There has long been a troubling attitude in our society about low-income parents. Put bluntly, it goes like this: Poor people make poor parents. Of course, folks in proper circles usually don’t come right out and say it, which is what made the recent comments by state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, so stunning.

When asked by the media about the parent empowerment bill (Senate Bill 862, House Bill 867), Sen. Simmons responded: “Let’s face it, the parents are the very people who haven’t been involved in their own children’s lives so as to cause the school to improve. What kind of credibility do you give to the parents in those kinds of circumstances?” Everybody knows who he is talking about, because the bill is meant to address consistently failing schools in low-income neighborhoods.

Forget about the historic neglect of these schools. Forget that school districts and unions have used them as out-of-sight, out-of-mind depositories for ineffective personnel. Forget about the long history of promoting illiterate children to certain failure just to move them through the system. Forget that many of these parents are working two minimum-wage jobs to support their children and don’t have time to form a PTA or lobby in Tallahassee. It’s all the parents’ fault. Let’s face it.

If a school fails year after year, the judgment of those running the school should not be challenged by the parents of the children the school is failing. The people responsible for the failure are competent, but the parents are not…

Maybe I would expect this out of union leaders, politicians beholden to their campaign contributions, education bureaucracies and parents who send their children to high-performing schools and see only that side of public education. But it disturbs me to see black legislators tacitly give their approval through their silence and their votes.

I have devoted the past 25 years to ensuring that poor minority children have access to an equal education. In this effort, I do not pledge allegiance to traditional public schools, charter schools or voucher schools. I don’t care about the vehicle. I care about the result. And I’ve found the result is much better when parents are allowed to make choices.

Urban League of Greater Miami President T. Willard Fair, taking rightful umbrage at the move by the Florida state senate majority leader (with the shameful and implicit backing of Gov. Rick Scott) to gut the proposed Parent Trigger law — and at the willingness of black politicians to do the will of NEA and AFT affiliates instead of working on behalf of black children and their families. Scott, Simmons, and black politicians in the Sunshine State deserve scorn from all reformers for this. And Scott, along with his colleagues, deserve to be voted out of office for this, along with signing a “reform” measure that further weakens Florida’s successful two-decades long effort at overhauling public education.

You almost have to follow the whole chain… Is [the California Teachers Association] telling President Obama he isn’t a Democrat? Is CTA at a point of desperation knowing that education reform is embraced by important Democrats? Are they so desperate?

Former California state senator (and Democrats for Education Reform honcho) Gloria Romero, in L.A. Weeklytaking aim at fellow Democrats for doing the bidding of the National Education Association’s Golden State affiliate in opposing systemic reform. That move is one more reminder of why reformers in California and the rest of the nation must continue to work in a bipartisan manner to transform American public education.

So, how did the Steubenville school board decide to punish Steubenville High football coach Reno Saccocia after he did what he could sweep the sexual assault that was committed and filmed by several of his players under the rug? He got a contract extension!… We’ve already gone over all the reasons why this ——- should be fired… The decision is also a curious one, as Saccocia could still be on the hook for criminal charges if a grand jury finds that he failed to report the assault to authorities despite having direct knowledge of it. But if Saccocia comes out of that investigation clean, it looks like Big Red will get to hang on to its legendary head coach. Hurray for them.

Tom Ley of Deadspin, pointing at another case of school leaders who couldn’t even hold a job checking coats at Ruth’s Chris, allowing another school leader to continue perpetuating criminal and immoral behavior — and ultimately, a culture of spiritual death — that essentially condemns the lives and futures of children. Ridding American public education of such unbecoming leaders is critical to building civilizations of love that nurture all of our kids.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

voiceslogoNobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, from his 1986 acceptance speech. [Dropout Nation Contributing Editor Gwen Samuel mentioned it.] Reformers should heed Wiesel’s statement and never be silent in their efforts. It only aids and abets policies and practices that have harmed far too many of our kids for far too long.