"Save Our Schools" (SOS) and the Sharpening Struggle Around Education
A Cal State Fullerton student:"The way the school system works, most people, minorities, are not allowed to learn their own culture—they have to learn a very Anglo, colonialist literature and understanding of the world, and through that we can really appreciate one another as humans, and the environment around us. And with all the major issues going on around global warming, the wars, poverty, hunger, racism, fascism, patriarchy—there are too many major issues to have them all shoved under the rug in the name of standardized testing, and standardization and math and science without really focusing on us, as humans. So that's why I am out here—not just on getting more funding but shifting the funding and the focus on education, and away from this very business model."A preschool teacher from the Sacramento area:"I've worked for the district about seven years. The reason why I came out here was to support my families—my students are the first time into education—their first school experience. For some of my families they are Head Start parents, low income, living in the Title One area—so sometimes school wasn't the most positive experience themselves. So I'm trying to show that (lack of) education is a double loss and in preschool we set the foundation. I want to say don't cut it, I wish that preschool was open to everyone in the state of California, no matter what your income. I hear people say teachers should be evaluated on what their children know. There's a whole different factor of where the child comes from. If there is no support at home how can you be evaluated on that student getting their needs? Why should that kindergarten teacher be evaluated because of the students who don't know their shapes, colors, how to spell their names because they never had the support at home. I just don't think it is fair."Cal State Fullerton student:"We're seeing the encroachment of the private sector on public education, specifically higher education.... Recently we had a 22% increase in tuition... When it comes to what the students are fighting for, I think that is one of the most fundamental issues at hand because it affects the students. But there is also that greater underlining issues of the structuring of education which starts at kindergarten. We have an education that focused in an ethno-centric kind of way—a lack of attention to critical thinking—and it is more about providing a worker for the workforce to make economic profit. It is not something that allows the citizenry to become critically engaged and make constructive, positive decisions."
ruben solis garciaDiane Ravitch, former head of the U.S. Department of Education and an opponent of school privatization:
"What we call 'accountability' now is just totally unreliable numbers that are meaningless in terms of the lives of children and the careers of teachers."Cody Anthony, Oakland educator:"Teachers are in an inescapable ethical bind. We know that the tests do not measure critical thinking... As a science teacher, I believe that the essence of science is the exploration of the natural world. It is all about inquiry: asking good questions, and then using all the tools we can muster to investigate and answer those questions."Matt Damon, actor:"I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that's true. But it's more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn't taken up with a bunch of test prep—this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn't promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers."Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University education professor:"Our leaders seek to solve the problem of the poor by blaming the teachers and schools that seek to serve them, calling the deepening levels of poverty an 'excuse,' rewarding schools that keep out and push out the highest-need students, and threatening those who work with new immigrant students still learning English and the growing number of those who are homeless, without health care and without food. Are there lower scores in under-resourced schools with high-need students? Fire the teachers and the principals. Close the schools. Don't look for supports for their families and communities, equitable funding for their schools, or investments in professional learning."