Kenny Rivera, an Assistant Principal at Brandywine High School, recently embarked on an incredible journey to India to explore different schools and systems in education. I interviewed Kenny this week. While he was in India, I saw his Facebook posts filled with pictures of schools and students. Kenny has graciously allowed me to use those pictures in this article. Continue reading Interview With Brandywine’s Kenny Rivera After His Trip To See Schools In India
Every once in a while, Kilroy posts something about me. It is usually in regards to some comment someone made over on his blog. But lately, especially on social media, I see Kilroy taking potshots at DSEA and a couple of members in particular. This led to a dust-up on Kilroy’s Facebook page tonight, over all things, social justice.
It appears Kilroy didn’t understand the context and went into a tirade over it. This led to other commenters talking about the validity of unions and how the dues work. Steve Newton completely evaporated the opposition and proved conclusively that union dues come with the application for a teaching job in Delaware school districts. It isn’t a question of right or wrong, it is just the way it is.
Kilroy needs to stop trying to poke holes into DSEA and their upcoming elections and really focus on the things that are happening outside of teacher unions. Like the complete and utter privatization of public education if certain parties get their way. Like the Rodel-led hijacking of Delaware’s Every Student Succeeds Act state plan. Like the Christina-charter school settlement that will take away funds from every single school district in the state for things that are rightfully excluded from charter payments. Like an incoming Governor who has not announced any leadership positions for Delaware education with a little over a month before his inauguration. Like the swarm of education technology in our classrooms that is collecting a plethora of private student information with algorithms we will never know about. Like how it doesn’t matter who won President of the country, that march to privatization continues. Like the “Bad News Betsy” that will make Arne Duncan and John King look like rank amateurs. Like the stealth tests coming our way sooner than we think in Rodel’s when you wish upon a star personalized learning and competency-based education environment.
For someone who claims to support teacher unions, he sure does talk about them a lot. Especially their role in Race To The Top. Six years ago. Which, I might add, all nineteen school districts signed up for, along with the Delaware PTA and every other education organization in the state. To say DSEA was the only party that led RTTT into Delaware is very misleading. Being real here, I wasn’t involved in all of this when RTTT came out. So my window on this is seen in perceptions of that time from others after the fact in the past few years. But there comes a time when beating it over us is not productive. Who is still in DSEA leadership from that time? I don’t think anyone running for DSEA leadership was instrumental in the decisions from six years ago. But if Kilroy has a grandchild in Red Clay, he needs to get up to speed with what is going on in education. Cause it is not pretty and he needs to be on the right side of things. I admire the hell out of Kilroy. He got me my start in the Delaware blogosphere. And I want him to focus on more because he has a great deal of influence on education.
In terms of social justice, I’m not sure what context Kilroy took it in, but as a result of Kilroy’s post, Mike Matthews updated his status to show what his definition of social justice is:
Social justice means to me…
…standing at a school board meeting begging for more supports for special needs students.
…going to Dover and speaking in support of the Opt Out movement before the House education committee.
…reading a book to kindergarteners on why sharing and respect are key values.
…protesting the State’s attempts to shut down community schools because of test scores.
…letting a Black student know that when all around them they feel like the world hates them, that their life DOES matter.
…demanding that Delaware get off the list of four states that doesn’t fund ELL students.
…ensuring that ALL students know that a classroom is a place where they can be themselves — no matter how different — and be accepted.
…organizing educators to make sure they understand their rights to speak up and ADVOCATE for their students when the time comes.
Social Justice, to me, is about education and NEVER indoctrination. Social justice is about respect. Kindness. Acceptance. Organizing. Advocating. Speaking up. Believing in who you are as a human being and being able to take action to fight for the most vulnerable.
That’s what social justice is. While that phrase may be dangerous to some, I will always wear it like a badge of honor.
Besides, it’s too much fun being an outspoken pain in the ass sometimes.
Well said Mr. Matthews. That is some social justice I can get behind. While I have been critical of DSEA leadership in the past, I have always seen the potential of what a united and strong DSEA could become in this state. A DSEA that will have to align with parents in the coming years if they want to save public education. Perhaps that is why I have been critical of DSEA at times because I have high expectations for them to be the voice that has the power to influence public education in this state, not be an observer while others feast on the scraps.
We ALL need to be concerned about Donald Trump and his very poor selection of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. Trump really doesn’t have a clue about education. But he will surround himself with people who do. And what they know and what they have planned is not good.