Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Whole Child Education by Greg Sampson

Originally posted at: https://grumpyoldteacher.com/2019/01/19/whole-child-education/?fbclid=IwAR2cn3ZOpWVXDQ_RRnDCDbIxXYdy9D5pqoQyvDd7YFlkninEwRLa79FNFpk

A recent post by Rick Hess* (American Enterprise Institute) is being shared across social media. That got my attention and you can read the post here.

With fellow writer Timothy Shriver*, Mr. Hess leads off with this great quote: “the need for schools and communities to embrace children as individuals and future citizens, and ENSURE THAT THEY DON’T FEEL LIKE TEST-TAKING COGS IN A BUREAUCRATIC ENTERPRISE.” (Emphasis mine.)

Who will disagree with that? As a math teacher, one of my major frustrations is the difficulty in getting high school freshmen out of the mindset that all they need to know is how to put the right answers into the test: no learning, no understanding, no curiosity necessary. Besides Geometry, every year my teaching challenge is to turn test-takers into eager, self-directed learners.

Hess and Shriver call for an end to the dichotomy in education that they describe as false: “Schools should not have to choose between chemistry and character; between trigonometry and teamwork.”

Props from GOT for the alliteration; it makes for a memorable quote. BUT! That is exactly what schools have to do as long as the test-and-punish policy of reformsters, billionaires, politicians, and the like are maintained by state laws and regulations.

Hess and Shriver get much correct. They recognize the role of schools to develop character and help children grow into responsible, capable adults. They recognize the difficulty educators face in this job because collaboration, empathy, and integrity are not innate (their word) for children.

However, they betray themselves when they say “the Commission (the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development) suggests … every teacher should be trained in child and adolescent development and the science of learning. This would require, of course, major improvements in educator preparation that must be accompanied by ongoing professional support for teachers and other adults who work with young people.”

Hello? Mr. Hess and Mr. Shriver? Have you ever visited a teaching college? This is exactly what they have been doing since the days of John Dewey. It is insulting to teachers to say that they do not have the training or knowledge needed.

Teachers have more than the knowledge; they have the desire, a burning desire, to do exactly what Hess and Shriver call for. Why is LAUSD on strike? More bucks in the paycheck? Not at all! They are striking because their school district, burdened by privatization policies of the school board and superintendent, are preventing them from providing whole child education.

Every teacher, including those in Florida, being handed a scripted curriculum that says, “You know nothing! Read the script because we high-ups and reformers, who if we ever taught in a classroom only spent a year as we raced to the top (irony intended), know better than you what children need,” rejects the insinuation that they don’t know how to provide nurturing, development, and caring for the children in their classrooms.

There is much in the article that is commendable. However, it is missing the elephant in the room: standardized testing and the destructive policies attached to it.

Kick that to the curb and cut teachers loose from their bonds. You will be amazed at the transformation that will take place. You will find places where, in the words of Hess and Shriver, they are “helping students feel safe at school; cultivating traits like responsibility and perseverance; developing an emotional foundation for academic success; and teaching students to respect and listen to one another in the face of differences.”

*Biographical footnote: Timothy Shriver is Chairman of Special Olympics, Founder and Chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, and Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Op-Ed: I love my job: Why I am walking out by Sarah Pedersen


(This is a guest piece written by a sixth grade teacher in Richmond.)
 
 
I love being a teacher. My mom, an educator of 34 years, a 6th generation teacher herself, often told me it is the best job in the world. You get to mold futures. Your challenges are always different. You get to think on your feet. The rewards are tremendous. No day is like the day before, and you have the opportunity to build a legacy that matters to your community and your own family. There is no job like it in the world, and no opportunity more precious, than that of being a public school teacher.
 
Teaching sixth-grade US History at Binford Middle School in Richmond Public Schools is the best job I’ve ever had. Every day, while walking down our steps, my feet descend but my heart soars. I love it here. My students are thoughtful, kind, compassionate, intelligent and truly a joy to teach. We hug each other a lot. We love each other a lot. We create together. We have tough conversations. We are doing the work of building each other up, of forming a better collective future, and I am honored to do that with them. I tell my students that one day, I’m going to be driving with my chin resting on the steering wheel of my beat-up car, without a tooth in my head, and it’s going to be their job to take care of me. I explain that my one-year-old daughter is going to depend on them to shape a better future for her. I tell them how I work hard in my job because I believe they deserve a future better than the one I myself now face.
 
