Connecticut: Say No To Charter Schools

The principal of Achievement First Amistad High School, the centerpiece of Connecticut charter schools, has quit after a video showing him being physically aggressive to a student  surfaced. 

This reaffirms for us as Connecticut taxpayers that our money should be put into public schools not into charter schools because:

  1. Charter schools take public money (our tax dollars) but have no public oversight. Public schools have public oversight through state regulations and local school board policies and controls.
  2. Charter schools provide an education that is separate and unequal because the students are overwhelmingly students of color.
  3. The quality of education is inferior to public schools because the emphasis is on test prep rather than critical thinking.
  4. The “success” of charter schools, as measured by standardized test scores, is falsely reported because students who do not test well are counseled out of the schools.
  5. The “success” of charter schools, as measured by graduation rates and college acceptance data, is falsely reported because the attrition of students who do not have the credits to graduate or be accepted to college is not included in the reported data.
  6. The “no excuses” discipline practices which make for high suspension and expulsion rates in charter schools seem commensurate with racial prejudice.

The NAACP has called for a moratorium on opening any new charter schools and for better oversight and accountability for existing charter schools. Connecticut should listen to the NAACP.

In Connecticut, we have a budget crisis which is only aggravated by supporting charter schools. We should spend our tax money wisely. We should fund public education. Making our public schools the best schools in the nation is the key to the future of the state of Connecticut.

We have the visionary educators. We have the knowledge. Let’s do it.

For The Children: End Gun Violence

This is a sculpture done by Manuel Oliver whose son, Joaquin, was killed in the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
May we have a President who cries over the loss of the children to gun violence.
May we have legislators who refuse to take money from the gun lobby.
May no parent ever again have to suffer the loss that Manuel Oliver has suffered.
May children be safe in school.
May we, as citizens, cry out: No more loss of children. Enough. We are a better county than this.

MLK Speaks To Educators and Parents

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The function of education is not to make students successful takers of timed, standardized tests which correlate with only one factor: the socio-economic status of the test takers’ parents.
Education is our best means for creating learners and thinkers who are impassioned to imagine and create the world anew.
We can design schools in which the curricula is learning centered and character building, but first we must put aside the mind-numbing Common Core and assess students in ways other than by timed standardized tests that serve only one purpose: to make money for those who produce the tests.

The Privilege Of Teaching

This painting by Joan Baez celebrates the courage, commitment, and articulateness of Emma Gonzalez of Margery Stoneman Douglas High School. It also reminds me of so many bright and beautiful students I have taught in public high schools. Their names and faces flash before me. I thank Emma Gonzalez and my students for who they have become. I am grateful for the privilege of having been a teacher.

To be part of helping our students to discover and shape their own values,
To encourage and guide our students to be critical and creative thinkers,
To give our students effective and thoughtful ways to respond to what life does to them,
THAT IS WHY WE TEACH.

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