Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Story That Needs to be Told - and - Documented


Dear Education Activists, Concerned Citizens, and Public Officials,

The above headline is part of a proposal that I am sending out to education activists and those concerned with the misuse of the evaluation process that amounts to an attack on quality education. Over the past year, many teachers have reported that they are experiencing a blatant misuse of the Massachusetts evaluation system. The objectivity of the evaluation is in serious question and open to widespread misuse for reasons other than improving our schools. We need to find out how pervasive this is and document how highly skilled, wonderful teachers are being driven out of our schools and our students and schools are losing out. Our students cannot and should not lose great teachers to politics and business interests. We must not allow our teachers and administrators to be denigrated and bullied by a system that allows for misuse of the evaluation process for purposes other than high quality teaching and learning. This includes preventing the targeting of teachers and administrators who are resisting pressure to carry out inappropriate or bad teaching practices that serve the interests of data obsessed and test obsessed mayors, superintendents, and other administrators. Our schools must be a place where we can have free and open discussions about quality teaching practices without the fear of intimidation and retaliation. We must stand up and challenge these practices.

My proposal is to hold a public hearing or hearings to take testimony from teachers, administrators, and others who have taken part in the new Massachusetts evaluation system. I strongly believe that what is happening now in the schools needs to be documented for the future analysis of what's happening to our education system in this country, realizing that the powers that be have ultimate control because, of course, they control the money. Our intention is to at least document the reasons for the possible demise of public education, and the effect this has on our democracy. Maybe history does not need to repeat itself, somewhere down the line?

If you have been targeted for speaking up against bad teaching practices, for being a veteran teacher, for trying to maintain quality teaching instead of teaching to the test, or for trying to keep a joyful, challenging, and creative classroom instead of following bad pedagogy mandated by your top down administrator or superintendent, please contact us. If you or someone you know has a story to tell that needs to be told, please contact us at:

filminfo (at)

We call on union representatives and officials, education activists, community activists, state and local public officials, elected representatives and concerned individuals to call for and organize a hearing or hearings to address the attacks on teachers which amounts to an attack on the quality of our schools. If you would like to participate in organizing and coordinating this effort, please contact us:

filminfo (at)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On May 7, 2013 Boston Mayor Menino testified at a Mass Legislation hearing on pending Charter School Legislation  and other education legislation that he and others proposed.  The proposed legislation increases the number of charter schools and in-district charter schools allowed as well as converting 48 level 3 schools into level 4 schools as well as other provisions.  At the hearing Mayor Menino practically begged the charter schools to take over BPS Schools and gave them a complete license to over run many existing schools.  I find this to be outrageous as well as the manner in which he stated it.  A Boston Public Schools news release brags about Mayor Menino's stance and plea to the charter schools.  Below is an excerpt from the testimony as stated in the May 8, 2013 BPS News Release:

' Mayor Menino also issued a challenge to charter school operators in attendance: “Come take over a BPS school and make it an In-District charter.  You’ll have the building, you’ll be able to teach the kids who are already in the school, and they won’t have to wait for something better. Just promise that you’ll educate all of our kids, in the schools that need you now, and we are ready to move.” '

The tone and manner of his testimony I find to be very offensive.  You hear among Mayor Menino's supporters and political machine that his policies and actions have been great for education in Boston.  I believe that history will show in the future that his pro charter school policies, his opening the doors wide open to the privatization of the public schools, and his teacher union busting ultimately have led to a terrible decline in quality education in Boston.
Below is a screen capture from the BPS May 8, 2013 news release:

Here is the link to the full BPS May 8, 2013 news release.  You will see the above quote in the last paragraph of the release.

Citizen's for Public School Testimony at Mass Legislative Hearing on Charter School Legislation, May 7, 2013

Charter School Legislation Hearing on May 7, 2013

Crisis of Leadership

We seek to take on questions about No Child Left Behind, high stakes testing, unequal distribution of education resources, unequal achievement, common core standards, and schools dominated by data and test driven curriculum. We strive to examine what's behind the attacks on teachers and their unions and who and why charter schools and the privatization of public schools is being promoted as the solution to creating quality schools.