I am a teacher from Indiana with 29 years of classroom experience working with heterogeneous groups of young learners in urban and suburban public school settings. This is a short diary that in no way covers the complex issue of optimizing student learning experience but I am so upset about the corruption, subterfuge and toxic influence corporations have had upon public education since the ill conceived NCLB legislation was mandated upon children and teachers in U.S. public schools I am compelled to write this diary.
In 2008, I worked extremely hard for the Obama candidacy and donated as much money to Democratic candidates as possible. I managed eight precincts as a ward chair and helped over 6000 Hoosier voters cast ballots for the President.
If President Obama and congressional Democrats think they are going to get a repeat performance of my efforts from 2008 after throwing educators under the bus this past year, they are in for a rude awakening.
Children who have been dealt a poor hand in life through no fault of their own, deserve a shot at a quality public education experience. When I say quality, I am not talking about a data driven experience based primarily on high stakes tests in reading and math devoid of student opportunities for self direction, multi-sensory stimulation or choice and conducted in a culture of fear, compliance in overcrowded classrooms that suck the joy out of learning and dulls the mind. RttT mirrors NCLB in that FEAR is used as the primary motivational force to compel students to learn and teachers to comply with the system.
Back in 2008 not only did I hope for improvements in schools and change in education policies that candidate Obama promised, I believed it. I heard Candidate Obama speak on the campaign trail about the importance of freeing students up from test prep learning experience and expanding the realm of learning opportunities in our schools from the narrow path his predecessor had instituted.
With the latest research on learning, child development and brain science, why are significant numbers of American children and public school teachers compelled to engage in non consensual education activities in overcrowded classrooms that numb the mind and dull creative capacities of children?
I think it is hilarious that Bill Gates, America's top education corporate reformer, who was afforded opportunities galore to develop his interests in computers under constructivist learning principles at a private school now advocates for non consensual data driven approaches to learning in an authoritarian setting with an insistence upon high stakes testing assessments for other children's teachers. Were his teachers subjected to the same assessment processes he now advocates?
If the President thinks he has my vote in his back pocket, he better think again...
When the President's secretary of education makes public statements sideways out the backside of his mouth in support of teachers, then set up policies that poison the educational process and humiliate and demonize educators it is time to rethink education policy.