Welcome to the transformation

Following the twitter feed on the first day of school was an exciting and energizing experience. It’s awesome that the Malverne #gomules team attracted few more twitter players this year. Twitter is a wealth of information. Searching for answers to a task? Go to Twitter and you’ll find out that the “wheel has been already invented.” Not only that. You’ll also discover that the “inventors” are willing to help you with your application.

The numerous tweet-wishes to a successful school year and the two Welcome letters I received—one for each kid (Davison and M.W. Downing schools)—enticed me to write the following welcome letter from a parent’s perspective.

Dear parents, teachers, and management,

Welcome to the amazing era of transformation of education. Just consider what we have witnessed in a very short period of time.

  • The public has discovered that in NYS it’s the Regents who are in charge of education, not the governor, not the department of education.
  • For the first time in history, the public was able to follow  the interview process with the new candidates for the Board.
  • The chancellor of the Board, Merryl Tisch, “rather” didn’t seek another term. An educator!, Betty Rosa, got appointed as the new chancellor.
  • The GEA got “discontinued.”
  • The inBloom, a company that was supposed to store data of millions of students, but was not responsible for safeguarding their privacy, closed the door before it opened.
  • Todd Kaminsky, one of the Dem. assemblymen who voted with a “heavy heart” for Cuomo’s disastrous teacher evaluation regulations, admitted he has made a mistake and now, as a senator, continues working directly with public schools parents.
  • In 2014, on the Fool’s Day, governor Cuomo announced that the results of the state assessments would not count, thus making the tests effectively a “practice.” They have been a “practice” ever since and will continue that way through 2020.
  • The same year, Cuomo, running on the platform of “breaking the monopoly” (teachers union), got re-elected only thanks to winning in the most populous counties (NYC), ruled by UFT. How ironic is that?
  • Last year, the governor was urged to create a Task Force to analyze the Common Core. The analysis revealed the standards were “flawed,” especially in the lower grades.
  • John King, the NY state education commissioner, resigned under the pressure, but his charter buddies promoted him to Washington, DC.
  • This past May, he showed his intentions again when, as the USED secretary, proposed regulations to the new ESSA (replacing the NCLB). The Federal Register collects public responses to the newly proposed regulations. It listed over 20,000 comments on those regulations. For illustration, when the Register collected comments on the then proposed NCLB in 2001, there were 20 entries.
  • The mass media used to formulate the narrative about the public schools, mostly negative. Now the mass involvement of bloggers, lead learners, and parents active on social media is changing that narrative.

These seemingly “little achievements” we tend to forget about are in reality sweeping changes in the mechanism of the persisting status quo. They are happening thanks to the tremendous numbers of individuals of all stripes and colors who pay attention to what is really important in public education.

We are living in an amazing time. Naturally, there will be setbacks. But, years from now, we’ll be able to say that we have started the transformation of education, witnessed the changes, and more importantly, we contributed to them.

Each day is part of that transformation. Enjoy it and let’s keep it rolling. The transformation must not stop.

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