Thursday, August 13, 2009

Teaching is theory in practice

Teaching is theory in practice. It is always theory in practice because we always teach in ways that support our 'true' beliefs. We also lead this way as well. For example, my letter to NCTE resulted in a personal three page letter from the president of NCTE and resulted in a letter to the general membership saying that we shouldn't worry and that our concerns, though real and not unusual in this state of educational affairs, will be answered if we just give them time. Ok but how much time?

I sent a similar e-mail to the International Reading Association (IRA) and outside of being copied with an e-mail from the new Executive Director (who actually seems to be a good man for the job) I have heard nothing.

That is the crux of the issue for me. Time for what exactly to happen? We waited for NCLB to work and it has failed miserably. We thought Obama might find educational utopia but the economy tanked instead. We voiced concern over the appointment of Secretary Duncan to no avail in part because he didn't make Chicago schools the panacea that has been professed. This smacks of George Bush's cronyism when Rod Paige was hired. What came out later was that the statistics he used were skewed so that Houston public schools would look like they were extremely successful. Some people warned us - we had deaf ears. We are warning people now and it is falling on deaf ears. I suppose it is just desserts but why should the children pay they price?

What is clear from the letters and from the Bush Era is that these processes - such as educational policy and governance - needs to be transparent to those of us who are involved in any way with life in these United States.

Transparency is key in a democracy or we will not be around much in the future. I want us to be here with well educated people in power at all levels. I want all of us to really have a say.

Talk to you soon! Remember we practice what we believe - always. Let's make sure that we know what we believe.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today is the day Education motivated me to start blogging

I pray that many of you may be moved to action. Mr. Duncan, the Secretary of Education, seems bent on doing more harm than good to our education system.

Here is the letter that I just sent to Kent Williamson at NCTE. I will be sending the letter to the Executive Council... as well as to IRA's leadership but they don't seem to listen at all.

I'm also posting this to my blog which is a new venture for me. I'm sure there will be moments that cause all of us to laugh at my follies, commiserate with my foibles, etc.


July 18, 2009

Dear Mr. Williamson and the Executive Council,

It has come to my attention that NCTE was invited to Mr.
Arne Duncan’s meetings about nationalized standards. What has emerged as I’ve searched for verification of these
facts is that both NCTE and IRA, as the major literacy organizations, asked to be invited. What is troublesome isthe reason for the outrage was due to not being asked initially. This stands in opposition to the stance many NCTE members of this fine organization believe: that nationalized standards tends to relegate teaching and learning, literacy, and the learner to the status of nothingness.

In effect, the nationalized standards movement does something that all associated with educational organizations should be
adamantly opposed to. Mr. Duncan’s stance dismisses all education organizations that support teachers and learners as irrelevant. The organizations become irrelevant and without power themoment teachers and learners are forced to follow one definition of what andwho is considered successful in school settings.

As a long time member, teacher, teacher educator, and teacher-researcher I am both ashamed and appalled at this moment to be part of an organization whose paid and volunteer leadership cannot stand up to those who undermine both the profession and the people this democratic nation’s constitution demands public schools to serve.

It is my fervent prayer that if anything goes awry in the discussion that you and the Executive Council has the strength to loudly withdraw from that fray. It is my fervent prayer that you and the Executive Council demand and ardently,
tirelessly, and vocally work towards those goals.

I will be publishing my letter on my blog, to all organizations and listservs to which I participate in, and to the Executive Committee of this organization.

An outraged and disappointed member,