Parents Demand Change

I am deeply disappointed in the direction that education has taken in the last few years. Let me preface this by explaining my qualifications to make such a statement. I have 25 years of experience as a teacher. I am appalled by the leadership of the NYS Regents, the NYS Commissioner of Education Mary Ellen Elia, and the U.S. Department of Education Secretary of Education John King.

When I was a undergraduate student at Pace University, and then later a graduate student at Manhattanville College, I learned remarkable teaching concepts such as the whole language approach and child centered learning. Today the names made up to describe educational policies are carefully crafted to deceive with titles such as “No Child Left Behind” and charter schools called “Success Academy.” These are manipulated titles that rarely live up to their promises.

We are short changing our most precious commodity, our children, with today’s test, label, and punish agenda. I find the title “Common Core” offensive. Children are not common, nor is the way they learn. Every child is special and each child has a unique type of intelligence. To deliver programs that attempt to teach all children the same standard at the same age is absurd. The cost is enormous, not only in the dollars that are siphoned out of under funded public schools, but also by robbing our children of the well rounded quality education that they deserve if they are to succeed in the future.

There is an attack on children, teachers, and public education from those who seek power and profit. In order for tests to be helpful they need to be diagnostic. The NYS Pearson Common Core exams are neither diagnostic nor helpful. They continue to be developmentally inappropriate and have not delivered on their promises to improve education in our country.

We can no longer rely on today’s leaders. It is up to resolute parents and students to demand change. The only effective measure that will drive this transformation is the Opt Out movement.  If parents work together then change will come.  Take every opportunity that you have to speak out on behalf of our children and recruit other parents to join this movement.  Civil disobedience is extremely difficult for many people.  The forces that intimidate families into accepting this broken system and to remain quiet on this issue are relentless.


One thought on “Parents Demand Change

  1. Why should the parents of New York be out of step with what’s happening all across the nation?

    Of course, this opt-out resistance is about education. But it’s also about what’s boiling folks from coast-to-coast … this never-ending, ever-intrusive, arrogant, and ruinous involvement of government to be front and center in the lives of every man, woman, and child.

    This test-refusal effort is a scream at the federal and state governments to back off … retreat … and leave folks alone to craft the sort of society that will be … not the society envisioned by a few.

    Parents want their schools back … among other things. This current effort … withholding kids from academic assessments … is way more complex than just a pile of lousy exams spawned by a wretched educational reform. That’s the surface stuff. The roots are much deeper. Only the daring will squint hard to see the links that are so obvious.

    This society is set to explode … one way or another.

    These tests are serious stuff for parents … and more serious stuff for children. This resistance has fired up lots of pretty ordinary folks into becoming very active managers of their own lives … and it will carry over into other issues soon enough. This election season is already the most bizarre of my long life … and it looks to get even more memorable in the months ahead.

    Why? Because government … and a slender class of autocratic fops … has made it their business to be in everyone else’s business. We have these self-appointed wind-bags who have this neurotic, messiah complex that results in chaos for everything they touch.

    They’ve ruined healthcare, border and homeland security, law enforcement, illegal immigration, the economy, education, and just about everything else they’ve knocked up against. Why are folks so surprised that people are fit to be tied?

    The new Know-It-All class … the self-anointed oligarchs … have imposed their norms and values and programs and reforms with absolute ease over the last several years … but the breaking point is here. The signs are all about … just look at the sort of political figures who have captured the attention of the people. They’re not oligarchic types at all .. in fact, they’re the antidotes to the giant itch that troubles this nation.

    The really amazing thing about this reform/test counter-action is the resistance to the resistance. The educational oligarchs … just like the social and political absolutists … will not admit what is underfoot. They will not concede that the agitation is THEIR fault … caused by THEIR ineptitude and THEIR arrogance. That is a sure-fire fuse that will easily flame up. Nothing pisses off good people more than being played for dummies.

    And the people are plenty pissed off.

    This moment … in education … is an early prelude to what’s in store for this political season. I’m certaint these parents … who stood tall for their children and their neighborhood schools … won’t vanish for a long while. They’re just warming up.

    The oligarchs have blown it … big time. And it all began with the biggest dummy of all … Arne Duncan … that mother-bashing fop who lit that fuse.

    This Duncan quote about suburban moms might be the most memorable educational gaffe of recent decades: ” … “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

    Duncan is still in search of the world’s largest vacuum … but those words have stuck in the craw of every parent from Long Island to Los Angeles. And now those moms … and dads … are the first in battle against the snob class. And they’re winning.

    Denis Ian


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