Testimony of Lynda Rubin to the Boe, December 12, 2019

Items 29, and 31- Continued Outsourcing of District Responsibilities

I’m here to speak, again, about rebuilding this School District’s internal talent pool of educators, not outsourcing programs to private companies who have a product to sell. This testimony is not just about Items #29 and #31, it’s about what’s really driving these companies as they work to control public education nation-wide.

The SRC plugged its financial holes by breaking the contract for 5 years, not spending on deteriorating schools – and closing others. Those financial savings were actually done at the expense of student learning, children and teachers’ health, and careers and salaries of our teachers and support staff, both in 440 and in the field.

Now – current press reports:
Billionaire Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has said he looks forward to the day when there are no elected school boards. He likes schools run by corporate boards.

Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad uses infiltration tactics through district hires. Our Broad residencies and administrative new hires trained in his philosophy are growing. The LA Times has written numerous articles about Broad’s disruptive tactics in LA, spending millions to elect school board members who follow his ideology and charter model. He once pulled a superintendent out of his new post in one city without regard for its effect, just to send him to another – it was a business decision.

The Boston Globe reports “corporate and financial executives hold a larger share of seats on the boards of Massachusetts charter schools, giving them more influence than parents.” Why, because despite the PR, charters and the education businesses are big moneymakers and need to be run as such.

And of course, there are the Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg types who think that starting a successful giant tech company makes them experts on teaching children. It’s Hubris!

Shine Early Learning, Item #29, touts its data-monitoring and analysis systems for curricula and teacher development – for pre-schoolers! Shine is affiliated with Acelero Learning whose web site states they have “a culture of data-driven decision-making and have designed the tools and technologies to inform those decisions.” Of course they have.

There are an increasing number of articles about the importance of PLAY and physical movement in cognitive brain development and emotional learning as well as in the language and social skills of kindergartners and pre-schoolers. Marching to music of different tempos trains the brain for future math and science learning. Reading just for the fun of it, trains for literacy, language, and complex thinking skills.

Exploring children’s never-ending search for “why things are” helps make them engaged learners, while, research shows, teaching for the test is tedious, not well absorbed and soon forgotten.

Please, let’s get rid of obligatory data-driven rules to follow exactly by rote. Children’s abilities and developmental stages are on a continuum, not a regimented list to master by years and months of a child’s age.