Claim #1: Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, and David Levin and Mike Feinberg are “a group of education reformers currently defying the odds.”
Truth: Michelle Rhee has been wildly unpopular in Washington D.C., where she is the Chancellor. Parents, students, and teachers have rejected her deform agenda. Ms. Rhee’s approach to reform undoubtedly unseated the Mayor of DC in a recent primary, and we have seen voters across the country reject deformer led political campaigns in the voting booth. A Chancellor who does not meet the needs of ALL parents and children should not be heralded as an exemplary reformer. Visit: http://realeducationreformdc.blogspot.com for more information. Geoffrey Canada has built a charter brand with his Harlem Children’s Zone. While HCZ boasts surpluses of $200 million dollars, it collects millions in public funds and real estate sweetheart deals, siphoning tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and resources from needy public schools. Further, Canada’s approach to student enrollment is discriminatory and highly motivated by standardized test scores. Canada “fired” an entire class of children from HCZ, phasing out the middle school there, and restarted his program with students who only follow HCZ from Kindergarten on. Folks who run schools that do not serve ALL children should not be heralded as exemplary reformers. David Levin and Mike Feinberg’s KIPP schools have faced a multitude of controversies around the country. Their schools serve far less students with special needs, those that require ELL services and students who qualify for free lunch compared with their neighboring public schools. KIPP schools require parents and students to sign a “Contract for Excellence” because “they are here by choice”. If students and parents do not follow the contract, they are dismissed from their KIPP School. Folks who run schools that do not serve ALL children should not be heralded as exemplary reformers.
Claim #2: Teacher unions have obstructed reform in our public education system. Too much focus has been placed on what is good for adults, rather than children.
Truth: Research shows the most significant factors attributed to high student achievement are smaller class size and teacher experience. Teacher unions are the primary reason class sizes have not ballooned out of control, particularly in New York City. While the ed deformers would like to turn teaching into a revolving door and hire more inexperienced and untrained Teach for America members (the vast majority stay in teaching for only two years), teacher unions ensure the protections and incentives necessary to have a teaching career where individuals can learn, grow, and advocate as professionals and offer years of experience to their students. Unions are the only structure left to prevent the full privatization of public education and other vital services in our country; this is why teachers, and their unions, are under attack. Moreover, it is ironic so-called “reformers” attack teacher unions for obstructing reform when the vast majority of educators, and many parents, do not feel teacher unions have gone far enough to stop the drive to privatize or to protect public school students from large class sizes and high stakes testing, which all will result in the true destruction of our public education system. Finally, the claim that there is somehow a correlation between poor student achievement and teacher unions is unsupported with fact. Virgina, a right to work state, has some of the poorest educational outcomes. Finland, repeatedly touted in the movie for their educational system, is a pro-union system.
Claim #3: Charter schools are a silver bullet and offer something public schools have been lacking.
Truth: The evidence analyzing student achievement in charter schools clearly shows that they perform at about the same level as public schools. While charter school performance mirrors public school performance, they serve far less vulnerable and needy students. Charter schools serve fewer children with special needs, fewer children who receive ELL services, and fewer children who receive free lunch compared with their neighboring public school. Further, charter schools enroll students by lottery, do not have to take students during the school year, and can dismiss students at will. Charter schools are nothing short of a tool in the re-segregation of our public school system, further sorting and separating children, and straining and dividing already under-resourced neighborhoods.
We Need Real Reform Right Now!
Real Reform #1: Smaller Class Sizes
Real Reform #2: Excellent Community Public Schools for ALL Children
Real Reform #3: More Teaching – Less Testing
Real Reform #4: Parent and Teacher Empowerment and Leadership
Real Reform #5: Equitable Funding for ALL Schools
Real Reform #6: Anti-Racist Education Policies
Real Reform #7: Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Real Reform #8: Expand Pre Kindergarten and Early Intervention Programs
Visit: www.waitingforsupermantruth.org or www.grassrootseducationmovement.blogspot.com or www.ednotesonline.blogspot.com to view the trailer for our upcoming documentary, “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman”.
Join Grassroots Education Movement at their next meeting: September 28th.
Location: CUNY Graduate Center Room 5414 @ 4:30, Bring ID
Focus: How High Stakes Testing is Being Used to Undermine and Dismantle Public Education
For more information about the Grassroots Education Movement email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about our upcoming documentary email: email@example.com