schools all our children deserve full

Transcript

1 OUR SCHOOLS THE ALLIANCE TO RECL AIM THE SCHOOLS ALL OUR CHILDREN DESERVE: T UNITE U THE P RINC IPL ES THA S W d car egivers, studen ts an d commu nit y m em bers . W e ar e e are parents an ublic t to p tmen ommi around a common c ther toge e have come W ve that the nd product ive ation. educ W ive every child the opp ortunity t o purs ue a rich a only e belie way to g d ded, equita cly fun of publi ough a system is thr society, of ber a mem as lly and individua lif e, both ble an demo . ols scho d public cratic ally controlle en and ion— oal as a nat e have not reached this g W es of col or. r childr for poo uniti rly comm particula s, advance e options and nsi es, expa chnologi d te ve cours d teacher aine well-tr d and experience state-of- ities , while other stu den ts languish in substanda rd buildi ngs and are taugh t in overcrowded the-ar t facil supp cla ssrooms . r jobs do thei y need to orts the by teache basic g the ckin rs la se chall the enges. essive poverty while the super-rich adv ocate for policies that incr ease their wealth at other s’ expens e. in oppr orate in For the years, we have watch ed as corp past 20 terests attem pt to dism antle publi c education and ing rights of educators, and a ggr essive school clo sures that pave coll e bargain stakes tests, attac ks on the ectiv - tie ocating a co ican and immi grant com m uni ose adv s. Yet despite dism rporate al educ ation al results , th with thei r disr uptive interventions. agend a are now also ta rgetin g rural and suburban school districts - pact on you chools and comm . In our work in s inds s and ng bodie unities have no im ce olen demic vi , we m edu- confr ont the se shamefu l challe nges dail y. M eanwhil e, some o f tho se who cla im to be “savin g” public wag cation by tea ring it do wn als o opp ose healthc are refo rm and incr eases in the m inim um e. Deep-pock- ortgage crisi eted entrepreneurs that advocacy groups s and support barriers to m home eated the who cr ublic y unde rstand and want to nurture young mi nds. votin g are not in n because the educ terested in p atio childr uni Our interest is in public schools that serve all - en. W e need scho ols th at are rooted in comm provide a rich and equitable academic experienc e, and that m odel d emo cratic pract ices . W e want tie s, that scho e ols w here tho se clo sest to the classroom share in de cisi on m aking and policym aking at all levels . W schools lts ive adu product powered to become — , nurtured and nts feel safe e stude wher need schools em e beli eve ovide an altern ativ e to the prison pip eline that too m any of our chil that pr are caugh t in. W dren public ation . W e ar e schools is b y strengthen ing the instit ution of educ that the se ve the way to achie only re yet, but the not agine no other p ath. we can im ols is Now, m we allow ourselves to b and al civil a critic ded. scho public s to good ore than ever, acces e divi e are commi tted to working together to r ecla im the promis e of public education hum an right. W as our . justice economic l and racia cracy and eway to demo s gat nation’

2 The Principles That Unite Us these takeovers, usually justified with words like institutions. Public schools are public “urgent” and “crisis,” too often simply spell the end - Our school districts should be committed to pro of democratic ownership of our schools. viding all children with the opportunity to attend a Our districts and our schools should be governed • quality public school in their community. The cor - - with multiple structures for genuine input and de porate model of school reform seeks to turn public cision making by parents, educators and students. schools over to private managers and encourages competition collaboration —as opposed to —between We reject disingenuous strategies—like “parent • schools and teachers. These strategies take away the trigger” laws and community hearings offered only public’s right to have a voice in their schools, and after decisions have been made by others—that inherently create winners and losers among both - put profits before students and alienate communi schools and students. Our most vulnerable children ties from their neighborhood schools. become collateral damage in these reforms. We will not accept that. Strong public schools create • A public school system serves all students—those strong communities. with special needs or disabilities, English language Schools are community institutions as well as learners, homeless kids and troubled children. centers of learning. While education alone cannot Creating schools that keep or push these students eradicate poverty, schools can help to coordinate out in the name of efficiency or higher achieve - the supports and services their students and families ment for a few is not education reform but a return need to thrive. Corporate reform strategies ignore the to segregation and inequality. challenges that students bring with them to school We oppose the creation of charter schools for the • each day, and view schools as separate and autono - purpose of privatization. Charter schools can serve mous from the communities in which they sit. as incubators of innovation, but they must be fully “Community Schools” that provide supports • accountable to the public, part of a unified educa - and services for students and their families, such tional system, and regulated and funded for equity as basic healthcare and dental care, mentoring and accessibility. programs, English language classes and more, help School closures have become a strategy to transfer • - strengthen whole communities as well as individ students from public to privately operated schools. ual students. No research has shown that the switch from public • Expanded learning time can offer students ad - - to private management of schools improves stu ditional opportunities for academic and social dent learning. enrichment, and offer teachers additional time to Public education should not be a source of profit. • collaborate and plan. It should always be imple - mented as part of whole-school reform, and with all stakeholders at the table. Our voices matter. We support high-quality early childhood programs • Those closest to the education process—teachers, that nurture learning and social development. administrators, school staff, students and their These programs have been shown to improve - parents and communities—must have a voice in ed student outcomes. ucation policy and practice. Our schools and districts - , not by corporate execu them should be guided by School closures should be a last resort. Closing a • tives, entrepreneurs or philanthropists. Top-down school harms both students and the surrounding interventions rarely address the real needs of schools neighborhood. Closing schools is not an education or students. strategy and should not be used as such. • We oppose mayoral control and state takeovers of our school districts. Experience has taught us that