Because the future that I now face, is that I cannot continue teaching in Virginia.
 
It isn’t the children. It bears repeating this again. It’s not the children. I have been in the classroom for eight years, five of those at Binford, and never once have I thought about quitting because of the kids.
 
It isn’t my administration. I firmly believe my principal to be the strongest administrator in our division. It isn’t the faculty. We are supportive, loving and kind to one another. Wherever I go, my friends and colleagues are there. Wherever there is need, my friends and colleagues envelop in loving support.
 
I am leaving Richmond Public Schools and the job I love because I cannot afford to stay. The emotional cost to make this decision has been devastating, but I don’t have a choice. Between Sisyphus-like student loans, steep hospital bills from having our baby last year, and an ever-increasing cost of living in the city, my husband and I cannot afford to remain in the Commonwealth.
 
My mother, who used to tell me teaching was the best job in the world, raised five kids on a teacher’s salary. Her mother raised six. My grandmother’s father brought up four kids as a principal. My family goes back seven generations in public education. If I stay a teacher in this state, I will be the first educator in my family not able to support her own.
 
Virginia is the eighth wealthiest state in the nation, and yet our teachers suffer under the single worst pay gap in the country. Our legislators have instituted the ninth worst budget cuts to education in the country. It is no secret that we are not funding our schools. The state of our buildings, our materials and the opportunities we are offering our young people are all well-documented and have been for years. The only secret is what it is going to take for our elected leaders to do something about it.
 
On January 28, teachers and public education supporters are marching on Richmond as the #RedforEd movement comes to Virginia with the campaign Virginia Educators United. Some teachers may be walking out for the day. For my family and thousands of other teachers before me, we are walking out for good. Not because we want to, but because we can no longer wait for our futures to be funded.
 
 
If you would like to participate in the Virginia Educators United’ “RedforEd” march and rally in Richmond, please visit www.virginiaeducatorsunited.com/join-the-march

Children of the Gun: How Lax Firearm Legislation Affects My Students by Steven Singer


Tanisha was just 6-years-old the first time she was in a shooting.

She was home in the kitchen looking for a cookie when she heard a “pop pop pop” sound.

Her mother rushed into the room and told her to get down.

Tanisha didn’t know what was happening.

“Hush, Baby,” her mom said wrapping the child in her arms and pulling her to the floor. “Someone’s out there shooting up the neighborhood.”

That was a story one of my 8th grade students told me today.

And it was far from the only one.

For the first time, my urban school district in Western Pennsylvania had an ALICE training for the students.

The program helps prepare schools, businesses and churches in case of an active shooter. Its name is an acronym for its suggested courses of action – Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

In a district like mine where three separate gunmen went on sprees within 5 miles of each other during the last few years, this sort of training is becoming more frequent.

We’ve had numerous seminars for the teachers – even active shooter drills. With the students, we’ve had lockdown drills were the kids were basically instructed to duck and cover under their desks or in corners or closets.

But this was the first time the danger was made explicit in an assembly by grade level.

Our school resource officer and middle school principal stood side-by-side before the 8th grade going over in detail how someone might come into the building with the express purpose to kill as many of them as possible.

And then they told these 12 and 13-year-olds that it was up to them to do something about it.

That hiding wasn’t good enough. They needed to try to escape or incapacitate the attacker.

It still shocks me that we’ve gotten to this point.


It’s up to the children to watch out for themselves.

I can tell you as a teacher with more than 15 years experience in the classroom, I have never seen kids so quiet as they were in that auditorium.

It makes me sick.

When I was their age I was playing with Luke Skywalker action figures and building space ships out of Legos. I wasn’t discussing with police how to avoid a bullet to the brain. I wasn’t advised to wear my backpack on my chest to help protect against being gut shot.

I wasn’t then going back to class and talking over with my teacher how we can best barricade the room against any would-be bad guys.

But that’s what we did today.

I tried to reassure my kids that they were safe, that we could secure the door and if worst came to worst I wouldn’t let anything happen to them.

But these children aren’t like I was at their age.

They were shocked by the directness of the assembly. But they were no strangers to violence.

