Multicultural Education is everyday!
Common Core Standards have generated intense debates and controversies among politicians, educators, parents of current students, and community members. It is important, therefore, that the voices of those responsible for implementing the Common Core Standards are heard. The Hechinger Report, invited two principals, Carol Burris and Jayne Ellspermann, with differing views on Common Core Standards to converse through letters their opinions and experiences with the implementation of the Common Core Standards.
Carol Burris, New York’s principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District and the 2013 New York State High School Principal of the Year used to be in support of Common Core Standards but is now an opponent of the Standards. Jayne Ellspermann, principal of West Port High School in Ocala, Florida and the 2015 Principal of the Year for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, is an advocate for the Standards.
Valerie Strauss who covers education and the Answer Sheet Blog for the Washington Post reported on March 4th, 2015 the second letter in the series written by Jayne Ellspermann in response to Carol Burris who wrote the first letter.
As 2014 winds down and we await the dawn of 2015 with anticipation, it seemed appropriate to share an uplifting human interest article that showcases faith, hope, trust, wonder, service and education. As educators we daily exhibit faith, hope, trust and wonder as we perform our services to our students in a climate of limited or lack of adequate resources.
According to an article by Valerie Srauss in the Washington Post, on December 25, 2014, New York City Laura Virginia O’Hanlon of the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” served 43 years a teacher and principal after earning a master’s degree from Columbia University and a PhD from Fordham University in New York City. The Studio School which has a scholarship in her name was started in her Greenwich Village childhood home in New York City. The website gives her the following tribute:
“In the tradition of a curious young girl, Virginia, who lived in the house that became our school, we celebrate the promise and fulfillment of every child. The Virginia O’Hanlon Scholarship Fund will make it possible for more children to grow up to believe in themselves, and embrace the journey of learning. Virginia grew up to be an educator and advocate for children’s rights and believed that all children, regardless of social background, should have the same learning opportunities.”
Virginia, like most teachers and principals in order to keep motivating students to achieve beyond expectations, and to keep thriving against all odds still believe that there is a “Santa Claus”. We believe our students are capable and we work hard to help our students grow into well-rounded citizens of the world who can also succeed in college or in chosen careers. We choose not to act as “Virginia’s friends” described by the editor of the Sun in Sept. 21, 1897 as follows:
“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” “Virginia, Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible to their little minds.”
in 2015 and beyond, keep up the great work you do with students in all schools across the globe in your roles as teachers, principals and educators!
In an interview with EduShyster, Troy LaRaviere, a Chicago Public School’s principal at Blaine Elementary School and a leader of the Administrators Alliance for Proven Policy and Legislation in Education, AAPPLE, discussed his aversion to the current climate of education reform in Chicago and in the United States. He indicated that most school administrators choose not to publicly share their truths about the impact of mandated education reform because of fear of consequences. Principal LaRaviere who needs to be commended for his courageous stance said the following to EduShyster:
“I was at an event recently and someone asked *why are principals afraid to speak out?* One of my colleagues responded that *It’s not that we’re afraid; we’re just being strategic about how we move forward.* I’d never really thought about it this way before, and it hit me that the difference between being fearful and being *strategic* is meaningless because, if you’re scared, you avoid telling the truth because you’re afraid of the consequences. But if you’re being strategic, you fail to tell the truth because you’re trying to avoid the consequences. However you define it, fear or strategy, you’re not speaking your truth because you know there will be consequences from the governmental bureaucracy in charge of the public schools. There is no place for such a fear of government in a constitutional democracy. That is part of why I tell my truth; the primary reason is to stand up for students, but a secondary reason is to test our democracy—to be an example of an ordinary citizen that believes that the First Amendment is both powerful and real. It is a meaningful expression of my own patriotism.”
In order to encourage other school administrators to use their voices, Principal LaRaviere told EduShyster:
“Tell your truth. If you don’t want to say what you know is right for fear that you’ll be fired by your government, which is who we work for, then go to your eighth grade social studies classrooms where they’re studying the Constitution and tell them that it’s all a lie. Tell your students that the First Amendment is an ideal, but we don’t have it. If you’re not willing to say that to your eighth grade students, than tell your truth. It’s as simple as that. Just tell your truth.”