas-lighted
Here are the signs you are being Gas-lighted :
1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.
3. You often feel confused and even crazy at work.
4. You're always apologizing to your boss/PAR coach
5. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.
6. You frequently make excuses for your employer/PAR coaches behavior to friends and family.
7. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.
8. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself. This is accomplished through the PAR coach being vague and constantly moving the target of accomplishment - you can't hit it, cause it is purposely being moved.
9. You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists. 
10. You have trouble making simple decisions.**** This is major. When you are in PAR, you are so broken down, you won't make simple decisions without extreme self doubt.
11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
12. You feel hopeless and joyless.
13. You feel as though you can't do anything right. Again, this was done deliberately by the PAR program.
14. You wonder if you are a "good enough" employee.
15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.


Remember your employer can be an abuser. PAR coaches are specially trained to carry this out in a legal manner. PAR coaches learn how to Gas-light in stages, but they do move fast. 
PAR Coaches wil never help you as a teacher and they are not sent to do that. 

I'm so ashamed of my year as a PAR Coach. When I think of it, I can hardly live with myself. I hope that by educating others, I can begin to pay it forward a little. 

Namaste and Be Well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Great NY Principal Accuses Chancellor Tisch of Hypocrisy on Charter Schools

Dear Regent Tisch,



I found your latest comments about expanding charter schools to be not only disgraceful but hypocritical.

Unlike you and your crowd,   my sons did attend their local public schools and graduated with High School diplomas from their local,  traditional PUBLIC schools.  To my knowledge your own children never attended public schools. I do not believe you ever even worked in public education either.  You are quoted in  today's Daily News as stating your desire to  "expand charter schools again", despite the fact that there are over 100 vacancies upstate and 28 remaining in NYC.  Enough is enough!



I have watched the rich and powerful, like yourself, profit off of the destruction of public education for the past twenty years.  This movement went into overdrive under the administration of your dear friend "Michael" and pal Joel Klein who I read in a  NY Times article that you not only know but also share Passover supper and go on double dates with.  How quaint, cozy and intimate, yet terribly sad for public education.  I even remember a news article quoting you before Bloomberg's immoral overturning of term limits as saying "I absolutely support Mayoral Control as long as  Michael is in charge".  No sense of impropriety there at all!  The private sector, hedge funds and billionaires all  profited handsomely under these policies and our traditional public schools have suffered greatly as a result.  Just look at the ARIS debacle and the 95 million dollars  that were taken out of public education to pay for lawyers, data consultants, computer contracts, etc.. at the expense of classroom teachers and direct services to children.  Your pal Joel is reported in yesterday's papers to have been paid to manage this project through his new employer Amplify under fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch.



None of the unqualified folks that you consistently  helped obtain waivers  to run the system over the past dozen years  (David Steiner, Cathy Black, Dennis Walcott, Harold Levy or Joel Klein) ever possessed the required certification to hold their positions. You seem to be running an affirmative action program for the rich and unqualified.  You  have used your position to allow  patronage resulting in the rich and the  friends of the rich to run roughshod over our schools for far too long.  This is all too much.   I  have done some research , forgive me if any of my findings are inaccurate, but I believe that none of you sent your children to a public school nor ever  worked in a public school (Joel's 6 month attempt to get out of the draft not included) yet you all declare yourselves experts in "Education Policy".   That is akin to those armchair generals  Washington is full of who are always sending our soldiers off to war. They  want to work in Defense and Military "Policy" but have done everything possible to avoid ever having to pick up  a weapon to defend their nation.



