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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Extremis malis extrema remedia

Concerned Hamburger came across the below posting on the blog of Diane Ravitch (purple below)- it is something to think about.  While those in the Hamburg School Community have been pointing the finger at each other, it is time that the camps that have been created come together and acknowledge the real spooks and goblins who are destroying the American Public Education System- the very backbone of our Republic.  The children of America particularly those in New York State are being robbed of the education that their parents and grandparents enjoyed and on which our society has been built. Parents, teachers, administrators, community members,  Board of Education members and students across America far outnumber the few who are attempting to systematically dismantle what was once the jewel in the crown of the American Republic- education.  Concerned Hamburger implores all members of the Hamburg Community and communities across this state to focus the lens on the real culprits in the mass confusion that has plagued schooling for the last decade- the superstructure of the Federal and State Governments and private interests. 

In America, schooling is a local matter. 

The challenges to the new Hamburg Board of Education far exceed Google subpoenas, civil lawsuits and mudslinging.  The new Hamburg Board is faced with the challenges of pushing back the undesired uninvited influences of Albany, Washington and Wall Street on our schools.  It is the challenge of this new board to come together with diverging opinions yet common goals to bring education back home and back to the basics.  The Hamburg Board of Education  and school community is representative of smart, vocal, strong, creative and clearly bold individuals who would best serve by harnessing their energies in making Hamburg the school system it once was, and a place were outside interests should fear to tread.

Concerned Hamburger will continue to focus on the matters related to schooling and education in Hamburg Central School District, but hopes moving forward under a new Board of Education and Superintendent the reporting will focus on the efforts to expel the bad interests and restore a fine institution that is reflective of the local community and not the interests of Albany and Washington. 

The Badass Teachers Association (BAT) is a growing number of teachers who are fed up with the direction of education. Concerned Hamburger is not agreeing nor disagreeing with the "BAT", but rather fines the letter to BAT from Mrs. Ravitch applicable to all, including all in the Hamburg School community.

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. 

Message of Support from Diane Ravitch to the Badass Teachers Association

Dear Members of the Badass Teachers Association,
I am honored to join your group.

The best hope for the future of our society, of public education, and of the education profession is that people stand up and resist.

Say “no.” Say it loud and say it often.

Teachers must resist, because you care about your students, and you care about your profession. You became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of children, not to take orders and obey the dictates of someone who doesn’t know your students.

Parents must resist, to protect their children from the harm inflicted on them by high-stakes testing.

Administrators must resist, because their job is changing from that of coach to enforcer of rules and regulations. Instead of inspiring, supporting, and leading their staff, they are expected to crack the whip of authority.

School board members must resist, because the federal government is usurping their ability to make decisions that are right for their schools and their communities.

Students must resist because their education and their future are being destroyed by those who would force them to be judged solely by standardized tests.

Everyone who cares about the future of our democracy must resist, because public education is under attack, and public education is a foundation stone of our democracy. We must resist the phony rhetoric of “No Child Left Behind,” which leaves every child behind, and we must resist the phony rhetoric of “Race to the Top,” which makes high-stakes testing the be-all and end-all of schooling. The very notion of a “race to the top” is inconsistent with our democratic idea of equality of educational opportunity.

We live in an era of ignorant policy shaped by politicians who have never taught a day in their lives.
We live in a time when politicians and policymakers think that all children will get higher test scores if they are tested incessantly. They think that students who can’t clear a four-foot bar will jump higher if the bar is raised to six feet.

We live in a time when entrepreneurs are eyeing the schools and their budgets as a source of profit, a chance to monetize the children, an emerging market. Make no mistake: They want to make education more cost-effective by eliminating your profession and eliminating you. Their ideal would be 100 children in front of computers, monitored by classroom aides.

You must resist, because if you do not, we will lose public education in the United States and the teaching profession will become a job, not a profession. What is happening today is not about “reform” or even “improvement,” it is about cutting costs, reducing the status of teachers, and removing from education every last shred of the joy of learning.

It is time to resist.

Badass Teachers, as you resist, be creative. 

Writing letters to the editor is good but it is not enough. Writing letters to the President is good, but it is not enough.
Be creative. The members of the Providence Student Union have led the way. They staged a zombie march in front of the Rhode Island Department of Education to demonstrate their opposition to the use of a standardized test as a high school graduation protest. They invited 60 accomplished professionals to take the released items from the test, and most failed. This convincingly demonstrated the absurdity of using the test as a requirement for graduation. When the state commissioner of education who was the main backer of the tests scheduled her annual “state of education” speech, the students scheduled their first “state of the student” speech.

Act together. A single nail gets hammered. When all the nails stick up, the people with the hammers run away. When the teachers of Garfield High School in Seattle boycotted the MAP test, they won: the test was canceled and no one faced retribution.

