The current school reformers' meme is that the backlash against test-driven reform is just a white middle-class movement, a pawn of the teachers' unions. Had true believers in competition-driven reform attended the rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol, they could have listened to students like Kiante Miles. His rap stole the show.
i am a student
chained down by tests that say
i'm not allowed to fly if i don't click my mouse a certain way
This Mustang High School student "seeks something that simply can't be measured," so he asks:
why would i set at a computer screen
and just try and answer a b or c
in life i want
the questions that say how do you stop cancer
how can we stop from killing each other
Why do we clip the wings of the ones we love?
like to think that we are all seeds
planted into the soil of public education
until we get covered with the cement mixture of
EOI's, unfunded classes, over stressed teachers
He warns policy makers to not be deceived by the:
few of us
the ones who fight through the adversity
see the light from the cracks of the cement
and manage to have some type of growth
These few trees growing through concrete ...
can be deceiving because its not worth the cost
of the hundreds no thousands that get left behind
The student then gave a shout out to his "teachers who can truthfully say that they don't do this for punishable pay."
The cheering peaked as the poet addressed the crowd:
for there is strength in numbers
it's easy to remove a tree
but it takes an army to take on a forest
The first rule of teaching should be: Listen to the students and they will teach how you to teach them. Kiante Miles is a reminder that the same principle applies to school improvement.