Thursday, 21 November 2013 00:00
I applaud John Owens for his insightful piece entitled “The Question they Missed was on the Test.” Mr. Owens illuminates the real issue facing public education. The reform movement (which would be better called what it truly is—the privatization of public education) is the problem. This movement has created a crisis so money can be made. The private sector has figured out a way to make billions of dollars, by diverting our tax dollars away from public schools to their profit-making solutions to solve our educational crisis—the one that does not exist.
The rally cry is that our public schools are failing. In fact, they are not. Students are certainly not failing in the school where I teach. In East Williston, we have a 99 percent graduation rate. In fact, nationwide, the data shows that high school graduation rates are at an all-time high. In 1949, the four-year graduation rate was 50 percent. In 2010, the four-year graduate rate rose to 78.2 percent. When you factor in that some students take five to six years to graduate or receive the GED, the graduation rate rises to 90 percent. (Ravitch, Reign of Error, 2013) That is no crisis. In fact, it shows tremendous student success.
However, there is a growing crisis in public education. Our schools are strapped for cash due to the implementation of the property tax cap. Our schools are diverting precious revenue to meet the mandates for unnecessary reforms. Our schools are being forced to take money away from students and programs to pay for test materials, certification of reviewers, curriculum revisions, and APPR. Our schools are not failing but our schools are struggling. The challenges that face public education today are having a direct and negative impact on our children. We must let the state education commissioner, the governor, the Regents and our local legislators know that our schools must be rid of these money-draining reforms. We must let them know that our schools are not failing.
East Williston Teachers Association President