Saturday, May 17, 2014

School reform- when the people vote



As Newark voters just reminded us, educational sovereignty is not an abstraction–but a concrete necessity.  Parents know when their children are being denied, neglected, and abused. Teachers know when they are being used and discarded: their jobs are reduced to rote mouthpieces for profiteering edu-speak.  Children feel their futures being stolen from them.  They feel more alienated from schools, teachers, lesson plans, and standardized tests.  Baraka’s victory is about creating the educational climate–supported by larger goals of racial/ economic justice–that are required for thriving students.
There are many possibilities for Newark, as people now grapple with how to dismantle the state’s long term educolonial apparatus and return education decisions to Newark’s mayor, school board, parents, teachers, school employees and students.  (New Jersey was the first state to conduct school district takeover, and Newark has been state occupied since 1995.)  An assessment of the state’s vast bureaucratic obstacles begs the question: “How will Newark’s people regain control of their schools?”
Seth Sandronsky  and Michelle Renee Matison.


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