Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thousands of Black, Latino, Asian, White Young and Not-so-Young Outraged New Yorkers Marched In Protest of the Trayvon Martin Murder
Thanx to Jazz Hayden and All Things Harlem...
Here is a video snapshot of the Million Hoodies March for Trayvon Martin in Union Square, New York City on March 21, 2012.

The speaker is Brian Jones a Teacher, Writer and Activist we interviewed during the rally/march. He connects the killing of Trayvon Martin to Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow and the view of black and brown men as criminals. The results of this criminalization has not only led to the mass incarceration of black men but also the murder of them like what happened with Trayvon Martin.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NY State Senator Tony Avella's School Closing Moratorium Bill

NY Senator Tony Avella's School Moratorium Bill

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A People's Resolution Model to Help Combat High Stakes Testing.... Let it go Viral!

WHEREAS, the over reliance on standardized, high stakes testing as the only assessment of learning that really matters in the state and federal accountability systems is strangling our public schools and undermining any chance that educators have to transform a traditional system of schooling into a broad range of learning experiences that better prepares our students to live successfully and be competitive on a global stage; and

WHEREAS, we commend Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, for his concern about the overemphasis on high stakes testing that has become “a perversion of its original intent” and for his continuing support of high standards and local accountability; and

WHEREAS, we believe our state’s future prosperity relies on a high-quality education system that prepares students for college and careers, and without such a system Texas’ economic competitiveness and ability and to attract new business will falter; and

WHEREAS, the real work of designing more engaging student learning experiences requires changes in the culture and structure of the systems in which teachers and students work; and

WHEREAS, what occurs in our classrooms every day should be student-centered and result in students learning at a deep and meaningful level, as opposed to the superficial level of learning that results from the current over-emphasis on that which can be easily tested by standardized tests; and

WHEREAS, We believe in the tenets set out in Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas (TASA, 2008) and our goal is to transform this district in accordance with those tenets; and

WHEREAS, Our vision is for all students to be engaged in more meaningful learning activities that cultivate their unique individual talents, to provide for student choice in work that is designed to respect how they learn best, and to embrace the concept that students can be both consumers and creators of knowledge; and

, only by developing new capacities and conditions in districts and schools, and the communities in which they are embedded, will we ensure that all learning spaces foster and celebrate innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication and critical thinking; and

WHEREAS, these are the very skills that business leaders desire in a rising workforce and the very attitudes that are essential to the survival of our democracy; and

WHEREAS, imposing relentless test preparation and boring memorization of facts to enhance test performance is doing little more than stealing the love of learning from our students and assuring that we fall short of our goals; and

WHEREAS, we do not oppose accountability in public schools and we point with pride to the performance of our students, but believe that the system of the past will not prepare our students to lead in the future and neither will the standardized tests that so dominate their instructional time and block our ability to make progress toward a world-class education system of student-centered schools and future-ready students; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Clear Creek ISD Board of Trustees calls on the Texas Legislature to reexamine the public school accountability system in Texas and to develop a system that encompasses multiple assessments, reflects greater validity, uses more cost efficient sampling techniques and other external evaluation arrangements, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.

on this 27 day of February, 2012.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bronx Students Release 10-Point List of Demands to Reform NY Public Education

In November of 2011, a group of young activists from the Bronx say they’re being deprived of a quality education, and they’re prepared to fight for something better.

The Resistance, which was formed through a youth arts organization called The DreamYard A.C.T.I.O.N Project, have developed a 10-point education platform for New York City public schools. The group has also launched a Facebook page to support their efforts.

These demands coincide with CPE-CEP's demands and vision of a new democratic and antiracist school system grounded in the fact that education is a Human Right. Clearly, we will look forward to the Bronx Youth of The Resistance to join us in making the People's Board of Education a reality here sooner rather than later.

They’re demanding the following reforms:
  1. We demand free quality education as a right guaranteed by the US Constitution.
  2. We demand the dismantling of Bloomberg’s Panel for Educational Policy. We demand a new 13 member community board to run our public schools (comprised of parents, educators, education experts, community members, and a minimum of 5 student representatives).
  3. We demand quality instruction. Teachers should ethnically, culturally, and racially reflect the student body. We demand experienced teachers who have a history of teaching students well. Teacher training should be intensive and include an apprenticeship with master teachers as well as experiences with the communities where the school is located.
  4. We demand stronger extra-curricular activities to help stimulate and spark interest in students. Students should have options, opportunities, and choice in their education.
  5. We demand a healthy, safe environment that does not expect our failure or anticipate our criminality. We demand a school culture that acknowledges our humanity (free of metal detectors, untrained and underpaid security guards, and abusive tactics).
  6. We demand that all NYC public school communities foster structured and programmatic community building so that students, teachers, and staff learn in an environment that is respectful and safe for all.
  7. We demand small classes. Class sizes should be humane and productive. We demand that the student to teacher ratio for a mainstream classroom should be no more than 15:1.
  8. We demand student assessments and evaluations that reflect the variety of ways that we learn and think (portfolio assessments, thesis defenses, anecdotal evaluations, written exams). Student success should not depend solely on high stakes testing.
  9. We demand a stop to the attack on our schools. If a school is deemed “failing”, we demand a team of qualified and diverse experts to assess how such schools can improve and the resources to improve them.
  10. We demand fiscal equity for NYC public schools: as stated in the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007 by the NYS Legislature, NYC public schools have been inadequately and inequitably funded. We demand the legislatively mandated $7 billion dollars in increased annual state education aid to be delivered to our schools now!