Transcript of the testimony of Robin Lowry

Robin SRC 2-15-18
Click the picture to view Robins’s testimony. Click on timestamp 43:59

Re: Vacancies in the Turnaround Network

Last month I reported that Edison had 12 instructional vacancies. Today’s update: still 12. An Art teacher and a Health Related Technologies CTE teacher were hired, but 2 mid-year hires – Math and Spanish, quit. The new HRT teacher just left Emergency Room Nursing after 26 years to come teach so she is on a steep learning curve.

Last month I asked, rhetorically perhaps, what is getting turned around in the Turnaround Network, the Network for struggling students. These students need experts. Hallwalking and cutting start with the classrooms that have substitutes. Teacher/Student relationships are formed from constancy and commitment. One does not send the most difficult mechanical or surgical job to the novice.

Listening to the President say today that “we need to create a culture in our country that … creates deep and meaningful human connections and turns classmates and colleagues into friends” sounded true, but then you have Resolution B12 – the plan to spend 10 million dollars on online courses.

Outcome 4. “To personalize student learning experience with the goal of improving academic outcomes and closing the achievement gap.” Personalized learning is a vague term according to experts. It should mean flexibility to meet student needs and engage them in curriculum design and even pedagogy that meets their unique interests. What it shouldn’t mean is an excuse to buy more technology.

Resolution A-7 Spending $9.5 million on Pearson Schoolnet? Teachers just had to switch to Infinite Campus Product this year replacing Schoolnet. But now you are buying SchoolNet again? Why are you giving money to these companies while Turnaround students don’t have teachers?

I just read Deborah Meier’s Book In Schools We Trust. – MacArthur-winner, founder of innovative schools. Here are a few shockingly prescient excerpts for both the day after Florida and for this waste of money on technology not teachers:

P.12 – We’ve cut kids adrift, without the support or nurturance of grown-ups, without the surrounding of a community in which they might feel it safet to try out various roles, listen into the world of adults whom they might someday want to join as full members.

P.13 – We are – in short – perhaps the only civilization in history that organizes its youth so that the nearer they get to being adults the less and less likely the are to know any adults.

P. 176 – For me the most important answer to the question “Why save public education?” is this: It is in schools that we learn the art of living together as citizens, and it is in public schools that we are obliged to defend the ideas of a public, not only a private interest.

P. 177 – Like the learning of all important things, the learning of these democratic habits of mind happens only when children are in the real company of adults they trust and when adults have sufficient posers and the leisure to be good company.

P. 179 – The vast majority of kids were spending an incredibly critical period of their lives forming relationships with the world, in a bizarre way: never in the history of the species did on think of raising the young to become adults in the absence of the company of adults. And above all, in the absence of adults whom children imagined becoming, or whom children even knew well enough to imagine trusting.

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