SOS Steering Committee 2013 – 2015 Vision Statement5

Ceresta Smith – Miami, Florida
Email: cerestas@saveourschoolsmarch.org

High stakes test scores do not indicate that students have learned deeply, claimed ownership to knowledge and learning, obtained the ability to work with others, or developed the ability to think creatively. Nor do they really reflect the quality of a school or a teacher. They suggest trends in regards to cultural practices, social class, and the ability to learn test taking strategies. And to a certain extent they reveal aptitude based on assimilation and cultural bias.

Unfortunately, test scores are used as the excuse for the current “corporate reform” which has bi-partisan political support, some parental support, and huge support from the corporate business community. These “reforms” are focused on the bottom line of profit at the expense of quality teaching and learning. Until the focus is taken off profit and exploitation of public funds for corporate profit, folks will come up with fancy catch phrases and dishonest gimmicks to cover their real intent while teachers and students suffer from the backlash of testing that should never be used as a punitive indicator of teacher effectiveness, student achievement, or quality of a public school.

First and foremost, my activism and vision for the future involves destroying the testing mechanism that is the gateway drug for the erroneous reform movement. Additionally, it involves working with those community members, educators, students, elected officials, parents, and organizations that recognize the destructive nature of the current reform movement and embrace the core principles established by Save Our Schools:

EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL COMMUNITIES

AN END TO HIGH STAKES TESTING USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF STUDENT, TEACHER, AND SCHOOL EVALUATION

TEACHER, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP IN FORMING PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICIES

CURRICULUM DEVELOPED FOR AND BY LOCAL SCHOOL COMMUNITIES

The above stated principles form the foundation for my vision of quality public education that is equitable and will prepare our youth to take their place in sustaining a society that moves beyond superficial greed and corruption that promotes exploitation and marginalization based on gender, race, and social class and moves towards a society that embraces sustainability, cooperation, and the greater good of the whole.