Tag Archives: public school

Support Your Public Schools

She lived in a car with her mother, until her mother OD’d. She sat next to a student whose parents owned a private airplane.

He slept on friends’ couches all senior year. He sat next to a girl whose dad commanded troops in Iraq.

She was a single mom trying to make ends meet. She sat next to a girl whose parents had come to the US to start a new life. They sat next to a foreign exchange student from the Republic of Georgia. They all attended class with three debutants, two kids who lived in the projects, a teacher’s kid and a doctor’s child.

All of them, regardless of background, learned. 

That’s public school, and the strength of public school is essential to our communities, states and the nation.

Today Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick presided over the kick off to “choice” week. There they embraced and championed the idea that tax dollars should be used for private education and that charter schools could somehow fix what ails public schools.

Abbott and Patrick are wrong. That did not stop them from firing the shots that could destroy a system so essential to our democracy.

The best way to guarantee strong public schools is to vote for politicians who believe in strong public schools. Abbott used to, Patrick never did.

Neither of these men faced election this year. 

To contact Gov. Greg Abbott and tell him you support strong public schools not choice, click here.

To contact Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to say the same thing, click here.

To be clear, support for vouchers, tax credits or any other means of privatizing public school will kill the public school. Don’t let that happen.

And the next time Texas elections roll around, remember these men have every intention of destroying a true public school system. We can’t ignore this. 

Testing, Testing

Let me make one thing clear: I’m not against a nation-wide test or a state-wide test or even a district test.

Data is not a bad thing. Discovering that 30 percent of the kids in your class don’t understand fact vs. opinion but across the hall a friend’s class has a hundred percent mastery of the concept….yeah, that’s valuable. And sharing those results with each other is invaluable. And asking why and finding answers to that question…invaluable.
The problem is the answer isn’t always simple.
Unlike factory production where there’s a constant inhuman product, teachers are working with people. People with emotions and hormones and issues. People who are constantly changing. That change is what we champion in education. It’s what we celebrate. It’s essential.
But when testing becomes the entire basis for education, when teachers are evaluated on effectiveness based on the test, when testing companies help define education policy, we’ve moved from using a test to help to using a test to destroy public schools and all that is good about education.
It’s making the WHY unimportant when finding the why is the thing that matters over any other. The why determines the how and the how to get past the why not.
A test can help determine what students have learned or not learned, but it can’t do a lot more than that. When it’s being used as a weapon against teachers, even that effectiveness is lost.
Finally, there are no one size fits all solutions to WHY NOT and HOW. The answers to those questions in Wichita Falls aren’t the same answers in Memphis or Mansfield or Minneapolis. When a test is used as the be all, end all of education that fact gets overlooked. Teachers understand that. More and more parents understand that. Politicians probably understood that at one time, but they’ve forgotten.
I hope that changes before more quality educators get out of the business of changing lives.