damonpackwood

PUBLIC EDUCATION PANDEMONIUM!!!

In Education on August 5, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Concerns around education reform are escalating. There is a significant movement happening in the U.S., one that runs counter to the plans of our government. I’ve been paying special attention to this since 2007 after I attended an Education Conference in Chicago. I’ve come across some interesting debates, discussions, protests, and posts. What has impressed me the most is the diversity of the people who are against these policies. Folks are upset, and there numbers are indicative of the breath and depth of this country, the part that we tend to be quite proud of. This is the melting pot we talk about so much and it could develop into an issue that we all agree on despite our differences.

I’ll post and re-post a few examples below.

Take the U.S. Governing Board of the National Council of Churches, for example. In May they sent a passionately written letter to congress and the Obama administration denouncing the current education reform. You can check out my post on the NCC’s letter here.

Joining the NCC, seven leading Civil Rights groups, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, are calling out Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his education reform policies, according to Education Weekly. They also want the Secretary to reconsider some of his proposals including his over reliance on charter schools.

Want more? In March, Bliptv aired a lecture on school reform featuring, amongst other professionals, the former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George H. W. Bush. Once a supporter of No Child Left Behind, Diane Ravitch has written many books speaking out against the high stakes testing focused education.

Tired of hearing about education reform? How about the people vs. Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne (seen below) and his plan to ban ethnic studies classes in public high schools under new law H.B. 2281. Education Weekly is reporting that Horne sent a letter to the superintendent of schools on Tuesday ordering all ethnic studies teachers to be video taped.

The teachers at Tucson High School in Arizona are none too happy with this development. I had the privilege of interviewing one of their ethnic studies teachers, Mr. Curtis Acosta, who was more informative about the objectives of the Raza Studies classes than was reported on CNN. Check it out here.

Primary and secondary schools are not the only thing people are voicing concerns over. I came across a blog entry from political science and peace studies professor, Harry Targ’s Diary of a Heartland Radical earlier the week. In it Harry expresses his displeasure with developments in higher education many of which have been absent from public debate. You have to read this one. Targ opened up the flood gates on issues such as salaries, tuition increase, the problem with having contractual obligations to Nike and Coca-Cola, and college access for under resourced youth.

People are upset. Teachers are speaking out. Parents and students are protesting. Even college professors and former government officials are coming forward and expressing their displeasure with the way our children’s education is being constricted into something unhealthy.

It’s Pandemonium, I tell you! But, it’s peaceful protest. It is democracy at work. It is proof that our country is not apathetic, after all. It shows that as obsessed as we are over the season finale of Lost, the departure of LeBron James from Cleveland, or the endless debate over the hidden meanings of summer movie Inception, we still care about the things that matter most.

And, that is beautiful.

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