Sunday, June 23, 2013

Be Ready #optout #refusethetest

Obama is planning to roll out high speed internet connection for our public school students within the next 5 years. 

This was my comment on FB after reading Stephen Krashen's post: Cut off from good nutrition, health care, libraries much more serious than cut off from the web.
While hungry children wrap food in napkins and hide it in their backpacks for later in the day. While children grab seconds on the school breakfast and leave other children with nothing. While children fill their weekend food bags and wish they had more. While all of this goes on, Obama will be sure they have internet connection.

By god our children will have internet connection to advance their testing skills.

But no libraries, nurses, counselors, good nutrition, health care. No. The answer is no. Tests. Feed them tests.

Poverty will continue to be ignored.

As Obama plans to get every classroom hooked up to a high speed connection he states, "Once all these classrooms are wired for superfast Internet, that means a big new market for private innovation -- America’s companies who created the computers and smartphones and tablets that we all use -"

That’s right.

A big new market for all of the corporations that are planning to create mind-numbing online national curriculum via the national common core standards.

A big new market for PARCC and SBAC who plan to roll out the new national tests tied to the common core by 2014-2015.

A big new market to allow data mining via “nonprofits” such as inBloom so that the student data can be used to tailor products to our students while controlling and managing the students and teachers so that they are perfectly tailored to meet the needs of the corporate regime.

A big new market to roll out the red carpet and welcome teacher as technician – because that is all that is needed when you have online learning under the new corporate regime and under the GREAT act (introduced in the house and senate) which allows teachers to be certified by pretty much – anyone. 

A big new market to roll out charter schools like Carpe Diem that hire approximately 4 teachers for 300 students.

A big new market to destroy our public schools, our teaching profession and our democracy.

And meanwhile, they feed the children tests. Poverty is ignored. Profit is the end goal.

As this big new market opens for “innovation,” there will be no innovation. Not for our children. Our children will not have an opportunity to innovate because they will be directed to take the tests and the online curriculum now possible everywhere via high speed internet. There will be no fine arts, recess, or play. There will be no libraries. No nurses, no librarians, good nutrition, or healthcare. There will be no heart. No humanity. Just numbers to create more profit. The money required to keep the technology, the common core curriculum, common core testing and data mining continually churning out numbers to create profit for the corporations will be immense.

The corporate regime is patient. They swat at us like flies. They expect that we will complain and they will offer to appease us in various ways, but they will not back down from their plan. They have not once caved or changed course in any shape or form. They offer "breaks" to appease us, but the path forward remains the same.

Therefore, we must revolt. The path is very clear. Be ready to refuse the tests. United Opt Out National will have opt out/refusal guides for every state very soon. Refuse the high stakes tests, the low stakes tests – any corporate test that does not inform instruction, any test that destroys childhood, and any test that is used to destroy the teaching profession and our public school communities. Remind your communities that teachers do indeed know how to assess.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Letter to Educators Who Embrace the #commoncore

Dear Educator Friends,

While the common core may not be an issue for you, or your school, do know that for others it will be a major issue. And the problem is this, while the standards might work for you and your school, there are many standards in CC that do not work for many students and many communities. Creating a set of national standards that cannot be changed, in which only 15% can be added (which must be approved by the DOE) is a serious problem when we know that the K-3 standards are developmentally inappropriate and will CRUSH children in high need/high poverty schools. There is no picking and choosing with CC - it's all or nothing - therefore, many children will be failed under this system. Your children may be unscathed, but for the students in my school - it will be devastating. The CC will fail many students, teachers, schools, communities. So, that's just my take on it when considering the standards as an innocent stand alone - which they are NOT. And of course, let's remember that they were not created by classroom teachers and they have never been field tested, this alone is enough for me to refuse the CC because I find it highly shocking that anyone thinks it is acceptable to use children as guinea pigs for an experiment created by the 1%.

