Sunday, January 30, 2011

Save Our Schools March - who we are, part 1.

Last Sunday, January 23, I introduced you to Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action, where I told you that

For the future of our children,
we demand the following . . .

* Equitable funding for all public school communities

* An end to high stakes testing for student, teacher, and school evaluation

* Teacher and community leadership in forming public education policies

and that the date of the event was July 28-31, 2011.

Starting today, I will begin to introduce you to some of the key people organizing the event, and explain why we are committing our time and energy to this important effort to save our schools.

Today I would like you to meet Katherine Cox.

From our About page you can learn that

Katherine McBride Cox, who grew up in Louisiana, initially began her career as a college English instructor. She recently retired after 35 years as an educator in Arizona where she was a classroom teacher, an elementary principal, and a high school principal. She developed a nationally recognized career education program for 5th and 6th graders called Window on the World. She taught self-contained gifted students for eight years and later worked with at-risk middle school students. She also served as an instructional coach, coaching other teachers. She serves on the Information Coordination Committee and the Blogging/Social Networking Sub-Committee.

I asked Katherine why she was volunteering in this effort. She told me the following:

When No Child Left Behind was passed, I was not as wise as others.

Arizona is one of the most poorly funded states in the nation as far as K-12 education goes. I was glad that we would be getting additional monies.

It took me awhile to see that we had made a pact with the devil. Standards actually were lowered because the state had to make the new state tests easier year after year in order to get enough students to graduate. The tests became meaningless, yet schools were ranked according to their test scores.

In order to get the excelling label, principals were telling teachers to drill and kill on the subjects tested – reading, math and writing – and to neglect science, social studies, p.e. and the arts. In the past, at least 75% of our students were on grade level or better. Now I could see that the top 75% of our students were getting a worse education than these students had received before NCLB.

As a high school principal, I could see a train wreck heading down the track. If freshmen had not had 4th grade geology – the rock cycle, including sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock or 5th grade human body systems -- were we supposed to introduce these concepts for the first time to freshmen in biology and physical science classes?

Learning became tedious for students and teachers alike. No longer were we attempting to ignite fires in the minds of our students. I ended up retiring in December of 2009 and set up my website, In the Trenches with School Reform.

I began following teacherken on Daily Kos, as well as bloggers such as Anthony Cody, Nancy Flanagan, and Valerie Strauss. I continually said in my blog – I’m tired of talk. Others like me have been talking and explaining for years. It’s time to take action.

Anthony Cody and Victoria Young made contact with me and eventually I was asked to join this group. I was delighted to be asked to help.

I had spent 35 years as a teacher and principal trying to make our schools better and better. For a long time, I believe I succeeded. After NCLB came along, it seemed that my life’s work had been for nothing. Everything I had helped build was dismantled. For what? I knew that we had fallen into the rabbit hole where everything is upside down and nothing makes sense.

I’m in this battle to take our schools back and make them better. But first we must wrestle them away from the likes of the Michelle Rhees and Bill Gates of the world – and the grip of the federal government.

Katherine is just one those dedicated to the well-being our our students and health of our public schools who has stepped up to the challenges we face.

We ask that you join us in supporting Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action, July 28-31.

You can see who has endorsed us (and there you can find out how YOU can endorse us)

You can contribute to help us.

See how YOU can help us in this effort.

Thanks for reading.

Please consider helping let others know about this effort.

Help us Save Our Schools.



xPert said...

Thanks for posting, this is really what we all need to know, i am sure these points can bring a good change in the community, i am also working on character education aspects and will come up with my work soon.

Unknown said...

I really liked this posting. It is so important that we step up and take back our schools. It amazes me how the government can continue to cut education funding and yet expect so much out of the teachers and the students. Especially since schools do not have enough funding to supply all the students with the materials they need to learn. It is important that teachers take a stand and do what they can to change things.