Thursday, November 21, 2013

Should SFER Come With a Warning Label?

(This organization may hamper your ability to discuss issues freely; prolonged contact may cause an inability to think critically, creatively and rationally)

A few days ago, another chapter of Students for Education Reform (SFER) disaffiliated from the national organization. According to the Teacher Under Construction blog, students at Loyola University notified SFER of this decision after concluding that SFER lacks transparency and promotes a pro-charter, pro-TFA, and overtly political* agenda. This follows on the heels of the DePaul and University of Chicago SFER chapters taking the same action a few months ago.

You can see the initial appeal of an organization like SFER on a college campus. The idealism that is necessary for aspiring teachers seeks connection. We WANT young people who are dedicated and idealistic and collaborative to become teachers and work to change the system. But we also want them to understand the system--with all its flaws and its potential--which cannot happen if they are simply working off a script, particularly when one of that script's chief authors is the Walton Foundation.

As a Loyola alum and Rogers Park resident, I was particularly grateful to read this news. Loyola students: join your neighbors at a Local School Council meeting, attend a community forum, or come to an RPNPS meeting. We don't always agree but we do welcome differing opinions and we are never on script.


*In their letter, Loyola students refer to the clear Democratic preference of the organization. As a spinoff of DFER, I thought this would have been obvious. At the same time, are Republicans and Democrats even discernible on this issue? We need a multi-partisan, not bi-partisan, dialogue.

1 comment:

  1. That's a positive letter; I read the whole thing. I'm going to start inviting these young people to more events; it would do them a world of good. I haven't really seen Loyola students at many local events where we've been talking to actual teachers, parents, and students in CPS. I know they were up at the Northside P.O.W.E.R. event last summer, but I was a little dismayed to see that their cause was the cost of the meal program at Loyola. It's a start, though.