After The Fourth

In declaring our independence from the British, the leaders of our country found themselves in the unique position of growing a new country, America.

They took their knowledge and understanding of politics and monarchical rule and determined that they wanted a form of government that was controlled by the people. They decided that the people should determine what was best for themselves in their country. They learned about self governance from the Five Nations and drafted a document that clearly stated their vision for America’s future.

To actually read the document and to know and understand the grievances the colonists had with the King, we find that, though stated in the vernacular of the times, the He, referencing the King, could easily be replaced by It, referring to the corporate dollar.

When Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, his vision was of a strong united America.

Thomas Jefferson also knew that in order for the people to govern themselves they had to be educated. He understood that a great many difficult decisions must be made in order to create the America it could and should be.

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.” Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson also said, “I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness.”

He said this on August 13, 1786 and more than two hundred years later we do not have a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing American children the right to an excellent, free, public and child centered education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of all children.

We are no longer ruled by a king, today we are controlled by the corporate dollar.

Freedom begins with education and our children deserve to be educated so they can be free.

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Independence Day

Independent: Not subject to control by others, self-governing, not affiliated with a larger controlling unit.

Free: Having the legal and political rights of a citizen, enjoying civil and political liberty, enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination, enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another, not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Our children have suffered for too long.

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One Small Step Makes One Huge Statement

Resolution No 2012-13:763
Resolution to terminate Rochester City School District participation in the District-Charter Compact

RESOLVED, that the Rochester City School District will no longer participate in the District-Charter Compact; and be it further
RESOLVED, that any agreement which commits District resources to charter school operators or their agents, except for statutory requirements, will require approval of the full Rochester City School District Board of Education.
Seconded by Member of the Board Commissioner Elliott
Adopted 6-1 with Commissioner Elliott dissenting.

While this resolution doesn’t close the door on corporate influence in education, it acknowledges that its foot is in the door.

Saying “No” to the influx of charter and private schools that are systematically destroying public schooling while they continue to mis-educate our children in their process is an important stand for any school district.

Though the Board approved this resolution, it also approved the hiring of three more Central Office administrators costing $316,000 in salary alone. That brings the cost of Central Office administration additions to approximately three quarters of a million dollars with benefits.

It is also unfortunate that the district continues to play the “Summer School” game, principals recommending their favorite teachers for summer school employment, parents placing their children in summer school to avoid day care costs throughout the summer, the district trying to increase their graduation rate by pushing “boarder-line” students over the edge of failure to be included in a “false positive” data report on the number of students we prepared for life.

It is important to continue to fight and win the small battles in education like Resolution 763 and it is also important to maintain a proper perspective on the amount of failure we experience in this district.

To maintain an archaic system of education that has been proven to fail the majority of our children is inefficient and ineffective.

We have begun the battle to end the corporate influence in education. Now we must take the steps necessary to provide an excellent, child centered, public education to All of our children, in Rochester and in our nation.

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More From The Machine

“INTERGENERATIONAL LONG TERM EFFECTS OF PRESCHOOL – STRUCTURAL ESTIMATES FROM A DISCRETE DYNAMIC PROGRAMMING MODEL”

This is the title of Working Paper 19077, published by James J. Heckman, Department of Economics, The University of Chicago and Lakshmi K. Raut, Social Security Administration, for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“The paper finds that a tax financed free preschool program for the children of poor socioeconomic status generates positive net gains to the society in terms of average earnings and higher inter-generational earnings and schooling mobility.”

This is the guise covered by the truth that the earlier we begin to educate our children the better it will be for everyone. Again, convincing us of what we already know.

However, in removing the cover of the truth, we expose the lie that everyone will benefit from their form of preschool education. In fact, only those investing in the system will benefit from it and the poor and disadvantaged are not investors in the system, they are not counted among the benefactors.

In fact, as of 1991, the data used to formulate this paper no longer included poor and disadvantaged whites in their survey groups, further expanding the racial disparities within their system of education.

The paper juxtapositions two studies done on early childhood education, the High Scope/Perry Preschool Program, of which the authors say, “the participants in these programs are not representative of the US population” and the Federally funded Head Start Program, of which the authors say, “the benefits disappear for black children because most of the Head Start black children attend low quality public schools.”

Given their research and data, the estimated gain in educational success is less than 7% of the population of children attending public school.

While the paper supports guaranteeing the right to a public education is says nothing about the fact that the current system of education is not only ineffective and inefficient, it is unequal and unjust.

