Teachers across this nation are recognizing that we are at the tipping point. It's now or never - which is why I refused to administer the PARCC. I have nothing left to lose - I believe that if we don't fight back now - and fight back hard - our profession will be gone in ten years. But please remember, refusing to administer the PARCC is only one strategy. And it could be a great strategy for retiring teachers or teachers simply willing to take that risk. However, there are many tactics - and each of us have to find what works for us. My blog on Resisting from Within might be useful to my fellow teachers in the trenches.
Also, our (UOO's) Call for Support from the Unions at our website, www.unitedoptout.com, might be a post that teachers could pass along to their locals. Florida has already taken action - in great contrast to Colorado where CEA discouraged teachers from sharing opt out information directly. All of us here in Colorado will continue to push forward - you can count on that :)
If you are working in a state in which your local and state are not supporting your efforts to take action to save public schools, I recommend forming a caucus. The caucus we created here in Colorado is an informal caucus, so we are not required to jump through any hoops. See here: co.rave.org. If you are interested in learning more about our caucus and how we created it, please join our FB page and we will be happy to help.
Next, I recommend finding ways to educate teachers. Educate. Educate. Educate. My local, Aurora Education Association, asked me to write an article for our last newsletter. Here is the article. Feel free to take it and use it however it might support your efforts:
This year is a big year for public education. Our students will be required to take the PARCC test, a test that is predicted to fail 70% of our students. I have grave concerns about this test and the ultimate harm it will cause for our children, our profession, our schools and our communities. It is clear that this test will increase the speed with which our public schools are being privatized. PARCC is not just any test – it is a test that was specifically designed to test our national Common Core standards, in order to streamline data efficiently, while allowing profiteers to cash in on the 800 billion dollar K-12 market .
When we look at the big picture - the history behind the Common Core standards, the developmentally inappropriateness of the Common Core standards, the fact that the standards are copyrighted, and finally, the fact that these standards were not created using a democratic process, we must question -whose interests are being met by the implementation of these standards? We must question this as we watch our schools become immersed in new CC curriculum, testing and technology for testing.
As a teacher, first, I must do no harm. I believe this test will be harmful – and especially harmful to children who live in poverty, children with exceptional needs, children who have anxiety, depression, children who are hungry, sick, and tired. I believe that it is ethically wrong to administer this test. As a result, I have refused to administer the PARCC and I will continue to support parents as they refuse to allow their children to take these high stakes tests. I am thankful to have AEA standing by my side as I take this risk. It is time to create a larger conversation – as educators – about what we know is best for children. We should be leading this conversation. It is time to take action.
I hope this helps. I felt a need to post this in an effort to respond to the many teacher emails I am receiving. Solidarity to all of you.
And onward we push,