The following is a letter to U.S. Department of Education officials from the the Coalition for Teaching Quality, a broad-based coalition of over 90 local, state and national organizations, including the OTL Campaign, requesting the DOE collect data on the distribution of highly qualified teachers and those still in training.
After the release of New York's test scores from the first Common-Core aligned state test, advocates and organizers are taking officials to task for implementing the new standards without also ensuring schools and students have the resources they need to meet those standards. The problem for many OTL allies isn't the achievement gap, it's the continually unaddressed opportunity gap that creates it.
A new complaint filed by the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA), an OTL ally, criticizes schools operating in East New Orleans for failing to meet the language needs of Asian American and Latino students and parents with limited English. The complaint is the culmination of more than two years of investigation into the educational equity and access issues for limited-English speaking communities in New Orleans.
Advocates in Florida have filed a federal civil rights complaint against the state Department of Education for setting lower achievement standards for students of color and thereby "perpetuating the prejudiced perception that African-American and Hispanic students are less capable than their white and Asian-American peers."
We need to do a better job of selling public education as an institution worth defending. In particular, here are five messages about public education we should stop using because they don't sell well.
FL Education Commissioner Tony Bennett, who made his name advocating for school "accountability," is resigning in the wake of a scandal over his role in minipulating school rankings. There's a bigger problem: "Accountability" is part of a rigged education reform agenda that demonizes struggling pubic schools while letting policymakers off the hook for failing to invest in them.
A great video series from the Public Interest Projects' Just and Fair Schools Fund profiles grassroots groups across the country who are making real headway in the fight to end harsh discipline policies and the school-to-prison pipeline. Padres y Jovenes Unidos, featured in Part 1, is a Denver-based OTL ally.
For all the positive-sounding rhetoric around "competition" and "accountability," forcing individuals or organizations to compete for resources and scapegoating employees instead of addressing larger structural problems doesn't do any business any good. Despite their failure in the private sector, these same strategies have become the dominant education reform agenda in our nation's schools.
A national poll reveals that parents overwhelmingly prefer to have strong, neighborhood public schools rather than "school choice" options like charer schools and vouchers. Parents are also concerned about the rise of high-stakes testing in our nation's schools and the need to provide students with wraparound supports and a well-rounded curriculum.
Student organizers defending their public schools have become a regular (and inspiring) fixture at Chicago Board of Education meetings lately. At this week's meeting, 20 students took the podium to give powerful testimony about the disastrous impact that school closures, underfunding and high-stakes testing have had on their education. Above all, they are demanding a voice in the decisions affecting them.
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