Be brave. When you stand together and raise your voices, you are powerful.
Thank you for counting me as one of your own.

I salute you.

Diane Ravitch


A Mother and graduate said...

A kinder, gentler Concerned Hamburger? Thank you, we hope this is a new day for all, and we will faithful watch your blog.

Anonymous said...

I second 2:05. A new day would be good.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Hamburger where are you? DId you check ou the agenda for Tuesday's meeting on the district webpage- over 200 jobs are gonna be cut and they are calling them all civil service. THEY ARE NOT CIVIL SERVICE. Check out agenda.

Anonymous said...

Looked at the agenda-- I think (though I am not an expert--so I could be completely wrong about this) that these positions being "abolished" look like a matter of housecleaning and clarification. My guess is those positions are not filled as Civil Service but instead through members of the District's various bargaining units, so the Board is voting to eliminate those positions from a Civil Service roster. That's my guess, mostly because I can't see how the District would function without all of those people. The one that concerns me much more is the agenda item right above that which is called "Personnel Changes" with NO detail. Does anyone have any information about that??

Anonymous said...

Steve & Joan left the school district in a mess. Last vengeful act. Hope new school board has the common sense to not move on any of this until a full report to the school board and school community. We will all be there and not just Joan's PTA moms being rude. Just sayin.


Anonymous said...

Randy Hoak posting in Bflo News ? This is the info we have been told.

Why democratic party making a move on the school district?

Anonymous said...

Thank you concerned for this great article. I have been following through on the info regarding state testing. An educator friend in another district told me that they as teachers are not allowed to discuss wrong answers to questions with anyone, not the principal, supt. or school board anything regarding the test. The testing company wants no flack. We do not have any idea how secure our kids tests are. Who they are sharing information with and will these tests keep our kids from future placement in college or jobs? We are spending a lot of money and classroom time teaching to these tests. I will be opting out my kids for the first time this new school year.

PTSA member said...

What is the PTSA agenda?

I am a member and I did support the 3 new candidates for school board. PTSA leadership who are you representing by heckling the new school board? This is not our agenda and has never been.

Anonymous said...

Diane Ravich is my hero. Opt out parents and growing.


Who is this Bethann Walters a teacher in Boston Valley- I heard she is spreading rumors that her boss James Martinez is going to get fired! SHe and some of the other Special Education teachers are spreading LIES!

opting out said...

thank you for this post. We should all be concerned with the direction education is being directed favoring big business and no accountability on the questions being asked on the State tests given to our children. How are our childrens demographics being shared, who is viewing my kids test results and how is it being used other than for educational purposes? Will my children in the future be able to decide for themselves what education track they will be placed on and will they have the opportunity to choose their own career or will the testing companie (big government) control our childrens future? It is becoming a(BRAVE NEW WORLD) a scary thought. Thank you again concerned for this post.

Opting out and spreading the information.

Anonymous said...

Now now-- I thought we were going for a "new day". Let's keep the name calling out of it. I would love to see us concentrate on the kids for awhile instead of the adults.

Anonymous said...

I just saw that there is a new article on

Anonymous said...

Wow. I mean really wow! I am a parent of children in the Springville school district and I am stunned and sickened that our superintendent stooped so low. I am even more appalled that our board president and vice president allowed it to go unchecked. After what our district has been through with an incompetent and dishonest superintendent of our own (before Connelly)I am hugely disappointed that our board did not take action to allow those emails to come to light and let the chips fall where they may. Seems that we haven't changed course afterall. I urge the Hamburg school board to release those emails in their entirety. For Springville's sake as well as Hamburg's. Chris Cerrone is well-respected and loved in this community and his dedication to the well-being of all our children is evident and genuine. We are lucky and grateful for all he does for Springville's kids through our recreation programs. I hope Hamburg appreciates him as much as we do. This nonsense must stop and Hamburg school board, you can make it so.
-Your neighbor to the South

Anonymous said...

I too love chris Cerrone. The Springville Community loves him. These emails must be released to at minimum the board of education. It is the board's job to ensure that everyone in the school community is safe.

Anonymous said...

The line that will stick with me in the article on is the one about being judged about how you respond when someone else is wronged. Lets hope the new board is what we thought they were. Does anyone on that board have the integrity to direct the acting superintendent to give them those emails? We know they would do that if it was their son/daughter who was being targeted. This is quite a test.

Anonymous said...

I think the board should immediately refer this matter to the police (the issue on What has gone on between these superintendents seems to be on a level of criminal behavior.

Deko said...

I believe someone should refer this matter to the attorney general or the state police. Threatening or intimidating teachers is unacceptable.