NOTE: Please add your institutional affiliation in the comments section and/or let us know if you are a Umass Alum.
We have heard that change.org is sending an email from StudentsFirst when some people sign. StudentsFirst is an corporate education reform astroturf organization-an enemy of public schools and public education. After you sign--delete your change.org account. We are reluctantly keeping this petition up because we have only two more days before we shut it down. Our apologies to our supporters. Lesson learned.
August 22, 2012
Dear Dean McCormick:
We are writing to express grave concern about the non-renewal of Professor Barbara Madeloni from her position as Director of the Secondary Teacher Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Education.
Dr. Madeloni has been a public critic of the current corporate-driven agenda for education “reform.” Central to this agenda is the increasing control over educational decisions and educational policy, both directly and indirectly, by private, unelected, corporate actors as opposed to by educators, education researchers, and parents. As a teacher educator, Dr. Madeloni has been a national voice in identifying how this corporate agenda threatens the status of teacher education as a field and the integrity of teacher educators’ intellectual work.
News of Dr. Madeloni’s non-renewal by the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Education came just weeks after an article featuring her criticisms of corporate-driven teacher education reform was published in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/education/new-procedure-for-teaching-license-draws-protest.html). We are deeply concerned that this is a case of retaliation. The free and open exchange of ideas is the cornerstone of academic freedom. When a faculty member is censored for voicing principled concerns about education policy, based on their scholarly expertise and pedagogical experience, we should all be alarmed. This degrades the central mission of the university.
We urge you to take the following actions immediately:
1. Reinstate Dr. Barbara Madeloni in her faculty position.
2. Make a public commitment to cultivating a culture critical dialogue and inquiry within your School of Education, to examine the processes and effects of educational corporatization in public and higher education, including teacher education.
Public education is the foundation of a democratic society. This democratic impulse must be the core of why we educate and how we educate. Decisions about how to best educate children, prepare teachers, and assess various competencies in the classroom ought to be based on informed dialogue and ongoing collaboration among teachers, teacher educators, education scholars, and parents. We oppose any reform to public or teacher-education that places increased control of these decisions in the hands of unelected, unaccountable corporations driven by profit motive. We support Dr. Barbara Madeloni and the growing number of scholars, educators, teacher-educators, parents, and citizens nationwide who are building a movement to oppose such reforms and to reclaim democracy as a foundational purpose of public education.
The School of Education of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has a national reputation for leadership in promoting social justice education. Academic freedom has allowed faculty to take unpopular stands that make socially just education possible. It is our hope that you return to this legacy and respond promptly to our requests.