Are You on the BUS?

The Education Town Hall BUS:

The fourth Thursday of each month –
THIRD Thursdays in November and December due to holidays –

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This BUS driven by stakeholders. Tune in November 18, December 18 and the fourth Thursday of each month in 2015 for news and views from BadAss Teachers Association + United Opt Out + Save Our Schools

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Welcome to YOUR Ed Forum!

The Education Town Hall with Thomas Byrd is the contemporary meeting place facilitating the construction of effective community-supported education solutions and strategic transformational actions. All are welcome.

The price of admission is your sincere desire to lend your voice and talents in transforming our education system into the very best this nation has to offer. The Education Town Hall is the intersection where parents, students, teachers, administrators, community members, policy makers and politicians can all meet to share stories, struggles, and solutions. If you feel that you haven’t had a voice before, please know that you do now.

The Education Town Hall airs Thursdays on We Act Radio, broadcasting from Historic Anacostia in the nation’s capital, at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern).

Listen via TuneIn wherever there’s internet.

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National Launch Campaign

The Education Town Hall’s “National Launch” campaign concluded at the end of October. We thank everyone who visited the site and helped spread the word! Each contribution of time and energy is deeply appreciated and helps the Education Town Hall bring together local and national activists working to improve education, from the earliest years through adulthood.

Additional thanks to our financial donors:

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Brittany Alexander
Allyson C. Brown
Mireille Ellsworth
Mary Filardo
Marla Kilfoyle (BATs)
Michael Kimsey
Hugh D. Lawrence
Mary Levy
Danita Long
JoEllen Marley
Dorothy Marshak (CHIME)
Sandra Munnell
Keith D. Reeves
Cathy Reilly
Sheila Resseger
Andy Shallal
Mark A. Simon
Stephen M. Smith
Anne Tenaglia
Suzanne Wells

Donated funds are already at work in keeping the show on the air, helping to maintain this website. Soon, the Education Town Hall will be hiring an intern.

On the Ed Town Hall BUS: Testing Validity and Resistance



Research and statistics have long shown that most standardized tests used in school systems around the country are invalid in themselves and not suited to the purposes for which they are used. While much of the national conversation on education continues to focus on “accountability” — meaning testing children and using those results to evaluate teachers and schools — parents, teachers, and others are increasing opting out of testing. Monty Neill, who has led the work of FairTest (the National Center for Fair & Open Testing) since 1987, joins the Education Town Hall’s monthly BUS program to discuss these and related issues. This month’s BUS drivers are Denisha Jones of Badass Teachers Association and United Opt Out, and Rosalie Friend of Save Our Schools March.

Fairtest recently published this report: “The Testing Resistance and Reform Movement,” and the website provides many other resources. Check back for links to academic papers referenced by Rosalie Friend.

Listen to tracks 3-5 here –




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The BUS — BadAss Teachers Association, United Opt Out, Save Our Schools March — broadcasts once/month, usually on the 4th Thursday; due to Christmas, the next show will be on December 18.
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The Education Town Hall broadcasts from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays at 11 Eastern on We Act Radio.
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.



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Monty Neill
As executive director of FairTest (the National Center for Fair & Open Testing), Monty Neill initiated national and state coalitions of education, civil rights, religious, disability and parent organizations to work toward fundamental change in the assessment of students and in accountability. He chairs the national Forum on Educational Accountability and is author of a number of related publications. In addition, Neill has administrative experience at the pre-school, high school and college levels. More here

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Beyond the Wall: International Ed Week & Inequity in Resources for Global Education

iew_logo_2Every year, the U.S. departments of State and Education jointly declare International Education Week, “an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.” To launch this year’s celebration, the DOE hosted a panel discussion and screening of the film, “Beyond the Wall,” about four DC teenagers’ journey to China and back.

The film follows the four high school students as they prepare, travel to China, struggle with the language, tour the country, meet residents of all ages, and face challenges upon their return to DC. The five-week, fully-funded study tour, organized by Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA), includes students from all over the U.S. DC participants — from Ballou, McKinley, Roosevelt, and Wilson senior highs — all hail from low-income neighborhoods where foreign travel is a rarity.

Panel1117Monday’s discussion was moderated by Deputy Assistant Secretary Mohamed Abdel-Kader. Participants included Jeffrey Wood, who traveled to China in 2009; Pamela Bullock, Jeffrey’s mother; Stacy Yule, the teacher who recommended Jeffrey; and Sally Schwartz, who mentored Jeffrey and the other DC students.

Resource Deficit

Among topics raised during the panel discussion was the lack of resources supporting foreign language and global studies for these young people upon return to the States. None of the students’ schools offer Chinese language instruction, for example, and world language study varies hugely across DC Public Schools. While the city is filled with embassies, and many diplomats make an effort to share their language and culture with DC schools, programs are not consistent or available at many neighborhood schools. Moreover, many students who have studied abroad find it difficult to integrate their new perspectives with life in the city’s more isolated areas.

Abdel-Kater spoke of the importance of global education for the United States economy as a whole and for individuals seeking employment in the coming years. Meanwhile, however, Yule noted strong resistance to foreign language and global education programs in less affluent areas. There’s a presumption, she said, that “those programs are not for THESE students,” particularly as “drill and kill” dominates in schools seeking higher test scores. At the same time, she said, boredom and lack of relevancy contribute to high truancy rates.

