Friday, May 29, 2009

Amendment Two: Challenging education for all

Here's another fun game...can you tell the different between the two lists of issues below?

List AList B
  • Community-based addiction recovery
  • Civics education
  • Smart Growth development
  • Single-payer health care
  • Bilingual education
  • Clean-up of hazardous waste sites

Give up? Well, List A shows items still in the party elders' idea of a "streamlined" platform. List B are detail-level issues are gone from the draft.

Apparently, the items on List A represent broad-based stuff befitting a platform of "concise"statements, while List B is made up of items that Democrats perhaps need to be more "flexible" about. I see both lists as fundamental Democratic values, and it sure is hard to see any policy reasons why one list got wrecked, and the other survived.

More to the point -- surprise! -- I want to focus on education, surprise, surprise. I teach students every day from a wide range of opportunities, advantages, and backgrounds. My goal and my vocation is to get the absolute most out of every single one. For some reason, the Democratic Party no longer thinks that it is important that I try to do that by incorporating bilingual education. Apparently, the only group worth particular attention is special education. There is something inconsistent here.

The rejection of the proven technique of bilingual education represents a strong rightward step by the party. These students need dedicated, supported programs to ensure their success because of circumstances every bit as challenging and unique as those in special education. Furthermore, our party can no loner subscribe to the concerted ignorance of the overwhelming evidence that all students benefit from challenging gifted and talented students -- a position with virtually no downside (start here for data, the nread anything by Kulik and Kulik).

I stand for not just making education "accessible", but making it challenging to all students. To wit, I am asking for help in putting a second education amendment before the delegates. It reads:

amend sub-section j in the Education section of the Party Platform that currently reads

j) Accessibility for special needs students and adequate funding;

So that it now reads

j) Adequate funding for an accessible and challenging education for special needs, bilingual, and gifted and talented students;

I ask once again for your help to establish a head start on the 250 signatures we'll need. As per the procedure for the amendment on fair assessment, here is how you can help -- NOW:

1. Download the Microsoft Word document that is a signature page for this amendment.

2. Please notify me at that you have done so, and how many signatures, 1-100, that you think you can get. I will tell you how to find someone on the education team in Springfield who can collect your signature page.

3. Ask anyone you know who will be a convention delegate to the Massachusetts Democratic Party convention, June 6th 2009, to sign it.

4. Bring the signature page to the education team in Springfield, and we will convey it to the state party.

Amendment for fair assessment
Amendment for a challenging education for all

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