Sign the Petition!

On May 23, 2011, the New York Times in a front page article reported that the Bloomberg administration had contracted to have tests developed that would add up to eight standardized tests per year for high school students on top of the Regents and a number of tests per year for elementary and middle school students. The tests sole purpose would be to evaluate teachers. This Bloomberg Administration initiative comes from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) agreement a year ago to allow up to 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on standardized tests of the children they teach. However, per the agreement, the UFT has the right to reject any testing regime. We teachers, members of the UFT, demand the UFT reject this new testing regime as harmful to the students and incapable of producing any accurate measure of teacher efficacy.

Sign here at change.org.

Advertisements

3 responses to “Sign the Petition!

  1. Jan. 19, 2011

    I am writing in opposition to the NYC DoE’s recent proposal to open a new selective high school, “Millennium Brooklyn HS,” in the John Jay High School Building – alongside the existing three schools, the Secondary Schools for Law, Journalism, and Research. This scheme is superfluous and wasteful. There is presently a surplus, not a shortage, of high school seats in the borough of Brooklyn. The Park Slope students, for whom this scheme is intended, are well able to apply to schools of their choosing throughout the city. If they wish to attend school close to home, they currently have the three excellent schools already residing in the John Jay Building from which to choose.

    Equally important, such a scheme would likely be severely detrimental to the lesser-privileged students who currently attend the three existing schools located at John Jay – the Secondary Schools for Law, Journalism, and Research.

    This proposal, as with so many of the Bloomberg-Klein-Black maneuverings to establish economic and other isolating school environments, flies in the face of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education United States Supreme Court Ruling which outlawed racial segregation of public schools. The NYC DoE must cease and desist in this scheme to impose upon African American and Other children-Of-color “a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”

    Plans for yet another high school, with artificial selection criteria, in the John Jay Building are inherently racist. Such a school would ensure that its population, like those of New York City’s other selective high schools, will be made up primarily of white students of greater economic means. The only motivation for this proposed maneuver is to prevent white children from having to attend school alongside children of color. Such a set-up would, as the Supreme Court pointed out in Brown, create among a large number of the student bodies a feeling of inferiority. In short, the Department would be sending those children the message that they are not good enough to attend the same school as their wealthier white counterparts.

    The implication underlying this scheme sends a racist message to the vast majority of those students, who work diligently to overcome the obstacles in their path. The separation-desires of students’ and parents’ of the Park Slope neighborhood, should be soundly rejected and this scheme shunted to the waste bin. The scheme would indulge the Park Slope parents’ biases by creating a monument to segregation and exclusion.

    The NYC DoE does not even have the pretext of poor performance. Recent graduates of the Secondary School for Research, for example, have attended various colleges, including Clark University, Columbia University, New York University, Williams College, etc.. These students have been awarded highly prestigious four-year full tuition college scholarships by the Posse Foundation, with two such awards this year alone.

    Even the NYC DoE’s most recent Quality Review Report (QRR) of the Secondary School for Research (SSR) was comparable to that for the original Millennium High School in Manhattan. The QRR also took note of SSR’s talented and dedicated teachers, reporting that “Every educator in the building has an extraordinary knowledge of the social and academic needs of each student, so that every learner feels valued and successful in an environment where learning is valued and celebrated.”

    To ditto another commenter: “Integration of the Secondary Schools would be beneficial to the existing students in those schools as well as students from Park Slope, because in the best educational environments, students learn not only from their teachers, but from each other. Spending time with people of diverse backgrounds gives us a greater understanding of the world we live in as well as an enhanced ability to empathize with the plight of others. One cannot help but wonder how social attitudes toward the poor might change if formerly sheltered students attended class alongside those born without the same advantages – those, for example, who excel in school despite caring for younger siblings because their parents work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Also, attending school with Park Slope residents would allow current students at the John Jay campus to feel embraced by the community where they go to school rather than rejected by it.”

    More than ever our youth, indeed this city and the nation sorely need integration and multi-cultural and multi-ethnic understanding.

    Sandra Rivers, MPH

  2. Next steps?

    Step 1: You keep “fighting” and “organizing” and “agitating” to create an even wider rift between the existing schools and the community.
    Step 2: The Millennium Brooklyn group moves into the building, and your schools get nothing because of the rift you’ve created by attacking the new program and demonizing the Park Slope community for wanting to have more appealing school options for their children.
    Step 3: Incidents and conflicts arise between Millennium Brooklyn students who are attacked by existing school students because of the furor and righteous indignation that this movement created. Principals and staff at existing schools take a “we-told-you-so” approach, again less than helpfully denying personal responsibility, and dig in deeper and deeper. These are the same people who have failed to attract support because they have not connected to their host community or been able to navigate the DOE political system successfully.
    Step 4: Recruitment efforts for the existing schools continue to fail, populations dwindle, and the existing schools are closed down over time. But not without changing the existing leadership at the schools, which has deflected all personal responsibility for being unable to attract resources claiming instead that they have been “victimized” by “the system.”
    Step 5: Millennium Brooklyn expands, and the Park Slope community regains its school building with plenty of space available for programs that want to be a part of the community.
    Step 6: Existing schools become a historical reference. A footnote at best.

  3. Mr. Curatore,

    As a teacher, I can respond to your post the best way I know how.

    I’ll use an example: If a student was studying the French Revolution and stated that the revolution really was just the Third Estate expanding the “rift” between the upper and lower classes and had no basis, I might mark in the notes that the student may want to take another look into the primary and secondary sources and look a little deeper for context. I advise the same to you. I would hate to think that you rest with such a superficial understanding of the situation. But of course, as with the students, it’s you who has the responsibility to look deeper and no one will force that on you. The teachers of the schools in the JJHS campus, we’ve read other responses by you to the Millennium Brooklyn issue and yet, we haven’t seen evidence of an effort to come into the building, come to the hearings, or understand the situation more than anyone can from their armchair. Your most recent response is blatantly racist and classist: in what sense will park slope “regain” their building, when in fact the building has been park slope’s since 1903. Why is the building not Park Slope’s now? I’d like to quote you:

    ‘Step 4: Recruitment efforts for the existing schools continue to fail, populations dwindle, and the existing schools are closed down over time. But not without changing the existing leadership at the schools, which has deflected all personal responsibility for being unable to attract resources claiming instead that they have been “victimized” by “the system.”’

    What do you know of our recruitment efforts? What do you know of the DOE budget for recruitment for schools? What do you know of our leadership’s claim of victimization? Instead of talking, perhaps start doing. Find out a little bit more before you make broad claims about the people who have been teaching and learning within the John Jay campus or, if you prefer, don’t.

    But if you choose not to, then perhaps you can help us all out by not continuing a feed of misinformation to the community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s