retired teacher, RI School for the Deaf

3 responses to “Ken Wagner, Achievement First expansion and education deform in RI”

  1. ellen

    Many thanks, Sheila Resseger and Wendy Holmes, for your astute analysis of an appalling situation. When we lag behind Massachusetts in education, in jobs, in our economy, in environmental measures, it is because our elected officials refuse to give citizens a voice. We are stymied at every turn by Blue Dog Democrats who clearly can live happily with the next president and his cabinet. I do wonder what we can to to derail this train headed so clearly for statewide disaster.

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  2. Johnnie

    Nice job! You covered all the bases. The only problem I see is that you assume they actually believe what they say and are seriously concerned with the 21% (their statistic) of our children who live in poverty.

    We approach each other on the basis of private property; our social relations mimic and mirror our economic relations. Competitiveness, ruthlessness, prevarication, alienation, heartlessness — and they way we abuse, oppress and exploit each other (our social relations) can be traced directly to how society produces and distributes the material needs to make life.

    School privatization has absolutely nothing to do with failing schools, and neither does the movement for the privatization of water, sewers, hospitals, etc. — and even war. It has to do with the needs, demands and laws of capital, and its owners.

    Until we understand, expose and respond to the class interests behind all developments and events in society we will continue to be played the fool.

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  3. Johnnie

    Massachusetts test scores are the highest in the nation, and compete respectably with any country in the world on the international PISA exam. Yet there is there still a push for charter schools? Why would they not continue to just work on improving their test scores in the public schools, a standard by which they measure “success?” Why do they see a need to publicly fund private charters? Why would they divert money from successful schools, or experiment using schools which are unaccountable to the taxpayers?

    There was an article in the NY Times about how Silicon Valley executives from Yahoo, Google and Apple are sending their children to Waldorf schools, which eschew computers and are decidedly low-tech. Why do you think that is? And why is it a goal of the public school systems to equip every single child with a computer? Either computers are central to a child’s education or they are not. They both can’t be right.

    The push for “accountability” and the preoccupation with standardized testing and “proficiency” is really about disciplining and controlling the lower classes — and producing teachers who can be hired and fired at will, and who themselves are disciplined, evaluated and retained by their ability to enforce certain social relations. Why can’t we have schools that are designed to nurture, where children are valued and learn to value each other?

    Former Governor Chafee’s daughter graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover. Go to their website and see how his child was educated. He is the person who gave us Deborah Gist, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Broad foundation. Do you think he would ever send his child to an Achievement First charter? Why not, when they work so well at raising test scores?

    What exactly are our children being “educated” for? They attend schools preoccupied with obedience, indoctrination, conformity and control — fused with right and wrong answers, anti-intellectualism, incuriousness and passivity. Where there is virtually no debate, dialogue or anything which I would call human. The fact that there are police in the buildings says it all, and is indicative of what is going on in the classrooms. It tells me all I need to know about our schools and their philosophies of education.

    At some point activists need to start moving away from their preoccupation with identity politics, and whose oppression should take precedence, and realize it is a struggle against a system and a whole way of life.

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