J. E. Pearce Middle School sits in a part of Austin my students called the Two-Three. Short for 78723, the Two-Three is a ZIP code that better captures the broken spirit of East Saint Louis than the progressive-minded ethos of Austin. In 2002, the year I started teaching at Pearce, many of the faculty had been hand-selected to revive the struggling school. Ron Bolek, our Ecuadorean-American principal, liked to compare our situation to the Peace Corps. If recent college graduates could donate two years to a starving village in Ghana, why not commit a few years to a school in a neglected corner of East Austin?
This essay is from two years ago, but it very adeptly illustrates why everybody ought to have nothing but total contempt for the so-called education "reform" movement: as ever, it's not an education problem, not a teacher problem, nothing standardized tests and marathon school days are going to fix; rather, it's a poverty problem, plain and simple.
Until we, as a society, recognize this, we will continue to get the same results. And fifty, one hundred, a thousand more standardized tests, year round schooling, union busting, these will do NOTHING to improve the situation. Really, what we need is to get serious about poverty. Then the "failing schools" will take care of themselves.
Of course, society never seems too terribly interested in doing anything about poverty.
Monday, April 27, 2015
Posted by Ron at 6:54 PM