School reformers will be rejected so long as four groups exist: disconnected reformers, demoralized educators, dismissed parents, and disinterested students.
John King has not worked for what students, parents, and teachers want in their schools during his time as NYSED Commissioner. He has ignored the impassioned and informed voices of parents and teachers. He has increased the amount of time students spend taking HST. He has withheld the test questions and their answers on HST. He has sold not wavered on his support of Common Core. He has denied culpability and has responded with half-hearted attempts at appeasement with the hopes of compliance.
Social media has applied tremendous pressure for John King to do what parents and teachers know is right for their children. In spite of his missteps, mishaps, and mistakes, mainstream media has largely ignored the commissioner’s lack of accountability in his failed attempts to meet the challenges of the Common Core roll out.
John King is entangled in an attempt to bamboozle the public with data, while suppressing a clear and simple truth; our children are more than a score. “More than a score” is more than a slogan. It is love for students’ individuality. It is nurturing students’ talents. It is support of exceptional teaching. It is decision making based on the best interest children. It is trust in local school district leadership. It is passion for meaningful classroom lessons. It is faith in the power of democratic control over public education. It is changing pedagogical acronyms and statistics into meaningful dialogue between school houses and homes. It is confidence in the smartest generation yet. It is embracing the whole child. It is inspiring people to make better schools. It is listening to the needs of students and parents. It is action to bring joy and curiosity to the lives of children. It is reflection on what works and what does not. It is honesty. It is humanity. It is humility. It is even humor. These are what should be the guiding principles in the hearts of minds of those who have assumed control of education and more specifically, invaded our classrooms without substantial time teaching or children in public education.
What will matter for students years from now will be times the adults in their lives showed them they matter. What they will remember are the teachable moments and acts of genuine compassion they experienced. If we support schools and inspire teachers to love their students as their own and do everything for the child, we may remove the need for reliance on the fallacy of HST from schools.
Educators and parents understand overreliance on standardized tests reveals an under appreciation of the relationships that exist in classrooms. Plummeting support of Common Core and exponential growth in the opt-out movement can be seen as evidence.
Energy is needed to focus on creating great classrooms and preparing students for life, not meeting false expectations of unaccountable, inexperienced, bureaucrats. Our kids are more than a score and we know the crisis in education is the invention of the reformers who sell the cure.
We matter. Disconnected reformers are running for fertilizer factories. Teachers are inspiring one another. Parents are embracing stronger connections to their children’s schools. Students are recognizing they are the smartest generation yet. We can send in letters on the first day of school to opt-out our children from high stakes testing, SLOs, and field tests. We can inform our friends, neighbors, and the parents of our children’s classmates of what we are doing and explain why. We can wear green laces to make sure when our voices are not heard, our beliefs can be seen in bold and impossible to ignore green. We are the reform our children need and want.