Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Marla Kilfoyle: Teachers are Parents Too - Citizen Combatants: Education Activism in New York State

Marla Kilfoyle: Teachers are Parents Too - Citizen Combatants: Education Activism in New York State:



Marla Kilfoyle: Teachers are Parents Too





I began my research on the education reform resistance movement wondering what had united different groups in protest: labor with management, union activists with tax-paying parents, teachers with principals, and so forth.  One of the answers to this question is that there is a considerable amount of cross-over in roles.  Often, teachers are also parents.  Many principals are, at heart, still teachers.  Superintendents are frequently parents, former teachers and principals.  

This excerpt highlights some of the ways in which a person's experiences as both a parent and as an education professional can inspire activism: 

 Marla Kilfoyle, general manager of BATs (Badass Teachers), has been a social studies teacher in the same Long Island district for twenty-eight years.  She is National Board certified.  This means that, above and beyond fulfilling the requirements for New York State teacher certification, Marla independently pursued a more advanced credential that required hundreds of hours of additional study and work.  In addition, Marla has an eleven year-old son, adopted from Russia, who has cognitive delays.  He is doing well in school, however. 

“He works hard,” Marla says.  “We’re lucky, we’re in a good district and I got involved in this movement as the mother of a special needs child.” 

Marla’s story begins in 2012:  “I remember it very distinctly, there was a department meeting about the Common Core.  We were sitting there thinking, ‘Oh God, another fad.’  We’ve been through Madeline Hunter, Charlotte Danielson . . . I was sitting there thinking, ‘Here we go again.’  Then another woman, she was in the National Board certification process with me, said, ‘You guys better listen, this is really going to get bad.’   I remember thinking, ‘If she says it’s going to be bad, then it’s going to be bad.’”

Marla was first affected as a teacher by the new professional performance evaluation system.  When she accepted her end-of-year evaluation, Marla and many of her colleagues attached letters protesting the 
Marla Kilfoyle: Teachers are Parents Too - Citizen Combatants: Education Activism in New York State:


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