Saturday, June 23, 2018

I am going to the border. Here's why. - Lily's Blackboard

I am going to the border. Here's why. - Lily's Blackboard

I am going to the border. Here’s why.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”-Bishop Desmond Tutu
On Sunday, I am going to Tornillo, Texas on the Mexican border, where Donald Trump has jailed innocent children. As an elementary teacher, as president of a union of educators dedicated to nurturing every student, as a mother, and as a Latina, I must bear witness to Donald Trump’s unimaginable cruelty and inexplicable inhumanity to children.
Any parent knows the panic of momentarily losing a child in the store, and most of us can remember being children ourselves and feeling the terror sweep over us when we can’t find Mom or Dad. That is after only a few minutes of separation. This what these tender-aged children, separated from parents who are seeking asylum, are feeling for weeks or months.  The terror these parents and their little ones are experiencing must be unbearable. 
Even if the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other respected organizations had not issued statements about how damaging such family separations are, members of the NEA understand child development. We know that this is causing irreparable emotional and physical trauma to these boys and girls.
Our outrage is even more acute because all of this—every second of terror, fright, and worry in the lives of these children and parents—results from an intentional policy. A choice Donald Trump made.
We have heard this cruel administration and its enablers refer to child prisons like the one in Tornillo as ‘summer camps’ or ‘boarding schools.’  No one is fooled. Such ridiculous comparisons and asinine justifications simply increase our outrage at their callous, hateful treatment of desperate children. Summer camp is not a jail. This is a jail for children. 
Don’t let Trump pull the wool over your eyes with his executive order to “end family separation.” To actually do that, the administration must end the zero-tolerance policy. As long as the prosecution of parents continues, family separation continuesFurthermore, the administration has created no plan to reunite the thousands of children separated from their parents.
I think the Stoneman Douglas students said it best, when speaking about their own tragedy: We appreciate thoughts and prayers, but they are not going to be enough. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with these separated, incarcerated children. However, it will take much more for us to repair the damage and end this Trump-made disaster. 
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”-Desmond Tutu
We must find every politician who’s running for office at any level and demand to know if they are going to protect families from Zero-Compassion policies. These children can’t vote, but we can. And we will!
This terrible tragedy is of Donald Trump’s making, but just as it takes a village to raise a child, it took a particular Trumpian village to imprison these children and then justify it. It took the complicity of people around him who were willing to do his bidding. They created the blueprint to enact his horrible policy and then blithely defended him and themselves.
History will judge and condemn those who separated families and incarcerated children. Toddlers. Babies. The names of their jailers will forever be recorded in the worst chapters of the American story—a story that belongs to each of us, a story that we write with the actions we take, as well as those we fail to take. The culprits will surely be remembered. And so, my friends, will we.
Yes, it took a twisted village to create this crisis. But we will be the village to save these children and families. We will not fail them and we will not lose. We will not abandon any of these blessed children.
If we do not act now, then when will we? The question is no longer, “Who is Donald Trump?” It is: “Who are we?”
I am going to the border. Here's why. - Lily's Blackboard

Friday, June 22, 2018

Diane Ravitch: Charter schools are making our public schools worse - The Washington Post

Charter schools are making our public schools worse - The Washington Post

Charter schools are making our public schools worse

Diane Ravitch is a historian of American education at New York University.

In 1988, teachers union leader Albert Shanker had an idea: What if teachers were allowed to create a school within a school, where they could develop innovative ways to teach dropouts and unmotivated students? The teachers would get the permission of their colleagues and the local school board to open their school, which would be an R&D lab for the regular public school. These experimental schools, he said, would be called “charter schools.”
Five years later, in 1993, Shanker publicly renounced his proposal. The idea had been adopted by businesses seeking profits, he said, and would be used, like vouchers, to privatize public schools and destroy teachers unions. He wrote that “vouchers, charter schools, for-profit management schemes are all quick fixes that won’t fix anything.”
Shanker died in 1997, too soon to see his dire prediction come true. Today, there are more than 7,000 charter schools with about 3 million students (total enrollment in public schools is 50 million). About90 percent  of charter schools are nonunion. Charters are more segregated than public schools, prompting the Civil Rights Project at UCLA in 2010 to call charter schools “a major political success” but “a civil rights failure.” They compete with public schools instead of collaborating. Charter proponents claim that the schools are progressive, but schools that are segregated and nonunion do not deserve that mantle.
The charter universe includes corporate chains that operate hundreds of schools in different states. The largest is KIPP, with 209 schools. The-second-largest has 167 schools and is affiliated with Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen. About one of every six charters operates for profit; in Michigan, 80 percent  are run by for-profit corporations. Nationally, nearly 40 percent of charter schoolsare run by for-profit businesses known as Educational Management Organizations.
The largest online charter chain, K12 Inc., was founded with the help of former junk-bond king Michael Milken and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The biggest single virtual charter was the Ohio-based Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which collected $1 billionfrom Ohio taxpayers from 2000 until its bankruptcy earlier this year. The charter’s 20 percent graduation rate was the lowest in the nation.
Charter schools pave the way for vouchers. More than half of states now have some form of public subsidy for religious and private schools. Voucher schools are not bound by civil rights laws and may exclude students based on religion, disabilities and LGBT status.
Charters are publicly funded but privately managed. They call themselves public schools, but a federal court ruling in 2010 declared they are “not state actors.” The National Labor Relations Board ruled in 2016 that charters are private corporations, not public schools. As private corporations, they are not subject to the same laws as public schools.
The anti-union Walton Family Foundation  is the biggest private financier of Continue reading: Charter schools are making our public schools worse - The Washington Post

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