Schools in the economically struggling city of Holyoke, MA, face a takeover by the state because of low standardized test scores. Students and teachers alike are fighting back, but the city’s schools superintendent, SergioPaez, continues to back testing-based education and take aim at those who disagree with him.On Tuesday morning, dozens of students staged a walk-out and went to city hall, where they met with Mayor Alex Morse. According to protester Amanda Gonzalez:
“I wanted to organize this protest so our voices, student voices, could be heard. No one was listening to us and we weren’t going to sit in class while they decided our fate,” Amanda said.She said she is concerned what changes will occur in the district if the district is placed under state control. “I’m worried it will be harder for me to get into college if we’re in receivership,” she said.
Paez blamed the students’ action on “strangers” (I guess even he knew that directly saying “outside agitators” would strike the wrong note?), and the school district robo-called students’ homes to try to prevent the protest. Paez has a history of trying to squash dissent—last year, after a teacher and local union leader spoke out against testing policies that publicly shame students, his supervisors targeted him and he lost his job, only to get it back after the state labor department found probable cause to investigate.Meanwhile, the state education commissioner is pushing hard for the state takeover….