It is a sad fact that our Governor has chosen to go to war with those of us who have committed our life's work to educating children. We, the teachers of the East Williston Teachers' Association, feel strongly that the policies and initiatives this Governor supports are NOT in the best interest of the children or the community we serve.
The members of the East Williston Teachers' Association are wearing red, every Tuesday, to demonstrate our opposition to the corporate “reform” movement that is systematically attempting to destroy public education. We do not accept the rhetoric that public education in this country is broken or that American teachers and students are incapable of competing with their international peers. Under the guise of “reforming” education, corporations, in conjunction with politicians from both parties, have been working to pass legislation that imposes economically crippling unfunded mandates on public school districts. These corporations are making tens of millions of dollars on the backs of our children and colleagues, and we will no longer silently tolerate this behavior.
Different Paths to Privatization
Privatization takes many forms… High stakes testing, Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluation systems based on test scores, merit pay, the proliferation of charter schools, co-located schools, closing public schools because they were “failing”, staffing schools with Teach for America “teachers”, the property tax cap, unfunded state mandates, the stripping of collective bargaining rights. Each of these “reforms” makes corporate “reformers”, like Bill Gates, Walmart, and Pearson, huge sums of money which they then use to make contributions to politicians, like Governor Cuomo who will pass legislation allowing the cycle to continue. NONE of these “reforms” has ever been linked with increased student learning.
The EWTA’s Vision for a Robust Public Education System
The East Williston Teachers' Association imagines a public education system that truly serves the needs of a democratic society. It should be a system that endeavors to develop individuals who will be capable of assuming all the responsibilities of citizenship, by preparing students to be successful after graduation in either a career of their choice and/or further university study.
We believe that the government is constitutionally obligated to fund public education. Its obligation is to provide the funding so that every student may achieve their fullest potential. We know that state and federal governmental unfunded and underfunded mandates significantly reduce a school district’s ability to provide these opportunities to students by severely limiting a school board’s local control of these allocated governmental funds. Because, school board trustees are locally elected officials that represent the taxpayers in each community, we believe that those boards should be able to make the determination for how those taxpayer monies are spent.
Public schools must be able to offer rich, vibrant and diverse curricula that includes but is not limited to the following; art, music, foreign language, science, history, literature, civics, geography, mathematics, and physical education and class size must be kept small enough for students to be afforded individual and small group instruction. In addition, schools should offer a varied array of extracurricular activities that allow students to further explore their diversified interests and enables them to develop the skills necessary to work with others. All school buildings should have libraries that are staffed with certified library media specialists and resources that support student learning. Additionally, each school should be staffed with nurses, guidance counselors, school psychologists, and social workers, and additional professionals that can facilitate the medical and social needs of the students.
The EWTA believes that when parents, students, and teachers work together to demand that elected officials maintain, at a minimum, the above items in every public school the needs of each student, community, and society as a whole will be positively impacted.
Adapted from http://thepjsta.org/red4ed/
Meryl Fordin, writes to keep you informed of the happenings in the EWTA as well as in public education; the mundane to the insane.