These Articles Aren’t Going to Read Themselves!

Lots of reading to catch up on during a snowy day in Massachusetts — here’s your reading list:

As this blog already pointed out both here and via Twitter, last week’s Boston Globe disaster attempt at a charter school hit piece was completely off the mark.

Check out the response from State Representative Alice Peisch, a chair of the Joint Committee on Education:

In my view, strong principals and teachers lead to strong classrooms, strong classrooms lead to strong schools, and strong schools lead to strong communities, regardless of whether it is a traditional district or charter school. Public charter schools in Massachusetts have proved their value over the past 25 years; they should be embraced, not treated as adversaries.

Not even the union supporters bought what the Globe was selling — this from Professor Rob Kessler of Salem State University:

“Promoting the well-being of the faculty through the power of unionizing can improve these schools. A strong union presence is good news.”

(To my mind it’s completely idiotic to join an organization that literally hates you with the fire of a thousands suns and will only hold their nose and accept your membership because they’re on the brink of collapse, but to each their own?)

Both of these points, compounded by the fact that the majority of the “parents” mentioned in the piece gave remarks issued via statement from the union front group “Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance” and the union funded “Citizens for Public Schools” just leads to an irresponsible mess. (Seriously, one of the parents quoted is the wife of the political director for the AFT. Are you kidding me?) Do better, Globe.  

The Globe *did* take the time to do an interesting piece on the Latino community that has many outside the community shocked and surprised:

“The median income for Latino households statewide is just $39,742 a year, while white households bring in $82,029 — the largest gap in the country, US Census data show. Only a quarter of Latino heads of household own their own homes in the state, compared to 69 percent of whites — the largest divide nationwide.”

This is not surprising within the Latino community, however. Largest income inequality gap in the country — and nearly the largest educational equity gap in the country with Massachusetts coming in at 49th in the nation for educating latino students. But readers of this blog already know this:

Which is why — GASP — charter schools are filled with black and brown children in Massachusetts. We know our kids are getting screwed. It’s not rocket science people!

Also worth noting — 92 percent of the population growth in the city of Boston during the last decade has come from the Latino community. So we are literally killing our city by not addressing this. And even when we do get a decent education, we’re still in trouble.

“Black and Latino families with a member holding a four-year degree own just a fifth of the wealth of equivalent white families. In fact, they own less wealth than a white family whose head has just a high school diploma.”

So what can we do to start getting real about addressing these issues? My son Miles has some ideas.

This weekend hundreds of Latinos packed the house at the Amplify Latinx Power Coalition UnConference to start getting real about making things happen. (And yes, I brought Miles with me — kids don’t learn about organizing, activism and leadership by accident, we have to show them by example.)

At the tables one thing was clear: Latinos know education is the key to getting all of this back on track for our children and giving them a real shot at a bright future. As a community we need to get our heads straight about valuing education as a critical part of our future success — and too often we don’t place enough stock in making it a priority. We also need to start demanding more from our elected officials in terms of the quality of education our children have access to in the classroom. The 74 highlights a recent report by the Education Trust that takes on just ONE aspect of the problem:

“There Are Three Times as Many Latino Students as Teachers in America. Two New Reports Show Why That’s Bad for Both”

“The pressure of acting as part-time interpreters and school ambassadors is widely shared, in part because there are so few Latino teachers. While roughly one-quarter of American K-12 students are Latino, less than 10 percent of teachers are.”

We know that black children need to see themselves reflected in classroom leadership in order to thrive. Latino children are no different. Time to get real and get to work. And don’t get me started on the interpretation issue — Massachusetts Parents United has testified in favor of education certification for translators. It’s unfair to educators, parents and students to keep ignoring this problem and slapping a bandaid on it.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

Now grab a cup of tea and get to reading. There *will* be a quiz.

What do you think?

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