See the article by Dan Brown in today's Huffington Post about our common sense agenda for the next President.
Dan is regular contributor to the Post, a teacher at a DC charter school, who also formerly taught in NYC and has written a book about his experiences, The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle. Clearly, he's on the ground and understands what his students, and fellow teachers, need to succeed. Excerpt from the Post:
When parents organize, it's hard to ignore. Chicago-based Parents United for Responsible Education and New York City-based Class Size Matters have jumped into presidential politics this week by releasing a compelling letter to the candidates. As far as education recommendations go this election cycle, it's is the best I've read.
The letter criticizes the deification of school choice as a panacea for low-performing students and warns against distorting the politically friendly term "accountability" into even more standardized testing. It offers four areas where the next president can help schools:
1. Safe and uncrowded schools with more counselors.The organization's name, Common Sense Reforms, fits perfectly; their recommendations are no-brainers. ...I'll hold out hope that both candidates will take this issue seriously. This succinct letter from parents provides an achievable blueprint for helping our country's children. The discourse on education in presidential politics should be richer for it.
2. Smaller classes.
3. Adequate resources and teacher support to assure that all students receive a rich, well-rounded curriculum including the arts, physical education and project-based learning in a curriculum connected to their own lives and culture, with progress evaluated by high-quality, appropriate assessment tools that are primarily classroom-based.
4. More parental involvement. [T]he more involved parents are at the school level, the better the outcomes for students. And yet the top- down, corporate approach to school governance currently used in cities throughout the country such as Chicago and New York has consistently and systematically worked to eliminate the ability of parents to have a real voice in decision-making and thus to be true partners at the school and district level.