Bloomberg threw a hissy fit when the prior charter school cap was lifted only two years ago, as part of the State's Race to the Top Application. He was upset that there was a "Saturation Clause" placed in the legislation.  Such a clause would have protected areas like my own in Bushwick-Williamsburg where Charters are out of control despite lack of demand. This is seen by our Community Education Council for what it is,  a land grab! The C.E.C. has even passed resolutions calling for a moratorium on charter schools in our Community School District.  The Saturation Clause was  improperly removed and our community, like Harlem is now overrun with these unwanted entities.    Charter schools were designed to be innovative lab sites, NOT the alternative school system that the rich want to see flourish  in order to cut their tax bills due to the lack of job stability, unions and pension costs.  If you want more charter schools open them in your own zip code. Our C.E.C.  has said 'NO". You need to respect parent voice.



Why don't you call it a day?  Step aside and let us have a new regent take over who has actually worked in and understands PUBLIC education (Dr. Lester Young, Dr. Betty Rosa or Dr. Kathleen Cashin are a few possibilities).  Someone not rich, not from nor connected to the upper east side would be a  breath of fresh air.    The policies you and your friends have let  loose upon our schools  are destructive and wrong.   The insane charter policies that you, the Governor and  Dean Skelos push on NYC would never fly in the suburbs which is why there are over 100 charter spots open upstate.  The cap in NYC still has not been reached but you and your rich friends are salivating over a chance to open even more. Shame on you.  You were all for mayoral Control when your rich pal was in charge but now that a populist who actually sends his children to public schools is in charge you start putting roadblocks in his way.  The people of NYC have spoken -  loudly and clearly. They do not want any more micromanagement from your crowd.  Let Mayor de Blasio do his job and stop  trying to control him through the back door from Albany. Mayoral Control is a policy and though I personally disagree with it, it should not be implemented as "good for my friend Michael" and "bad if I don't like Mayor de Blasio's policies". Once again you show a hypocrisy in that you supported one policy for your pal and another for our new mayor.





I know you rarely, if ever, receive letters like this from educators currently employed in public education. That is only because of the fear that taking a stance against you and these wrong headed policies will result in professional retribution.   I have seen enough and know what I am up against:  you and your very powerful friends.  That said, I must speak truth to power as I watch my community continue to be decimated by your

destructive agenda. I pray for a better day in PUBLIC education, free from the destructive policies of billionaire "philanthropists", do-gooders and policy wonks where communities and the mayor they elected are free to run their schools.



Brian De Vale



PARENT of PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATES

29 Year Veteran PUBLIC School Educator



Principal

P.S. 257 /

Chairman

Council of Supervisors and Administrators

Community School District #14

60 Cook Street

Brooklyn, NY 11206

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Bizzare and Awful Story of Test Refusal From And Ohio Parent- Guest Post by Allison Shipe

