July has been a slow month for blogging. This isn’t because I don’t have a lot to say, quite the opposite really, but I’ve been so busy transitioning to a new job that it has been difficult to keep abreast of my writing. That said, I’ve come very close to saying a few things about the various articles and blogs I’ve been reading recently. There’s one thing in particular I wanted to say in reference to the unsolicited advice of Joel Klein, former NYC schools chancellor. Read here.
“The Success schools are performing at the same level as NYC’s gifted and talented schools that select kids based solely on rigorous tests.”
-1.) where’s the data? 2.) based on what metric? 3.) can you please be more specific?
-if the low-income, minority children actually performed “at the same level” as the students at NYC’s most selective schools, don’t you think there would be a uproar from the wealthier parents? Based on my experience living and working in NYC and speaking with classmates who went to such selective schools, I highly doubt the social order of New York would tolerate such sub-par performance from the “top” schools. If disadvantaged kids are truly matching the more privileged ones, then either the top schools are complacent or the low-income children are geniuses. In the case of the former, the wealthy are getting ripped off- this is a bit absurd. If we can then turn to the latter, these child prodigies deserve to be in the best schools- given that they’ve succeeded despite the many additional challenges.
“During the eight years I served as chancellor of New York City’s public schools, the naysayers and the apologists for the status quo kept telling me “we’ll never fix education in America until we fix poverty.”
I always thought they had it backward, that “we’ll never fix poverty until we fix education.” Let me be clear. Poverty matters: Its debilitating psychological and physical effects often make it much harder to successfully educate kids who grow up in challenged environments. And we should do everything we can to ameliorate the effects of poverty”
-Mr. Klein, with all due respect, please stop with the straw man* arguments! Critics of people who are skeptical of the current direction of education reform absolutely LOVE to dismiss all arguments by setting up this simple tactic I first encountered in college. in 2012, no one^ is going to credibly say: “poor kids can’t learn.” The quickest way to “win” an argument against the likes of a Diane Ravitch or Randi Weingarten, for example, is to claim they believe poor kids can’t learn and therefore are evil women who want to protect the status quo. Maybe they do want to protect the status quo in some form (perhaps with sound logic), but this type of argument is NOT the way to demonstrate this. Joel Klein is merely using a logical fallacy to feign acknowledgment of an opposing perspective, while actually only seeking to further bolster his own point of view. C’mon now- say it ain’t so, Joel!
We desperately need to engage in intelligent debate if we are ever going to make progress for the benefit of all children- not just a select(ed) few. I’m hoping Teach For America’s new blog, Pass the Chalk, will contribute to the goal of fostering an open dialogue; right now, it’s more of an echo chamber cleverly designed to channel readers away from the most popular blog on this site (that of Gary Rubinstein). When everyone is entitled to not just their own opinions, but also their own facts, society suffers. As for me, I refuse to take sides in the ongoing debate, but I hope to take part in constructive communication that results in real change for the children and the communities I serve. If you ain’t about that life, you need to find somewhere else to make a profit.
Stay tuned. ~The ARBritter
*Def. a sham argument set up to be defeated.
^certain members of the GOP might, but I can’t vouch for those geniuses.