A good start Steven, Susan and Jim. However it's not the public school revolution Black, Brown, the Poor, and children with disabilities need to over come a public school system that from the beginning was rooted in inequity and injustice for them. It's not education reform we need, but a revolution for justice in our nation's public schools.
Christopher Logue's "Come To The Edge"
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.
Your off to a good start, but equity would still be elusive with your reforms in my opinion. Without real equity children of color and the poor would be left behind. 49 states spend more money on their wealthy schools than their poor schools. A good start would end quality by Zip Code public education. But, even that is not enough. We should not confuse equity with equality. Equal funding still leaves us far short.
As Christopher Logue's poem calls us to the edge. Without equity we are not on the edge of all children being able to fly, regardless of their color, their first language, or if they live in poverty. We should call for a radical transformation of our whole public school system. We need a public school revolution. We began reforming our schools in 1892 via uniform exams and standards. We had progressive and traditional education pushes as well. If any of them worked we would have seen it by now.
As your reform platform indicates poverty and resources matter. Poverty is a major factor of course. We agree in poor schools, the children and the teachers who teach in these schools are given less, asked to do more with less, and are threaten with school closures if they don't measure up to the performance of American wealthy schools. This is as unfair as asking a man without legs to run the mile without his wheel chair or prosthetic devices. We most likely agree education reforms from the beginning offered no carrots for poor schools. It has always been new more rigorous tests and standards deeply rooted in blame and punitive measures for not doing more with less.
Equity requires accountability. Black, Brown and Poor parents want equity accountability.
The parents and teachers I work with want equity tangibles as well as an end to useless testing. They want accountability. They want the kind of accountability policy makers and legislators never require. They want an end to a system that tracks Black, Brown, and Poor children into special education, into more explosions, and school arrests.
They do not confused equity with funding equality. Equity requires giving all children the education and resources they need to succeed individually. Equality give the same to all regard of their individual needs. Equity means treating all children fairly. It means holding schools accountable for tracking children of color into that school to prison pipeline.
Poverty is something I know well. As a child my mother and I were homeless for a time. I never went on vacations, always walked or took the bus. I even rode the bus to college. Fighting poverty must not only be an inside school struggle, but must be fought outside our school buildings as well. While every student may be considered equal under the law, individual learning needs vary from child to child. Equity is the attempt to meet every child where they are at, and to provide each with everything they need to succeed in a fair manner.
The parents I work with want policy makers, politicians to collect data, but not testing data. They want them to collect data on equity in our public schools.
Same small class sizes they see in wealthy schools,
Same ratios of special education, reading teachers, school nurses, art teachers, music teachers, PE teachers they see in wealthy schools,
The same amount of after school sports programs and clubs. If you want to see inequity just count the number of sport teams and after school activities. See the efforts of NYC David Garcia-Rosen fight for equity in NYC in this regard. > https://www.thenation.com/article/nyc-punishing-educators-who-advocate-sports-equity-schools/ <
Parent want the same ratio of certified Liberians to students have they see in wealthy schools.
The same ratio of books, art supplies, musical instruments, and art supplies they see in wealthy schools.
The same beautiful clean furnished classrooms they see in wealthy schools.
Same rich literate environments they see in wealthy schools.
The same quality and fully supplied science labs,
Same access to school trips to museums, parks, and all the other places that take learning outside our school walls.
Equity is not equal school funding it requires we spend more for those in the most need.
Equity is not a school funding formula it is justice.
Your reform proposal in my humble opinion needs to begin with the demand for equity in our schools for all children. It needs to be explicit in it's demands for equity. Without equity no education reform can be reliably evaluated or studied. Without equity all we have is a "School To Prison Pipeline" for Black, Brown and Poor children. Without equity the whole system is unjust.
So I want equity front and center in any proposed education revolution. From the very first day our public schools have been places of inequity, where Black, Brown, and Poor children have been short changed. Children of color are told you need rigor and grit to succeed. It's the child's fault not this American public school system deeply rooted in inequity.
I don't want education reform I want an education revolution.
I know what Education revolutionaries look like:They look like Chicago Teachers occupying city hall,
They look like 12 Dyett Hunger strikers,
They look like those North Carolina teachers arrested for protesting inequity,
They look like Detroit teachers walking out of their schools for safe schools,
They look like Badass teachers fighting for an Equity Conference,
They look like SOSers again calling the just to rally and march at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on July 8, 2016,
They look like anyone who turns up in DC for the Peoples March for Public Education and Social Justice. They will echo Moral Monday CT and Black Lives Matter leader Bishop Selders when he uses his bullhorn to remind us, "their can be no education reform without social justice for every child in and outside our public schools."
Equity calls us to rally with our fellow union brothers and sisters from all across this nation. Equity calls me to march with parents, students, UOO members, SOSers, and education activists on July 8, 2016. Equity is not more education reform it's an over do revolution.
Fight the power,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner
If you like to listen to what this walking man was listening to on his walk this morning...its Public Enemy "Fight The Power" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PaoLy7PHwk