Sunday, September 1, 2013

"nea hearts arne" or "WTF? are you crazy!!!"


New Business Item 36 called for the removal of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education. Despite several well-informed speeches in support of this NBI, it was defeated. It is a mystery to me how a room full of educators, all of us victims of Duncan's horrific education policies, could continue to support Arne Duncan. His policies are harming our nation's non-elite children and the majority vote seems to send a message that that's OK with the majority of teachers. WTF? Either there's not much critical thinking going on among the delegation, or people are just plain stupid.  Here's what I had to say...


ATeacherAnon addressing 10,000 delegates at the NEA RA 2013
 
My name is *ATeacherAnon* from California. I am a proud member of the Badass Teachers Association. I am speaking as an individual in support of NBI 36.

As CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan instituted policies that were harmful to the city's children. In Chicago, he instituted school turnarounds, firing the staff and turning schools into charter schools managed by for-profit management companies.

He closed neighborhood schools, forcing children to walk through the communities of rival gang members and attend schools along with those gang members. This policy resulted in increased violence, including murder.

Arne supports charter schools, as well as the highly unqualified Teach For Awhile program which sends recent college graduates with 5 weeks of training into schools serving our neediest children.

He supports evaluating teachers by test scores.

He supports high stakes testing.

He reveres truth-challenged Michelle Rhee yet doesn't support public school teachers.
(See Rhode Island and New Orleans)

Race to the Top and Son of Race to the Top are nothing more than bribery schemes. Education is not a competition. Bribing financially strapped districts to adopt expensive, bad ideas is unconscionable.

And non-educator Arne Duncan, along with Bill Gates's former staffers, have been working diligently to impose Duncan's failed Chicago strategies on our nation's public school children.

As Secretary of Education, Arne totally sucks... And not in a good way.

We need a lifelong educator as our Secretary of Education.

Support NBI 36

Monday, July 22, 2013

nea ra 2013 - in opposition to nbi a

I tried, but the delegation voted to support spreading the Corporate Core propaganda.  Here's what I said:


My name is ATeacherAnon from California and this is my first RA.  I am speaking as an individual.

I strongly oppose NEA’s support of the Corporate-, Privatizer-, Education Deformer-, Bill Gates-driven Common Core State Standards, which were NOT developed by real, certificated CLASSROOM teachers or child development experts.

Nationally renowned early childhood expert Dr. Nancy Carlsson Paige's research told us that out of the 135 people who developed the K-3 standards, there were NO classroom teachers or child development experts among them,  resulting in standards that are not developmentally appropriate.

Dr. Stephan Krashen predicts that the CCSS will increase testing twentyfold.

I predict that that our already narrow, boring curricula will continue to be so. I predict that we will continue to ignore the needs of the whole child. I predict that we will continue to waste months of instructional time on test prep and testing.

As our class sizes continue to grow, precious dollars will be used to buy technology to serve the Corporate Core. I've read the Finnish national education standards. They do not look at all like the Common Core.

My professional conscience leads me to support real, classroom teacher-driven change, not corporate driven change.  We are burning out and stressing out kids. Kids have become disengaged from learning.

I oppose having my union dues spent to support the CCSS and spread Corporate Core propaganda to our students, families, and colleagues.

I urge you to oppose support for the implementation of these expensive, unproven set of standards.

I urge you, instead to support real, classroom teacher-driven change that will address the individual needs of all of our children.

Haven't we learned anything from NCLB?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

turning high-stakes testing on its head...

 The following is dedicated to the tireless efforts of Peggy Robertson and the founding members of United Opt Out National....

Directions:
Be sure to color in the bubbles carefully. Take your time. Read the questions thoroughly.
When you are done checking your answers, turn your test upside down and wait patiently.
 Thank you for doing your best on this totally fucked up stupid invalid important exam.

Continue reading to learn:
How to opt out in California

Title 5.  EDUCATION
Division 1.  California Department of Education
Chapter 2.  Pupils

Subchapter 3.75.  Standardized Testing and Reporting Program

Article 2. Standards-Based Achievement Tests, Alternate Assessments,
and Any Primary Language Test

§ 852. Pupil Exemptions.

