Sunday, February 9, 2014

Democracy at Risk in the Nation's Schools

Because current Education Policies were made without the consent or input of those who experience them on the ground- teachers, students, and parents- they only way they can be implemented is through an ugly dose  of fear and intimidation, first on the teachers required to teach according to their precepts, then on the students and families who have to adapt to them. Anyone who protests the policies or questions their underlying logic is first dismissed, then threatened. We see this is the treatment of teachers principals and parents who protest school closings in Newark; in the sit and stare policies imposed on children who Opt Out of tests in many school districts in New York State; and the total suppression of free speech by teachers when it comes to challenging testing, the Common Core standards or test based teacher evaluations. What is at stake here is more than the future of education. If you shatter democratic practices in the nation's public schools, you will have a hard time sustaining them in the society as a whole.