Mobilizing Resources

Schwartz founded and directs DC’s Center for Global Education & Leadership (CGEL). This nonprofit works to mobilize the unique resources of the nation’s capital to support high quality, systemic, and equitably available global education for all DC public school students. Among its efforts helping DC public high school students take advantage of opportunities to study abroad. For this particular program, Schwartz works with DC teachers to find suitable candidates and mentors the selected students before and after their trips. Four years after their journey began, she is still in touch with Jeffrey, Peter, Juanique and Royelle who appear in the Beyond the Wall film.


Check back for more details on Monday’s panel discussion.
Listen for more on the Center for Global Education & Leadership and the Beyond the Wall film on a future Education Town Hall.

If you’re in the DC area, consider attending this program on Language Immersion in Urban Public Schools on December 4, 2014.

The Education Town Hall broadcasts from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays at 11 Eastern on We Act Radio.
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.

Language Immersion in Urban Public Schools

Language Immersion In Urban Public Schools:
Exploring The Benefits & Challenges

co-hosted by the DC Public Library,
DC State Board of Education, and
the DC Language Immersion Project
 
Thursday, Dec 4, 2014
6-8pm
Martin Luther King Library (DC’s central library)
901 G St. NW
Washington DC
 
You are invited to join us for a panel discussion with a focus on the benefits and challenges of implementing language immersion programs in our public elementary schools – both charter and traditional public schools. This discussion is not only meant to highlight the overall value of language immersion but also is designed to be a forum that will engage all stakeholders in a way that will move toward collaborative strategic planning to expand language immersion offerings in public schools in the District of Columbia.

Click here for details

FairTest joins BUS Broadcast, Thurs 11/20 at 11 Eastern



Monty Neill has led the work of FairTest (the National Center for Fair & Open Testing) since 1987. Neill joins the Education Town Hall BUS to share findings of Fairtest’s recently published report, “The Testing Resistance and Reform Movement,” and discuss the current state of test resistance.
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The BUS — BadAss Teachers Association, United Opt Out, Save Our Schools March — broadcasts once/month, usually on the 4th Thursday, but November 20 and December 18, due to Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

This month’s BUS drivers are Denisha Jones of Badass Teachers Association and United Opt Out, and Rosalie Friend of Save Our Schools March.

The Education Town Hall broadcasts from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays at 11 Eastern on We Act Radio.
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.



BUS ethlogo



Monty Neill
As executive director of FairTest (the National Center for Fair & Open Testing), Monty Neill initiated national and state coalitions of education, civil rights, religious, disability and parent organizations to work toward fundamental change in the assessment of students and in accountability. He chairs the national Forum on Educational Accountability and is author of a number of related publications. In addition, Neill has administrative experience at the pre-school, high school and college levels. More here

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“These Kids Have a Fire”: NoLa Students Rethink School, Community

Karen Marshall, executive director of Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, joined the Education Town Hall to discuss the history and practice of helping students “Rethink” their schools and communities.

Kids Rethink

The Rethink program began following Hurricane Katrina in 2006 as a way to help young people have some say in how their schools were rebuilt and reimagined. Students themselves created the title “Rethinkers,” and the program continues to promotes youth organizing and leadership development through its Rethinkers Clubs, Rethink Collective Organizing, and Summer Leadership Institute. Many efforts focus on food justice and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

Marshall described how students are encouraged to envision a “Power Net” around their their chosen topic and then seek spots where they can have an impact. In their early work on food, for example, they organized to demand that Aramark, a large provider of school lunches, offer healthier food that supports the local economy.


Loss of a Visionary

George Carter, then aged 7, joined his older siblings in helping to launch the Rethinkers. He coined the term “pre-thinkers” for the youngest participants. By the age of 15, he’d been an advocate for food justice for years. He is also credited with declaring that schools needed “mood detectors not metal detectors.”

George Carter was killed October 21, on his way to school.

Marshall describes Carter as a “wonderful visionary, an incredible person…killed October 21, while he was on the way to school.” The grieving process has been complicated, Marshall says, “larger narratives” that question the value of young black lives:

…going through the grieving process itself is difficult and then dealing with larger narratives that keep coming out, the same tropes that come out, about young black males and youth of color — and whether or not they deserve to be mourned and whether or not they deserve to be treated as humans either in life or in death. Those are the things that make this even more difficult.”


“They want it to be real”

There is a common notion that young people just “don’t like” school, but this is wrong, Marshall argued. Instead, she said, students need an education that reflects who they are and responds to their needs. “They want it to be real.”

Moreover, it is not true that “young people don’t care,” Marshall added. “They want to be counted… They are passionate about and interested in changing their communities….They have a fire.”



More about this innovative program on Track 4 here —


Rethinkers are part of the Alliance for Educational Justice — learn more and join the AEJ’s mailing list. Read more about the Rethinkers and about George Carter and the George Carter Memorial Fund.


This segment is dedicated to the memories of Rethinkers George Carter and Jade Anderson.

Carter, age 15, died in a shooting on 10/21/14;
Anderson, age 12, died in a fire on 11/11/14.


The Education Town Hall broadcasts from Historic Anacostia in Washington, DC, Thursdays at 11 Eastern on We Act Radio.
Listen live via TuneIn.
Shows are archived for convenient listening shortly after broadcast.