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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day # 3 Two visions

Where do I begin? Where does a man go when he sees his dream coming through right before his eyes. This SOS dream is real, it is so real, there is a revolution growing here in Washington DC.  For as long as I can remember I have been the lone ranger in the room saying, “but, but, but, children are more than test scores”  it’s been over a decade now of NCLB.  But here in DC everyone is a ranger, everyone is speaking up, speaking up loudly,  for children, parents, teachers, and public schools.
I am humbled by their chorus of “we are marching”. Honestly, I am in awe of these conference attendees here at SOS.

Keynote: Let me say first that Diane Ravitch is powerful, her voice carries out the truth, the suffering, and the hopes of children, parents, teachers, and our public schools. SOS have been blessed, she is our gift, and she walks in beauty!

Making the choice over which session to attend  is just too hard here. It’s like you are in the candy shop, and someone tells you everything is free.   But the sessions I could not resist yesterday was “Wisconsin Teachers Organize and Take Action on Social Justice.” Again, I just sat, listening to three teachers tell the story of how they risked it all, how they stepped up to assume leadership roles in Wisconsin. Step by step, they gave their stories on how they grew a resistance.  Three beautiful souls Amy Mizialko, Amy Daroszeski, and Judy Gundry use become organized, have mass sick outs, even how to write petitions. Their story is truly inspiring.
Being teachers of course, they had us break into small groups and share what we had learned. You know the old saying, “You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher.”
The Eureka moment for our group came as we worked on reframing the message”

A Tale of Two Public Schools

SOS Schools
Children as data
Children as test scores
Children as proficient,
Children as standards,
Children as not proficient,
Children as not being at standard.
Children as human beings,
Children as critical thinkers,
Children as artists,
Children as writers,
Children as Readers,
Children as saviors of our democracy,
Children as change agents,
Children as responsive citizens.
Children as gifts.
Schools as data factories
Schools as for profit institutions,
Schools as assembly lines of proficiency,
Schools of choice places you change like your socks, place you never really come to know.
Schools as places where teachers are silence,
Schools as places where parents are silent,
Schools as a race where most are losers, and only a few are winners,
Schools as places where students are no more than Washington DC’s data.

Schools as change agents,
Schools as depositories of our collective nation’s story,
Schools as holders of our past, present, and our future,
Schools places where our history unfolds,
School places where
our brothers and sisters went,
Places our parents went,
School where our grandparents went,
Places where our children go,
Schools places where teachers are respected,
Schools places where parents are respected,
Schools as places where children are more than test scores.

This morning, in about two hours time, I am marching.  We are marching as SOS, we are marching in the light of God.

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