Change Agent Indeed: “Change Agent in Education Collects Critics in Connecticut Town”.. NY Times….. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/education/change-agent-in-education-collects-critics-in-connecticut-town.html?ref=education&_r=0
The meaning of the phrase “Change Agent”, I guess depends on who, and what is being changed (or not being changed). Words can mean different things to different people; the article’s writer states:
“Paul G. Vallas, a leader in the effort to shake up American education, has wrestled with unions in Chicago, taken on hurricane-ravaged schools in New Orleans and confronted a crumbling educational system in Haiti……”
And yet not one single example of proven academic success in all of these places; isn’t raising academic achievement the point?
Well, whatever words are losing their meaning in contemporary linguistic usage, hypocrisy, for sure, is not one of them. And that is why it ceases to amaze me to see the shock and disdain of some folks when the “rules of the game” are applied fairly to them. Further, the obscene sense and insistence that we must have two sets of rules; one for them; and then a second set of rules for those who are not them. That is why the National Rifle Association (being, it seems to be always prepared to play the role of “situational opportunist”) have not launched a national publicity and recruitment campaign asking young black men to join their ranks, and legally arm themselves against the possibility of being a target of a racially profiled confrontation. I guess like their cousins the Republican Party; they have, in this regard, very little interest in “broadening their base”. To the consistently enfranchised, culturally empowered and racially “entitled”; simple fairness, justice and playing by the rules is perceived as unfair and unjust. In this nations most educationally starved urban canters, we have seen the creative fiction of “championship resumes”; the often repeated (but never verified) fake “success stories”; the “achievement track-record” that leaves no track, or trace of real student improvement. The false “great non-Black educational savior (and their Black “stand-ins”) narratives, that has been created, inflated and never properly evaluated, by the public or the press; has (and continues to) inflict irreversible harm on millions of children of color in places like NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, PG County-MD and Washington DC. These struggling communities serve children who have the most to lose from a planned experimental educational neglected. And, the most to gain from a serious empowering educational experience that could change the social-psychological and economic trajectory upon which they are assigned. Playing with the futures of so many children cynically disconnects them from the promise and opportunity available to so many others in our nation. While these suffering communities waited for “Superman”, they got instead, the “Joker”. Black elected officials carry some of the blame here; as they rightfully pushed back against dysfunctional, disruptive, and destructive; and in some cases corrupt elected school boards. These Black elected officials (many now second guessing themselves), along with many well meaning civic leaders were also correct in limiting the self-serving anti-learning rules and regulations of the entranced labor unions. But the “cure” they have proscribe for the patient is killing our children’s dreams, as the medicine is falsely labeled as a healing “reform”. The defect and deformity of this reform movement is that it contained all of the same racist assumptions, accompanied with a disdain for any type of cultural awareness and efficacy, earned certification, expertise and experience. Nationally, Black teachers, principals and superintendents were systematically removed to make way for the unpracticed, the unprepared and the “casual-situational educator”; whose heart was set on making a name; not a difference for children. It is a movement that transforms children into “products”, who could then be sold (and sold out) to the charter school industry. To be honest, this was not a coup; rather it was the collective community of color giving permission for others to engage in risky experimentation with their children. The danger of this “educational adventurism” and “playing school” is that real lives and real futures are involved. The children of the poor, the politically unorganized, are unfortunately the best group to: (1) Build a resume. (2) Ride out a bad economy; and (3) As in the case of Mr. Vallas actually take a “show” on the road, make good money, without ever having to produce good and real results. Perhaps this judge’s action in Connecticut Is the hopeful inspiration for the beginning of a movement that would force the communities of color to insist that their children not be the objects of financial personal gain. The tinker toys of educational hobbyist. The designated and doomed recipients of a continued separate, unequal, and inferior educational experience.