A teacher from Nevada said she feels the need to stand up and fight back against this culture of test and punishment destroying public education. She said like you I feel this is a moral call to fight back, but I sometimes feel alone in this battle. Sometimes I wonder if one moral person makes a difference against the powerful, the connected, and the greedy. Trust me sister one person always makes a difference.
First, I am an academic that knows the research. Research has always indicated an over emphasis on testing leads to more behavior problems, more special needs identifications, and higher drop out rates. Our politicians and policy makers were told this by academic after academic from the start. I know because I have told them from day of No Child Left Behind. Margaret Mead said” "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Trust me research and telling the truth matters!
Second as an academic I have followed their data on closing the achievement gap, and the evidence has consistently shown their policies are failing, and at this point even growing the achievement gap. Trust me data matters!
Third, yes this is a moral battle. It goes deeper than test scores, privatization, and greed. This is a battle that will determine if we as a people are willing to define our nation’s children as gifts of love, or human capital. Are they data spots on some grand scheme to label every single child either above proficiency, at proficiency, or below proficiency? Or are they our truth tellers born to right our world. Will we as a nation treat them as capital to be manipulated, or loved and valued as truth tellers in our mist? Trust me how we see our nation’s children matters!
Fourth, no one armed with the truth is alone. While I may be an academic, I am also a man of faith. It is my faith that guides my activism. In Isaiah 41:10 I find encouragement, inspiration and my strength.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Trust me faith matters!
Finally, one person armed with the truth can change the world. It may not happen all at once, but one narrative of truth grows to two, and two to three, and on and on until that truth becomes power. One way to fight this is to witness truth. Share it whenever and wherever you can.
If we find ourselves holding a sign alone that saying "Children Are More Than Test Scores" on a corner it matters.
If we share truth with one other it matters. If we join other truth tellers it matters.
If we stand-alone speaking truth to power it matters.
Every person standing alone speaking truth to power becomes a tidal wave of truth that no power on earth can stop.
You alone telling the truth matters.
You and I telling the truth together matters.
Every tidal wave can be traced back to that first ripple in the ocean.
Trust me one person speaking truth to power matters!
Call us the first ripples,
Jesse The Walking Turner