Later in the day, so many of them came back to me to talk about their relationship to guns and how firearms impacted their lives.

“I know you can’t get an automatic rifle unless…”

“I have a friend whose brother…”

“You don’t know what it’s like to lose your best friend to a gun.”

One of them had been friends with Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh friends with Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh. They knew all the details about how he ran from police and was shot down.

Someone coming into the school with a gun? Heck! They experience that everyday with the police.

For many of my kids, law enforcement isn’t automatically a comforting thought. They don’t trust the uniform. Often with good reason.

And now they were being told that safety was just another one of their responsibilities – like doing their homework and picking up after themselves in the cafeteria.

I can’t shake the feeling that these kids are being cheated – that the world we’ve built isn’t worthy of them.


What point police and firefighters and lawmakers and courts and laws and even a system of justice if we can’t use them to protect our own kids?

Isn’t that our job?

Isn’t that what adults are supposed to do?

Keep the danger out there so that the little ones can grow up and inherit a better world?




Just look the kids straight in the eye and tell them that death may be coming and there’s nothing we can do about it.

It’s up to them.

If that’s the best we can do, then shame on us.


Still can’t get enough Gadfly? I’ve written a book, “Gadfly on the Wall: A Public School Teacher Speaks Out on Racism and Reform,” now available from Garn Press. Ten percent of the proceeds go to the Badass Teachers Association. Check it out!
book-4

Monday, January 21, 2019

Op-Ed: THERE SHOULD BE NO STRIKE


Leaders and Board members of Los Angeles Unified School District would like the public to believe that the looming teachers strike is all about salary. Indeed, it could easily be: teachers have not received a raise in three years, the request by the Union (and the offer from the district) doesn’t even cover inflation, and the fact is that teachers leaving LAUSD for neighboring districts often receive salaries $10,000 to $20,000 higher than they received in Los Angeles.
But it has never been about salary. It is and always has been a demand that the district actually invest in our schools and our children. We want LAUSD schools to be schools to which parents want to send their children. Schools that offer a caring, nurturing, safe environment, and opportunities to excel.
The primary mechanisms to achieve these goals?
• A full-time librarian at all schools.
• A full-time nurse at all schools.
• Lower class size
• Reduced district testing
In addition to the salary request, these four items represent the bulk of our demands.
The request for full-time librarians and nurses may come as a surprise. Most parents probably assume that is the norm, but it is far from it. Nurses are usually dividing time between different locations such that at some schools, a nurse may be on campus only one day per week. Librarians often fare worse: some schools closed their libraries permanently.
Reduced testing is something that may be hard for some to understand. We are not asking for reduced state testing. We are asking for fewer tests mandated only by LAUSD, due to the fact that these tests provide teachers no additional information and do nothing more than take up instructional time that could be put to far better use. The LAUSD-mandated testing is also quite expensive, though it is common knowledge that district leaders never met a program or expense they wouldn’t spend (waste) money on, whether it benefits students … or not. That is the primary reason there is never money left over for salaries or positions no matter how much the district receives: new money is always spent on programs or pet-projects of questionable worth, first. The iPad fiasco is but one of many examples.
But it is the lowering of class size that is the real sticking point. Were it not for class-size reduction, I am convinced that the contract would have already been settled and signed. I have personally taught academic classes as large as 55 students, in a room with seats for 40. High school classes are normed at an average of 42 in most cases, and the district refuses to negotiate a lower average or cap. Why?
One word: Charters.
If the district lowers class sizes, it not only takes away the one selling point charters have over district schools, it also takes away the shared space that charter organizations use to get onto regular school campuses. Without that extra space -- space that exists only because of mandated large classes in district-run schools -- charters would have to compete on their own, and the simple fact is that they cannot. Considering that over half the Board and the Superintendent were elected and/or supported by charter organizations, and the reason behind the lack of a settlement becomes obvious.
LAUSD leaders and the Board do not want district schools to succeed. They may not admit it publicly, but their actions are clear: they want the district to fail. The Superintendent was hired by a pro-charter board via back-room politics after being pushed by pro-charter organizations and politicians from out of state. If district schools were made more desirable, it would destroy any chance of these organizations and politicians taking over the education of our children. There is no other explanation.
In the real world, there should be no strike, and in actuality there should be no reason to strike. Teachers are asking for nothing more than what a district should already provide to students. The position of Board and Superintendent Beutner is thus morally, ethically and intellectually indefensible. District leaders and the Board are failing to complete their fiduciary duties required by law. They all receive handsome salary and benefits packages - Beautner is paid more than the Governor of California - and their lack of desire to make the district successful should be, and I believe is, illegal.
As Vern Gates, one of the members of the impartial fact-finding panel wrote in the final report, “In my seventeen years working with labor unions, I have been called on to help settle countless bargaining disputes in mediation and sat on many fact-finding panels. I have never (before) seen an employer that was intent on its own demise. The students of LAUSD deserve better.”
We all deserve better.

