Seeking Purpose…Politics, Presidents, and Progressive Solutions

November 10, 2008 at 8:31 pm 4 comments

posted by Jesse Pugh ’76, BSCAA President

Here is an excerpt from a report written in 1983 called A Nation at Risk:

“All, regardless of race or class or economic status, are entitled to a fair chance and to the tools for developing their individual powers of mind and spirit to the utmost. This promise means that all children by virtue of their own efforts, competently guided, can hope to attain the mature and informed judgment needed to secure gainful employment, and to manage their own lives, thereby serving not only their own interests but also the progress of society itself.”

It further says, “Our society and its educational institutions seem to have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain them.”

Throughout the long campaign, our presidential candidates said little about their educational visions. This silence is normal and expected coming from national figures. Policy and declarations on education are usually geared towards gaining political support rather than attempting to address the complex and historical implications of “fixing” the system. The basis of that immobility is an absence of purpose.

But at this historic moment we can and should ask… What is it that we want from President-elect Barack Obama? What is the role of the federal government? Senator Obama states that education is a right, as a right. Should it be the citizen/child/parent who determines when that right has been denied? Who best defines what is needed to give every individual the “fair chance and tools” they need?

The educational community (including child and parent) need inclusion at the lowest point of service and support from the highest. That is the power of choice, charter schools, private schools, vouchers (scholarships), school reform, school creation, teacher development…PROGRESSIVE solutions are dynamic and responsive to the situation as it looks today. Bank Street College has always understood this responsibility to serve the child and family and needs to add its voice to the discussion.

Please join the discussion by posting your comment below.

Entry filed under: politics.

The Bank Street College Alumni Association Blog

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sergi Bosch  |  November 11, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    I live in Ca. I find it incredulous that Schwarzenegger is looking to make education budget cuts totaling nearly $4 billion. I hope Obama can prevent such an action. How can these lawmakers expect to improve our lives, our economy, by making such cuts? it’s incredulous to me.

  • 2. Sherri Winick  |  November 12, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I am hoping that the president elect talks with educators to determine what our country needs in order to raise the bar for a child’s education. Every child in the USA is entitled to a first class education. Teachers are our greatest resources to achieve this goal. Therefore, I believe that teachers must be an integral part of long term planning for the future of our educational system. Then government has to stand behind any final decisions by supporting their policies with financial backing, staff, and a time line for success. If I could meet with the president elect this would be the issue that I would address.

  • 3. Ninna  |  November 12, 2008 at 9:26 am

    What is Bank Street doing about working with the Federal Government to ensure a great education for all? I have spent my entire professional life in early childhood and elementary education–from working at Headstart at age 13 to going to Bank Street to teaching in four different types of settings. What I have found is that the developmental interaction approach to education learned at Bank Street works the best for most of the children I have taught. When the Bank Street Model is used appropriately, a child receives a first rate education. How can Bank Street lead the campaign for an excellent education in this country?

  • 4. Jowanda Kenerly  |  November 12, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Honestly, Mr. Obama needs to tackle the NEA! And I do mean tackle… I grew up in a Union household and know the benefits of having a Union that’s got your back…

    But enough is enough… when the Union begins to burden the future.

    My community just spent $60 million on a brand new high school and close to $250 million – all taxpayer funds – to rebuild every single school building in our town… that’s great…

    But somebody forgot to buy new books for the new building so we have 20 year old books in brand new buildings…

    The school board put the new buildings in areas of high traffic causing near grid-lock when school opens and lets out in a town of less than 120,000 people!!!!

    I personally caught the school board in my town breaking civil rights law in building the new high school because they built it in the predominantly white part of town… and were going to force all the poor white and black kids to pay to support the city bus line service by buying passes to get to school… a new school built miles away from their house.

    I threatened a massive law suit… this ill-conceived notion to make black and poor kids pay for city services to get to their public education …violated every civil rights law in the book…making the poor and black kids pay to get to a school purposely built as far away from their homes as possible…

    That stopped them dead in their tracks… now we have to bus kids up to 12th grade… but there is no money to pay for the extra gasoline and diesel fuel….

    Now that new high school has been open for 75 days and the police have been there 28 times – minus weekends, holidays and teacher days… every other day they’re calling the cops… lying to the parents…stressing the kids out…marginalizing the black kids who rebel against the oppression by fighting!!!

    And nobody can be fired for this mess because everyone is afraid of the NEA… you can’t even get hired to do a poor job in Ohio without being a member of the NEA which will protect your poor decision-making and cover your butt no matter how many kids are damaged.

    They let go of the school superintendent but with a severance package that would feed 50 families in this town for a year or more!!!!

    Yes, I’m an educator. Yes, I grew up under Union protection – and thank god for it. Yes, the NEA needs a big kick and I hope Obama does it.

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Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten ‘84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day ‘76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
Liezel de La Isla ‘99, Prague International School teacher
Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters ‘02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
Dena Florczyk '88, middle school teacher and founder/director of The Nigerian School Project
Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett ‘84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein ‘67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman ‘67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones ‘05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser ‘87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer ‘97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens ‘03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford ‘89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden ‘97
Marion Palm ‘95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen ‘06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
Linda Reing, Bank Street Director of Alumni Relations
Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
Ariel Sacks ‘06, middle school teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Linda Appleman (Guidall) Shapiro ‘81, psychotherapist and author
Barbara Silver ‘80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone ‘84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer ‘74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
Eleanor Traubman '95, is Editor in Chief of Creative Times, a blog which promotes NYC's performing, visual and literary arts
Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg ‘03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
Ted Wells ‘07, 4th grade teacher at The Park School, Brookline, MA
Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

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