"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Does The Global Citizen Think About

In life, it's important to ask questions. But even more important than that, it’s critical to ask the right questions, because if you don't ask the right question, the answer you get may be meaningless. This is especially true considering the subject of teacher accountability. The question currently being asked is, “Are teachers teaching students well enough to meet some standard?” In order to answer this question, Race To The Top has proposed a daunting series of assessments of student performance and plans to use those assessments as a measuring tool of teacher performance. Almost any study designer worth their weight will tell you that it is dangerous to use an associative value to determine another parameter’s actual value. Whether a child is learning the material is only partially attributable to how well the teacher is teaching it, but RTTP places an almost 1:1 correlation between the two.

Certainly, we all want to make sure our children are learning and don't want to discover when they graduate from public school that they have not learned anything that will either get them a job or into college. But there are very few parents out there who are lamenting, “My eighth grader can’t do a quadratic equation. What are they teaching at that school?” Yet that is lament RTTP is designed to answer.

The accountability parents are often looking for is; Is that teacher available before the big test in order to help answer my child's questions? Does that teacher belittle my child in front of the classroom? Does a teacher share his or her personal political beliefs with the class instead of teaching the subject material? Does the teacher lie to the students or bully them? Does the teacher refer to her students as parasites? Does the teacher play power games by telling students that their grade will be determined by whether the teacher likes the questions they ask, rather than by the actual work they do? Does the teacher require the students to participate in his/her pet projects as a part of their grade?

This type of accountability is almost never addressed and we therefore have teachers like the one at Parkway West Middle School who put this poster on her classroom door (it's been there for two years so far) without challenge, approval or explanation. A friend, who is also a teacher, passed this on to me because it bothered her so much. She was afraid to say anything at school since no one else had said anything, giving the impression of tacit approval.

How To Build A Global Community

Think of no one as "them"
Don't confuse your comfort with your safety
Talk to strangers
Imagine other cultures through their poetry and novels
Listen to music, you don't understand -- dance to it
Act locally
Notice the workings of power and privilege in your culture
Question consumption
Know how your lettuce and coffee are grown: wake up and smell the exploitation
Look for fair trade and union labels
Help build economies from the bottom up
Acquire few needs
Learn a second (or third) language
Visit people, places, and cultures -- not tourist attractions
Learn people's history -- redefine progress
Know physical and political geography
Play games from other cultures -- watch films with subtitles
Know your heritage
Honor everyone's holidays
Look at the moon and imagine someone else somewhere else looking at it too
Read the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Understand the global economy in terms of people, land, and water
Know where your bank banks
Never believe you have the right to anyone else's resources
Refuse to wear corporate logos: define corporate domination
Question military/corporate connections
Don't confuse money with wealth, or time with money
Have a pen/e-mail pal -- honor indigenous cultures
Judge governance by how well it meets all peoples’ needs
Be skeptical about what you read
Eat adventurously -- enjoy vegetables, beans and grains in your diet
Choose curiosity over certainty
Know where your water comes from and where your wastes go
Pledge allegiance to the earth; question nationalism
Think South, Central, and North -- there are many Americans
Assume that many others share your dreams
Know that no one is silent, but many are not heard
Work to change this

By Syracuse Cultural Workers Community, 2002. Bringing you their message since 1982. You really must visit their website. They have so much to offer. As opposed as they seem to be to corporate money grubbing, they are more than happy to take yours for all their products. This gem is available in bookmark and postcard form. Also available for purchase is the book We Want Freedom, a collection of memories of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia Black Panther who shot a police officer point blank and is currently serving a life sentence. The book gives the history of black liberation struggles. But then again, this teacher may merely be lending her support to fellow California union teachers who recently passed a resolution reaffirming their support for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Where is this teacher’s accountability for posting this tripe on her door? I keep asking this every time I meet a school board candidate, an education reformer or a school administrator. When will teachers be held accountable for this type of propagandizing? So far I have only been met with blank stares.

There are so many pearls of wisdom in this poster I can hardly pick my favorite one. Maybe you can share your favorite one in the comment section.

1 comment:

  1. We are the world
    We are the children....

    The underlying theme of this creed for one world nonsense.

    My "favorite"? "Know your heritage"

    My heritage is Caucasian, traditional family, heterosexual, Christian, libertarian, believe the capitalistic system provides freedom for people to propel themselves out of poverty. I believe the government is not authorized to provide the enormous social entitlements it is currently providing.

    I'm everything the globalists hate. They want to eradicate MY heritage. It's like the "coexist" bumper stickers. It's allowable to coexist as long as you coexist in the manner the government sets up for the kumbyah world.


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