            A parent or guardian may submit to the school a written request to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of any test provided pursuant to Education Code section 60640. If a parent or guardian submits an exemption request after testing has begun, any test(s) completed before the request is submitted will be scored and the results reported to the parent or guardian and included in the pupil’s records. A school district and its employees may discuss the STAR Program with parents and may inform parents of the availability of exemptions under Education Code section 60615. The school district and its employees shall not solicit or encourage any written exemption request on behalf of any child or group of children.
NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 33031 and 60605, Education Code. Reference: Sections 60605, 60607, 60615, 60640 and 60641, Education Code. 

For learning how to opt out in other states, please visit United Opt Out National by clicking here.

Occupy the DOE 2.0, The Battle for Public Schools 
United Opt Out founders lead public education activists in a march 
to the White House to tell President Obama,
 "Our kids are more than a test score!"

Stephen Krashen and @ATeacherAnon
at the White House  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

in honor of michelle rhee and her soon to be released memoir. the 3rd edition of michelle rhee - a glossarhee


-->
Rheeality an existence devoid of facts
Rheeally:  used to express surprise, interest or doubt as in “RUFKM?”  Serheeously!
Rheeap to obtain employment, wealth or stature through the efforts and/or contributions of sugar daddy billionaires
Rheecall: to cancel, take back, or revoke – sort of – a lie one has told
Rheecipient: an individual receiving kudos or monetary prizes based on false data
Rheecommendation:  a suggestion made by a highly unqualified person
Rheedact: to delete factual information from written or oral communication because said information does not support the rheetoric
Rheeduce: to diminish the status of professional public educators
Rheedundant: to rheepeat talking points endlessly in order to avoid questions whose answers would not support a particular rheeality
Rheefer: an herb smoked by corporate education deformers, often used to come up with the ridiculous shit they rheegurgitate incessantly
Rheeform drastic change imposed by clueless people and unsupported by peer-reviewed research or facts
Rheeformer an education deformer committed to imposing drastic change while willfully ignoring input from experts
Rheefudiate: to refuse to be challenged when telling lies, regardless of evidence
Rheefund: bonuses forced to be returned by rheecipients of rheewards based on excessive rheerasures
Rheefurbish: to attempt to repair the status and reputation of one caught in a lie
Rheegret:  sadness felt by a rheeformer when caught in a lie and/or cheating
Rheegurgitate to spew out nonsense; usually done by education deformers
Rheehearse: to practice and repeat key phrases or sound bites for later public performance; e.g. status quo; dramatically change; change the trajectory; put adult interests ahead of students; rheesearch shows; a teacher’s value-added; I don't give a crap.
Rheeinstate: to call back teachers fired based on criteria that violated contract
Rheeinvent:  to spin shamelessly in order to aggrandize one’s self
Rheeism a lie
Rheelay:  to receive and pass on misinformation and/or lies
Rheelinquish: to give up one’s throne due to the anger of the constituency
Rheeluctant: unwilling or disinclined to deal with facts
Rheemail:  an electronic communication generated by an education rheeformer
Rheemember:  to rheecall alleged facts based on hearsay
Rheemove to fire without cause; to fire and replace with cheap, unqualified labor
Rheepeal:  in tandem with complicit union leaders, to make invalid contractual protections, denying educators of important rights
Rheepeat:  stating a lie over and over in an attempt to create a truth
Rheephrase: to express a lie in a different way, especially with the purpose of inciting fear or deflecting truth when confronted with facts
Rheeplace: to change a wrong answer to a right answer; provide or find a substitute for an ousted quack or fraud
Rheeplay:  to play back a section of a rheecording in order to watch and/or hear one’s self again and again and again
Rheeply:  an answer most likely untrue
Rheeprehensible: see Michelle Rhee
Rheerase a strategy employed to raise test scores
Rheerasure the outcome as a rheesult of rheerasing.
Rheesearch a billionaire-funded investigation initiated to support a predetermined outcome
Rheesign to leave a job after 3 years
Rheesist: to vigorously deny facts
Rheespond: to answer a question with a lie
Rheespect: a positive feeling of esteem or deference given to public education deformers, Teach for America, or those determining education policy with no background in education whatsoever
Rheestateto state again the same lie in a new form
Rheesult an outcome obtained through questionable, unethical, illegal, or immoral means; a fake outcome
Rheesumé:  a page full of lies
Rheetaliate:  to seek revenge in an especially evil manner
Rheetard a devotee of Michelle Rhee; a member of the Michelle Rhee Fan Club
Rheetell to change one’s story multiple times; back peddle
Rheetire: to be forcefully driven from one’s position or occupation under a cloak of controversy
Rheetoric: sh!t spewed by Michelle Rhee and other like-minded deformer idiots (See Duncan, Gates, Broad, Kopp, Guggenheim, Oprah, and most of the cast of Waiting for Superman)
Rheetract:  to quickly take back or disavow incorrectly marked test answers or verifiable statements of intentional misinformation
Rheeturn: to elect, or rheeelect, legislators favorable to corporate deformer agendas, usually Republicans or Neo-Liberal Democrats
Rheeverse: acting, operating, or arranged in a manner contrary to proven effective public education policies
Rheeview:  to examine facts then willfully and intentionally dismiss them
Rheevile:  to criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner, often involving the word crap or crappy
Rheevise:  to prepare a newly rheerased, edited version of what rheelly was; to intentionally change or modify in order to mislead
Rheevision:  an illegally altered final draft or new version of existing material
Rheevoke: in high-stakes testing, a revoke is a violation of important rules serious enough to render the results invalid. A rheevoke is a violation ranked in seriousness equal to overt cheating, a major offense that is not accidental.
Rheeview: to look over, study, examine facts again then choose to ignore them
Rheevolution: an attack on public education orchestrated by the corporate education deformers.
Rheeward:  a monetary prize based on bogus test scores
Rheewrite:  to write something again in order to embellish or falsify an existing document
Unrheedeemable:  not capable of being cured or reformed due to vicious, destructive actions taken in the name of corporate ed deform
Unrheesonablehaving unsound judgment; unfair and insensible; often in regard to education policy

