Tag Archives: school to prison pipeline

A Future Stuck in the Pipeline

By Robert C. Koehler
COTO Report

Are the bad ideas dead yet? You know, the ones that have been hollowing out the country’s soul for the last 30 years.

In Atlanta, they indicted 35 teachers, principals and administrators, including a former superintendent, for routinely altering their students’ standardized test results — and in all likelihood this massive fraud is an aberration only because the cheaters got caught.

Everything is at stake in these tests, so perhaps it’s dawning on us that fraud — by adults — is inevitable, but there’s a bigger issue here that continues to escape public outrage: The tests are stupid. They measure virtually nothing that matters, but monopolize the classroom politically. Teachers, under enormous pressure, are forced to teach to the tests rather than, you know, teach critical thinking or creative expression; and education is reduced to something rote, linear and boring.

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The School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Robert C. Koehler

I hope the Dignity in Schools Campaign overflows its banks, spilling awareness into every corner of the country.

“Millions of children and youth are denied educational opportunities in the United States,” begins the National Resolution for Ending School Pushout, which some 200 organizations in 43 states have so far signed. “This injustice results from systemic inequality and a lack of public commitment to doing what is necessary to keep all young people in school.”

Can we sit with this statement a moment, please?  Can we sit with it without blame, denial or quick opinions, and simply let it wash at the edges of our sense of national greatness? Our military, political and cultural thrust reaches every corner of the globe. We’re the world’s only superpower. And we’re feeding our own children — a shocking percentage of them, at any rate — into a sort of Darwinian meat grinder of low expectations, zero tolerance and fend-for-yourself hopelessness.

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