You Don’t “Hella Love” Oakland Teachers OR Students with Research Like This.
A Critique of the NCTQ’s “Teacher Quality Roadmap” Report
Table of Contents:
Intro – A Racist/Classist Report for Oakland’s Schools
The NCTQ’s Four Main “Reforms”
No Social Context – No Race/Class Analysis – No Neutral On Moving Trains
No Mention of Budget Cuts and the Impact on the Community – Continued Ignorance of Race/Class Oppression
But . . . Schools Are in Crisis. What is to be done?
Intro – A Racist/Classist Report for Oakland’s Schools:
On Wednesday, March 20th, I went to a rally organized by Youth Together that was in support of the Local Control Funding Formula. At the rally, groups of Oakland and Richmond youth were yelling chants about “education not incarceration” and making demands for smaller class sizes, and better paid teachers.
Afterwards, I went to the GO Public Schools event that publicly released the findings of a report titled the “Teacher Quality Roadmap,” written by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).This report by the NCTQ, presented by two white women, completely contradicts the demands that students of color were putting forward on the same day.
The entire presentation was centered on the role of teachers as the most determining factor in student achievement. Huge emphasis was placed on the role of “great teachers” as opposed to “average” or “ineffective” teachers. No explanation was given for how these categories of “great,” “average,” or “ineffective” were determined, but I have an idea of how: standardized test scores. No mention was made of what this study’s actual political viewpoint on standardized testing is. No mention was made of how teachers should be supported in improving their practice. No mention was made of out-of-school factors like police brutality, immigration raids, or unemployment play in shaping students’ lives.
The entire thing was shrouded in triggering statistics, flashy graphs, and seemingly convincing rhetoric about the problems of public education in Oakland. The purpose of this quick response is to challenge the report that GOPS is promoting in its utility for addressing the real problems in Oakland schools. Rather than supporting the efforts that teachers, parents, and students are putting into keeping quality programming alive in Oakland, and improving the programming that needs improvement, this effort is a veiled attack on the entire community of Oakland. It represents a neoliberal political program that seeks to address the challenges facing communities of color in Oakland, while in reality being a veiled version of white supremacy and classism that will only further the degradation and destruction of Oakland students’ lives.
What we provide below is a critique of the 4 main recommendations that the NCTQ make for the Oakland Unified School District. Secondly, we offer a critique of what the report leaves out, and the racialized and class based implications of these omissions. Finally, we offer thoughts on how to transform the OUSD to actually make schools places where students can learn in healthy ways, teachers can work under the conditions needed to make the student experience profound, and where community members can be integrated into the day to day operation of the school.
Anyone supporting this program should reconsider, immediately, if we have a real interest in improving our lives and the lives of other oppressed people in our community. Continue reading