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Free and in the south on March 17th?

We have invited educators from across the country to join us in discussing how to free schools from a myopic focus on testing and data, replacing a standardized model with one that allows for the diversity and innovation that this country once valued.

Towards that end, we’ll be asking:

  1. What would our schools look like if we listened more to students and teachers?
  1. Where do we draw the line between responsibility and accountability?
  1. How do we reconnect schooling with our communities?
  1. Why should we have public schools in the first place?
  1. Can there be "public" schools without private schools?
  1. Why, exactly, can’t we have vouchers?
  1. If not NCLB, then what?
  1. How do we make that happen?

  1. We will never have a democracy, or even a representative republic, if we don’t prepare future citizens to be caretakers of their classrooms, communities and countries. If we listened to students and teachers, listened to citizens rather than the powerful, this world would not be as it is.

My question as a teacher to any student, any age: Who are you? Where are we going? How can I help you get there?

From those questions I’ll help you develop your curriculum.

  1. How ironic is it that we have leadership that refuses to be held accountable for its failures and refuses to take responsibility for its mistakes while at the same time demanding greater accountability from public schools? The issue here is that the domineering, profit-driven, colonialist ideology that drove us to war drives educational reform.

In an effort to create docile hearts and minds, this ideology requires a specific type of schooling, one where the leader speaks and the followers dutifully fill in the blanks with the pre-selected information. There is to be no debate, no questioning, just following.

  1. On March 17th we’re going to propose turning that paradigm on its head...why not raise children to debate, question, reflect, and then follow, if they believe their leaders are worth following? This "problem-posing" pedagogy would send children into communities, asking their elders, their peers, and themselves what they can do to improve the communities they inhabit.

Math, science, history, literature, intrapersonal skills will all follow.

In short, we’ll be creating critical, engaged, and reflective members of multiple publics, the goal of "public" school. As they stand now, public schools are not public, as private interests dominate public education. This we have documented extensively.

  1. We should have public schools to help us engender the skills necessary for being a member of the public. We have reduced public education to job skills, though if education were for jobs alone, we’d be better off apprenticing children.
  1. There cannot be public schools without private schools. There can be no you without an "other" to stand next to. We should support strong public education and a strong private option. We must protect the right of individuals to gather and do things elsewhere in their own ways.

If we cannot support this, then we cannot support dailykos as this space, both public and private, has helped progressives and democrats more than many of them realize.

Should this space be regulated in order to keep the world fair?

  1. Unlike many Americans, I am pro-voucher, if the voucher covers the full price of the school.

Every school.

We can’t have vouchers now because 4K covers nothing, and a parent with two children would not be able to afford to use the option. If we raise vouchers to, say, 10K, then we can begin having another conversation about who can use what where.

  1. NCLB has a stranglehold on language and imagination. If not NCLB, then what is easily answered: Innovation, creativity, integration, growth and development, exploration, reflection, risk-taking, failure, and success.

All those things we can expect from life should be dealt with in our classrooms.

How many times are you going to change jobs?

How many times will you live?

  1. We replace NCLB with an educational paradigm that fosters trust, risk-taking, critical thinking, compassion, reflection and action by building a coalition strong enough to challenge the status quo from the top and bottom.

That coalition is under construction, and at 26,000 strong, is gaining momentum. We hope you’ll join us in Atlanta to participate in shaping the movement.

Originally posted to DeweyCounts on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 06:02 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I realize this is provincial (6+ / 0-)

    but public education is national and I know members of this community believe our country deserves more than doublespeak.

    I also believe this community needs to be leading national debate and agenda setting on education, as an uneducated population makes crimes like the ones we've experienced over the past 6 years committable and forgettable...

    Impeachment...why such a foreign concept? What if the idea, the concept, the justifications for doing so were part of every citizen's education?

    Would impeachment be on the table?

    Save public education from corporatisation: Educator Roundtable

    by DeweyCounts on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 06:04:32 AM PST

  •  I will be there, and so will other kossacks (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pshaw, danmac, Albatross, DeweyCounts, Dianna

    and we are hoping for publicity that can finally make the MSM and some policy makers realize how much antipathy there is to different aspects of NCLB.

