Income inequality is driving Americans apart and, as Robert Reich has demonstrated (watch his documentary “Inequality for All,” causing political polarization. We need educators who can show our students who really is behind the curtain, the plutocrats pulling the levers. We are so much more alike than different, but money and political influence are driving us apart in this winner-take-all society. We need to lead the way in teaching for social justice.
Those in the well-heeled business community looking to make a profit from public education will likely be made happy by this recent Supreme court ruling that effectively removes all limits on donations to political campaigns. We don’t need more politicians like Scott Walker attacking teachers and voucherizing education.
“Did the Supreme Court just open the door to political corruption?” from LA Times
This “Room for Debate” piece from the Times asks whether parents should be able to choose to have their children opt-out of standardized testing. I stand firmly on the side of yes. We need better, more holistic assessments that measure student progress over time.
Standardized tests should only rarely be used and when they are, be mostly for diagnostic purposes in order to allow for better, more personalized teaching. The only way the growth of the testing-industrial complex can be stopped is if enough folks stand up and say no. Parents have the ability to exert powerful influence on education policy.
I stumbled on this poem recently and it has become an instant favorite. A wonderful poem to use in the classroom.
Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
That only one road is right.
In poetry everything is permitted.
With only this condition of course,
You have to improve the blank page.
(trans. by Miller Williams)
Today we celebrate Cesar Chavez Day. Happy birthday to him and may we continue to fight for justice as he did. We should make it a federal holiday. Si se puede!