By Richard Wagoner
(Richard Wagoner is a 1981 graduate of LAUSD schools and has been an educator with the district for over 28 years. His experience in teaching led to an appointment with the Curriculum Development and Supplementary Materials Commission for the State of California, an advisory body to the State Board of Education)
The above was submitted to the LA Times and the Southern California Newspaper Group. Neither printed it, so if you believe it worthy, please feel free to share.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Denver’s Portfolio Model School District Is a Failure!

Here is a predictable outcome from the portfolio district. On Jan. 18, 2019, a press release from the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) says,
After ten hours of negotiations today, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools were unable to reach an agreement on a fair compensation system for 5,700 teachers and special service providers. DCTA members will vote Saturday and Tuesday on whether or not to strike.
The portfolio model which promotes disruption as a virtue is anti-union. It is not conducive to stable harmonious relations with either labor or communities and it is anti-democratic. Denver is held up as an exemplar of school reform; however the outcomes look more like a warning. Increasing achievement gaps; a bloating administration; significantly increasing segregation; ending stable community schools; and stripping citizens of their democratic rights are among the many jarring results.
Former Denver School Board Director, Jeanne Kaplan, wrote extensively about an article in EducationNext championing school reforms in Denver. It was based on a podcast by the guru of school reform and privatization in the Clinton administration, David Osborne. Kaplan noted,
“2009 was … the first time outside money appeared in [School] Board Election campaigns. Stand for Children came with the goal of making the board “more reform oriented”… In spite of their $30,000 expenditure per candidate – which at the time was unheard of – our side, as Osborne notes, won the election. Each following election more and more reform money … appeared …. In addition to Stand, Democrats for Education Reform, Students First, and wealthy local businessmen, both Democrats and Republicans, … put enormous amounts of money and human capital to be sure … a unanimous board was achieved. Much of the money while identified by independent expenditure committee remains hidden as to who is making the individual contributions. In 2011 the people were able to hold on to a “mighty minority” of three: 4-3. In 2013 the minority dwindled to one: 6-1. In 2015 the Board was unanimously “reform”: 7-0.
This has become a central thesis of the portfolio model strategy. A Chalkbeat article quotes Ethan Gray of Education Cities on the strategy. Gray who recently went to work at the new City Fund which was established specifically to sell the portfolio model said, “We’re skeptical that systems themselves will actually go through some sort of self-driven transformation.” Chalkbeat reported that the new plan for growth had three strategies.
  • Strategy #1: Apply outside pressure. (Increase pressure on school districts by bringing in outside competition and supporting local competing initiatives.)
  • Strategy #2: Push for one-stop school enrollment. (This forces public school districts to help the privatized schools and gives them an equivalency in the eyes of the public.)
  • Strategy #3: Create a very different power structure. (Use financial resources to change the makeup of existing governing boards or establish mayoral appointed boards.)
In the 2017 Denver Public School Board election, four of the seven seats were on the ballot. The results:
  • At large seat: Former Lieutenant Governor Barbra O’Brian defeated a field of three candidates 40% to 35% to 24%. O’Brian spent $8.94 per vote, Robert Speth spent $0.77 per vote and Julie Banuelos spent $0.33 per vote.
  • Distict 2: Angela Corbian a former Teach For America (TFA) corps member beat Xochitl “Sochi” Gaytan who had union support. Unfortunately, Gaytan had to spend time cleaning up after union blunders. The winner Corbian is currently an organizer for Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) the TFA offshoot that trains former corps members “to engage civically.” Cobian’s support included $67,000 from DFER’s Raising Colorado and tens of thousands of dollars from local and national “reformers.”
  • District 3: Dr. Carrie Olson, a 33-year DPS teacher won this seat with very little financial or people support from the teachers union. She astonishingly defeated Mike Johnson the incumbent who raised over $100,000 on his own and received almost another $100,000 from DFER and Stand for Children. Olson’s victory reduces the “reform” majority back to 6-1.
  • District 4: Jennifer Bacon another former TFA corps member won. She raised $70,000 on her own and shockingly received $139,000 from the teachers union. Bacon also received reformer money from TFA national board member Arthur Rock. The incumbent Rachael Espiritu had a large war chest of $97,000 from DFER and $93,000 that she raised but Espiritu was running in a district that had had its fill of reform. A third candidate in this district was 19-year-old Tay Anderson.
