Time for a Rosa Parks Moment
I have to say goodbye to my TheTentacle.com readers until April, or if successful, November 2016. I have decided to run for the Frederick County Board of Education. It had been my intention to watch from the sidelines and share my opinions on the candidates and issues, as I saw them.
I believe the three current members of the school board who are up for re-election this year, though good people, should not be re-elected. They have a proven track record of not fighting for parents, students, education and local control. I believe the known candidates all, but maybe one, will continue to do little to stop the outside interference in local matters.
People I would vote for may or may not run.
I can’t sit when I can stand.
Last week at the Frederick County Public Schools “CommUNITY Forum on Education” my decision was solidified. There were 50 public participants, but only 4 or 5 were parents.
The panel was made up of respected members of the community. Two glaring absences, the two most important members of any event discussing public education and its future: parents and teachers. There was NO parent representation. The Frederick County Public Schools’ teacher of the year was there, but her view is singular. Melissa Dirks, president of the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA) was in the audience. I may not see eye-to-eye with the FCTA, but I fully support their right to be part of any discussion on education.
What I heard was the same rhetoric about “college and career” readiness. What that means, how we achieve it, test scores, technology, resources and what every discussion devolves to a single subject: money.
The solutions always boil down to the money. How’s that working out for us?
I came away feeling as I always do: discouraged, disrespected, unheard and unwanted.
At the beginning of the event FCPS Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban reported that she meets quarterly with the business community. Quarterly! Where is this level of engagement with parents? When is someone going to ask us what “we” see as the problems and solutions? When is someone going to ask us what we believe should be taught?
Common Core and PARCC are here because they were rushed in, and no one included the parents whose children are currently the victims of developmentally inappropriate, untested guidelines (they are NOT true standards) and test questions Ph.D.’s struggle with. Maryland State Department of Education had 92 meetings, NONE with parents. FCPS knew they were coming, but felt no obligation to inform parents.
So, here we are crying for more money, more psychologists and more technology because we can’t afford it. It’s stressing our children and the teachers while narrowing the learning and collecting gobs of personal and psychological data to share with the highest bidder.
It’s “baloney” and everyone knows it. Instead of having the backbone to do the right thing, they wag the dog of low salary and wages, praying you don’t ask about the actual academics and enrichment.
Everyone currently in control of education – administrators, politicians, bureaucrats, corporate reformers and bored philanthropists – need to take five giant steps back because they are a huge part of the problem.
When we stop treating our children as commodities whose only value is utilitarian, we will begin to see positive changes in education.
We need to end the corprification and testing culture that has narrowed what we teach in the classroom. Our children get less while the creators of Common Core’s children attend fully enriched, non-standardized tested classrooms. They’ve devalued the skills of teachers and shoved the parent into a closet only to be let out when it’s time for a bake sale. It’s only a matter of time before we are both completely removed.
Board of Education members can free the teachers, restore joy and “real” learning. I want to be one of those. I want a school system that serves the student, not how the student serve the system.
Our children deserve better from us. If bureaucrats want to measure our children, let them gather our report cards and compile the data. The stress should be on them, not our children, not our teachers and certainly not our budgets.
Our Board of Education has the authority to stand up and say “no more.” It’s time for Frederick to stand up, it’s our Rosa Parks moment. We can do what’s right, or we can do what’s easy. How long will we settle for the back of the bus?
I hope you’ll follow, and stand with me. It’s time to take our responsibilities to our children back.