"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More responses...

Two days ago I posted this about Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's Open Letter to America's Teachers.

Then I found another good post and and added it in the comments section. Since that time I've found more...so here goes. First, the one I added to the comments on May 3 -- from markgarrison:
I do not believe that your rhetoric, however clever, can erase from consciousness the fact that Race to the Top is anti-democratic — imposed through bribery using taxpayer money. It is an open agenda for privatization and the elimination of any last vestiges of democratic governance of and purpose for schooling. Wall Street and various monopolies are attempting total control through for-profit charters, anti-worker legislation, publishing and testing companies, private foundations, and of course, a national curriculum and privately managed testing regime aimed at workers compliance.
Anthony Cody who writes the Living in Dialogue blog for Education Week had these questions (among others) in a post titled An Open Letter from an American Teacher to Secretary Duncan.
  • What does it mean to say it is unacceptable for a single student to drop out, or for students with disabilities to fail, when the funds that support these students have been slashed to bits?
  • How is it that your Department of Education continues to fund programs that place poorly trained interns in urban classrooms, and supported legislation that circumvented a court decision that ruled such interns are not "highly qualified"?
  • If you agree with us that it is unfair when "teachers alone are blamed for educational failures that have roots in broken families, unsafe communities, misguided reforms, and underfunded schools systems" why did you support the firing of the entire staff of teachers at Central Falls High in Rhode Island last year?
Justin Hamilton, Arne Duncan's press secretary, said, referring to Sabrina Stevens Shupe's response, "It’s disappointing to hear that someone feels that way, but we don’t think that’s how the broader teaching community feels about it."

That got a response from The Reflective Educator who wrote in a piece titled, Dear Justin Hamilton, Have You Met Any Teachers?
  • Most teachers, believe it or not, have learned that experience in the classroom matters, and that turning the profession into a glorified temp job will do little more than provide "life support for a system of injustice and exploitation..."
  • Most teachers, believe it or not, would prefer more support over more money.
  • Most teachers, believe it or not, would like some means of...control over charter schools as a means of protecting teachers and students from predatory, for-profit snake oil salesmen.
  • And most teachers, believe it or not, probably have a more informed perspective on how to go about meaningful change in the classroom since most teachers, unlike Secretary Duncan, have taught students.
I wonder if anyone's listening?


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