Friday, December 30, 2005

Children First?

An anonymous commenter sent me a great article by Bernard Gassaway, former principal of Beach Channel High School and senior superintendent of Alternative Schools and Programs.

Mr. Gassaway, as Bloomberg's employee, was faced with the stark choice of serving either the mayor or the kids, whose interests did not converge.

I represented the children who were on the “long way to go” end of the process. I wanted nothing to do with the bogus talk about test score gains. These so-called gains did not change one thing for the children who I represented. City Hall and Department of Education officials had one goal in mind, get Bloomberg reelected. The Chancellor frequently advocated on television for the Mayor’s reelection. When I first heard this, I remember saying to myself, I do not care about this Mayor’s reelection.

If our educational leaders (superintendents) are silenced, what chance do our principals, teachers, parents and children have? Since no one is willing to tell the Emperor that he is not wearing any clothes, our children continue to suffer. Our children continue to suffer because we fail to come to their defense. Our children continue to suffer because we compromise our principles. Our children continue to suffer because we refuse to listen to them, hear their cries. Our children continue to suffer because few are bold enough to utter a word in defense of them. Our children continue to suffer because our so-called political, religious, educational and community leaders are so weak and paralyzed by complicity or fear.

Here’s my charge to educational leaders. If you are not going to pledge allegiance to children, shut up and continue to do as you are told to do. Do not pretend to be an educator. Do not pretend to be free. Your children will surely follow your lead.
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