Saturday, October 13, 2012

dear president obama...


Dear Readers,

Please join the October 17 Campaign for Our Public Schools by writing a letter to President Obama! For more information, please go to Diane Ravitch's blog.

Here's my letter.... 

Dear President Obama,

I am a teacher and a parent writing to you about my deep concerns regarding your administration’s education policies.  When I voted for you in 2008, I did so hoping desperately for change. I hoped that we would finally have healthcare for all.  I hoped that Wall Street would be held accountable.  I hoped that campaign reform would happen. And I hoped that the toxic education policies brought by the Bush administration, NCLB, would finally end.  You were my hope for all of those changes.  Needless to say, I am deeply disappointed.

NCLB policies have harmed an entire generation of children.  Those policies have  turned our schools into test prep factories. We no longer honor or teach the whole child; our curriculum has been narrowed to Language Arts and Math.  All. Day. Long. NCLB affected not only our most poverty-ridden schools, but also our more affluent ones, due to the impossible growth model mandated by NCLB. It is nearly impossible to find a public school today that has not turned into a test prep factory focusing on one, problematic, time-consuming, standardized test given near the end of the school year.  That one score determines the fate of schools, teachers, and students across the nation.  And you’re okay with that.

Your policies have made George W. look like public education’s best friend.  Race to the Top (RTTT) has been nothing more that a bribery scheme to force cash-strapped states to adopt and implement your administration’s unsound, punitive education policies, policies that do nothing to help our students, especially those children living in abject poverty. Rather than give money to our most poverty stricken schools, you’re awarding money to states that have capitulated to your Secretary of Education’s demands.  Sadly, the awarded money will not even cover the costs of the changes you have mandated in order to be in compliance and none of that money will end up in the classroom.  None. Of. It.

