Seattle Teacher Jesse Hagopian Schools NBC’s Education Nation

Seattle Teacher Jesse Hagopian Schools NBC’s Education Nation

JAISAL NOOR: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. NBC’s three-day special on America’s public
schools called Education Nation has just wrapped up in New York. Since its inception, Education
Nation has been criticized and protested for a host of reasons, including that it’s sponsored
by the Gates Foundation and for highlighting the voices of the corporate education movement
while excluding voices of teachers, parents, and students who oppose policies backed by
the corporate education movement. So viewers might have been surprised when they heard
the following speaker on Education Nation just a few days ago. JESSE HAGOPIAN: Well, teachers invented testing,
so I’m not against testing, I’m not against assessment. But what I am against is the inundation
of our classrooms with standardized testing. It’s gotten completely out of hand. You know,
one parent in Chicago when I went to speak there told me their kindergartener takes 14
standardized tests a year. And this allows for no time for teaching. And I’m glad that
you raised Finland, because in Finland, one of the highest-ranked school systems in the
world, they only have one standardized test. And let me just say that I think we need to
reframe what the purpose of education is, because I think it’s not just about career-ready
and college-ready. I think it’s also about solving real-life problems that we have in
our world. We have endless wars, economic stagnation, and we have mass incarceration.
And climate change is threatening the future of humanity. And none of those problems can
be solved by bubbling A, B, C, or D. NOOR: That was in fact a voice from the grassroots,
a public school teacher from Seattle named Jesse Hagopian. Jesse teaches history and
is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield High, and he was the leader of the historic
boycott of the MAP test earlier this year. He’s an associate editor of the acclaimed
Rethinking Schools magazine and a founding member of Social Equality Educators. He blogs
at Thank you so much for being with us again,
Jesse. HAGOPIAN: Oh, thank you so much for having
me back. NOOR: So, Jesse, we wanted to have you on
to discuss this moment in education policy in this country, because as someone that’s
followed public education pretty closely over the past few years and been following protest
movements, movements against this corporate education reform, against high-stakes testing,
against school closures, one or two years ago it would have been almost inconceivable
for a public school teacher that opposes high-stakes testing that demands things like education
and citizenship and solving the world’s problems to be featured on a show like NBC’s Education
Nation. I think that’s a testament to the work you’ve done and that students and teachers
and parents have done across the country. Put this moment in context for us. HAGOPIAN: Yeah. Really the credit goes to
the courageous educators at Garfield High School, whose stand last winter, refusing
to administer the Measures of Academic Progress test and launching a boycott, I think has
sparked a civil rights movement of some sort across this country. And the power of that
movement couldn’t be denied, and it was so pervasive across the country last spring and
into this school year that NBC contacted me to participate in their Education Nation forum. And we saw in the wake of the boycott that
was ultimately successful in Seattle an eruption of activism around high-stakes testing and
removing these standardized tests from the classroom. We saw walkouts of students in
Portland and in Chicago. We saw thousands upon thousands of parents in Long Island opt
out their students. There was a mass march of some 13,000 parents, students, and teachers
in Texas demanding an end to the high-stakes testing regime. And I think that the over
a decade of policies launched with No Child Left Behind and then only reinforced with
Race to the Top has really created mass opposition in this country to the narrowing of our curriculum
with these high-stakes standardized tests that have been shown over and over again to
only be a corrosive force in public education. NOOR: Now, I mentioned this in the lead and
I’ll repeat it again. This is, I think, hugely significant. One of the main backers of Education
Nation is the Gates Foundation, which backs these policies across the country. And to
be fair, it wasn’t just you. You weren’t the only lone grassroots voice there. There were
other students who spoke out as well from that perspective. But do you think that we’re
at a pivotal or historic moment in this country when it comes to public education? HAGOPIAN: I really do. And I think that the
size and strength of our movement and the numbers of parents, students, and teachers
who are seeing through the corporate education reform myth, whose own experience over the
course of over a decade of how these tests are used to rank, sort, label, and punish
our children and our educators, has created a backlash and it’s created a mass movement.
And those of us who have been organizing for years to say that education should be about
much more than a single number, that the intellectual process of teaching and learning cannot be
reduced to a single score, are beginning to have our voices amplified by this movement. And I think that NBC realized that this movement
had gained so much traction that it was impossible to deny it and have a credible conversation
about education in this country. And I was so glad that I was able to raise the points
on the show. The part of the show that was not shown in that clip, I was able to point
out the fact that perhaps Garfield High School did not start the MAP test boycott. You could
say that the boycott was actually started by the elite private schools like Lakeside,
where Bill Gates attended as a high school student, because those elite schools, they
have never given the MAP test and they don’t inundate their students with standardized
testing, because they want their children to be raised to be the next generation of
leaders. They want critical thinking in the classroom. They want time for the arts and
the things that really enrich education. And we want the very same for all of our children
in the public schools. NOOR: Jesse Hagopian, thank you so much for
joining us. HAGOPIAN: I appreciate your time. NOOR: Thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

