Written with passion and raw honesty by Bobby Dixon, a veteran public school teacher, ‘Memoirs of a Mad Black Educator’ blows the lid off a fatally-flawed new strategy whose policies are causing the nation’s education system to implode. From obsessive testing and Mayors running school districts like dictators, to meaningless ‘vision statements’ that turn schools into businesses obsessed with their return on investment – Dixon exposes the real deal taking place behind closed doors. The author also calls on readers to say that enough is enough, and to lobby for more autonomy that will ultimately see students outperform their current potential.
Memphis, TN -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/12/2015 -- In their respective Federal press conferences, schemes such as No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and Common Core overwhelmed the nation with a new sense of revolution for its schools. That revolution has surely come but, in the eyes of many educators, it's a revolution of obsessive testing, fraudulent teaching models and a system where profits come before grades.
Nobody knows this better than Bobby Dixon, who is blowing the whistle on the real state of public education in an intense and powerful new memoir.
'Memoirs of a Mad Black Educator' pulls no punches when laying bare the madness of the new educational powers that be. Prepare to enter a world of medieval micromanagement and damaging policies; it's the public school system that could become extinct.
Memoirs of a Mad Black Educator by Bobby Dixon is a critical reflection on the education reform movement through the personal experiences of this African-American educator. Dixon fictionalizes some of his experiences to delineate the emergence of a new educational power structure, which entails the marriage of philanthropy, federal government policy, charter school operators, new forms of teacher training and administrator training programs, the profitable testing industry, mayoral control of large school districts, among other entities. This new educational power structure not only advocates the privatization of public education, but forces it down the public's throat. The consequence is the growing obsolescence of the public school and the public school teacher. There are massive firings and layoffs of skilled, veteran teachers and principals nationwide to make way for alternatively trained teachers and principals. Likewise there are nationwide closings of schools in minority and poor communities to make way for charter schools and special school districts. This new structure has either eliminated or coopted teacher unions. It has devastated the solid, local economy of minority communities, abolishing jobs and benefits for not only teachers, but bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors, etc. In short, it has created the colonization of school districts with new "rulers" or managers and sources of influence. This new transformation has taken place without choice, undemocratically, and without showing any improvement in test scores for students. Studies have shown that public schools have always performed as well or better than charter schools. This new power structure is based on a business model that seeks monetary "returns on its investment." It is guided by "mission statements" and "vision statements" as any business would be. It advocates a market-driven system with "choice" at its core. It also relies heavily, to an extreme, on data, on test scores.
Dixon contends that besides wreacking havoc upon public education and undermining its democratic core, this new power structure is also replacing trust in teachers and local school boards with the dictatorship of mayoral control, state control, or private control. We have to resist this madness by organizing at the grassroots level.
"We're losing the education system we once knew, and we're losing it fast," admits Dixon. "Budget cuts are freezing salaries as class sizes explode, teachers are losing their autonomy and principals that were one master administrators spend their days conducting relentless staff reviews that never actually affect change. On the face of it, the public school system has fallen to pieces."
Continuing, "We've come to realize that education reform is fraudulent at its core. The schemes that claim to push and challenge students to think in critical new ways are merely a smokescreen as our poor students' results slip and the nation falls behind all others in the developed world in multiple rankings."
While the book is critical, the author also snaps up a vital chance to call parents, staff and all taxpayers into action.
"Us educators do still believe that we can reclaim education's greatness at both a national and international level. I am calling on everyone to put pressure on the powers that be to change it. Together, I believe we can turn things around – and it all starts with this book," Dixon adds.
Since its release, the volume has garnered a string of rave reviews. For example, Gwendolyn B. Calleo comments, "I worked the same school system for seven years and shared a school with the author for nearly two years. If I did not live it, I would not believe it. I appreciate that Dr. Dixon has published his story. For me, it serves as reminder why I must continue to fight for the children."
'Memoirs of a Mad Black Educator' is available now: http://amzn.to/1AbhclR
About Bobby Dixon
The author lives in Memphis.