And then there’s Arne Duncan. That you appointed a basketball player as your Secretary of Education was insulting to teachers everywhere.  That you have supported him in his efforts to force our nation’s schools to implement his failed education policies imposed during his tenure, as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, is unfathomable.  You’re from Chicago, Mr. President.  You’re clearly a very smart guy.  I don’t believe for a moment that you are unaware of those well-documented failures.  So I have to ask you, Is your endgame the planned failure and dismantling of our nation’s public schools?  Because that is what it is looking like to me.

  • Mandate that schools implement failed policies.
  • Close schools and disrupt communities. 
  • Push out veteran teachers to make room for untrained, temporary Teach For America short timers.
  • Support large class sizes
  • Charterize our public schools and use our tax dollars to help your hedge fund buddies amass profits made at the expense our nation’s children even though you know that few charter schools do any better than public schools despite their ability to game their student population
  • Continue with the test and punish agenda

So I have to ask you, Mr. President:

  • Your daughters’ class sizes are 13:1.  Why is it okay for my daughters to be in classes with 36 students?
  • Your daughters’ enjoy a rich, well-rounded curriculum.  Why is it okay for my daughters to spend their days on worksheets, test prep and testing, studying only Language Arts and Math?
  • Your daughters are not given a scripted curriculum.  Why is it okay for my daughters to be subjected to a boring, irrelevant, low-level, yet often developmentally inappropriate, scripted curriculum?
  • Your daughters will not be subjected to the Common Core Standards, another product NOT developed by educators or child development experts.  Why is it okay to subject other children to this possibly illegal idiocy? I guess like David Coleman, you don’t ‘give a sh!t’ what I, an actual, highly-qualified,  veteran educator, have to say.
  • Your daughters don’t have any untrained, temporary Teach For America corps members as teachers.  Why is it okay for other children to have unqualified, temporary TFA teachers?
  • Your daughters are not labeled based on one test score.  Why is it okay for my daughters to be labeled by a test score? (And I don’t care if the label is Advanced!)
  • Your daughters aren’t subjected to high-stakes testing.  Why is it okay for my daughters to be subjected to high-stakes testing that robs them of receiving the education they deserve?

For me, I don’t have to worry about the affects of your education policies on my highly gifted daughters any longer.  They chose to drop out of school.  Their education stopped meeting their needs so they opted out completely.  I allowed them to make that choice because I could not defend the system that had been imposed on them by the Bush-Obama education policies.

But I worry about the 4 and 5 year olds I teach every day. Your policies affect my students in harmful ways that can have long-term effects.   I am expected to deliver a scripted, developmentally inappropriate curriculum, have them complete worksheets, and test them 3 times a year.  Not only do the tests not inform my instruction (I assess my student in authentic ways daily to inform my instruction), my students are robbed of instructional time while stressing out because what I am asking of them is beyond their ability. Weeks are wasted each year due to the 1:1 testing that I am now mandated to administer.  That testing has become more important than teaching should cause you great concern, but that is what your policies have created.  It’s all about the data now, whether or not the data collected has any value at all.  And speaking of the stress some children experience when being required to take these inappropriate tests, I have to ask you, Mr. President, have you ever had the joy of cleaning up a test that a distressed child has thrown up on it?

I hold Secretary Duncan accountable for the bad education he is forcing on my students.  I hold you accountable as well, Mr. President, because the buck stops with you.  You both should be ashamed about imposing your bad policies on my students, while protecting your children from these abuses.  Thanks to NCLB and NCLB, The Sequel – RTTT, all I can say is sh!t is really @#$%&* up!!  Don’t count on my vote this time around.

Sincerely,

A Teacher Anon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

more stupid sh!t arne says...

“We have so many great teachers, but we haven’t listened. And teachers are so nice they haven’t demanded a seat at the policy table…"
US Secretary of Education

O.M.F.G! D.E.L.U.S.I.O.N.A.L.  (Except for the "we haven't listened" part.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

kindergarten criminals

"The sources I have is I went to the Department of Education and got a list of kindergartens and I went to the safety department and got the crime report," he said. "In general, the towns with a kindergarten have 400 percent more crime than other towns in the same county. In every county the towns and cities with kindergarten had more crime."
Rep. Bob Kingsbury (R-Laconia)
New Hampshire

Are. You. F@#king. Kidding. Me.

