Re: letter to SacBee re Rhee
You have it completely backwards.
It's true that disadvantaged children achieve at lower levels than advantaged children. That sad fact is the reason that ESEA came into being in 1965. The reason NCLB came into being in 2001 was precisely because civil rights groups, advocates for disadvantaged children, and politicians of all persuasion grew tired of hearing that schools can't make a difference until children's lives outside school are substantially improved. That is exactly what you're arguing.
We now have convincing evidence that disadvantaged children who transfer to high quality schools achieve at higher levels than they did before. Michelle Rhee knows this, civil rights groups know this, liberal and progressive politicians know this, and the nation's major news organizations know this. Compton parents know that. You may believe that Michelle Rhee blames teachers and that she is a point-person for a coordinated attack designed to blunt criticism of society's failures by casting unfair blame on schools. Or you may be just repeating stuff fed to you through your propaganda pipeline. Either way you fail disadvantaged children.
From: George Sheridan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: arn-l <email@example.com>
Sent: Tue, Dec 14, 2010 6:22 pm
Subject: Re: [arn-l] letter to SacBee re Rhee
At 10:45 AM 12/14/2010 -0500, Art Burke wrote:
>I guess you just forgot to identify yourself as a teacher and a
>union official. Or maybe you just wanted to do your part for the
>environment by saving newsprint.
Good point, Art. As soon as they give me as many inches of newsprint
as they give Michelle Rhee (I currently get ten percent if my
letter's printed at all), I'll be happy to say that I started working
in public schools in 1968 and teach first and second grade full time.
I'll tell how and why I became a union activist. (So far as I know,
no one becomes a teacher in the hope of being elected local union president.)
Knowing that a letter was written by a teacher makes most readers
more likely to believe it. But The Bee limits letters to fewer than
200 words, so I concentrate on the most important ideas, as in these
sentences from the most recent letter: "In our country, test scores
correlate with zip codes. Schools in some neighborhoods struggle
because children in those communities are suffering." And this:
"Rhee's campaign to blame teachers distracts voters from the need to
change the odds for students."
No conceivable change in the education work force is either necessary
or sufficient to create educational opportunity for all. What is
necessary is the kind of support for young people routinely provided
in other wealthy countries.
Art Burke also wrote:
>The malarkey that education reform a la NCLB promotes the interests
>of corporations and not public education was exploded a few summers
>ago when the nation's civil rights establishment rose up to oppose
>legislation that would have weakened NCLB's accountability
>requirements, the very same requirements that you claim are part of
>the nefarious corporate agenda. That line of bull has lost teachers'
>unions a huge amount of respect, so much so that teachers' unions
>are now openly criticized by liberal and progressive politicians and
>by civil rights leaders as a prime roadblock to improving schools.
I've been a civil rights activist since 1964. Can anyone count how
many times over the years Art has written "the nation's civil rights
establishment rose up ..."? As time goes by, this line rings more and
more hollow, given that civil rights organizations today are part of
the overwhelming consensus against NCLB.
Unlike Michelle Rhee's newest venture, that consensus grew
organically as more and more people became aware of the reality
behind the "civil rights" rhetoric.
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