|Posted by Nancy Schniedewind|
|on October 09, 2012|
Nancy Schniedewind is a professor of education at SUNY New Paltz and a former member of the New Paltz Board of Education.
Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush of Public Education brings together the voices of educators, parents, writers, and activists who are resisting the standardization and privatization of public education.
The pieces in this collection tell stories seldom covered in mainstream media. They describe audacious acts of resistance to corporate-driven education policies that Jonathan Kozol asserts “are killing the spirits of our children:” students refusing to take tests, teachers turning down merit pay or
contesting the practices of corporate charters, writers challenging the
Common Core, and parents organizing to stop excessive testing.
In one essay Felipa Gaudet (shown here) describes how she was able to nurture a traumatized kindergartener because her principal, Aviva Kafka, fostered a “loving... child-centered school," not a "sterile...test-frenzied institution.”
Felipa is a former Hyde Park teacher now at George Washington Montessori in Kingston. Aviva Kafka, is now an assistant superintendent in Hyde Park.
Two of the poems in the book (see below) portray ways in which top-down policies undermine education in a democracy. While these poems describe losses to young people that have motivated educators and their allies to act to challenge bad policies, the vast majority of pieces in Educational Courage depict the creativity of people working together to reclaim our schools for the public good.
The book also provides ideas, strategies, and hope to those readers who want to act locally to regain democratic control of public education.
The book is available from Beacon Press or at Inquiring Minds Bookstores in New Paltz and Saugerties.