Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eye. On. The. Ball.

Do not get distracted. 

We are looking at four key things we need to shut down: high stakes testing, value-added measure, common core and charter/choice - they lose if we shut these down.

Keep your eye on the ball. 

That is the advice I’ve received from a good friend this week whose opinion I trust implicitly.  At United Opt Out National we issued a statement. We revised the final paragraph for clarity. I haven’t commented on any of it personally because I felt that the statement by United Opt Out and the revision which followed said what needed to be said.  I have made some strong connections this week and am grateful for the many discussions that have ensued on blogs, Facebook and through those who personally reached out to me. 

That being said,

Keep your eye on the ball.

We cannot remain passive as organizations which profess to support us advocate for or remain silent in the face of high stakes testing, value-added measure, common core and charter/choice.

It is important to question those who compromise and protect their individual piece of the pie while children suffer, the teaching profession is erased and our country’s public education system is dismantled.  I will not stand by idly while educators assume Obama has their back.

Keep your eye on the ball.

It is important to continue to educate everyone on how to opt out of corporate education reform.  We must not be afraid to share with parents the opt out avenue – worrying about AYP ensures a slow and painful death – do not be afraid.  Tell the truth.  A mass opt out shuts them down. Send that message and share with your community the many ways to opt out of corporate education reform.

We must inform the public that these four things: high stakes testing, value-added measure, common core and charter/choice together are strangling us and will kill us.  Together they create a seamless road to our destruction, therefore all four must go and it is our job to make sure that everyone understands this and takes action however they can.

Keep your eye on the ball.

We can accomplish this.  Our paths will cross as we do this individually and in groups.  Some of us, such as myself, tend to be more extreme and more impulsive – sometimes I hit it just right and sometimes I miss the mark, learn from it and adjust my stance.  This is how I work.  It is who I am. Others are good at working from within – all of these positions are vital to our push forward – we each have our own strengths. Use them.

If the vulture has landed it is our job to target those areas and support those in danger however we can – we must all ask – how can we help?  If the vulture is circling we need to point upwards and make sure our neighbors see it and are prepared. If the vulture is in the distance and cannot be seen, we need to place images in front of our neighbors that help them recognize what is headed their way so that a plan can be put in place to stop them from landing.

We must be ready to attack and we must in mass refuse – however we can – to engage with the lock-step four: high stakes testing, value-added measure, common core and charter/choice.  We must opt out of these four items however we can.  When a door hanger is left on your doorstep, such as the one here, you must know the vulture is nesting in your backyard.

Do not get distracted.

Fight hard.  Do not be afraid to speak your mind.  We are running out of time. The way I see it, the next election will give us two things – a slow torturous death or a bullet through the head.  And to avoid either, we are going to have to fight harder than we’ve ever fought.

My children, your children, will inherit this and I want them to know I did everything I could to fight it with the strengths I have been given.

I will continue to hit hard – it is who I am and it is what I do best – take your strength and push forward as well. 

No distractions.  Eye. On. The. Ball.


  1. love this.... am in total agreement on every point.... thanks for putting it out there...

  2. "all of these positions are vital to our push forward – we each have our own strengths. Use them."
    This struck such a chord with me. When I look around the blogosphere and facebook, I see folks who are giving speeches, leading rallies, and doing many more vocal and visible things than I am doing. I get discouraged because I think I have to be like "them". Your points are well taken - each of us individually has a strength that can and should be used to speak up and out against the four things you identify. Whatever our strength it IS ultimately the fact that we keep our eye on the ball that will hold us all together in the fight.
    Thanks - I needed this one today!

  3. Eye on the ball. Absolutely correct peg thank you! AJ Muste writes "those who undertake a revolution are obliged to at least try to see it through" eye on the ball

  4. This means the NEA and AFT have their eyes on other prizes, because they don't agree with this list. They work directly with Pearson, #1 conspirator of high stakes testing, hold common core workshops, have praised charter schools and haven't put up any resistance to VAM.

    Susan Ohanian's turn of the phrase, they are negotiating for a seat at the table, is spot on.

    NEA, AFT...if you aren't part of the solution, then get out of the way.

  5. Wise and needed sentiments here. Thanks for this post. I fear this process is much further along for the reformers than the public really wants to admit. There is little time for useless banter and posturing. We, the parents and children relying on public education, need to take a stand now before any more is lost. We need educators to do the same. Now.

  6. My wife and I go to my son's new middle school yesterday to register him. As we are walking into the school I say to her, "I'm going to ask how much time they take away from real learning with test prep." She looks at me with horror as yet again I will rabble rouse with my son's educators.

    it takes a lot to be married to me.