Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Cruelty at the Heart of School Reform

The cruelty at the heart of current school reform initiatives was tellingly revealed in New York City yesterday when 3,500 pink slips were sent out to teachers, administrators and school workers in 24 schools targeted for closing as part of the national "school turnaround" strategy supported by the Obama Administration and most Republicans. Who are these people? Most of them are people from working class families, a good proportion women of color, who grew up in the same or similar communities these schools were located in. That they are being blamed for the failures of these schools is unconscionable, but their firing also shreds the social fabric in hard pressed neighborhoods suffering terribly during the current economic crisis. Tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people around the country have lost their jobs as a result of school turnaround initiatives and thus far, the only gains that we see have been in profits for test companies, contracts for charter schools, and jobs for high paid consultants who Departments of Education locally and nationally hire to evaluate the data. School Reformers say they are in a life and death battle- for what To undermine the middle class in communities of color? To fill schools in low income communities with fear lest they too be closed? To make students hate school by deluging them with tests which are necessary to determine which schools and teachers are effective? To crowd out arts, play and recess less they get in the way of testing? Where are the results in equity and performance that justify this level of pain? Of does profit and greed, in a country this unequal, undermine compassion and common sense

1 comment:

Disheartened Educator said...

You said it Mark. I used to work at one of the schools that got shut down this year and still have friends there. Just five years ago it was a successful large HS but the population changed once I left to a much needier group. It was in the mayors plans for years, his initiative to break up large schools and cram ten little ones in its walls. Disgraceful, I tell you.