When analyzing this election, Jeanne Kaplan said the biggest losers were “Denver’s teachers, who are paying dues to an organization that turned its back on a 33 year teacher and endorsed a heavily funded alum of TFA…”
Dismal Results from Denver’s Portfolio District
school segragation chart
Chart of Racial Isolation Based on October Count for School Year 2017-18
Of Denver’s 204 schools, One-hundred have a population that is greater than or equal to 70% Hispanic. When the Hispanic and black students are summed 68 schools have 90% or more students from these minority groups. The AP reportedin 2017 that charter schools were among the nation’s most segregated schools. There analysis found, “As of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation’s 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.”
Racial isolation is a characteristic of districts employing the portfolio model. This kind of profound segregation runs afoul of federal law, good education and decency. It does not comply with the 1954 Supreme Court decision known as Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
The big selling point for modern school reform was closing the achievement gap. The achievement gap is measured by finding the average score differences between ethnicity groups on standards based tests. A 2011 report in Education Week stated, With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, closing achievement gaps among these various student groups became a focus of federal education accountability…”
achievment gap 2017
Table of Reading and Math Achievement Gaps Derived from NAEP Testing Data
In the tables above – based on average scale scores – it shows national results have a smaller gap than the large city results. Predictably, Denver has among the nation’s largest achievement gaps after two-decades or “billionaire” led reform.
In the fall of 2015, the Center on Reinventing Public Education  (CRPE) which is the central think tank promoting portfolio models ranked Denver Public Schools 45th out of 50 urban districts for improving graduation rates.
Denver’s pro-privatization citizen oversight group, A+ Colorado (formerly A+ Denver) in a recently released report, showed concern over the district’s progress stating,
“Let’s be clear: There has been progress in DPS, particularly in comparison to other Colorado districts. But some student learning outcomes are stalled or improving far too slowly for the district to be successful.”
DPS received another black-eye this January when a Chalkbeat headline revealed, “Denver has 1 administrator for every 7.5 instructional staff — far above state average.” The article presented the following chart for administrators in Denver compared to the rest of the state over the past ten years.
administrator growth chart
Chart of Administration Growth during the “Reform Era”
In 2017 the New York Times ran an interactive article about a new way to compare schools. The article said,
“It’s true that children in prosperous districts tend to test well, while children in poorer districts on average score lower. But in this analysis, which measures how scores grow as student cohorts move through school, the Stanford researcher Sean Reardon argues that it’s possible to separate some of the advantages of socioeconomics from what’s actually happening in schools.”
The New York Times picked the comparison schools while the reader picks the district of interest. This simulator attempts to correlate by years of learning. The average between 3rd  and 8th grade should be five years. After 13 years of disruption and “reform,” Denver remains a little below average with lackluster growth.
student growth models
After Five Years Denver’s Eighth Graders Still below Average
All the closing schools and disrupting neighborhoods brought little or no significant change. Denver’s students are still measured as being about the same amount behind in 8th grade as when they started 3rd grade.
A 2015 hiring analysis revealed that DPS paid TFA $5000 to $7000 per recruit? TFA teachers are two year temps with a college degree and five-weeks of training. From 2012-2015, Denver taxpayers paid TFA $520,600 for 232 recruits at traditional schools and over $800,000 for 267 recruits at charter schools. DCTA President Henry Roman stated that teacher turnover is a crisis in DPS. He claims the average teacher tenure has dropped to two years.
Traditional teacher new hires have a college degree, one-year of post graduate pedagogy study and a year of supervised student teaching. They arrive at schools with the expectation of making teaching a career.
The reliance on untrained teachers along with recognizing and using a fake graduate school created by the charter industry explains why all of the spending on reform has not resulted in better performance. The fake graduate school is Relay Graduate School. It’s Denver Dean, Therese Zosel-Harper, is working on her PhD. Relay is an obviously fake graduate school because it has no credentialed education scholars on staff.