However, let's then take a look at CC for the monster it truly is - let's throw out the whole conversation about good standards/bad standards because bottom line is that the bigger picture is not so much about the standards as it is about how well we and our children can be controlled and managed by the CC. This is about using the standards to gather data in order to control students, teachers - pretty much the whole damn system, so that they can determine how we will be used - to meet their needs- in this game called life. This is about profit via data mining. This is about creating a class of workers to meet the needs of the 1%. This is about taking public education and managing it and US - because right now, there are too many of us out there that think out of the box - teachers and children who think creatively and independently are dangerous to their ultimate goal. They don't need us to create or be independent - they need us to follow rules. When Obama and Gates' children follow the common core and their teachers administer PARCC or SBA - somebody can tell me I'm wrong. In the meantime, just know that when PARCC or SBA roll out in 2014-2015 they will have placed one more nail in the faster-every-day death of public education, the destruction of the teaching profession, and this dying democracy. So, we MUST refuse it as a society - and quick - they will continue to create rules and regulations that make it even harder to rebuild our schools..our democracy.

As a teacher, take and use what works for you - just like you would any textbook or any curriculum back in the day when we had teacher autonomy - but as a collective we MUST refuse it in its entirety - we cannot pick/choose - therefore it - along with HST must go. CC and HST will never be separated because they need the two working together in order to complete their plan. There is no autonomy - for anyone - within their plan. And just know that all this crap recently about giving us flexibility and holding off on teacher evaluation etc. etc. in order to allow us time to embrace the common core is nothing but crap - they will use this time of "flexibility" to create more ways to enforce their plan while the majority of educators breathe a big sigh of relief and think they are getting a break...they think that the 1% heard them and supports them. Bull@%$^. Do not be appeased - they are planning as we speak to devise ways to shut us down. We must stay awake and we must refuse. REFUSE. Sorry this is so long, but I think a lot of you and had to share my thoughts - as a friend.

Much love,

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Do Not Shake Hands with #commoncore

Some days it is terribly overwhelming to read the comments of despair and desperation from parents who are trying to figure out how to help their children who are suffering from severe anxiety after being told they will be retained due to failing the state test. Many of these children must take the test multiple times and must attend summer school - even when they have passing grades on their report cards. It is because of this that I have no tolerance for any sort of compromise to the common core - because those who think the common core may have something "good" to share must understand that the common core is going to intensify this situation in ways that will fail children emotionally, intellectually and physically. It will kill their spirits. Under common core the high stakes testing will increase - it already has. I see it everywhere I turn. If you - for one second- think you can find an agreeable compromise with common core, think again. Common core will never be separated from high stakes testing and for those who think they can walk that line just remember the children who are being abused - think of them when you shake hands with common core. If you don't believe me go to our website ( and start reading the comments. Texas is a good place to begin. Perhaps then you will understand my rage, and the rage of parents and teachers everywhere who are fighting to end this child abuse. I am tired, truly tired, of hearing teachers advocate for the common core. Your advocacy is destroying our profession and the lives of children.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Get the Message Clear re: #commoncore #highstakestesting

The common core and high stakes testing must both go down. It cannot be one or the other. Very concerned that the message I hear today is asking for more time to implement the core, more time to make better tests, more time for teachers to get accustomed to the common core. This is not good enough for our children. This is exactly what the corp. ed. reformers want us to say. We have an opportunity to end this - but if we accept any part of their equation we lose. Our children lose. Do not believe - for one second - that the common core is manageable - it is developmentally inappropriate, it is not field-tested, and it is going to encourage lockstep curriculum in our most needy schools - and - if you think they will give you the CC without the HST think again. They need them both to privatize our public schools. We must get our message clear. Teachers know how to assess. We need autonomy. Students need voice. Children must be protected from poverty. We do not need corporations to write standards for us. We do not need corporations to write tests for us. We - teachers, students, and communities - must TAKE our schools back - they are OUR schools. We pay for them. We can create democratic schools - we must - as a society - provide all children a full and equitable education. Do not accept anything less. Very very concerned that many are accepting less than that. Our children deserve everything. They deserve no less than the children of the 1%. This is our window of opportunity. Leap through it. Refuse CC and HST. We have the power. We have the masses. Solidarity everyone.

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.