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In Support of Michelle Fine

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Open letter in support of Dr. Michelle Fine:

We are concerned educators and scholars from around the country, voicing support for our colleague, Distinguished Professor Dr. Michelle Fine of The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

When, along with other Montclair, New Jersey, parents, students, teachers (organized as Montclair Cares About Schools - MCAS), union activists and civil rights activists, Michelle raised critical questions about the validity of a new k-12 testing regime, she became a target of attacks by corporate education reformers who supported the new testing regimen.*

The attacks that Michelle is now enduring lend new meaning to the notion of “high stakes.” A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was filed anonymously for more than 1,000 of Michelle’s emails from her City University of New York email address. Recently, a slanderous video was made from material in these personal emails. This video is as profoundly disturbing as it is absurd, and we are shocked by these inaccurate, personal, and baseless attacks.

Michelle is internationally recognized for her passionate scholarship on educational and racial justice. From spearheading school restructuring in Philadelphia in the 1980s to being an expert witness in education discrimination cases to doing ground-breaking research into the "opportunity gap" in public schools to helping to develop the nationally regarded New York Performance Standards Consortium, Michelle has spent her career working with teachers, students, and parents to build schools that celebrate teaching and learning, and that foster inquiry, creativity, inclusion, and equity for all students, especially those who have been most marginalized.

It is appalling that her efforts in support of public education in Montclair have been decontextualized and twisted in such a malicious and cowardly fashion. The underhanded tactics to intimidate and silence Michelle are unacceptable. Such tactics are also resulting in a ripple effect: many social scientists deeply engaged in community work now understand the capacity of privatized interests to malign those at all levels of public education, and the ease with which the public is misinformed in the name of equity and children's best interests. And, now attacks on public intellectuals in higher education are linked to the corporate assault on k-12 education.

Nationally and internationally renowned educators, students, university faculty, and advocates have taken notice, and we are in intent on speaking up. Michelle's work is an exemplar of true education reform: we stand behind Michelle - her work, her convictions, and her values.

*For additional details, see the following:

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