The only way to insure our children receive an excellent education is by providing a child centered system of education to ALL of America’s children.

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Their Words And Their Actions Speak Failure

“DOE prides itself as operating like a business, but there is no corporation or organization that would fail to evaluate the performance of its top executives. Instead, the educrats at Tweed are more like a petty dictatorship, whose workings are so dysfunctional and mismanagement so extreme that they would have been fired years ago, if there was any accountability at the top.” This statement was made by Leonie Haimson in her blogpost, NYC Public School Parents.

Unfortunately, our system of education is being run exactly like a business in that the bottom line for any business is profits and in the field of education, when you’re dealing with secured public funds, taxes, insuring profitability is completely different.

For any government agency, the loss of funding guarantees additional funding while the decrease in need translates to a decrease in funding. Ergo, failure fuels funding.

From a business standpoint, this is a win, win situation. The only way to insure profits is to insure failure, and the more failure achieved, the higher the profit ratio.

So, while Ms. Haimson is correct from a business point of view, politically, our system of education must fail in order to insure a profitable return on their investment in education.

The reality is, without the Constitutional guarantee of every child’s right to an excellent, child centered, public education, the corporate dollar can buy the educational systems of every State, charter by charter, forcing the educational failure of America’s children.

Ms. Haimson is correct, this is a dictatorship, however their business acumen is faultless. They are not only making money now, they have been making money from this system for hundreds of years and their system of education guarantees profits and a workforce that will be complacent and easily controlled with artificial rewards and irrelevant consequences, well into the future.

It is time we stop the corporate machine from controlling the education and destiny of our children.

Our children deserve an excellent child centered, public education to be free to determine their own destiny and that of humanity.

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You Get Out What You Put In

Superintendent Vargas recently announced the rehiring of three administrators to the district.

These three positions will cost the district approximately $400,000 in salary and benefits.

These three positions could have supported ten teaching positions used to lower class size at the early childhood and/or elementary level.

The RSCD currently has one administrator for every ten students and one teacher for every eleven students.

The $400,000 dollars could have supported fifteen paraprofessional positions lowering the classroom adult:student ratio at the early childhood and/or elementary level.

The New York State Report Card states that the Rochester City School District met AYP requirements for Elementary/Middle School Participation in ELA, Math, and Science only.

The attendance rate dropped 1% for the 2010-11 school year with suspensions down 2%.

As of October 2011, the Rochester City School District reports the Special Ed Classification Rate is 17.7%, nearly 5% higher than the State average while pupil expenditure differs by $925.

Our reported 4 year graduation rate is 50% and 5 year graduation rate is 56% with our drop-out rate at 15%.

Hiring more administrators to determine how to make a failing system of education work is an inefficient and ineffective expenditure of funds when research shows that a child centered system of education that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the gifts and talents of our children is the only way to effect educational success for all children.

Lowering class size or at the very least, the adult:student ratio is a more efficient and effective method of insuring educational success.

If our current leaders are ignorant of this then they should not be leading. If they are aware of this and choose not to acknowledge or ignore the most current, relevant research concerning child development and learning, then they should not be leading.

In either case, the community must come together and put an end to the failure this district has been experiencing for decades. We must elect leaders who appoint leaders who are not only knowledgeable, but have the integrity to make decisions that will lead to the educational success of our children and not the financial wealth of corporations.

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Words And Meaning

Integrity: Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. The quality or state of being complete or undivided.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Currently we are sending our children some very mixed messages. We tell them bullying is wrong when they see adults bullying other adults regularly.

We tell them that God is all powerful when we allow money to empower the wealthy.

We tell them that they should not lie while we lie in front of them, to them, about them, and because of them.

We tell them that a person is nothing without integrity while showing no unity of purpose other than failure.

We have lost our firm adherence to our moral values and we are no longer a complete and undivided people and our children are suffering because of our lack of integrity.

Truth: Fidelity, constancy; sincerity in action, character, and utterance.

It is not difficult to tell the truth because your words do not waiver nor do they contradict what you choose to do.

Our children hear us say one thing but see us do another. We say we love them but we allow them to suffer in a system of education that has wrought nothing but failure for decades.

We say we would change the system if we could, when we can, but we don’t.

Honor: Good name or public esteem; a showing of usually merited respect.

Though respect is always deserved, honor is not. Everything that God creates deserves respect, but honor must be earned.

Our children do not honor us because we have not earned a place of honor in their hearts. We have not shown them the respect they deserve and we have not shown ourselves respect by having integrity and being truthful.

