Dear Mark

Save Maine Schools

Dear Mark,

You probably don’t remember me, but we were students together at Phillips Exeter Academy fifteen years ago. I was a lower (sophomore) when you were a senior, so our paths didn’t overlap much, but I do believe we had one class together – Latin with Mr. Morante.

I’m writing for two reasons: first, a quick thank you for Facebook. I’ve always enjoyed it as a social tool, but recently I have discovered how powerful it can be as networking tool to gather people around a common cause.  Lately, I’ve connected with parents, teachers, administrators, bloggers, and other activists around the country who are all working passionately toward one goal: getting our local schools back from the powerful corporate and political interests that now strangle them. We share notes and research, triumphs and setbacks, inspiration and outrage, and lately it seems – incrementally at least – that we may…

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The Reformers’ War on Language and on Democracy

Words can kill public schools

Diane Ravitch's blog

Maybe it is just me, but I find myself outraged by the “reformers'” incessant manipulation of language.

“Reform” seldom refers to reform.

“Reform” means privatization.

“Reform” means assaults on the teaching profession.

“Reform” means eliminating teachers’ unions, which fight for better salaries and working conditions.

“Reform” means boasting about test scores by schools that have carefully excluded the students who might get low scores.

“Reform” means using test scores to evaluate teachers even though this practice has negative effects on teacher morale and fails to identify better or worse teachers.

“Reform” means stripping teachers of due process rights or any other job security.

“Reform” means that schools should operate for-profit and that private corporations should be encouraged to profit from school spending.

“Reform” means acceptance of privately managed schools that operate without accountability or transparency.

“Reform” means the incremental destruction of public education.

I am reminded of George Orwell’s lines…

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An alternative to high stakes testing works. New York schools have proven it.

It’s not the kids who are the problem. It’s the disconnect between what we want kids to do and what we have them do.

Seattle Education

consortium

71 percent of English language learners in New York Performance Standards Consortium schools graduated on time in 2015, versus 37 percent across New York City, where all but two of the consortium schools are located.

This is a model that teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle have been studying, traveling to New York to learn how to implement the New York Performance Standards Consortium program described below. This collaborative relationship is highlighted in the film “Beyond Measure.

From the Hechinger Report:

NYC schools that skip standardized tests have higher graduation rates

An interview with the woman overseeing the group defying convention

After almost 30 years at an alternative high school, Ann Cook now heads a consortium of New York public high schools that assess students with little reliance on standardized tests. After almost 30 years at an alternative high school, Ann Cook now heads a consortium of New York public high schools that assess students with little reliance on standardized tests.

The role of standardized tests is one of the most contentious subjects in public education…

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