“Why I SUPE”
Education is powerful.
Education and schools exist in the realities of our history, culture, and society. Throughout the history of this country, and still today, those in power have tried to suppress, restrict, and control education.
Our country is rife with poverty and food insecurity (especially for our children), wealth and income inequality, unemployment, underemployment, and unlivable wages. Zero tolerance policies feed the school to prison pipeline. School closures disproportionately impact poor, minority, and special needs students. Our cities and schools are victims of double and triple segregation.
I am one of the very fortunate few to have been born and raised in a family that was able to send me to both exclusive private schools and strong public schools because of our affluent zip code. I had 2-3 years of pre-school and early childhood education. I had a tremendous support system when it came time to take the SAT’s, ACT’s, and apply for college. Every child deserves these opportunities, regardless of who they are or where they live. We must not only increase our investment in public education, but also attack poverty and its devastating impact.
The current trends in educational policy to privatize public education perpetuate segregation and exacerbate inequalities. The actions pushed by the corporate “education reform” movement with their conservative and neo-liberal political ilk are backed by billionaire foundations like The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Broad Foundation, and The Walton Family Foundation. Groups with misleading names like Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Teach For America, and Students For Education Reform try to sell this corporate education reform package in a social justice ad campaign, saying their brand of corporate education reform follows the lead of the Civil Rights Movement, with complete disregard to what the Civil Rights Movement was really about and fought for. Their audacity makes me want to throw up.
Teachers and schools must prepare students for life and democracy, not work and capitalism; well rounded human beings, not worker bots trudging through their existence. Teachers and schools are not to blame for our society’s injustices and inequalities, and using data points, test scores, and a “free market” approach to punish them for it hurts everybody.
A young child’s imagination and humanity cannot be encapsulated in a test score. Standardized tests cannot measure if a student is curious. A test score will never reveal a child’s personal growth, or ability to overcome life’s hardships. How can you quantify love?
“Intelligence plus character, that is the true goal of education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.