Why the March Matters
One point I would like to emphasize is that I’m not making any demands. I would never make any demand of our President, especially during the turbulence of this fabricated debt crisis. I am marching only to make my voice heard.
It is especially timely that this march coincides with the impasse in Washington over the debt ceiling. Just as Democrats and Republicans must come together in the best interest of our country, the two sides of the education reform debate must come together in the best interests of our children.
There has been a concerted effort by mainstream education reformists to silence the grassroots reform movement through mischaracterizations and defamation. These types of silencing tactics are the tools of an oppressor. I am marching against this oppression and to make sure the voices of teachers, students and parents are heard.
Taxpayers are being forced to spend almost $1 billion annually to fund high-stakes testing. Both sides tend to agree that these tests are inappropriate measures of achievement. So why, out of all the education funding cuts being proposed, isn't a temporary cessation of these flawed assessments even being considered? These tests are purchased from private companies at no small cost. That kind of profit motive has no place in public schools.
When you add that to HR 2445, which proposes the gutting of Title I funding for low-income and minority students, you really have to ask yourself whose interests the Republicans have in mind.
We, as teachers, recognize the importance of modeling appropriate behavior for young people. We have to demonstrate what democracy looks like. It is thoughtful and deliberate and it certainly doesn’t involve one side controlling and manipulating the entire discussion.
An enlightened teacher doesn’t stifle debate in her classroom. In fact she welcomes it. She encourages healthy discussion and seeks a diverse range of opinions. Each new idea presented helps the other students further clarify and refine their own viewpoints.
With regards to education reform, the enlightened teacher only cares that each moment is spent working in the best interest of children, not her personal interests. She knows she must set a shining example of how to disagree in a functional and respectful manner. The fate of our nation depends upon it.