Where did the Portfolio District Model Originate?
A Rand Corporation researcher named Paul Hill founded the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) on the campus at the University of Washington three years after John Chubb and Terry Moe wrote a popular book, Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools which was published in 1990 by The Brookings Institution. That book which was a sensation among neo-liberals called for the end of elected school boards. Hill began thinking about the mechanics for making that happen.
In 2002, Hill wrote a paper sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation calling for changes in school governance,
“… [T]he last few decades of education reform have shown us that simply tinkering at the edges is not enough to ensure that changes will take place. Reforms need to be comprehensive and needs to affect every level of the education system.”
Hill’s statement and the book by Chubb and Moe were both motivated by the conviction that public schools in America were failing. It was not true then nor was it true in 1889, 1942, 1955, 1959, 1963 nor is it true now.
“Admiral Rickover published “American Education, a National Failure” in 1963, and in 1959 LIFE magazine published “Crisis in Education” that noted the Russians beat us into space with Sputnik because “the standards of education are shockingly low.” In 1955 Why Johnny Can’t Read became a best seller, and in 1942 the NY Times noted only 6% of college freshmen could name the 13 original colonies and 75% did not know who was President during the Civil War. The US Navy in 1940 tested new pilots on their mastery of 4th grade math and found that 60% of the HS graduates failed. In 1889 the top 3% of US high school students went to college, and 84% of all American colleges reported remedial courses in core subjects were required for incoming freshmen.”
The paragraph above recalls more than a century of national failure to properly educate our citizenry yet in that same century America became the world’s leader economically, scientifically, militarily and culturally. Does this mean that education quality does not matter or is it more likely that the perception of American education failing – is and was an illusion? Based on this illusion of failure are we being driven toward failure with unproven market theories? That is what the portfolio theory is. It is an unproven market theory of education governance.
William J. Mathis and Kevin G. Welner, University of Colorado Boulder wrote a short paper “The ‘Portfolio’ Approach to School District Governance.” Their basic definition explains,
“Generally  speaking,  four  reform  strategies  are  combined,  in  varying  degrees,  in  portfolio  districts:  (1)  performance-based  (generally  test-based)  accountability,  (2)  school-level  de-centralization of management, (3) the reconstitution or closing of “failing” schools, and (4) the expansion of choice, primarily through charter schools.”
In Denver there are 204 schools; 106 public schools, 42 charter schools and 56 innovation schools. In accordance with portfolio district theory, Denver residents no longer have the right to vote on the governance of 108 of their publicly financed schools. In addition, both charter schools and innovation schools are generally non-union.
The innovation school concept is promoted nationally by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to ALEC model legislationthese schools “are provided a greater degree of autonomy and can waive some statutory requirements.” In Denver, innovation schools are given a three year contract during which they are run by a non-profit. The results (testing data) at the end of the contract will dictate whether the experiment on the school children continues.
Innovation schools have only existed in Colorado since 2009. When the DPS board approved them in 2016, Board President Anne Rowe claimed, “I’m trying to think of a time I’ve been more excited, more proud, more optimistic about what we can achieve for kids.”
Conclusions
While Interviewing DCTA President Henry Roman, Jeff Fard said when he moves into a neighborhood he expects to register his kids in the local community school. “If I don’t like the school, I expect to roll up my sleeves and work to make it better.” If he still doesn’t like the school, he will pay for them to go to a private school. This is how it is supposed to be in America; people work for the betterment of their own community and pay for their own choices. However, if you live in portfolio districts like Denver, unseen and unelected forces control the neighborhood.
As Jitu Brown and the Journey for Justice have declared,
“We are not fooled by the ‘illusion of school choice.’ The policies of the last twenty years, driven more by private interests than by concern for our children’s education, are devastating our neighborhoods and our democratic rights.”
It is past time for the citizens of Denver to take back their democratic rights and their public schools.