My Bizarro Story of Test Refusal

                                     I am on one of the most interesting and maddeningly 12 week long journeys of my life.  It begins on August 25, 2014, my hubby and I were there, at the beginning of this school year in August, and together we agreed that after all we had learned, about increased standardized testing,  we would decide  to “opt out” (refuse the test) for our kindergartener and second grader.  I formally wrote, signed, presented to the school district our formal test refusal, on September 5, 2014. All concerned people: superintendent, principal, classroom teacher were given in hand hardcopies and electronic copies of our signed letter. With that decision, we found ourselves traveling down the rabbit hole. I knew that it would be hard, but was not ready for the push-back, bullying and obstruction I received from our local district. I can handle the bullying, which has continued through the district’s superintendent, who has called my home. Isolated my contact with anyone else in the district,  with  a long string of emails between us telling me what I can and can’t do with the education of my own children and also mentioning that I am NOT allowed to ask my children’s teachers anything about testing, assessments, curriculum, materials (are they gagged?) Not wanting to start a major “war,” I did as he asked and had not questioned the teachers about those things, yet he continued escalating his tactics. The superintendent has since used in-person verbal scare tactics with me, such as a verbal suggestion that I really should look into homeschooling, and has also sent numerous certified letters about homeschooling, homeschool forms, links to homeschool sites and other unasked for materials. The elementary school principal, Mrs. _____, has called my home to ask about bus transportation and asked me “why won’t you sign the waivers?” and has said “I wash my hands of your test refusal.” My darling daughter, who had been kindergarten screened with flying colors in our previously preferred school district and who was formally enrolled never got to attend one single day there due to the pressure I received from my communications with the preferred school district administrators The administrator had left a phone message stating “don’t bring ____ today, because I still don’t have an answer to your opt-out request from anyone in district five for Ohio. I got scared about truancy, So, I withdrew my children from __________ Village School District to enroll them in the _____ City School District in early September of 2014 so that I could fight this test refusal closer to home. Day by day the battle gets a little stranger. At first, I didn’t know where to turn, for answers, but luckily I found many kind souls out there around the country who were willing to help and support me! People such as Fran Morello, from the Thomas More law firm in Michigan, Dr. Mark Naison, Professor of African American Studies at Fordham University and creator of the activist group Baddass Teachers Association, Ms. Peggy Roberts, an educator in Colorado & co-creator of the National Opt-Out Test site, Ms. Diane Ravitch, nationally published author of “Reign of Error” and political activist; &  the list goes on and on. In the state of Ohio, I discovered many other people willing to help and support me in my cause; the members of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Badass Teachers Association, headed by Kelly Braun and Dawn Neely Randall, have been and continue to be extremely helpful. I have joined the group and attend monthly BATs meetings in addition to political activist functions they hold. With their help, I’ve realized that I CAN fight this. Why? Because I believe in respectfully speaking truth to power and authority. I believe in the constitution of the United States. I want you and I to be able to lawfully exercise our constitutional rights when we think it is important. And I believe in my heart that my parental and constitutional rights have been violated in the public school district of East Palestine, Ohio. I intend to keep fighting.Currently, I have been asked or sent in the mail(the forms) 13X , to sign a specially created for you, district waivers. In early November 2014,  I spoke at my BOE monthly meeting, and here is  part of  what I read aloud.. November 3, 2014

