Sunday, December 13, 2009

School reform and the Bee editorial writers

What kind of a public debate can we have on the vital issues of the day in  California?  A lot depends on the media, which determines how these issues are framed for most people.
In their editorial of Dec.13, 2009, the Bee Editorial Board complains about the Assembly’s handling of the proposed changes to California law to meet the demands of Race to the Top. here
They complain of “those in the educational establishment”.   What could be more establishment than the control of the editorial pages of the region’s only major newspaper?   The Bee editorial writers seek to substitute their own view of Race to the Top for the positions of those who work in schools.  Until reformers engage teachers in reform and provide the needed resources, schools will not improve.

            One difference between the Bee’s “establishment” and the educational “establishment” is that teachers actually work with children.  They see the consequences of 8 years of NCLB cram down of rote memory and tests.  It has not worked.   Race to the Top is just NCLB accelerated.  It is a make work project for educational consultants- and legislative consultants.  Even if California were to receive some of the money ( at best a 1 in 7 possibility)  according to testimony in last week’s legislative hearings, the money should be  used for consultants – not spent on educating kids. See post below. 
            The Bee editors are correct that “large constituencies of poor and minority children stuck in chronically low-performing schools.  These kids and their parents deserve better.”  This is after 8 years of NCLB.  Accelerating the Race will not change this.  It is time to listen to the teachers – not  to the BEE  establishment.

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