In a hard-hitting essay, Anthony Cody describes how accountability has been turned into a weapon to create demoralization, failure, and privatization of public schools.
He reviews the recent fiascos involving Tony Bennett and New York’s Common Core testing.
He notes that both the AFT and the NEA are trying hard to meet the demands of the corporate reformers. Both are trying to help teachers prepare for the Common Core sledge hammer, but Cody says it is a fruitless enterprise. The game is rigged. The reformers’ goal is to generate failure so they can advance privatization.
“Our response must be, as members of the teaching profession, and as members of the unions that represent educators, to reject as baseless these phony, politically-driven accountability systems. These systems to rate schools based on proficiency rates are really much more accurately reflecting levels of poverty, rather than the quality of teaching in effect. Many of those advocating them are, like Tony Bennett, attempting to promote their own favored competitors, in a race in which they have made themselves the rule-makers and referees.
“When someone sets up a competition that is rigged from the start, our response cannot be to ask for more time to prepare. The answer is to expose the machinery at work behind the scenes, and demand that our schools be accountable not to some state or federal bureaucrat, but to the students and parents of their communities. We will not overcome poverty by firing those who have chosen to work with the poor. Our schools and students need support, not more means by which they can be ranked and rejected. Real support from our unions means educating and organizing members to respond with vigor and pride about our students, our schools, and our work as professionals. Teachers cannot “succeed” under these systems because that is not their design. So rather than trying to prepare for tests many of our schools were never meant to pass, we need to prepare teachers to defend and reclaim their schools, and reject the accountability scam.
Even though we do not fully agree with the article, We think there are some points to consider. However, every situation is different compared to what we have seen here in PGCPS District. The current top-down approach to education governance is the hallmark of an authoritarian, not a democratic egalitarian society! Our country is at its best when we have egalitarian institutions which rely on the collective wisdom of the participants, in this case the teachers, students and their parents, to make the important decisions to transform the institutions into something more effective for those participants.
Above all, we should never neglect the will of the homeless youth in Education. Many homeless youth face difficulties attending school because of legal guardianship requirements, residency requirements, improper records, and lack of transportation. As a result, homeless youth face severe challenges in obtaining an education and supporting themselves emotionally and financially including with testing requirements. Many of these disadvantaged children are at a different level all together. Let us be fair to all people.
What do you think? Are our high poverty schools being set up for yet another round of condemnations without proper leadership? Aren’t we ready for new union leadership in PGCPS? How should we — and our FUTURE NEW union leaders — respond? What are your views especially with our current unions here in PG County which seem not to work anymore and appear to be serving special interests? What about ASASP, MSEA , PGCEA and other unions who seem to be involved in corrupt enterprise a long with Thatcher Law firm? What role should our law makers play in creating accountability for all players in this mess? What about the failed grievance system in PGCPS? Any ideas?
The most important thing in communication is to hear
what is not being said.
Impunity and injustices have permeated all spheres of our society. We are really in a sorry state of affairs.