"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Superintendent as Educator -- John Kuhn Scolds Texas

Thanks to Anthony Cody for posting this...

John Kuhn, Superintendent of Perrin-Whitt CISD in Perrin Texas, talks about Texas education.

This is a MUST read!

John Kuhn Roars Back: Texans Rebel Against Testing

Superintendent Kuhn scolds the state government for their hypocrisy and their failure to protect the students of Texas. He holds the state accountable for not helping teachers do their job...and in fact, standing in the way of the very teachers who are blamed for the failure of the system. The same can be said for legislatures and Governors around the nation, and the federal legislature and executive as well.
[The state of Texas] has created a strict accountability system for teachers while NOT developing any system whatsoever to illuminate the progress of politicians in remediating out-of-school factors that devastate student test scores; factors like parental unemployment go unmeasured, racial income disparities--that's a gap no one tries to close--child homelessness is irrelevant, crime and incarceration rates for fathers are too unimportant to track, rates of drug use and child abuse and preventable illness do not matter because those are factors that lay squarely within the politicians' realm of responsibility, and they just keep getting worse. But they don't want to talk about the gaps in their data; they want to decry the status quo in classrooms and preserve the status quo in Austin.

If the teacher is the quarterback, Congress is the offensive line. Their performance impacts our performance, but they keep letting us get sacked by poverty, broken homes, student mobility, hunger, health care. And they just say "Oops" as that linebacker blows by them and buries his facemask in our chest. Then we get back to the huddle and they say, "You gotta complete your passes." We're aware of that. Make your blocks, legislators. Give us time to stand in the pocket and throw good passes. Do your job. It doesn't take a great quarterback rating to win games; it takes a team effort.

Have the elected officials in Austin made adequate yearly progress? Nobody knows, because they keep their achievement gaps swept safely under a rug so they can't be criticized, so they can't be held accountable for decades of zero progress. The human cost of their failures is staggering, but our politicians have seen fit to create an accountability system that holds least accountable those with the most power and influence.
I wish that more superintendents would be vocal advocates for public schools. Many are...but are quiet about it. Many are just too busy trying to keep their schools afloat because of budget cuts and restrictive state requirements. On the other hand, many are afraid to stand up for the children in their schools...for public schools.
You can keep your for-profit schools. I want a locally-elected school board that answers to me, to parents and local taxpayers, not to shareholders. I want a quality public education for ALL Texas children. I want adequate and equitable funding, so that families in every part of Texas can count on the consistent quality of our public school system like we count on the consistent quality of our interstate highway system, because we don't want to wreck our children any more than we want to wreck our cars.

Texas officials, you build your hateful machine that blames teachers for the failures of politicians; we'll still be here teaching when your engine of shame is laid upon the scrapheap of history. For now, we'll bravely take these lashes you give because we know that--no matter what you say--the only crime of the public school teacher in 2012 is his or her willingness to embrace and teach broken children. If that's a crime, then find us guilty. If caring for the least of these makes us unacceptable, then bring on your label gun. We're not afraid.
Nancy Flanagan in The Missing Link In Genuine School Reform had this to say...
For school leaders who need inspiration, take a look at Texas Superintendent John Kuhn, standing on the steps of the Capitol in Austin, pouring out his dreams for education.
Take a look below at this superintendent. Wouldn't it be nice to see your local superintendent standing up for your children or your students like this?






"Our achievement gap is an opportunity gap. Our education problem is a poverty problem. Test scores don't scream bad teaching. They scream about our nation's systematic neglect of children who live in the wrong zip codes." -- John Kuhn
Click here for more about John Kuhn.

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