Dr. Camika Royal, a 1999 Baltimore TFA alum, recently spoke at the opening of the TFA training institute in Philadelphia and she gave the incoming TFA corps members a dose of hard-earned reality. Philly is a hotbed of corporate reform ideas right now, with a plan drafted by Boston Consulting Group to privatize as much as 40 percent of the public schools, cheered on the the wealthy and powerful local titans.
When I wrote this post yesterday, I was able to link to a YouTube video of the speech. Gary Rubinstein, a critic of TFA and former TFA corps member, told me about the video. However, after Gary posted about it, it was mysteriously taken down and is now available only to those with “permission” to view it.
In her 7-minute speech, she told the new teachers, who were there to “make history,” to “save” the children and to “close the achievement gap,” some of what she had learned since teaching in Baltimore and earning her doctorate in urban education.
Here is a snippet of the speech, thanks to Gary Rubinstein. Gary has printed portions of the speech on his website. Originally, he had a link to the entire speech, but that is no longer available.
Dr. Royal said:
Recently, there has been a constant state of flux and reform producing lateral movement but little to lift us higher or take us forward.”
“The mayor appointed school board was disbanded and replaced with a governor appointed school reform commission whose latest reform plan is to educate by abdicating its responsibility for the schools that have been most difficult to manage.”
“It doesn’t matter what you see, or what you’ve read about schools and educators here, don’t believe the hype. Our schools are more than the lie of successful charters and failing districts. Our educators are more than the false dichotomy of good vs bad, of us vs. them.”
“By and large, educators here are not bad. Educators here are tired. Educators here are reform weary.”
“Our students are more than test scores, graduation rates, and disciplinary issues.”
“Our education is more than failure rhetoric and the achievement gap misnomer.”
It is a shame that someone felt the need to take down the video of Camika Royal’s speech. It shows a woman who thinks for herself and does not spout the party line. We all need more of that kind of independence and critical thinking.