3 Assessments should be used Quality teaching must be delivered to improve instruction. by committed, respected and supported educators. Assessments are critical tools to guide teachers Today’s corporate reformers have launched a war on in improving their lesson plans and framing their instruction to meet the needs of individual students. - believe that teachers should be hon teachers. We We support accountability. But standardized assess - ored. Teaching is a career, not a temporary stop on ments are misused when teachers are fired, schools the way to one. Our teachers should be well-trained and supported. They should be given the opportunity - are closed and students are penalized based on a sin to assume leadership roles in their schools. Highly gle set of scores. Excessive high-stakes testing takes away valuable instructional time and narrows the qualified teachers and school staff are our schools’ curriculum—with the greatest impact on our most greatest assets. Let’s treat them that way. vulnerable students. • Teacher preparation should be comprehensive and - • All children deserve a well-rounded and rich edu include significant student-teaching time in the classroom under the supervision of a highly skilled cational experience, with a culturally relevant and and experienced educator. comprehensive curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, the sciences, social studies and • Districts must address disparities in the distribution physical education. of experienced teachers. All of our students deserve access to high-quality teaching, as well as a teach Excessive testing has narrowed the content and • - ing staff that reflects their cultures. - skills our students are taught. In some districts, stu dents lose a full month or more of instructional time 1 • Alternative teacher credentialing programs We must end due to preparing for and taking tests. should not be targeted exclusively at low-income excessive testing and teaching to the test and focus schools or our most vulnerable students. instead on a rich and rigorous curriculum that keeps our children engaged in school and helps them Professional development should be school-based • succeed in college, careers and civil society. and tailored to the individual needs of the teachers and school staff in the building. It should include Teachers need to have the training, the time and the • opportunities for teachers and community partners tools to evaluate their students’ progress through - and parents to work and learn together to strength - multiple measures. Appropriate student assess en the quality of student academic experiences. ment information includes documentation and evaluation of ongoing work, observations, and discussions with students themselves. • - Assessments used for public reporting and ac countability should include these multiple types of assessment information, gathered over time and reflecting clear standards and learning goals. • Assessments must be administered and reported in a timely manner, and both students and teachers should have access to individualized results so that the assessments can inform and guide instruction. - No single exam should be used as a standalone hur • dle to determine classroom funding or a student’s course placement, grade promotion or eligibility to graduate. Assessment results alone should not be used to rate • and rank teachers, administrators or schools, or be linked to financial rewards, bonuses or penalties. 1. www.aft.org/pdfs/teachers/testingmore2013.pdf

4 African-American students were being denied their • Collective bargaining must be defended to ensure - constitutional right to an integrated and equitable that educators feel free to advocate for their stu dents and for fair working conditions and compen public education. We have not come far enough. - Today our schools remain segregated and unequal. sation. - When we shortchange some students, we short - • Class size matters. Particularly in the most strug change our nation as a whole. It is time to fund gling schools, class size must be kept low enough public schools for success and equity, for we are - that teachers are able to differentiate their instruc destined to hand off the future of our nation to all tion and provide individualized support to their our young people. students. • We must end the practice of funding our schools based on local property wealth. Only when we take Schools must be welcoming and our chil our schools, and responsibility for all all - respectful places for all. our society. all dren, will schools succeed for - Schools should be welcoming and inclusive. Stu School and district budgets should be developed • dents, parents, educators and community residents through a transparent and democratic process that should feel that their cultures and contributions are is guided by a commitment to equity. respected and valued. Schools that push out the - most vulnerable students and treat parents as in Corporations, Wall Street and the wealthy must pay • truders cannot succeed in creating a strong learning - their fair share of taxes at the local, state and na environment. Respectful schools are better places to tional levels so that our schools have the resources both work and learn. they need to succeed. Wealthy corporations and individuals should not be allowed to “privatize” • School offices should be accessible to families their contributions to public education through the whose primary language is one other than English. use of tax write-offs or credits in lieu of payments School enrollment forms and other materials that support all schools. - should be available in languages that are signifi cantly represented in the community. • Education funding should reflect the real costs of supporting and nurturing our young people, rather • All schools should strive to provide the services and - than budgetary convenience or economic circum support needed by students to succeed in a diverse stances. The devastating state and local budget cuts classroom. Practices that deny services to students to our schools must stop. If we can find the money with disabilities or high needs, or that segregate or to support new stadiums and offer tax breaks to disproportionately punish or push out these stu - the wealthy, we can find the money to educate our dents, have no place in our public schools. children. Respect between administration and staff is a • crucial component of a strong and healthy school A Call to Action climate. Our schools belong to all of us: the students who Respect for students includes elimination of • learn in them, the parents who support them, the zero-tolerance and other policies that push stu - - educators and staff who work in them and the com dents out of school. Students should play a role in munities that they anchor. No longer will we allow creating and enforcing discipline policies that are ourselves to be divided. We have developed these grounded in restorative practices. principles and are committed to working together to achieve the policies and practices that they repre - As workplaces, schools must be safe and secure, as • sent. Corporate-style interventions that disregard well as resourced for the purposes of teaching and our voices, and attempt to impose a system of learning. winners and losers, must end. None of our children deserve to be collateral damage. Our schools must be fully funded We call on our communities, and commit the for success and equity. power of the organizations that we represent, to pursue these principles in our schools, districts and More than 50 years ago, in Brown v. Board of Edu - states. Together, we will work nationally to make this cation, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that vision of public education a reality.

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