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What I Learned at NBC’s Education Nation Summit

Thank you, Teacher Brian Jones for sharing your lessons from your NBC debate. Your reflections demonstrate the higher order analytical critical thinking skills that the privatized charter school models (i.e. teach-to-the-test/rote learning) are pushing out of our classroom pedagogy.

For full article, click: What I Learned at NBC’s Education Nation Summit

Excerpted text:

“Waiting for ‘Superman’ ” paints Canada as a kind of educational Chuck Yeager — the pilot who first broke the sound barrier. So he seemed particularly incensed that I brought up the fact that after New York’s test scores were re-scaled last year, only 38 percent of his students in Harlem Children’s Zone 1 fell within the benchmark for “proficient” reading ability. Canada tried to change the subject to the better scoring Harlem Children’s Zone 2.

But even if we assume that he’s doing something wonderful, then we have to ask the question: what does it take to do that something wonderful? Apparently it takes the kind of wrap-around services that Canada aspires to provide his students from the cradle to graduation, such as health care. And, we should note, it apparently takes tens of millions of dollars.

Yet, while taking large checks from Wall Street on one hand, Canada insists that “it’s not about resources” on the other.

I argued that wealthy people, who spend five figures on their own children’s education, insist on small classes, beautiful facilities, and experienced teachers. I mentioned that the Harlem Children’s Zone flagship building on 125th Street is beautiful, and that all children deserve such attractive surroundings.

Canada countered that his highest performing school is in a building with no windows. Then why, I wonder, does he need $20 million for new construction, especially when Harlem has the lowest school utilization rate in the city? Still, Canada insisted, “It’s the not the building that drives teaching, it’s what’s going on inside those classrooms; not whether or not kids have a window to look out of, which ours don’t.”

Here we have a message honed to perfection… for the wealthy: the unions are the problem; the teachers need to be cheaper; give me money now for a few beautiful schools that can help break the unions and open up the education market; but don’t worry, we don’t want too much; we certainly don’t want what your children have.

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