Monday, June 3, 2013

Let’s get real about #optout @John_Merrow

To understand this post it might be helpful to read Tim Slekar’s post here – to follow the discussion that ensued after John Merrow said “to hell with the tests.” His comment encouraged me to think that perhaps we had a reporter who was ready to tell the citizens of our country that a simple way to halt the harm to our public schools and begin to preserve and improve our public schools with the support of REAL educators, students, and citizens of our community was – to simply – REFUSE the tests.  I continued commenting (as you can see if you click on the link above) in the hopes that John would see the value of opt out.

But then John wrote this:

John writes: “We are reporters first, although you know I have a few opinions. But regarding opting out, we would have to be convinced that it’s not just a few hundred angry families but something akin to the beginnings of a movement. Then it’s a story… Does that make sense?”

And I wrote this:

Unfortunately, it makes perfect sense in the current country we live in which is owned by the corporations. If I were one angry billionaire I wouldn’t need to convince anyone and I honestly wouldn’t need to “make sense.” I’d simply hire myself an advertising spot on TV and tell the whole country to refuse the test! No need to prove myself. No need to even get angry. Just show me the money and the path will be paved.

However, you see, I am not a billionaire. 

I am a public school teacher who gets up at 5 a.m. and gets home by 5 p.m. on a good day. I also run a nonprofit, United Opt Out National, with five other education activists (who also all hold down full time jobs). I run the nonprofit before I go to work and after I get home. As a nonprofit our assets include a website and a few Occupy the DOE t-shirts. Of course, there is also the issue of real life and family – I have two young boys, a husband, and a house to take care of – I don’t have a cook, house cleaner, chauffeur, or lawn person – you get the picture. I don’t have any extra money to throw around to even create a little blip in my local paper to encourage people to opt out because as a teacher, I got that darn master’s degree years ago and I’m still paying off my student loans even though I’ve been told that the degree is worthless – those billionaires who don’t have to “convince” anyone or make any sense told me that. 

So, long story short, I have found myself in the predicament of continually having to “convince” reporters “that it’s not just a few hundred angry families but something akin to the beginnings of a movement.” Quite honestly, I don’t waste a lot of time doing this anymore because I’ve found that my time and resources are better spent helping create grassroots movements with people who are fighting this madness on the front line – the truth has convinced these thousands of folks to take action.

For more information about the thousands who are angry, passionate, intelligent, and care about our children go here: . And you can find out about how much sense I make here or here . And finally, our website, which is being included in the Library of Congress archives (someone convinced them that we had something important to say I guess) can be found here:

There is a simple way to end the destruction of our public schools – the destruction of our teaching profession – and the suffering of our children at the hands of these billionaires – the simple way to end this is to refuse the tests. At that point, we can begin to rebuild with the input of communities, students and teachers. The longer we submit to the tests, the longer it will take to rebuild. I have already recognized that resisting and rebuilding will be my life’s work.

He’s right about one thing. I am incredibly angry. I’m a public school teacher and a parent who knows what is going on and doesn’t appreciate being reduced to a “a few hundred angry families” when our public school system is crashing around my feet, while children are suffering, while my teaching profession is being destroyed, and while our democracy continues to crumble.  We have a revolt occurring right now and dear god I wish one reporter out there would get real and tell the citizens of our country how to join the revolt and save the cornerstone of our democracy. John Merrow could be that reporter.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to support the grassroots movements occurring all over this country by people who are brave enough to speak the truth. Eventually our masses will be more powerful than their billionaires.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Peggy! This is accurate, angry, and powerful. From your pen to the eyes of readers everywhere.