Friday, November 15, 2013

Institutional Interloper

Sometimes your first drafts are meant to stay that way, but my zine days are coming back to me, and I feel like I am overflowing with words and feelings, that simply must scrape their way into the light.  So even though a more poignant letter exists from the entire faculty of the College of Education in the Washington Post, here is my abbreviated version.  I cannot work for EMU and not call out the ironic and oxymoronic nature of a college known for its Education programming partnering with an organization designed to demolish public schools as we know them.  Hyperbolic as I may be, and as hard as teachers work in any school, EAA, charter, public or private... the graveness in my voice is real.  I am worried that we are witnessing the beginning of the end for public education.

"So, what happens when the institution you work for contradicts with your politics and ethics about life? You feel the need to respond, as an educator, who is invested in reflective pedagogies of consciousness... to acknowledge and call out that a teaching college for undermining the very profession to which we're committed, to understand what motivates us to partner with the devil.

Detroit is under seizure... We are violently transforming public to private, for the gains of a small few, and I urge you to interrogate what our college gains from this partnership.  Certainly the students we teach are not going to gain from the upheaval within our public education system, with every child being left behind, in the wake of testing the tests for the best test-takers.  We have tested our brains to death.

I am an educator committed to servicing public school kids, because I firmly believe that every child has a right to a rigorous, quality education. Please join me in standing up for a public, collaborative solution to Detroit's failing schools and not selling our kids out to an emergency manager that wants to turn education into a business, our children into products.  Please consider disconnecting from our partnership with EAA, siding with our teachers' unions and the understanding that public services should remain public, transparent and accountable to citizens."

Instead of sending this first draft outward into the world, I decided to let it breathe here... where only 3 people will ever see it.  I have since contacted the faculty members who have contributed to this letter, in order to sign it myself, and will be attending the December 10th Regents meeting where this item is discussed with the university community.  I hope I am like Grace Lee Boggs, and never grow out of being active.

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