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When Teachers Run Into Education Reformers That Don't Really 'Stand For Children'

Sometimes teachers run into education reformers who say they stand for children, but whose policies are actually hurting kids and destroying schools.


For some reason, I always get myself into situations where I see someone whose policies may completely destroy public education for all. It's like Mario where some of the evildoers are worth stomping on and others will ruin your whole set-up. So I keep my game face on, because they're probably used to protesters 500-people deep at their faces like, "Did you have to do my kids' school like that?!"

They're often the first to retort with moral responsibility arguments, then turn around and ask the valet to park their Diablo right in front of you. So I catch them unawares and hope to keep my eye-rolls and snickers to a minimum.


Because I'm a good guy. And I have the good fortune of writing about it later.

Such is the case with Jonah Edelman, CEO of Stand for Children. When I saw him on a recent conference's program, I said, "This is curious."

The policies Edelman promotes are a model for the type of ed-reform I simply can't tolerate. If the ideas you set forth shut down tons of schools at a time, proffer narrow measures for assessments, and assure that other people's children only get inexperienced teachers on a yearly (and sometime twice a year) basis, then we do a disservice to making our nation a better place. I can only listen for so long.

Then I looked up Fred Klonsky's blog again and got heated. Over and over. In my mind, I was like, "This 75 percent-ass mothafucka …"

A bunch of scenarios played out in my mind if he got up on stage and tried to address us:

Scenario A:

Edelman: And your name is …
Vilson: JustshutupalreadygoshgoodnessyourpolicieshurtkidsgotoALECorsomethingraawwwrrrr!!!

I don't think that would have been the most professional intro.

Scenario B:

Edelman: And your name is …
Vilson: Jose Vilson.
E: Hi, how are you?
V: I’m good, and you're an asshole. Hope that helps.

But you see, I ain't do that, because it's so disrespectful. To be clear, I don't hate him. I just know that what he's advocating for are policies that are actually hurting children instead of standing up for them.

Scenario C:

E: And your name is …
V: Jose Vilson
E: Hey, how's it going?
V: It's going … hey, can we talk about your mother for a second?

That would have gone over well. But it is incredibly ironic that his mother, Marian Wright Edelman, is the head of the Children's Defense Fund.

Scenario D:

E: And your name is …
V: Jose Vilson, math teacher.
E: Yes, sir, what's your question?
V: My question is simply this: Your mother said, "The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place." How does Stand For Children advance this cause?

Sadly, I never got to see this response, or any really. Instead, I got to hear teachers, futurists, and professors speak. I may have seen him twice in passing and thrown him a quizzical look.

As I look through the roster of staff members at the conference, I wonder how many of them actually drank Edelman's bitter lemonade. I might have suggested they're drinking Kool-Aid, but the things happening to our students based on his policies lean more bitter than sweet. But if they did drink up, I understand. It's summer after all, and sometimes a drink helps the awful go away.

Click here to add attending a school board meeting to your GOOD "to-do" list.

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This article was produced in partnership with the United Nations to launch the biggest-ever global conversation on the role of cooperation in building the future we want.

When half of the world's population doesn't share the same opportunity or rights as the other half, the whole world suffers. Like a bird whose wings require equal strength to fly, humanity will never soar to its full potential until we achieve gender equality.

That's why the United Nations made one of its Sustainable Development Goals to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." That goal includes providing women and girls equal access to education and health care, as well as addressing gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls.

While there is still much work to be done, history shows us that we are capable of making big leaps forward on this issue. Check out some of the milestones humanity has already reached on the path to true equality.

Historic Leaps Toward Gender Equality

1848 The Seneca Falls Convention in New York, organized by Elizabeth Lady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, is the first U.S. women's convention to discuss the oppression of women in sociopolitical, economic, and religious life.

1893 New Zealand becomes the first self-governing nation to grant national voting rights to women.

1903 Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She is also the only woman to win multiple Nobel Prizes, for Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911.

1920 The 19th Amendment is passed in the U.S. giving women the right to vote in all 50 U.S. states.

1973 The U.S. Open becomes the first major sports tournament of its kind to offer equal pay to women, after tennis star Billie Jean King threatened to boycott.

1975 The first World Conference on Women is held in Mexico, where a 10-year World Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women is formed. The first International Women's Day is commemorated by the UN in the same year.

1979 The UN General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also known as the "Women's Bill of Rights." It is the most comprehensive international document protecting the rights of women, and the second most ratified UN human rights treaty after the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir of Iceland becomes the first woman to be elected head of state in a national election.

1993 The UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first international instrument to explicitly define forms of violence against women and lay out a framework for global action.

2010 The UN General Assembly creates the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) to speed progress on meeting the needs of women and girls around the world.

2018 The UN and European Union join forces on the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

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As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is redoubling its commitment to reach all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality. But it will take action and effort from everyone to ensure that women and girls are free from discrimination and violence. Learn more about what is being done to address gender equality and see how you can get involved here.

And join the global conversation about the role of international cooperation in building the future by taking the UN75 survey here.

Let's make sure we all have a say in the future we want to see.

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Perez claims he was responding to insults hurled at him by the officers. The police say that Perez was picking a fight. The altercation left Perez with a broken nose, scrapes, swelling, and bruises from his hips to his shoulder.

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