27 Replies to “Seattle Teacher Jesse Hagopian Schools NBC’s Education Nation

  1. Liberal arts, music, fine art has been deemed frivolous and a waste of time and yet, big corporations owe much of their success to musicians, graphic art designers, product developers and people in motion picture arts. "NCLB" discourages young development in these valuable fields for all except those who can afford them.

  2. Public schools could certainly use some re-organization and re-invention but the forces for privatized schools view the tax revenue stream assigned to education as a source potential for profit. "NCLB" is a poison pill designed to discredit schools and teachers. Many good teachers are leaving the field because of the destructive nature of this program.

  3. The Bush legacy is that of a group of aristocratic criminal attempt to gain and control power over the minds of the mass population they want to control and exploit using any and all methods to achieve it. They want to roll back history to pre-enlightenment times.

  4. You're going after the symptoms, not the root of the problem. Research "scientific management of children" and "who controls our children"….

  5. Well said; like to add :

    Unless parents watching their children like hawk, most kids end up doing some jackass crime and totally get hijacked by the "DOJ/prison industry GDP set up."

    And crux of the matter is parents finding less time and resources for their children, mainly due to inflation and salary cuts. Their kids get caught in the criminal enterprise, known to school authorities and police who may simply watch with apathy !

  6. Thanks for sharing. Prison industry is a booming business; thanks to politicians cutting the budget of various school boards.

    Schools are foundation of countries' future progress, I've seen it all turning bad to worse. One reason could be N. America is finding it cheaper to import skilled labor than train them.

  7. Jesse is right, schools these days are nothing but indoctrination centers … you won't learn real life situations and about what's going on around you, rather just what the government wants to you believe!

  8. Corporations want to grind out obedient, dumbed down, compartmentalized workers, for the Monopoly Fascist Imperial Regime, nothing more. No deep logical thinking allowed for the working class. Bill Gates was sent by his attorney father to the Exclusive Private Lakeside Prep School in Seattle. How dare he & Melinda take over Public Education too!

  9. Great interview. Since I don't actually watch television (don't have one) it's great to see teachers speaking out about how problematic schooling is. It's gotten to the point that if me and my partner ever take in foster kids or adopt, I will pull them out of school promptly to be homeschooled.

  10. My own background is in liberal arts, and it is precisely because of this broad based education that I actually became interested in science, world history, foreign policy and critical thinking overall. I realize that there will always be a need for specialization (it's a complicated world), but there is also a need for a broader perspective at the same time. A nation full of MBA graduates will not be equipped to tackle the multiple challenges ahead.

  11. 4:40 min "rank, sort, label and punish students" Exactly. I remember reading about Fred Smith who In 1965, while attending Yale University, wrote an economics paper who got a C. He turned that project into a company you may have heard of called Federal Express. The student thought it would be more efficient to ship everything to a central location and then ship it to its destination. The teacher apparently thought this was worth a C.  

  12. I hope he wins the court battle with Seattle police.  He was just walking by and got maced by some power tripping cop bitch.  ALL WE NEED IS A PRECEDENCE!!  Then ALL cops will be subject to the same punishment.  

  13. You can't compare a country of 5.5 Million white people, who are only allowed to have 1 child, to the most complicated, corrupt and diverse country in the world. Where illegals are given more rights than their own. To a country that spends hundreds of billions in foreign aid, and lends the same. Without ever getting anything(relatively) in return. It's no wonder that most countries despise us. Of course we the people have no control over the elite that "rule" this country, or the "invisibles" that tell them what to do…..

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