Let us put practices in place that facilitate meaningful dialog between a family and their child’s school and lead to more parental input throughout the learning process.
Why choose me
My thoughts on the direction of the district
Education is about preparing our children to become responsible citizens. To do so we need to teach about our culture and shared history, giving them the tools to become productive adults. Education should be a partnership between teacher and students as well as family and school. Everyone in this partnership need to do their part.Schools must do more than depict America as a basket of villains. They must teach the history of our society and explain why this nation stands as a beacon of liberty and opportunity for those across the world as well as the mistakes we have made during our nation’s growth.Education is central to being an American citizen. Schools are communitarian institutions that preserve shared culture and education liberates our children from the strictures of circumstance. We expect schools and colleges to teach the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that enable students to chart their own paths. We need to get beyond the factory model classroom. One of the programs I would like to investigate is NEW CLASSROOMS From their site: Is it possible to make the U.S. education system work for each and every student?We believe it is.It starts with the recognition that learning is personal. Each student is different. And when schools can truly meet a student’s unique strengths and needs, the benefits of a great education open up to them.
Turning this possibility into reality — at scale — is the reason we exist.
Beyond the factory model classroom
Our work is grounded in the belief that the traditional school model makes it nearly impossible for teachers to meet each student’s unique needs.This model — with one teacher, a set of textbooks, and 28 or so same-aged students all learning the same material at the same time — is a reflection of industrial era thinking, where factories provided the template for mass production.Too often, this traditional model fails those who enter behind grade level and hinders those who enter near the top. Students deserve better.
Addressing the math challenge
The negative effects of the factory-model classroom are especially acute in mathematics. Math is cumulative — the skills a student masters in one year are foundational for mastering more advanced topics later. But in the factory-model classroom, the skills taught are often based on the student’s age, not what they already know or have yet to master. For students who fall behind, this approach can cause learning gaps to accumulate, making it harder for them to catch back up.To address this, we develop digital products and innovative learning models that meet students where they are and connect them to where they need to be. We also advocate for policies that allow for student-centered approaches to teaching and learning so far more students can succeed.
With so much at stake, we must think beyond the factory-model paradigm. Balancing vision with pragmatism, we must push against fixed notions about the limits of what’s possible. It’s time to leverage the research, experience, and technology that exists today and deploy them in new ways that enable educators to better support each and every student.While our current work is focused on middle and high school math, our broader aim is to collaborate with a new coalition of families, educators, innovators, and policymakers who are committed to realizing a new, student-centered educational paradigm — one designed to systemically enable each and every student to thrive. Another program I would look into is Opportunity Culture From their website: The Opportunity Culture initiative helps pre-K–12 districts and schools restructure to extend the reach of excellent teachers, principals, and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring school budgets. Yearlong, paid residencies make on-the-job learning possible before teaching and leading.The Opportunity Culture initiative is:• Grounded in five key design principles• Research-based• Found in districts across the U.S.• Continually refined and strengthened by all Opportunity Culture educators, including Opportunity Culture Fellows• Valued by educatorsIn each Opportunity Culture school:• A design and implementation team of teachers and administrators determines how to use Multi-Classroom Leadership and other roles to reach more students with teachers who have demonstrated high-growth student learning.• Multi-classroom leaders lead a teaching team, providing guidance and frequent on-the-job coaching while continuing to teach, often by leading small-group instruction.• Accountable for the results of all students in the team, multi-classroom leaders also earn supplements averaging 20 percent (and up to 50 percent) of teacher pay, within the regular school budget.• The schools redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for teacher planning, coaching, and collaboration.
I do think we need to change the current paradigm for education in our district. These above examples are just a jumping off point, but change is needed.
SCHool Resource Officers (SRO)
TO PROTECT & EDUCATE Data and Research
There is ample data and research pointing to the efficacy of carefully selected, specifically trained, properly equipped school resource officers.
SROs do not contribute to the school to prison pipeline. "Juvenile arrests across the US have dropped by 74% since 1996, which parallels the growth of SRO programs across the country. SROs can dramatically reduce crime on campus and beyond." To Protect & Educate, NASRO 2012 Data shows that having SROs do not lead to an increased chance of students being arrested. SROs seek to avoid the justice system as their preferred option. SROs see themselves as more than just a police officer. "While the SRO might view themselves as law enforcement, they clearly view their role in the school system as something more. When an SRO views their role as something more, such as taking on a mentor/informal counselor role, this will in turn, influence how the officer responds to incidents in a positive way." SROs bridge the gap between youth and law enforcement. "SROs maintain 'open-door' policies towards students, engage in informal counseling sessions, and refer students to social-services, legal-aid, community-services, and public-health agencies as part of their role as an informal counselor and mentor. Students come to understand that someone cares and will listen, and SROs come to understand where students' concerns lie and what might be threatening their safety." To Protect & Educate, NASRO 2012 SROs prevent violence in schools. "In an analysis of 67 averted school attack plots, nearly 1/3 of the cases featured SROs playing a role in either reporting the attack or responding to a report made by someone else, highlighting their role as a trusted adult within the school community. SROs play an important role in school violence prevention." Averting Targeted School Violence, US Secret Service, 2021 SROs serve as trusted adults within the school community. "Children's services experts all agree that the presence of responsible, caring adults in a child's life is critical to their ability to avoid destructive behaviors, make good choices, and survive the challenges that family, socio-economic, racial, and other circumstances can present. An SRO is one of these adults and they help students navigate challenging situations on and off campus." To Protect & Educate, 2012
TRANSPARENCY IN TRAINING AND CURRICULUM
(1) All instructional or training materials, or activities, used for staff and faculty training on all matters of nondiscrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, or bias, or any combination of these concepts with other concepts.