 

Friday, June 15, 2012

my opinion of the common crap standards? do they really want to know?

Recently, my school district sent out a survey to teachers asking for input on the Common Crap Core National $tate $tandard$. The district has hand-picked a Common Core $tate $tandard$ Implementation Steering Committee to represent teachers and allow for transparency. Sadly, what my district tends to do is only select teachers who will passively, yet enthusiastically, suck down whatever Kool-Aid the district puts before them. If one is an advocate for doing what's best for kids as opposed to corporations, well, don't sit around waiting for a call to join a committee. And let me be clear: its not that my district evil, its just that they think they don't have a choice, so they cowardly roll over and accept the truly bad ideas being shoved down from on high. Then the dominoes continue to fall as administrators push these bad ideas on teachers who are then expected to push them onto our students. This circle-of-educational-life truly sucks. No Hakuna Matatas from me. I'm seeing problems everywhere and it doesn't look like they're going to be going away any time soon.

So, though I doubt it will garner anything more than an eye roll and maybe an Oh, she's the developmental one... followed by yet another eye roll, here's my response to the survey:


Common Core $tate $tandards $urvey

1.  What are you particularly excited about regarding the transition to CC$$?
·    Is this a trick question? (I really wanted to say Are you fucking kidding me? but I'm trying to be somewhat professional.)
·    And BTW - Most teachers don’t even know what the CC$ are or how they will impact our students and our profession.

2.  What obstacles or issues do you foresee?
·      Continued de-professionalization of teaching
·      Teacher burnout from over a decade of top down mandates that have yet to close the achievement gap.
·      Continued student burnout. 
·      Increased stress experienced by children, teachers and school districts due to increased high-stakes testing.
·      Continued mislabeling of children as failures because they are not developmentally ready to master the standards.
·      A further narrowing of the curriculum

3.  What essential questions do you have regarding the $tandard$ or the transition?

·      Why are only TK and K having to implement the CC$ in the 2012-13 school year? (Though I'd vote for NO one implementing them next year, or any year, for that matter!)

·      Implementing the CC$ will be co$tly (follow the money): more profe$$ional development; more high-$take te$t$; more technology; new textbook$, etc. How can there be adequate funding for implementing all aspects of the CC$ when we are experiencing continued budgetary crises?

·      The CC$ will require substantially more high-$take$ te$ting (Stephen Krashen predicts that testing will increase 20 fold.)
o   More high-stakes testing = less teaching. 
o   More high-stakes testing = more teaching to the test.
o   How are we going to protect our students from such abuse?

·      The CC$ were NOT developed by classroom teachers or child development experts. We will still be in a ‘one size fits all’, test-centric environment, expecting ALL children to learn and master standards at the same pace.  How will this benefit our children?

·      Will our curricula become even more narrowed? (Hint: Yes)

·      Will our curricula become even MORE test focused? (Hint: Yes)

·      And, yes, are the CC$ developmentally appropriate at any grade level? (They aren’t at my grade level and they go against best practices based on rigorous, peer-reviewed research.)

·      The CC$ diminishes the importance of fiction and personal narrative writing.  Coleman, a leading idiot author and smarmy architect of the CC$, expressed his view of personal narrative quite succinctly: “[A]s you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu6lin88YXU
Coleman is not an educator. Bill Gates, who bank rolled the CC$, is not an educator. Are we comfortable implementing standards that were determined by non-educators?

·      Have we learned nothing from the failure of NCLB? Basing everything on one test score is lunacy. The most important things cannot be measured. Creativity in American students is declining. Duncan, Gates and Obama would never submit their own children to these mandates. Why are they submitting ours?

·      Will the CC$ eventually be challenged in the courts as a violation of federal law that prohibits the federal government from imposing a national curriculum on our nation’s schools?

·      How will implementing the CC$ close the achievement gap? Please be specific and cite peer-reviewed research to support your argument.

Interesting links addressing the CC$:

NCLB’s Lost Decade for Educational Progress:
What Can We Learn from this Policy Failure?