Hostile Takeover San Antonio Schools?

Will El Chicano arise in the face of the dismantling of public schools?
It's not really a question of hostile anymore, is it? In spite of research showing how ineffective charter schools are, politicians and corrupt superintendents are working hard to tear public schools apart. I'm reminded of my time in East Texas when the Anglo teachers had discovered the dark-skinned children flooding their schools. Pilgrim's chicken plants employed Mexican immigrants, and their children were entitled to an education. The problem was, it had to take place next to the blue-eyed, blonde-haired children in East Texas schools like Brice Elementary.
The House Committee on Public Education Interim Report, for example, includes information about charters’ funding advantages over districts; the need for expanded public notice about charter expansion; and charter schools’ ability to exclude certain students. In addition, data from the Legislative Budget Board highlight that charter funding has doubled over five years to about $3 billion. While charters currently enroll 6 percent of students, they receive one-sixth of all state dollars for public education.
Yes, it's about exclusion and a money-grab. The rich get richer, eh?

PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PUBLIC RESTROOMS

"Do you have bathrooms in San Antonio?" asked C, one of the kindergarten teachers at Brice ES. She had observed a kindergarten peeing on a tree in a remote corner of the playground. She turned her blue eyes to the sky and her nose up disdainfully as she posed this question. She had an ESL endorsement.

"Of course we do," replied my wife, who had agreed to teach a bilingual kindergarten class because the Assistant Superintendent (CW) had asked her to. Teaching bilingual came with a $3000 bonus, and as young parents, we needed the extra money. What young couple wouldn't teach those in need? To CW's credit, he did his best to build schools that met the needs of all students. This in spite of growing resentment that eventually found expression.

Perhaps, the focus is on second language learners and their failure to speak as well as monolinguals.
The success of L2 users is not necessarily the same as that of monolingual native speakers; they are doing different things with language with different people and have a range of other abilities for code-switching and translation no monolingual native speaker can match. To call what the vast majority of L2 users achieve failure is to accept that the only valid view of the world is that of the monolingual: knowing only one language is normal, knowing two is unusual. Only in a monolingual universe is a multi-competent person a failure for not speaking like a monolingual. (Source)

The sweet immigrant children of East Texas may as well as have been bugs and snakes for those who found their schools with them mixed in with their own children. Politicians, legislators, the poor immigrant children who couldn't speak, who might never speak unaccented English, were something to be kept apart. The words "White flight" were whispered by some educators when describing a lessening Anglo population. Later, principals like RC moved up to superintendent and completely dismantled bilingual/ESL programs that had enjoyed positive results.

Why discuss all this? Public schools represent America's hope of freedom, equality, equity. To work so ardently to destroy them means that some have set their own freedoms and benefits above that of others. It's a common, base decision, right?

It's not a surprise that in today's politically charged climate, destroying public schools because they champion the education of ALL children, not only the privileged, remains a top priority for some in power.

The Attack of KIPP and IDEA

As I live in San Antonio, have loved working in San Antonio area schools, I'm surprised to teachers being dismissed, their expertise set aside in support of the big lie. That is, that privatization of public schools can result in positive gains for students. It represents a failure to support educators and abandonment of the idea that educators are lifelong learners. Worse, it highlights administrators failures to lead and manage for substantive change. We know what works, what instructional strategies are effective in schools. Why not?

Diane Ravitch writes in Betsy DeVos Funds IDEA and Kipp to Saturate San Antonio with Charter Schools, the following:
Texas Public Radio describes Betsy Devos’s audacious plan to overwhelm San Antonio with charters created by two corporate chains: IDEA and KIPP. Some of the new charters will open in middle-class areas with good public schools. Apparently, DeVos just wants to torpedo public schools in a major Texas city. as cited in Educational Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas
"The purpose of the federal funding is not only to help charter schools (like KIPP, funded by billionaires like the Waltons), but to bypass democracy," quotes Ravitch. Yes, the whole point IS to bypass democracy. After years of not getting what they want, the decision was made to tear schools apart by any means necessary.

CONTRACTS

One approach to destroy public education is to rip away teachers' rights:
Teachers hired by the San Antonio Independent School District will no longer be eligible for continuing contracts starting in September. The SAISD board voted Monday to offer the teachers term contracts instead. (Source: Texas Public Radio)
It comes as no surprise. When leadership fails, there's no question that hiring and firing decisions must be made. Instead of looking at leadership failures, it's easier to get rid of the people in the trenches...classroom teachers.

In the article cited above, educator Veronica Goldbach points out a truth many teachers are aware of...many administrators are vindictive and retaliate against their employees. This should come as no surprise to leadership.

I can think of several examples I have observed firsthand as well as colleagues where a wild administrator set out to ruin the career of an educator with no good reason.

That's not to say there aren't wonderful, caring leaders in schools. There are GREAT people out there doing their darn best to educate in spite of the systemic resistance arrayed against their efforts.

Longfellow Middle School teacher Veronica Goldbach told the board before the vote that having a continuing contract protects her from administrator retaliation. 
“Right now I am blessed to work with (the principals at Longfellow).They support and value their teachers,” Goldbach said. “But in my 16 years of teaching that has not always been the case for me. I’ve had administrators dislike me because of my last name or because my classroom doesn’t look like the class next door.”
Discrimination and prejudice exist among Hispanics. I still remember being told to hire Hispanic, not white, candidates for positions in one school district position I held. Before I had to be over-ruled on my recommendation, the white candidate was deployed overseas and I went with the next qualified applicant.

Once continuing contracts are gone, teachers can be compelled into sweat shop KIPP and IDEA schools that will give the powerful exactly what they want. The ability to bully, frighten, and terrify others into doing what they want for no other reason they feel entitled.
You won’t be shocked to learn that wealthy people get the policies they want from government more often than those of low or moderate means. Nor will you be surprised that organized special interests — the kinds of groups that send lobbyists to Washington to advance pro-business agendas — have an impact...Whether or not a proposed change in government policy is favored by the majority of Americans “matters not a whit” in leading to the adoption of such policy changes, Princeton professor Martin Gilens has concluded. On the other hand, the support of a proposed policy change by wealthy Americans, or by organized lobbies, matters quite a few whits. 
Gilens and co-author Benjamin Page have written a paper detailing these results. You can see the paper summarized here. You can see the two professors discuss it with Jon Stewart on the “Daily Show” here. You can read Paul Krugman discussing their findings here. (Source: Minnesota Post)


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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