Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Two Futures: part two

At present there is not a political agreement to make the necessary investments to bring about substantial school reform. The U.S. government and your state government will not make the necessary investments to improve education, nor to improve health care or to rebuild the economic infrastructure until we stop investing over 850 Billion dollars in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and whichever military intervention follows.
The conservative/ media emphasis on accountability for schools is a distortion. We know which schools need improvement, and we know how to improve them. Teachers can pursue democratic opportunity with instruction in multicultural education, critical thinking, cooperative learning, improved reading and language skills, and empowerment. Teachers and parents together face a political choice. Shall we continue to call for high standards without providing the necessary resources for all schools to have a reasonable chance to attain such standards? Shall we continue to punish schools and their staffs for low test scores, even when we know that the tests are poor instruments for measuring learning and that their construction guarantees the failure of many students? Is increased competition and privatization the answer for schools when it has not been the answer in other sectors of our society, particularly for low income and diverse people?
The problem is to provide the resources, including well prepared teachers with adequate support, needed to make the current schools successful. We face a choice between providing high-quality schools only for the middle and upper classes, and underfunded, understaffed schools for the poor. Or, we can also choose to work together to improve schools that are presently failing.
See the prior post.
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