2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

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Parents Getting Into the Mix On Improving Public Schools

A new group is urging the presidential candidates to pay attention to another constituency as they craft their education platforms: parents.  Led by two parent organizers — one in New York City and one in Chicago — this group says "there's a complete disconnect between what we're being told by the politicians and the business people about what we should want schools to do, and what parents want schools to do."

One of those groups, led by Chancellor Joel Klein, recommended tough accountability standards that would lead to the firing of bad teachers and the closing of failing schools; the other, called the Broader, Bolder Agenda, argued that accountability alone cannot dissolve the achievement gap — that additional investments in improving health care and after-school programs are required to do so.  The parents criticize both groups.

The director of a teacher training program for elementary schools at Columbia University's Teachers College, Celia Oyler, said she signed the petition because its concerns with standardized testing resonate with her experience.  "In New York City elementary schools, the pressure to raise children's standardized test scores has systematically stripped many of resources," Ms. Oyler said. "In too many classrooms, 'test prep' has become the curriculum."

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