Sunday, April 21, 2013

Time for Rallies, Petitions, and Protests to Save ASD

photo by Ed Pawlowski
It's time for rallies, petitions, protests, and standing up for equal opportunities for ASD students.  Acts of civil disobedience, like student walkouts are being organized as well. I would love to see a teacher walkout! I am encouraging parents to take action. So much damage has already been done to our kids since related arts have been reduced. These cuts don't heal. 

Nationally, there have been several student walkouts protesting cuts to education. There have been boycotts of high stakes state testing too, and parents are exercising their right to opt out of useless testing. Recently, there was a huge student walkout in Newark, NJ. 

Budgets are about priorities. Students must be the priority, and parents must hold the state accountable for equitable funding, but they must also hold the ASD administration and school board accountable. The ASD administration, with school board approval, has implemented curriculum changes that are not in best interest of students. I want teachers to teach to the students, not to the test. I want teachers to have autonomy in the classroom. And I want a return to developmentally appropriate practices. I cannot believe what has happened to Kindergarten and primary grades. Young children learn through play, the arts, and hands on activities-not worksheets or testing. 

Students must have full related arts taught by certified specialists. All schools must have recess and a full time librarian. Parents are NOT happy. Parents want a well rounded education with full arts and humanities.

 Cuts to vital programs and teachers will result in unsafe class sizes, where educational needs of all children cannot be met. ASD children will be denied the opportunities that children attending neighboring Parkland SD enjoy every day. This is more than an injustice, and a disservice to students and community- it is educational malpractice, and child abuse.

Photo is of the Save Our Schools Rally at Cedar Beach Park, organized by the AEA (Allentown teacher's union). Around 200 people attended. Speakers included Ed Pawlowski (mayor of Allentown), Ray O'Connell, and Julio Guridy (Allentown City Council) State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, State Rep. Dan McNeill, school board directors Joanne Jackson and Ce-Ce Gerlach, teacher Deb Brobst, parent and ASD Foundation board member Ed White, Debbie Tretter from the AEA, and several other great speakers. It was nice to reconnect and see the dedicated ASD art teachers and many fellow teacher activists! Hopefully more parents will attend the next rally. Maybe it should be held downtown where most families reside, since many may not have transportation to the west end.


Mrs. Dottie said...

Curiously absent from yesterday's speakers (considering he has so much to spew in bully pulpit forums where he can't be disputed) was divisive and mean spirited ASD board member Scott Armstrong. Also absent, educator and mayoral candidate Michael Donovan, "community organizer" city council candidate Alfonso Todd. These phonies claim that they care about the ASD.

Mrs. Dottie said...

ASD plans on "outsourcing" art class for elementary students. This means artist in residency programs, and some workshops through community non-profit groups, which would normally be part of a school's arts enrichment plan. This minimalist approach would not translate into a high quality arts program. Students need a certified art teacher at each building. Students need an arts foundation to build on, and they need a chance to bond with teachers. Teachers must be able to get to know their students. Teaching is about human relationships. And this is SO important for children to succeed. ASD administrators just don't GET THAT! Consistency, strong student/teacher relationships built on trust, SO IMPORTANT.