Friday, February 18, 2011

Time to Put on Your Big Girl Pants and Enter the Belly of the Beast

Seattle Education 2010 reviews, at delicious length, a recent public forum with district administrators:

So Korsmo and Morris can’t say they didn’t have allies in the audience. But the night didn’t go their way. Instead, common sense prevailed. The truth, the data and public sentiment are not with the corporate reforms and their privatizing, teacher-bashing, standardizing, top-heavy agenda.

Despite all their money, connections, media access, fake organizations, push-polls, lengthy mailing lists with access to thousands of unwitting parents and community members, they did not win the argument or the hearts and minds of the majority in the audience that night. In fact, Korsmo’s outburst may have done some damage.

Her accusation (which she fleshed out in her “round-up” post on the LEV blog) about those of us in the audience — “person after person said we can’t get kids ready because they’re poor, black, brown, abused, homeless, the kid sitting next to them didn’t do his homework”-- is a misconception at the very least, a downright lie at the worst. No one there said any child couldn’t learn. In fact, the very reason many of us were at the forum that night is because we are deeply concerned about how poorly this district is treating all our children, including the poor kids of color Korsmo apparently believes to have a monopoly on supporting.

But many said that poor kids and English Language Learners often need more help to be able to learn well. And teachers alone can’t give these kids everything they need. Many in the audience that night agreed that changing a teacher without changing everything else that affects a struggling child’s life will not alone make enough of a difference for that child.

The ed reformers seem to think they alone care about poor kids of color. That’s not true. What’s more, the reforms they push are actually doing harm.

This compliments my Joel Klein Doesn't Mean What You Think He Means post and the Wisconsin situation in general.

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