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Friday, February 10, 2012

Our children are not your profits, or your data they are our children

Salutations Readers, A little news from Michigan. check this link out:

When education reform is about politics, not children (column)

This blog is for the ones standing up to this madness

NCLB/RTTT has never been about our children. When you turn your nation's public schools into for profit ventures our children, parents, teachers, and our local communities lose. Public education should be something noble. An imperfect dream at best, but a dream worth fighting for in a democracy. Notice I said fighting for not selling! Schools for profit are just schools for profit. In schools for profit children become capital to be squeezed for profit. Lets all get something straight from the start- NCLB no matter how-well intentioned people claim it is ends up selling our children, our teachers, and our schools to the highest bidder. The currency use is test scores, and the profits come from a one trillion dollar slush fund allocation of federal dollars. People became rich off the misery of our children. I demand a full accounting of where, and to who every single dime went to. I demand a full disclosure of all political donations, and consultant fees paid to policy makers, lobbyists, and political campaigns as well. Anyone who spends time in our nation's classrooms and talking to students understands that our obsession with testing has brought nothing, but misery to the lives of America's children.

America is waking up. We smell the the phony education reform coffee that places for sale signs on our children, our teachers, and our schools all over our country. Children are more than test scores, and are certainly not capital to be squeezed. 

There are many battles being fought against NCLB/RTTT's Status Quo policy makers/profiteers these days. The amount of news about these battles is dizzying. Even MNBC's Education Nation can't cover it up any longer. Even Emperor Bloomberg in New York's is under siege these days. I find myself smiling proudly as I read about the efforts of parents, teachers, and community activists from sea to shinning sea that are fighting this madness that reduces our children test scores. SOSers are there at every battle as well. Bravo SOS Chicago, Washington, and Colorado you are rocking the nation. I am so very proud of all the parents and teachers showing up at every New York City, Boston, and Chicago mayoral controlled board of education meetings. You can see it all on Robert Lamothe's Teach documentary. Robert was out there documenting it all in from Boston to Wisconsin to DC.   Robert is a truth teller in our mists.  

I remember a time when I felt alone in this battle. When I spoke out against NCLB a decade ago I was one of the only voices in the room. The only real person fighting NCLB in those days was Susan Ohanian. She lit the only real beacon of resistance in the night for us all to follow on the very first night of darkness. Susan is a blessing. Anytime you think you are alone, or lost in this struggle go to  Susan Ohanian is truth leading us from the mists. 

I remember a decade ago thinking how can so many good people be buying this idea that testing our children more will save them...What I missed back then was the term "buying."  NCLB is not just snake oil school reform it is about placing a big for sale sign on our public schools and children. The good news, and yes there is good news everyday~ we are winning. I can see it on policy maker's faces, hear it in their voices, but most of all you can see it in the room at every public forum. I am not saying the battle is over. Actually I am saying the battle is only really beginning. Forgive me using a sport metaphor here, but like Muhammad Ali our jabs are wearing them down. Ali took the early blows from the mighty George Forman, and then use his jabs to bring the giant down. Keep Jabbing Michigan,
New York, 
Washington state,
Washington DC,
Chester Pennsylvania, 
New Jersey, 
Luisiana, and 
Georgia keep jabbing brothers and sister keep jabbing. 

On Tuesday I gave public testimony at the Connecticut Department State Department of Education at the ESEA Waiver Hearings. It was my usual children are more than test scores. Assessment is a photo album of performance, and is about time we start valuing the voices of teachers and students in the data. Want the turth go ask a child about how they feel about all this testing? On Tuesday I saw the first sign of winning in Connecticut. Policy makers shifted from Race To The Top to ESEA terminology. Policy makers and politicians are learning the old slogan "No Child Left Behind" kills anything they have to say, and so does using "Race To The Top" as well. Now we are far from victory here, but we are winning. 
I said you can see in the room. Well 10 years ago I stood alone in a room like that one at a Connecticut Reading Association conference session that presented NCLB as the word of god. Speaking out against NCLB meant standing alone. Momma always said it's not who your standing with, but what your standing for that counts. Back then I spoke alone. Last Tuesday everyone spoke out against NCLB/RTTT, new teacher evaluations schemes, new standards, and new assessments. We did not win any battles that day, but man we like Ali we "floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee," and we are jabbing so fast they don't know left from right, or up from down. 
We are at the tipping point, and their scams, their lies, and bullying are coming  an end. The NCLB Status Quo Walls are tumbling down on them. 
If you want to see what democracy looks like check parents and teachers at the NYC PEP meeting last night 2/9/12:
Can someone let Secretary Status Quo Arne Duncan know I'm coming to DC?

Still jabbing,

One for my old school brothers:

If you are wondering what the Walkingman is listening to today on his's Des"ree's You Gotta Be Strong: 
"Listen as your day unfolds,
Try to keep your head up to the sky...
Challenge what your future holds,
Lovers they may cause you tears,
Go ahead release your fears,
Stand up and be challenged
Dont be ashamed to cry..

You gotta be, you gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser,
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together,
All I know all I know is love will save the day.
You gotta be hard you gotta be tough you gotta be stronger,

Herald what your mamma said,
Read the books your father read,
Try to solve the puzzles in your own sweet mind,
Others take a different view,
Some may have more cash than you,
My oh my, hey hey hey,
you gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser,

You gotta be hard you gotta be tough you gotta be stronger,
All I know all I know is love will save the day.
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together,"
 you like I said we gotta keep jabbing,

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