Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nobody Can Stop Them!

(Nothing in this article was written to belittle what happened at Tienamen Square so many years ago. But sometimes we need to be reminded of the lessons learned there.)

The Reformers must be stopped! But nobody can stop them!

Thank God for Nobody!

I recently read Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error. It took me a loooooong time to finish it because I had a gut reaction with each chapter that described something I see in the school district today. So many myths about what is wrong with schools that just are not true! In her book, Ms. Ravitch spends the first part of the book enumerating the myths about reform and refuting them. This is the section that affected me the most in the manner of my blood pressure rising and emotions bubbling over. The next chapters tell more about the real causes of the problems in school, a large part being the insidious effects of poverty on children and by extension, their schools. The last part of the book explained what Ravitch sees as the solutions to all of the problems the reformers have envisioned. She is a Nobody that will not be ignored.

Being a child of the 60’s, I was thrilled when the Occupy Movement began, as I extrapolated that unions could use this form of protest to force the public to see the harm in the reform movement, especially the inequality of funding, charter schools and the plethora of testing involved in assessments. I watched as the teachers in Seattle refused to administer the MAP test to their students and held my breath until the district capitulated. \It was exciting to see the nobody superintendents in New York State write a letter in solidarity protesting the excessive testing, the rapid roll-out of the Common Core Standards without sufficient training and implementation, and the linkage of test scores to teacher evaluations. Even more exciting were the nobody parents who are opting their children out of the big test in ever-increasing numbers. The Chicago nobdie in the teachers’ strike and their show of solidarity warmed the heart of every one of the nobodies in the teachers’ unions across the nation.

But it’s not enough that we sit back and watch other people do our dirty work for us. Every teacher who believes that public schools are worthwhile institutions for all children needs to get out there and do something. That something may be to talk to one parent at a time about opt-out, to start taking charge in the classroom as much as possible to do what is right, not just what is mandated.

I am following my own mandate by writing in this blog, as often as I can, about the things that need to change in order for our children to get a proper education. I have begun the New Year well.

Nobody can stop them?

I am Nobody.

Still learning!

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