Adults are role models for all children. They emulate our behaviors and adopt our coping strategies.

We must begin to model the values we desire in our society, integrity and truth, so that our children will honor us and they will grow to be honored by their children.

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Reading is Comprehension

Ignorance: Lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.

Stupidity: Given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner.

Evil: Morally reprehensible, causing discomfort or repulsion, causing harm, marked by misfortune.

The ignorance of our elected leaders concerning education has led to the stupidity that has caused an evil system of education to lay hold of the structure of education creating the failure necessary to insure the profits of the corporations that have purchased our educational sytem.

Each year we send our children to be indoctrinated into this evil system and expect them to survive the disconnected, spiritually absent, deliverance of information that is not only irrelevant to their environment and existence but developmentally inappropriate for their age and understanding.

At the end of each year we tell more than half of these children that they have failed to meet the requirements for passing out of this evil system that has told them all of their educational career that they are somehow deficient in the abilities necessary to be successful.

These are children, they did not create the system of education they are forced into, nor did they have any say or consideration in its creation, yet they are considered the failures.

The impetus for moving to a K-8 system was not done with the child in mind. The reason, when students drop out before Ninth grade they are not counted in the graduation rate cohort for that year thereby increasing the graduation rate and the rate of incarceration.

If we continue to accept the failure of our leaders in education to provide an excellent education to all of America’s children, then we perpetuate the ignorance that leads to the stupidity that allows an evil system of education to indoctrinate our children into accepting a life marked by misfortune.

We must eradicate the evil from education.

We must stand together and fight to change the system of education so that all of our children will not just graduate but move forward towards a successful life as a loving, respectful, caring adult.

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Won By Won

Victories are being won throughout the realm of education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is allowing States to try out their own student evaluation systems and parents in New York are suing Education Commissioner John King.

Though we are seeing areas of capitulation, the fact remains that our current system of education does not concentrate on the gifts and talents of every child and until the focus of education is redirected, we will still see failure.

First the system of education was designed to educate only the elite. It failed.
Then, education was only offered to Caucasians. It failed.
Segregation created separate systems of education. It failed.
Separate but Equal failed and what we have now is failing.

All of these educational systems were and have always been influenced and manipulated by the corporate dollar.

It has only been through the voice of the people that any changes have occurred and the same holds true today.

Our collective voice is making a difference. As we unite across the country, parents, students, teachers, and community members are speaking out about the injustices within the system of education.

The larger American community is beginning to realize that there is so much wrong with our current system that it cannot be fixed but must be changed.

Our children are our most precious gifts and once we instill love in them they will continue in that love and spread it wherever they go.

Once we teach our children how wonderful they are they will see how wonderful everyone is and respect will spread throughout the country to the world.

Once our children know that everyone has a gift and is talented, they will be able to recognize the ability of everyone to make this world a better place for all.

We are making a difference but we cannot stop to revel in our victories. We must fight harder to actually change education and not settle for trying to fix it.

Our children deserve a better life and a better world and it is up to us, as adults, to fight for both.

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Expectations and Realizations

As another school year comes to an end the community will see more and more children playing in the neighborhood even though school does not officially end until June 25.

Though Superintendent Vargas sent a letter to all staff saying that he expects teaching and learning to continue until the last day of school, the reality is the last day of school was the last day of testing.

The last two weeks of school the school community is involved with Kindergarten graduations, Moving-up ceremonies, Eighth grade, and High school graduations.

Any students who return to school after they have graduated or moved up will be put to work helping teachers tear down their rooms, pack up their belongings, and move out of the school for the summer.

This archaic routine has been carried out year after year in public schools across the country for decades.

Why do teachers have to pack up everything and move out of their room and school each year?

Why do students believe that once tests are over, learning is over?

Why does the administration say one thing when they know just the opposite will happen and nothing will be done to correct the situation?

Every day we tell our children that education is important but we show them that it isn’t by reducing their education to data bits and sound bytes, irrelevant textual blurbs, and dissatisfying work assignments.

We tell children that bullying is wrong yet they see the adults in their environment being bullied by other adults and so they emulate our behavior.

Every year in education we begin by saying “We must raise graduation rates.” Every year we see more failure. Every year we continue to provide the same failing system of education to our children while expecting success.

This is insanity!

We must adopt and promote an attitude of respect for everyone in the system of education.

Our leaders in education must lead by example.

We must change our reality to match our expectations of success for our children.

A child centered education is the way.

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