Dear Board Members,  My story begins August 25th, spans 2 school districts, has continued for weeks, and still does not have an adequate ending as I address you. Here for the record, is my formal test refusal read aloud…(insert my 1 page test refusal letter) 9/1/14Dear Principal _______________:
We are writing today to formally inform you and the _____________ District, of our decision to REFUSE to allow our child, __________, to participate in any standardized assessments imposed on children across the state for the 2014-2015 school year. Our refusal should in no way reflect on the teachers, administration, or school board. These test are abusing our children mentally and indoctrinating our children to be anti-American and Anti-parents. Common Core is harming our children mentally, by lowering their sense of self and by breaking our children's spirit.
Our child will not participate in any assessments other than those solely used for the individual classroom teachers (diagnostic) and those that will be used to calculate _____________ report card grades.
We REFUSE to allow any data to be collected in any way from our son, __________, without our permission. Any assessment, besides final exams, whose data is used to determine school ranking, teacher effectiveness, state or federal longitudinal studies or any other purpose other than for the individual classroom teacher’s own use to improve his or her instruction, may not be presented to our child. Therefore, our son, __________ will not participate in the following:
-Any questionnaires given by the school or any other while in school. All questionnaires need to be approved by me, the parent.
-Any State Assessment
-Any benchmark exams / pre–assessments connected to “Student Learning Objectives”
-Any surveys, or “field tests” given by corporate or government entities or testing companies
-Any exam used to formulate an evaluation or score for ______'s teachers or school, other than the final exams for each subject area.
We believe in and trust our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and administrators. We believe in the high quality of teaching and learning that occurs at _________________. We hope our efforts will be understood within the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by __________________ and to advocate for what is best for all children, approved by us, the parents.
We anticipate that our son, __________, will be treated fairly during assessment periods, as this was not his decision, but ours, as his parents. Since the benchmark assessments will be taking place early in the school year, please inform us as to the plan for Adam during the time when the assessments will take place. We do apologize in advance for the inconvenience to the administration, the faculty, and staff.
Sincerely, ___________________________________
9/1/14
Dear Principal _______________:
We are writing today to formally inform you and the _____________ District, of our decision to REFUSE to allow our child, __________, to participate in any standardized assessments imposed on children across the state for the 2014-2015 school year. Our refusal should in no way reflect on the teachers, administration, or school board. These test are abusing our children mentally and indoctrinating our children to be anti-American and Anti-parents. Common Core is harming our children mentally, by lowering their sense of self and by breaking our children's spirit.
Our child will not participate in any assessments other than those solely used for the individual classroom teachers (diagnostic) and those that will be used to calculate _____________ report card grades.
We REFUSE to allow any data to be collected in any way from our son, __________, without our permission. Any assessment, besides final exams, whose data is used to determine school ranking, teacher effectiveness, state or federal longitudinal studies or any other purpose other than for the individual classroom teacher’s own use to improve his or her instruction, may not be presented to our child. Therefore, our son, __________ will not participate in the following:
-Any questionnaires given by the school or any other while in school. All questionnaires need to be approved by me, the parent.
-Any State Assessment
-Any benchmark exams / pre–assessments connected to “Student Learning Objectives”
-Any surveys, or “field tests” given by corporate or government entities or testing companies
-Any exam used to formulate an evaluation or score for ______'s teachers or school, other than the final exams for each subject area.
We believe in and trust our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and administrators. We believe in the high quality of teaching and learning that occurs at _________________. We hope our efforts will be understood within the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by __________________ and to advocate for what is best for all children, approved by us, the parents.
We anticipate that our son, __________, will be treated fairly during assessment periods, as this was not his decision, but ours, as his parents. Since the benchmark assessments will be taking place early in the school year, please inform us as to the plan for Adam during the time when the assessments will take place. We do apologize in advance for the inconvenience to the administration, the faculty, and staff.
Sincerely, ___________________________________
9/1/14
Dear Principal _______________:
We are writing today to formally inform you and the _____________ District, of our decision to REFUSE to allow our child, __________, to participate in any standardized assessments imposed on children across the state for the 2014-2015 school year. Our refusal should in no way reflect on the teachers, administration, or school board. These test are abusing our children mentally and indoctrinating our children to be anti-American and Anti-parents. Common Core is harming our children mentally, by lowering their sense of self and by breaking our children's spirit.
Our child will not participate in any assessments other than those solely used for the individual classroom teachers (diagnostic) and those that will be used to calculate _____________ report card grades.
We REFUSE to allow any data to be collected in any way from our son, __________, without our permission. Any assessment, besides final exams, whose data is used to determine school ranking, teacher effectiveness, state or federal longitudinal studies or any other purpose other than for the individual classroom teacher’s own use to improve his or her instruction, may not be presented to our child. Therefore, our son, __________ will not participate in the following:
