Jere Hochman, superintendent of the Bedford Central School District in New York responds here to Tom Friedman’s column in the New York Times:



I could scream!
That is my reaction to Thomas Friedman’s column, “Obama’s Homework Assignment”
Mr. Friedman sees the big picture on every issue. This column is a shocker.

They put in annual high-stakes testing – that didn’t work.
They labeled districts – that didn’t work.
They tried small high schools – that didn’t work.
They diverted funds to charters – that’s not working.
They beat up on teachers – that didn’t work.
They’ve prescribed curriculum, scripts, and more testing – that’s not working.
So – why not blame parents until that doesn’t work?

Parents working three jobs don’t show up often but they want what’s best for their child.
Parents who do show up want high standards; not standardization.

Let’s see –
They cut funding for Parents as Teachers (most evidence based school readiness program there is).
No funding for early childhood, language development, and play.
No dangled RTTT grants for home visit programs.
Writing standards for 5 year olds.
Ignoring poverty.
Lowering taxes which depletes public schools and services.
Diverting funds to charter factories.
Obsessed with testing.
Broad brushing every school in the U.S. as the same.
Double and triple testing kids with disabilities and those learning English
Ignoring thousands of success stories.
Handcuffing states with egregious regulations.
Forgetting we educate every child.
Bowing to publisher lobbyists.

It’s so simple:
Attend to pre-natal and birth to five language development and play.
High standards, rich curriculum, professional development, innovative lessons, and meaningful evaluation.
Cap high school class sizes at least under 30, preferably 25
Provide comparable technology, resources, and funding in all districts
Focus on learning, not testing.
Systems thinking, not factory models.