    Fairfax County Virginia, one of the nation's largest and best schools systems, is now at loggerheads with the US Dept of Ed because Fairfax is insisting on a sane approach in testing English Language Learners, and the US DOE is threatening to withhold 17 million if Fairfax does not knuckle under.  Other Virginia jurisdictions with high numbers of ELL are considering following Fairax's lead.

    Nebraska, under Commissioner Doug Christiansen, has made US DOE back down on NE's insistence on using inschool assessments for purposes of evaluation.

    If there is enough resistance, (a) US DOE might fold, but more important (b) perhaps the key figures in Congress, who are George Miller and Ted Kennedy, may finally grasp the serious nature of continuing the obscenity which is NCLB.

    PLEASE NOTE:  screeds from people like Reg Weaver of NEA notwithstanding, we are NOT opposed to a Federal role, or to Title I.  We are opposed to all punitive sanctions imposed from above, not only because the Feds have failed to appropriate the funds promised in the authorization, thereby pushing the burden down to the states and LEAs.  We are opposed because the effect of NCLB has been to hurt those it is ostensibly designed to help, minority, rural and inner city kids.

    Even if you cannot come to our conference, please consider visiting our websiteour website, signing our petition, passing on the petition and/or the link to as many people as you know.  Lobby your congress critters, House and Senate, on this issue.  I can stop by offices on the Hill all I want, but I am the constituent of one Congressman and two Senators, none of whom sit on the relevant committees.  

    As I have written at dailykos several times, in a sense public schools are the canary in the coal mine.   If they are allowed to wither, or to be delegitimized and privatized, then the future of American democracy is not in doubt:  it WILL fail.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 06:27:51 AM PST

  •  Great diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Albatross

    I barely check dkos this early before work.  I am wondering if I can go to this by any small chance...

    This is really something tangible going on to really deal with NCLB.  I will check back on this diary later!!

  •  well (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    danmac

    classrooms would look really different! Kids would be working on projects together and one or two maybe working alone in a corner.  The desks would be modern and flat topped so that experiments didn't roll of the desk. Turtles in the back of the room stretching their necks out to see who was coming to peek at them. Kids planting cactus pads by the window as the snow falls down outside.  Easy access to markers and books.  Kids selecting writing out of their portfolios that they want to improve on. Teacher in the back of the room administering a state performance assessment test to a  couple of kids (including some from the special ed. class) that had missed it.  Also at the back of the room sits the hands-on assessment kit that the Junior high science teacher will administer to the four grade classes later on in the day.

    Oh wait, that was my classroom in 1999, Buffalo, Ny.

    back to the future

  •  Actually, there's more than a small chance (0+ / 0-)

    I can go.  This coalition sounds pretty important.  We'll see...off to work!

  •  Great diaries - except for vouchers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna

    I see three problems with vouchers:

    • It allows private schools to cherry-pick their students, leaving public schools with the most expensive-to-educate and worst-performing students, while at the same time bleeding them of funds.
    • We would need a way to ensure that private schools adhere to the same curriculum as public schools. Subjects such as evolution should be mandatory even in voucher-supported private schools (and of course should be in public schools as well). Otherwise, we are just wasting taxpayer money on non-education.
    • Who decides which school to support with vouchers? Should parents be allowed to use vouchers to send their kids to Madrassas, or their Christian equivalent?

    I believe what we need is not vouchers, but a less localized system for financing public schools. That would bring even inner city schools up to a standard that there wouldn't be a dire need for private schools to step in.

  •  If teachers were paid as much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dianna

    as other professions, there would be no need for a NCLB Act.  Qualified people would FLOCK to teach.  Until you change the mindset of the taxpayers, and they realize that teaching is the most important job anyone can do, you are going to keep losing the best of the crop.  Who the hell can afford to raise a family on a teacher's salary?  Please put that on the top of your agenda.  By the way, I am not a teacher, but I sure know a good one when I see one, having worked in the public schools as an aide and volunteer for many years.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 09:38:37 AM PST

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