-Any questionnaires given by the school or any other while in school. All questionnaires need to be approved by me, the parent.
-Any State Assessment
-Any benchmark exams / pre–assessments connected to “Student Learning Objectives”
-Any surveys, or “field tests” given by corporate or government entities or testing companies
-Any exam used to formulate an evaluation or score for ______'s teachers or school, other than the final exams for each subject area.
We believe in and trust our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and administrators. We believe in the high quality of teaching and learning that occurs at _________________. We hope our efforts will be understood within the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by __________________ and to advocate for what is best for all children, approved by us, the parents.
We anticipate that our son, __________, will be treated fairly during assessment periods, as this was not his decision, but ours, as his parents. Since the benchmark assessments will be taking place early in the school year, please inform us as to the plan for Adam during the time when the assessments will take place. We do apologize in advance for the inconvenience to the administration, the faculty, and staff.
Sincerely, ___________________________________
The districts reaction to my test refusal was first to encourage me to homeschool my children and then to create and ask me to sign 2 district waivers. I thought this was something I HAD to sign, but, when I asked, no law, or Ohio revised code, or policy, or legal writing was able to be produced. Because I did not sign these waivers that were never fully defined as to the language used in waivers, my parental rights are being ignored in the district, and under the direction of the superintendent, my children have been tested against my express concerns and written refusal.  They were tested in September with the kindergarten readiness assessment, & the 2nd grade reading diagnostic standardized test.  I want you to understand as a board, that parental rights are being ignored and that these district waivers, signed or unsigned will in no way do anything to stop my children from being tested.  The school district waivers are in no way a legal backed document. The district’s decision to have my children tested and to continue testing my children is a violation of my parental constitutional rights.  Where does this end? In what ways will student and parental rights continue to be ignored? How many others will be counseled out of the school district so their rights do not have to be granted? A mechanism must be found for parents to test refuse in this district. Myself, as a parent being asked to sign multiple district waivers is clearly not working and will not work for the future.  There are many districts here in Ohio that have working proceedures  for test refusal.  I would be willing to participate in these conversations. Thank you for the opportunity to address the board tonight.
And, I am still stumped, as the only solution offered up to me from my chidren’s school district(yet again) is to sign 2 district waivers that address standardize tests already given to my children , 2 months ago.  Please help get the word out, that there are complex, strangeO true stories out there of parents struggling and trying to do what is best for their children.  What I want, is a collarboration between myself, my children, and our local school district.   Apparently my children’s school district thinks otherwise.  I’m thinking that The moment your children or mine step foot on school property,  our constitutionally backed parental rights are no longer valid.  The public school district can do whatever they want.  God forbid the health of your children are not in question, like when my neighbor relay her story to me, of last school year,  when her then, 5 year old daughter was on a 504 plan for health reasons, the school completely disregarded that legal document and gave her kinder child a life threatening treat to eat, that could easily have stopped her heart. This Mom friend of mine went into our principal’s office as she stated to me & raised Cain—(secretly I hoped so & applaud her so much).  I will keep fighting on, in my convictions on test refusal for my 2 very young children because I do not want to live in a country where we do not have our constitutional rights in working order for ourselves. Our forefathers fought and died for our rights to have the constitution lawfully when necessary.
 So, in my quiet moments,  when I don’t want to be so sad about my kids testing situation, or focus on how all our constitutional rights are being eroded away little by little, I make up story titles for myself, the most recent one goes something like this, “schools unlawful boo-boo & how Allison fell for it.” Others are, “the autumn of the testing mess, or,  trick or treat, some twits test your kids and Skip to the school, my darling & get tested..again” Poems also lift me up, one I wrote, goes like this.. Engine Engine, baby of mine,
 off to school, age 5 on the line
If you test, & deformers say "off track"
no way you'll get your childhood back
But more seriously, I want to, let my town know, & more specifically the parents around me, that an unlawful situation happened to me recently, when I formally asked the school district my children attend to not standardize test my kids.  The administrators that work down the street from me, are conducting business w/me badly, they has been fond of bullying me, lying to me, singling me out, gagging my kids teachers, trampling on my parental rights, isolating me in communications with only the superintendent, chasing me around town with a made up unlawful waiver, and so very sadly, Under the cover of power, authority, politics, money.  This IS NOT LEGAL.  I am furious, I am furious for myself, my children, & the whole population of the district, because I have directly had (and having) a crap ass experience with them that is highly illegal.   I bow down on my knees for the chance to publish my story far & wide, because I think it is good to show transparnacey with authority when they knowingly hurt simple people like my children and myself.  Justice is so critically important.