(2) All learning or curricular materials, or activities, used for student instruction on matters of nondiscrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, or bias, or any combination of these concepts with other concepts. Such display of materials or activities shall identify, at a minimum:
i.The title, author, organization, and any website associated with each material and activity;
ii. A link to the learning material, if publicly available on the Internet; or, if not freely and publicly available, a brief description of the learning material and information on how to request review of a copy of the learning material; and
iii. If the learning material was created for non-public use, the identity of the teacher, staff member, school official, or outside presenter who created it; such identification may be indicated by a personal title and last initial if referring to a teacher, staff member, or school official.
(3) Any procedures for the documentation, review, or approval of the training, learning, or curricular materials used for staff and faculty training or student instruction at the school, including by the principal, curriculum administrators, or other teachers.
(4) For the purposes of this section:
i. “Learning materials” include, but are not limited to, the following: all textbooks, reading materials, videos, activities, digital materials, websites, and other online applications.
ii. “Used for student instruction”:
(a) Means assigned, distributed, or otherwise presented to students in any course for which students receive academic credit; or in any educational capacity in which participation of the student body is required by the school or in which a majority of students in a given grade level participate.
(b) Applies also to any materials from among which students are required to select one or more, if the available selection is restricted to specific titles.
iii. “Original materials” means learning materials owned or licensed by the school district, school, faculty, or staff that are used for student instruction.
iv. “Activities” include but are not limited to assemblies, guest lectures, or other educational events facilitated by the institution’s faculty or staff, including those conducted by outside individuals or organizations, excluding student presentations.
(5) Nothing in this subsection (A) shall be construed to require the digital reproduction or posting of copies of the learn ing materials themselves, where such reproduction would infringe upon copyrighted material; but in such cases, the school should offer a link to a publicly available website describing and offering access to the learning materials, if possible; and upon request, if the materials are not offered free of charge, provide the learning materials for public inspection, as required under subsection (2)(ii) of this section, at the school building where the learning materials or activities are used for student instruction, and no later than 30 days after requested. To the extent practicable, each school shall make any and all learning materials, including original materials, available for public inspection and allow the public to copy, scan, duplicate, or photograph portions of original materials within the limits of “fair use” under Section 107 of the Copyright Act.
Critical Race Theory: What It Is
In explaining critical race theory, it helps to begin with a brief history of Marxism. Originally, the Marxist Left built its political program on the theory of class conflict. Marx believed that the primary characteristic of industrial societies was the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers. The solution to that imbalance, according to Marx, was revolution: the workers would eventually gain consciousness of their plight, seize the means of production, overthrow the capitalist class, and usher in a new socialist society.
During the 20th century, a number of regimes underwent Marxist-style revolutions, and each ended in disaster. Socialist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and elsewhere racked up a body count of nearly 100 million of their own people. They are remembered for their gulags, show trials, executions, and mass starvations. In practice, Marx’s ideas unleashed man’s darkest brutalities.
By the mid-1960s, Marxist intellectuals in the West had begun to acknowledge these failures. They recoiled at revelations of Soviet atrocities and came to realize that workers’ revolutions would never occur in Western Europe or the United States, where there were large middle classes and rapidly improving standards of living. Americans in particular had never developed a sense of class consciousness or class division. Most Americans believed in the American dream—the idea that they could transcend their origins through education, hard work, and good citizenship.
But rather than abandon their Leftist political project, Marxist scholars in the West simply adapted their revolutionary theory to the social and racial unrest of the 1960s. Abandoning Marx’s economic dialectic of capitalists and workers, they substituted race for class and sought to create a revolutionary coalition of the dispossessed based on racial and ethnic categories.
Fortunately, the early proponents of this revolutionary coalition in the U.S. lost out in the 1960s to the civil rights movement, which sought instead the fulfillment of the American promise of freedom and equality under the law. Americans preferred the idea of improving their country to that of overthrowing it. The vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., President Johnson’s pursuit of the Great Society, and the restoration of law and order promised by President Nixon in his 1968 campaign defined the post-1960s American political consensus.
But the radical Left has proved resilient and enduring—which is where critical race theory comes in.
WHAT IT IS
Critical race theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s, built on the intellectual framework of identity-based Marxism. Relegated for many years to universities and obscure academic journals, over the past decade it has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions. It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human resources departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resources modules, public policy frameworks, and school curricula.
There are a series of euphemisms deployed by its supporters to describe critical race theory, including “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Critical race theorists, masters of language construction, realize that “neo-Marxism” would be a hard sell. Equity, on the other hand, sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with the American principle of equality. But the distinction is vast and important. Indeed, equality—the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere nondiscrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.
In contrast to equality, equity as defined and promoted by critical race theorists is little more than reformulated Marxism. In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines. Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.”
One practical result of the creation of such a department would be the overthrow of capitalism, since according to Kendi, “In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” In other words, identity is the means and Marxism is the end.
An equity-based form of government would mean the end not only of private property, but also of individual rights, equality under the law, federalism, and freedom of speech. These would be replaced by race-based redistribution of wealth, group-based rights, active discrimination, and omnipotent bureaucratic authority. Historically, the accusation of “anti-Americanism” has been overused. But in this case, it’s not a matter of interpretation—critical race theory prescribes a revolutionary program that would overturn the principles of the Declaration and destroy the remaining structure of the Constitution. The above is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on March 30, 2021.