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This letter was issued on July 7, 2015.
“We respectfully disagree that the proliferation of high stakes assessments and top-down interventions are needed in order to improve our schools. We live in the communities where these schools exist. What, from our vantage point, happens because of these tests is not improvement. It’s destruction.”
Nearly 200 Civil Rights, Community Groups Send Letter to Senate Demanding Fair & Equitable Reforms to ESEA Reauthorization
This week, the Journey for Justice Alliance—a coalition of parents, students, teachers, and community and civil rights organizations—along with 175 other national and local grassroots, youth, and civil rights organizations, sent a letter to Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid demanding that high stakes tested be removed from the civil rights provisions within the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill currently being debated in Congress. Instead, the groups are calling for an end to school closures and privatization and investment in sustainable community schools with well-balanced assessments and challenging and varied curriculum.
In the letter, the groups state: “We respectfully disagree that the proliferation of high stakes assessments and top-down interventions are needed in order to improve our schools. We live in the communities where these schools exist. What, from our vantage point, happens because of these tests is not improvement. It’s destruction.”
The letter continues: “High stakes standardized tests have been proven to harm Black and Brown children, adults, schools and communities. Curriculum is narrowed. Their results purport to show that our children are failures. They also claim to show that our schools are failures, leading to closures or wholesale dismissal of staff. Children in low-income communities lose important relationships with caring adults when this happens. Other good schools are destabilized as they receive hundreds of children from closed schools. Large proportions of Black teachers lose their jobs in this process, because it is Black teachers who are often drawn to commit their skills and energies to Black children. Standardized testing, whether intentionally or not, has negatively impacted the Black middle class, because they are the teachers, lunchroom workers, teacher aides, counselors, security staff and custodians who are fired when schools close.”
“The organizations that join us in this letter represent thousands of students who have peacefully walked out of school to protest discriminatory practices, the tens of thousands of parents who have protested school closings and demanded equity. These are the people who know that they don’t have the choice of a strong neighborhood school. They know that we deserve better,” said Jitu Brown, the director of the Journey for Justice Alliance.
The groups reaffirm four primary ESEA demands established in a letter sent by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS)—a signatory on this week’s letter—to House and Senate leadership in March. Those demands include:
Journey for Justice (J4J) is an alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations demanding community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public schools systems and organizing in our neighborhoods, in our cities, and nationally, for an equitable and just education system.
*government by the wealthy.
*a country or society governed by the wealthy.
Plural noun: plutocracies
*an elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.
Dollarocracy: How the money and media election complex is destroying America
By John Nichols and Robert McChesney
From the Preface:
Carter declared-as the planet's most famous election observer- that '“We have one of the worst election processes in the world right here in the United States of America, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money."
Click the image to see their interview with Bill Moyers.
More than 1.2 million students are homeless, and nearly 76,000 are living on their own without parents.
Click the image for a link to the article.
"There is something grotesque about the fact that education reform is being led not by educators but by financiers and speculators and billionaires."
This process -- a handful of the wealthiest people in our country controlling the political process -- is called "oligarchy."
The great political struggle we now face is whether the United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans.
"I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture."
ALEC Exposed-The Privatization of Public Schools:
And more about the Koch brothers and their dad: kochexposed.org
Charter School Scandals
Charter School Scams and Scamsters
Class Size Matters:
Common Core Standards:
Democrats for Education Reform
Teach for America:
"Any time hedge fund managers...when they walk into the inner city areas and start talking about poor children's education, it's not because they want kids to read and write, it's because they know that the federal government spends $600B on education and they want it and they're going to get it."
Jesse has collected stories from students, educators and parents around the country and formed a picture of what is happening in public education and why:
More Than A Score edited by Jesse Hagopian
This book is a must read to understand what teachers are going through with the corporate takeover of our public school system:
Confessions of a Bad Teacher by John Owens
Need I say more? It's a book by Chris Hedges:
Death of the Liberal Class: Chris Hedges
Dollarocracy: Robert Waterman McChesney
Ravitch lays it out in this book and its no holds barred:
Reign of Error: Diane Ravitch
Want to know where over 50% of each tax dollar is going? Read this book:
The Operators by Michael Hastings
Why is it is hard to tell the difference between the Dems and Repubs? Read this book and find out:
The Party is Over: Mike Lofgren
This is a must read. Naomi Klein breaks it down in this book about how oligarchs are manipulating us and running our world:
The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein
If you want to know about the financial collapse of 2008, why the rest of us are no better off now and yet the stock market and banks have rebounded, making huge profits and why another collapse is inevitable, check out this book by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics:
Freefall: America, Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy