Education Is A Human Right Not A Privilege

On February 16, 2016 the Tavis Smiley show hosted former Assistant Secretary of Education and current president of The Network For Public Education Diane Ravitch.

Below are quotes from the Tavis Smiley interview with Diane Ravitch.

Diane Ravitch:

“Standardized testing is the way of the privileged to maintain their privilege.”

“I want to be part of a new vision of education where we look at every child and say, “You have potential that we don’t even recognize and we’re gonna help you find that potential.”

“We’re not helping children by labeling them.”

Tavis Smiley, “Why in this country is education not a human right?” He noted that Jessie Jackson advocated for, “a Constitutional amendment that would guarantee every child in this country access to an equal high quality education.”

Diane Ravitch:

“It should be.”

“Education is the most important investment we can make in the future of this society. . . We’re a multicultural society, we have to educate all children we can’t just educate the privileged children.”

“The investment in brain power, the investment in thinking skills, critical thinking skills, that has to be spread across the spectrum to all children.”

“Every child deserves to have a high quality school within reach of them. They shouldn’t have to say well we’re going to close your neighborhood school, there’s a good school an hour away but you don’t have transportation to get there. That’s no choice at all.”

One of the leading and most notable advocates for education states categorically that education is a right that must be Constitutionally guaranteed.

She states that our children, all of our children, must receive an excellent education in their own neighborhoods, not bused to suburban schools.

She believes that every child has potential, gifts and talents, that go unrecognized in our current system of education.

Diane Ravitch believes in a system of education that trusts teachers to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of our children towards becoming knowledgeable, respectful, responsible citizens who know and understand that education is not a commodity but a necessity, a public responsibility.

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Spend To Educate Not Remediate

The Federal Register:

Application for New Awards; National Professional Development Program

Purpose of Program: The National Professional Development program, authorized by section 3131(c)(1)(C) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, awards grants on a competitive basis, for a period of not more than five years, to institutions of higher education or public or private entities with relevant experience and capacity, in consortia with State educational agencies or local educational agencies.

The purpose of these grants is to provide professional development activities that will improve classroom instruction for English learners and assist educational personnel working with such children to meet high professional standards, including standards for certification and licensure as teachers who work in language instruction educational programs or serve ELs.

Estimated Available Funds: The Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, would provide, on an annualized basis, $735,998,203, of which we intend to use an estimated $20,000,000 for this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $350,000-550,000.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $450,000.
Maximum Award: $550,000 per year.
Estimated Number of Awards: 44.

Applications for New Awards; Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Purpose of Program: The McNair Program awards discretionary grants to institutions of higher education for projects designed to provide disadvantaged college students with effective preparation for doctoral study.

Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $900,000,000 for the Federal TRIO Programs for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $40,000,000 for McNair awards.

Estimated Range of Awards: $226,600 to $378,783.
Estimated Average Size of Awards: $243,589.

Our federal government is asking us to approve the spending of $60 million dollars to teach teachers how to teach and prepare disadvantaged college students for doctoral college courses.

When we provide every child in America with a developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, respectful, actively engaged citizens of these United States, it will not be necessary to spend educational tax dollars on professional development for individuals who have already received their college education or on preparing individuals to receive their doctoral degrees.

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Governor To Governor

Fully fund Foundation Aid for New York’s public schools
By Eliot Spitzer, Commentary Published 4:27 pm, Wednesday, February 15, 2017

“. . . the formula has been chronically underfunded. As a result, New York is now in the company of states like Mississippi and Georgia where, year-in and year-out, funding formulas are consistently ignored to the detriment of students.

And today, a decade later, as a consequence, we see in far too many schools the same conditions that led to the CFE lawsuit in the first place.

That’s why I am especially disappointed that the current budget proposal would eliminate the Foundation Aid formula entirely and, with it, the $4.3 billion still owed under the formula to our schools.

The lack of funding means that, across New York, we will continue to see the glaring educational deficits we intended to address through funding the Foundation Aid formula. Elementary-grade classes are crowded with 30 students or more. Schools lack enough specialized teachers for English language learners. Guidance counselors serve 400 to 800 students, leaving little opportunity for individualized attention for students. School libraries operate with reduced hours. Summer school classes and tutoring are in short supply for students who have fallen behind and are at risk of dropping out.

New York can and must do better. We all now acknowledge that as a moral, constitutional and economic imperative we have to invest properly in the education of our children. Yet today we still are not providing children with what they are entitled to and deserve — the opportunity for a “sound basic education.”

Our children are entitled to and deserve an excellent education.

Our governments, local, state, and federal, have denied the children of America the right to an excellent education that is developmentally appropriate, founded in the Arts, and experiential, an education that concentrates on discovering, developing and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, respectful, actively engaged citizens who vote on the issues not with the party.

It is time that we, the people of the United States, fight for our children and against the ignorance that keeps us under corporate control.

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The Truth Be Told

Justine Josue wrote an article for The Osprey a Long Island news publication, titled, “Patchogue-Medford School District Finds New Success in Increased Playtime”.

In that article she reported,

“Disciplinary referrals in the Patchogue-Medford school district have been cut in half after five months under the Whole Child Development program, Dr. Michael Hynes, superintendent of the district, said. . .

“Classes have access to “The Imagination Station” and “The Wonder Room,” rooms with open spaces and toys such as Lincoln Logs, LEGO and giant foam blocks. Teachers use these rooms for play and lessons. . .

“Forty percent of school districts nationwide have reduced recess in an attempt to have students in class longer for higher standardized test scores, according to the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play. This decline of playtime alarmed The American Academy of Pediatrics. They responded by releasing the policy statement “The Crucial Role of Recess in School,” which concluded that recess was necessary for social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.”

The Patchogue-Medford school district is a small district on Long Island New York. It is 4% Black, 37% Hispanic and 55% White. Only 38% of the student population is eligible for free lunch and only 9% are eligible for reduced lunch. This is a fairly affluent district.

Patchogue-Medford is a K-12 district that has a student population of 7,66l students with 525 teachers and 118 paraprofessionals.

It is evident that this district has the opportunity to provide an “out of the box” education to its students because of its population and wealth. This is a district that does not depend on federal or state aid to operate successfully therefore they are not pressured by the government to adhere to the system of education that is designed for and designated to impoverished districts.

It is evident that the children of the wealthy receive a more comprehensive and engaging education than the children of the poor. Not because there is not enough money to provide an excellent education to all children but because the government uses funding to control the system of education delivered to impoverished districts that perpetuates poverty.

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The Truth In The Truth

On February 3, 2017, Steven Singer published this article in the Huffington Post: U.S. Public Schools Are Not Failing. They’re Among The Best In The World

In that article he states,
“Living in poverty reduces your access to health care, books, early childhood education and many other factors that increase learning throughout your life. Children from poor families are already more than a year behind those of rich parents on the first day of kindergarten. If you only test the wealthiest students, the average test score will probably be quite high. The average score will drop dramatically if you test all of your students. . .”

Living in poverty does not reduce access to health care, books, or early childhood education as these things are given freely to those considered impoverished. Children from poor families are considered a year behind those of rich parents because the system judges children on the financial prowess of their parents, not on their level of intelligence; the rich create the norm by which all are judged.

Mr. Singer ends his article,
“As ever, far-right politicians on both sides of the aisle, whether they be Democratic Neoliberals or Republican Tea Partiers, are using falsehoods about our public schools to sell an alternative. They say our public schools are beyond saving and that we need to privatize. They call it school choice but it’s really just an attempt to destroy the system that has so much going for it. We should strengthen public education not undermine it. We should roll up our sleeves and fix the real problems we have, not invent fake ones.”

In this he is correct. Politicians and corporations are using fear and mistruths to maintain and increase their profits. However, they do not want to destroy the current system of public education but want to maintain its discriminatory and dehumanizing practices to perpetuate the ignorance that supports their profits.

We should roll up our sleeves and demand that every child in America receive an excellent education that creates the critically thinking adult who can recognize a lie and not be controlled by fear.

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We Must Lead By Example

This message was sent in an e-mail by Metro Justice:

“On March 4, students, teachers, parents and community members across New York State will come together for the People’s March for Education Justice.

As we continue to defend the institution of public education from federal attacks by Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos, we march to defend that same institution here in New York. The public investment Governor Cuomo proposes in his education budget this year is woefully inadequate and falls way short of being equitable. It will negatively impact our most vulnerable students from early child care to higher education all across the state. Black, brown, immigrant, refugee, low-income, LGBTQIA, English Language Learners, homeless students and students with disabilities, are worthy of an investment that will meet their needs not deny them opportunities to be successful. . .”

Every child in America is worthy of an excellent education that does not discriminate, separate, normalize, standardize or dehumanize them with labels that define their physical attributes while ignoring their humanity.

“We march to demand that Governor Cuomo finally fully funds the $4.3 billion owed to public statewide as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity including the $170 million owed to Monroe County . . .”

Education justice will not occur by pouring money into a failing system of education that perpetuates the notion that success is determined by the amount of money one has and not the integrity and righteousness one exhibits.

Justice, not only in education but in all aspects of our society, will be achieved when we stand firm and demand that all of America’s children receive an education that is developmentally appropriate, Arts based, and experiential. An education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents all children possess towards becoming knowledgeable, actively engaged citizens who understand physical attributes are not relevant to success or failure but the human factors of self-respect and respect for others are those that will insure our success as a nation.

An excellent education for all children will secure our position as world leaders, leading the world towards peace.

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We Want Because We Waste

The Federal Register:

Applications for New Awards; State Personnel Development Grants Program

Purpose of Program: The purpose of this program, authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is to assist State educational agencies in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational, and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.

Absolute Priority 1—Effective and Efficient Delivery of Professional Development

Absolute Priority 2—State Personnel Development Grants

Type of Award: Discretionary grants.
Estimated Available Funds: The Administration has requested $41,630,000 for the SPDG program for FY 2017, of which we intend to use an estimated $24,350,000 for this competition.

Estimated Range of Awards: $500,000-$2,100,000 . . . awards will be not less than $80,000.

Estimated Number of Awards: 25.

We are spending nearly $42 million dollars to educate adults in the education of children with disabilities when those adults received that education in college.

Fewer than half of the State Education Agencies supported by the government will receive these awards.

The purpose of this program is to improve results for children with disabilities yet these children will not receive the benefit of the $41 plus millions, adults will. Adults who graduated from high school and college to become Special Education teachers.

Projects funded under this program must:
(a) Budget for a three-day project directors’ meeting in Washington, DC, during each year of the project;

(b) Budget $4,000 annually for support of the SPDG Program Web site currently administered by the University of Oregon

How could a three day meeting in Washington and a web site improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities?

“There is at least one study of the effectiveness of the process, product, strategy, or practice being proposed that meets the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Standards

If these standards already exist and must be adhered to why is it necessary to spend $41 million dollars to have SEA’s repeat work that has already been done?

Research shows that a developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education that discovers and develops the gifts and talents of our children works.

Anything less is a waste of money.

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