Next General Meeting to Launch ItAGs and Take Action
Welcome to the beginning of another school year. Unfortunately, the attacks on our profession have not ceased, we’ll treat that like we do every other chip stacked against our students and us; double down, deal with it and move forward. We place our bets on our students, notwithstanding the odds, because our faith is in them-not the pundits. Knowing that no matter what issues are debated, what modern-trend is presented, what brand-new model is acclaimed- we have to teach tomorrow, and TAGBoston is focused on THAT.
Our next meeting will be on October 21st, 2011 at the Young Achievers Pilot K-8 located at 20 Outlook Road, Mattapan, MA from 6:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M. We hope to see you there.
Moving forward TAG Boston meetings will do two things:
1. Provide Policy Education and
2. Facilitate Inquiry to Action Groups (ItAGs) The policy education piece will address issues that are having profound effects on our practice. The ItAGs are similar to a study group, but the goal is that after the group inquires into a particular topic, its members will together create action around their area of study, making it a true community of praxis. The goal is for teachers to emerge more informed about their profession and have, in-hand, resources to enhance their practice.
In the first part of our October 21st meeting we will discuss recent legislative bills that effect education in the Commonwealth. The second portion will be a work session for the current ItAGs teachers are pursuing. Some examples and blurbs of current ItAGs are listed below.
Teacher’s Union ItAG
Our goal is to advocate for a social justice program in our union. We see our work as reinvigorating and empowering our membership, creating proactive opportunities for educators to engage with others in schools and communities who are working to create democratic schools that meet the needs of people.
Our ITAG will be working on creating social justice curriculum across all disciplines. We will work on gathering and creating curricular resources that we can use in our own classrooms, and we will publish these resources so that other teachers can use them. We may also explore various forms of social justice pedagogy, including critical pedagogy, Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), and critical exploration. Finally, we will support each other in our attempts to implement social justice curriculum and practice, perhaps through school visits, videos, blogs, etc. Again, all disciplines (incl. the arts, phys ed, music, etc.) and level of experience are encouraged to join.
As the high stakes testing that is the MCAS continues, we must continue to work to expose the use of high stakes testing that destroys authentic learning and thinking in our schools. As we all know, every child deserves an opportunity to think creatively, talk about ideas, and have time in their day devoted to art, music and other enriching electives. Increasingly, in the state of MA and across the nation, high stakes testing disproportionately affects students whose first language is not English.
In addition, we are outraged that these tests are then used to shut down schools and dismantle pillars of the community, with the goal of privatizing education in mind. This is a practice that is without question impacting communities of color more than others. This ItAG seeks to expose these practices, equip educators with the tools to quell the “teach to the test” craze in their own schools and empower communities to take action against the high stakes environment.