Saturday, April 07, 2018

Mariachi Chancellor Thinks Opt-Out is Extreme

I was pretty surprised to see that incoming NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza deemed opt-out an extreme reaction to the standardized testing that has plagued and poisoned our educational system. First of all, this implies the parents who mounted a statewide protest to resist making widgets of their children are somehow taking the wrong approach.

Carranza probably doesn't remember when Reformy John King announced that very few New York children met his exacting standards, and almost immediately thereafter fewer than 20% NY children rang the big Common Core bell in Albany. He probably doesn't recall the statewide protests of these tests. He must not remember even the Great and Powerful Andrew Cuomo shrinking at the sight of Jeanette Deutermann and Beth Dimino. He probably doesn't remember that there is a moratorium on actually using any of these test scores for much of anything.

In a way, you can't blame the guy, He wasn't around when any of this was happening. On the other hand, if Carranza wants to be el rey, the king, he's gonna have to do a little bit of homework. Specifically, he's gonna have to educate himself on what opt-out is, who was in it, and exactly how powerful the tsunami of parent power was that accompanied it. Kings get to sit on a throne, but only so long as no one topples it. Andrew Cuomo was comfortably ensconced in his reformy castle until opt-out raised its formidable head. Now he acts like he's our good buddy, and he pretends to be a Democrat instead of going after unions.

A key rule in writing and teaching is know your audience. I can't give the same lesson to an AP English class as the one I present to a group of newcomers from El Salvador and China. I mean, I could, but it would fall on deaf ears a good portion of the time. Carranza, by talking off the top of his head, has failed to consider his audience. I hope he's a quick learner, but thus far he's shown no evidence he is.

This is not necessarily a fundamental or irreversible error. Here's a guy who's learned how to play a violin. That's not an easy process. You have to endure sounds no human ought to before you coax a sweet tone from this instrument. We have to hope the tortured sounds we're hearing now are only practice.

Still, if Bill de Blasio scoured the country for the best, it's hard to understand why he couldn't find someone who, you know, read a few articles about opt-out before venturing toward such an outlandish comment. It's possible that Carranza thinks, as el rey, that any questioning of his actions is beyond the pale. I certainly hope not.

Opt-out remains one of the great hopes for quality education, as opposed to the reformy slice-em, dice-em, rigor and grit crap that Broad, Gates and Walmart would impose on our children.

Which side are you on, Mr. Chancellor?
blog comments powered by Disqus