Saturday, September 11, 2010
Elena is starting kindergarten on Monday and I don't have enough words to express how worried I am about her and the fate of education in general. There is a sinister force at work on the land and unfortunately some of the "best" minds are in charge. Bill Gates with his gazillions is funding the effort to privatize education, destroy teacher and classified unions, and generally dumb down education to a teach-to-the-test mode. I write about this a great deal and think about it every day. I do believe it's the reason our libraries are going away -- libraries help create critical thinkers and life-long learners. Gates and his ilk don't want people who can really critique a society that is now so inequitable that children are going to sleep hungry, families are losing their homes, and people who have worked all their lives are no longer employed or employable. Closer to home what this means is that Sleazy Deasy (Dr. he says), a Gates man, is poised to take over the Los Angeles Unified School District when the current superintendent steps down next June. Cortines was also in the pockets of the rich -- very ambitious for himself and willing to take money that most of us saw as unethical (such as $150,000 a year from Scholastic, a company that makes a huge profit off our schools). But Cortines at least is an educator. Most of the folks now making decisions for our children do not know anything about education. Witness the Los Angeles Times -- the reporters who went into the classrooms to "judge" the teachers only did so because they knew what "value added" score each teacher already had and judged accordingly. They admitted on KPFK radio last week that they really weren't competent (my word) to judge educators. Yet, their story stands, and everyone thinks it will benefit education that these scores are printed in the Times. In my own experience, some of the best, most interesting and inspiring teachers, are not the ones who "teach to the test" so their students' scores may be lower. So what! Will Elena still love to learn, love to investigate, love to sit and pay attention as she does now? I have my doubts. I will do everything I can to continue her love of learning. We need all teachers, parents, education workers to unite and defeat this effort to destroy education. Check out this link to the group California Advocates United to Save Education (CAUSE) and a group that is calling for a Million teacher mark for July 30, 2011. Please get involved!