Sunday, April 21, 2013

Some Excellent Recent Reading

Two really remarkable essays, in case you missed them.

First, Schools Are The Foundations of Communities, by Professor Timuel D. Black. It's a beautiful piece of writing, about a notion of public education that totally escapes the current administration.
I am old enough to know the story. Once these public assets are given away to private charter school operators, or sold off to condominium developers, that is public space we can’t get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. We need only refer to the parking-meter debacle to understand how poor a decision it is to give up control of public assets and public space. The notion that this will somehow be a money-saver (or a money-maker) for the school system is at best an illusion. Is it possible that the real mission of the proposed school closings is to clear out the schools and hand them over to private operators? It appears today that our public schools — the institutions which have transmitted democratic values to our young — are being transferred from the less fortunate to the more fortunate.
Second, a ranging yet completely lucid history called Here's where we've been, Barbara Byrd Bennet, written by Karen Fraid in response to another one of Ms. Byrd Bennett's astonishingly insensitive public remarks. I recently told a CPS board member that people would soon begin to see Ms. Byrd Bennett as arrogant or crazy because of her tone deafness. I'm pretty sure it's not craziness. It's arrogance, trending toward hubris.

Ms. Byrd Bennett reminds me of David Coleman, the person behind the Common Core State (sic) Standards. I once wrote about how it seemed like Mr. Coleman seemed to feel that he had personally discovered MLK's Letter From A Birmingham Jail, and that it had never, ever been used by teachers before, and how fabulous it was as a vocabulary lesson.

Just as Mr. Coleman feels he has invented standards and curriculum, Ms. Bennett seems to feel that she has invented public education in Chicago. Where have you parents been? Where!

Here's Karen Fraid:
You see, Ms. Byrd-Bennett, your boss has hired you because he knows that this move just might be a step too far.  Don’t think for a minute that your boss didn’t pick you for marketing purposes, rather than your talents or abilities.  He wanted someone committed to the Broad Foundation playbook who didn’t look like the rich, old, white, conservative males who are benefiting from and financing these policies.  I know you know that this job is just a temp position until Rahm needs a different face.  You haven’t even changed your residency from Ohio.  You’re more like us that you want to believe.  It must be rough sacrificing your integrity for a cause only to be swept out of town when you become the scapegoat for the 0.01%.  Of course a golden parachute like the one your predecessor received can buy a nice TempurPedic, which probably makes it easier to sleep at night.
Read the whole thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment