A new public education advocacy group plans to be out in force tonight at the MNPS School Board meeting. The group, calling itself the Coalition Advocating for Public Education, or CAPE, is comprised of teachers and says it seeks to elevate teacher voice at all levels of the policy-making process.
Here’s the press release about tonight’s action:
Nine teachers will be using their teacher voices to speak before the Metro Nashville Public Schools board of education on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Their topic will be the impact of high-stakes testing on their classrooms.
The teachers are a part of a campaign recently launched by the Middle Tennessee Coalition Advocating for Public Education (CAPE).
“When you tell teachers to ‘use their teacher voice’, it means to speak loudly and clearly, with the kind of authority that brings immediate order to a chaotic classroom,” said Amanda Kail, an English as a second language teacher at Margaret Allen Middle Prep and one of the founders of CAPE. “As teachers, we deal with the consequences of chaos brought into our profession by the so-called reform movement. Many people are talking about the best way to fix schools, but our policy-makers need to remember that we are the experts in education, and it is time to voice that expertise for our profession, our students, and our communities.”
The coalition was started by a handful of public school teachers and regional organizations who advocate for public schools, teachers, and students. CAPE is planning to recruit more teachers to speak at the school board meetings every month. They are also planning other events, such as a panel exploring the impact of “Zero Tolerance Discipline” on November 17.
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I hope to see CAPE establish branches all across the country to empower teachers to feel safe to speak. There are many localized examples of teachers collaborating with parents to bring about major changes in school districts. In our district the teacher-parent group ousted the superintendent, assistant superintendent and the majority of the school board and are now on the path of rebuilding. We helped elect two retired teachers to our school board.
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