Monday, August 18, 2014

Comments and Questions From NEIFPE Showing of Rise Above the Mark

On Sunday, August 17, the Fort Wayne Cinema Center, in collaboration with NEIFPE, presented the film, Rise Above the Mark.

From the Rise Above the Mark website...
Rise Above the Mark is a documentary narrated by Peter Coyote that brings to light the heartbreaking realities of public education. It’s the story of what happens when politics enters the classroom.

Public schools are boxed in by current corporate reforms. Rules and regulations restrict vision, depreciate funding, demoralize teachers, and turn students into test-taking machines, robbing them of time to foster creativity.

Rise Above the Mark focuses on Indiana’s struggles with public school reforms—the same types of struggles experienced in schools throughout the United States.

Experts Diane Ravtich, Linda Darling-Hammond, Pasi Sahlberg and others discuss how America can make positive changes to provide an exceptional public school system for all children.
A panel discussion with Northwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Chris Himsel, Karen Francisco of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and Whitley County Consolidated Schools Business Manager Kirk Doehrmann followed the showing in the Theater.

The following comments and questions were provided by the Cinema Center audience after the film. Some comments and questions were difficult to read. Please forgive any errors. They are in no particular order. NEIFPE answers follow the questions and are highlighted.

1. I was wondering if this show will be televised throughout the state? I would also like to hear the panel's reaction to Mitch Daniel's remarks on satellite schools this week.

2. How did the position of the Teachers Unions allow this change to occur? Now, how can the unions reorganize to create influence to move the pendulum back the other direction?

3. 1) Embrace the ISTA Amendment. 2) The Business Plan of Shadow Government. 3) Please talk about poverty and education.

4. Karen, you are a spokesperson for pre-school education. What would you suggest IN should do to move this along? Are vouchers the "way to go?"

5. (COMMENT, RHETORICAL QUESTION) Feels so good to be validated as a public school teacher and to have such a cohesive, fervent, research-driven piece created and presented. I am so thankful to have retired from teaching in Ohio before they started using test scores as a teacher evaluation tool instead of a student diagnostic tool. When teachers are so much about creating a positive atmosphere for students, how can legislators require administrators to treat teachers in such negative ways, creating such a demoralizing environment? My such excellent teacher friends are beside themselves with stress.

6. How do we get state legislators to watch this movie and to engage in these issues?

7. In an age of accountability, how can we show that local control can work?

8. Why test at all? How should school effectiveness be measured?

9. Getting government/politics out of education: How to do it soon? How to "fight" the monied interests? How to change the conversation with the current crop of politicians?

10. Can you identify legislators who are in support of public schools?

NEIFPE sent out a questionnaire to all the candidates running for office. We'll be posting the results of the survey on this blog and on our Facebook page over the next several weeks.

11. How do you think the situation in Ferguson, MO impacts our thinking about the role and necessity of public schools?

12. Get the schools back the right way schools should be.

13. So true is the statement that those who are making all the decisions in education know nothing about teaching. Also, I agree that the legislators in Indianapolis care only about money -- not the students, not public education. Karen Francisco does a great job covering education issues. Keep up the good work.

14. I went to school in NY back in the 70s. I think the point is that teachers allowed to teach and were were allowed to use our minds. In the 50s we as a country got off our butts due to sputnik and cared to kick our education system up.

15. Is there a comparable group of activists in S. IN and other parts of the state?

The Monroe County Coalition for Public Education is in Bloomington.
The Indiana Coalition for Public Education is in Indianapolis.
Other groups in Indiana can be found HERE.

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