                                     

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why Students Don't Come Into School Respecting Teachers- A Guest Post by Pamela Lewis

Nothing in this world teaches students to respect teachers or education itself; it isn't valued. There is an overwhelming national school culture that we are wasting their time, inconveniencing them, preventing them from doing what they really want to be doing. The system has backed teachers in the corner and allowed us to become powerless. Responsibility has fallen solely on our shoulders. The blame game has allowed children to not accept any responsibility for their own learning. If it is not instilled by the parents, and often times it is not because it has not been instilled in them either, students will not respect the fact that they are being provided a free service that students in other countries don't all necessarily have the luxury of receiving. Society needs to value us in order for our children to. Depending on the teacher/the school, this culture of respect can be bred, but it is not enough, and it should not be something schools should be made responsible for. If you can get that respect from the students at your school, great. But it should not be expected that schools be the only vehicle toward educating kids to care about education. It should start at home. It should be pumped through the media. It should be present in law and policy. If they wanted all students to get what they should be getting out of schools, these things would already be in place. But, alas, that is NOT the plan. Everyone cannot be successful in life, because if we all were, the children of those in power would not have the advantage. So they let our public schools continue to suffer, while their children learn to respect the value of education in their private schools. They also will allow public schools to continue to suffer so that charter schools can come in and "save the world." This is all a part of the plan.

Faculty Petition to Keep Teach for America Out of College Classrooms

Teach for America Faculty Petition- Please Email me at Naison@Fordham.edu if you wish to sign:

Teach for America Keep Out!

November 14, 2014

We, the undersigned, do hereby petition university faculty across the United States to ban Teach for America recruiters from your classrooms.

Whereas we support public education as vital to a democratic society, Teach for America backs charter schools, which draw on public funds yet are unaccountable to a democratic public and are not required to teach all students.

Whereas we support the rights of teachers to form unions, Teach for America recruits are often used as replacement workers in districts with labor disputes, thus weakening the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

Whereas we believe all American students deserve highly trained and experienced teachers, and whereas much research shows that such teachers are more highly effective than inexperienced and untrained teachers, Teach for America sends thousands of recent college graduates into demanding environments after offering them short summer “boot camps” as their only training and experience.

Whereas we understand that teaching is at its best when highly trained professionals enjoy a modicum of autonomy, Teach for America is part of a powerful movement to de-professionalize the teaching profession by reducing all instruction to standardized test preparation, even though much research shows such tests do not measure learning or good teaching.

Whereas systematic economic inequality sabotages what schools can and should do to help all children maximize their potential, Teach for America implies that presumably bad teachers are all that stand in the way of every American child’s opportunity to achieve academic success.

Whereas we understand that civil rights rhetoric is empty when devoid of concern for economic inequality, Teach for America sells itself as the civil rights movement of our age, a grave insult to the black freedom movement of the twentieth century.

As such, we implore faculty to sign this petition and thereby commit to keep Teach for America recruiters out of our classrooms. Although this petition specifically addresses university and college teachers at all levels, we encourage anyone who supports the message to sign it in solidarity.

Selected sources:

Andrew Hartman, “Teach for America: The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders,” Jacobin

Mark Naison, “Why Teach for America Is Not Welcome in My Classroom,” LA Progressive

Julian Vasquez Heilig and Su Jin Jez, “Teach for America: A Review of the Evidence,” National Education Policy Center

Signatories:

1.     Andrew Hartman, Associate Professor of History, Illinois State University

2.     Mark Naison, Professor of African American Studies and History, Fordham University

3.     Jesse Turner, Professor of Reading and Language Arts, Central Connecticut State University

4.     Denisha Jones, Visiting Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, Howard University.

5.     Lisa Phillips, Associate Professor of History, Indiana State University

6.     Lois Weiner, Professor of Education, New Jersey City University

7. Aaron Barlow, Professor of English, New York City Technical College, CUNY

8 Robin Brooks, Assistant Professor of Art, University of Maine, Machias

9, Yohuru Williams, Professor of History, Fairfield University

10. Corey Robin, Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, CUNY Graduate Center

11. Barbara Winslow, Professor of Secondary Education, Brooklyn College, CUNY

12. Joan C Grim, Lecturere, Early Childhood Special Education, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

13.    Eleanor Bader,  Ajunct Professor of English, Kingsborough Community  College, CUNY

14.    Craig Stephen Wilder, Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology