A Poem in Favor of Humanity

 

2017 – it’s 2017
Who would think that in 2017
I would feel the need to have you read
a poem in favor of humanity?

I look out at my students
what do I see?

I see wires from teenage ears
red, yellow, black pods in and around their ears
talking to them
mesmerizing them
hypnotizing them

I see the omnipresent ChromeBook
on their desks – their laptop computer instructors
And on tables as stand alones
I see the Boxes standing tall –
They are Black
They are Powerful
They are Teaching my kids

And I am complicit….

Whoooaaa
What did I just say?
The black plastic and metal square heads
Are everywhere… scrambling
the brains of my students
teaching them to be compliant
malleable
common
ordinary
all the same
as
each
other

But my kids are the outliers on the scattergrams –
my rebels
my questioners
my thinkers
my doers
the next generation’s movers and the shakers

At least they used to be

……

They used to be when we treated them as humans
not data
not profitable
not little red, yellow, and green bars on Excel data sheets
not as inhuman commodities
not as a dollar sign
not as a deficit
not as the invisibles
the unwanted
the disposable
the shame of the school
the student who brings down my VAM

So – where is the humanity in 2017?

The little rectangular plastic and glass slab that sits in our pockets
I won’t even begin to go where that slab has pulled our children

a place where our children hide out
a place where our children hide from reality
a place where a child is no longer human

Why do our kids want to get lost in the Screen instead of in the woods?
Why do our kids want to get lost in the Internet instead of in a good book?
Why do our kids want to live inside a box instead of in the real world?

I cry out for a return to humanity
for a return to nature
for a return to that which makes us human
and unique and real and immortal.

I cry out for a 21st Century Transcendental Movement.

Who will join me in the fight to transcend
the data
the algorithms
the pie charts
the Excel Spread sheets that try to
define our students?

Let us together form a new world
for our children and grand children –
a world that celebrates the child in each of us
a world that loves nature
a world that believes we are more than just flesh and blood –
certainly more than a data point –
a world that believes we can transcend the rational
a world that reaches for the stars.

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Despite Opposition, Board of Education Approves Controversial Teacher Prep Program

We must stop this travesty in CT. Please read and share.

Please watch the testimony given today and ignored.

BLOGCEA

CEA Educational Issues Specialist Michele O'Neill was of many who raised concerns about Relay at today's State Board of Education meeting. CEA Educational Issues Specialist Michele O’Neill was one of many who raised concerns about Relay at today’s State Board of Education meeting.

In spite of serious concerns raised by teachers, CEA leaders and staff, state university deans of education, and community members, the State Board of Education today voted to allow the controversial Relay Graduate School of Education to begin operating in Connecticut. Relay provides a shortcut to teacher certification whose methods and outcomes have repeatedly been called into question.

“Relay teachers do not receive the same training other teachers do,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “Instead, they are given a crash course in teaching that focuses on increasing student test scores, not student skills. There are no do-overs for the students whose classrooms are managed by unprepared, inexperienced teachers who weave their way into the profession through these dubious, subpar teacher training programs.”

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Everything You Need to Know About Opting Out of Harmful Technologies

Let us keep in the forefront of our hearts, minds, and souls that our children have started a new school year full of testing, computer programs, shell-shocked teachers, and ravenous entrepreneurs making billions from the hostile take over of public education. They need us now more than ever. In all that we do let us not do anything that brings harm to our children. ##DoNoHarm

Many thanks to the new blog Wrench in the Gears for alerting many of us to the dangers of the online usurpation of education.

Wrench in the Gears

learning-eco-system

Schools in every state are buzzing this year with talk of “personalized” learning and 21st century assessments for kids as young as kindergarten. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its innovative pilot programs are already changing the ways schools instruct and assess, in ways that are clearly harmful to our kids. Ed-tech companies, chambers of commerce, ALEC, neoliberal foundations, telecommunications companies, and the government are working diligently to turn our public schools into lean, efficient laboratories of data-driven, digital learning.

In the near future, learning eco-systems of cyber education mixed with a smattering of community-based learning opportunities (ELOs) will “optimize” a child’s personal learning pathway to college and career readiness.

Opt out families are being set up as pawns in this fake “assessment reform” movement. I began to realize this a year ago when our dysfunctional, Broad Superintendent-led school district was suddenly almost eager to help us inform parents…

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#OptOut4Justice from Mark Naison

The Opt Out movement needs to become more than just a rebellion against high stakes testing. The Opt Out movement needs to fight the injustices of so-called education reforms that strip our children and our teachers of their humanity.

Please watch and share this video created by Michael Elliot and Shoot4Education if you are in agreement.

 

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ATTENTION ALL READERS – I saw the web film that is going to bring down the PARCC test!

I just previewed a short (about four minutes) but very powerful and moving web film that I truly believe is going to bring down the PARCC test. The video is on the continuous test preparation and the deleterious effects on our students and how parents are crying out for the abuse to be stopped now. It is full of parents voicing the truth about how their precious children are being damaged and how the love of learning is being destroyed before it has a chance to bud and blossom.

When I watched the film, it brought tears to my eyes and it also made me extremely angry. I felt really angry because just stopping the PARCC/SBAC tests is not going to stop the abuse. We have to stop the test – the evaluations – and the intrusion of profiteers into our classrooms. This film is one huge step in this war against the dehumanization of education.

So set your clocks and start the countdown now. The PARCC is going to come down with the premiere of this web film this Sunday March 1, 2015 at 5 PM EST, 4 PM CST and 2 PM PST. I will be posting it and will be asking all of you to post it far and wide.

So please get the word out that this web film is on the way.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsUPDATE: The web film is finally out – Watch it here! From the amazing film maker Michael Elliot.

Courageous Dependence

hands_img.jpg
A child sits alone
in her bedroom and waits
for someone to come to her.

She is hungry and cold
and her nose is running
and she sniffles.

She hears a key’s metallic
sound as it whispers to
her heart.

And then they come in –
her parents – from a long
day at their offices.

She runs to them for
a hug and is greeted
with a hurried grimace.

She is given a frozen dinner
and told to eat it in the
living room – alone.

She eats.
She shivers.
She sniffles.
She waits.

She hears raised voices
in the other bedroom.
She pounds on the door.
She screams for attention.

She is ignored
because the fighting has
begun….again.

But this fight is different.

The yelling pierces the silence.
The hitting vibrates through the floor.
They are killing themselves this time.
Her heart knows this is the end.

She sits alone in her bedroom
crying for help,
crying to the only One
who can hear her now.

She cries out loud,
“My Father who art in heaven
holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come NOW
She needs His Kingdom to come now.

She moves to the kitchen
and asks for the Father’s will to be done.

She sees the cell phone
on the counter and she
prays one more time,

“Deliver me from evil.”

She dials 911
and asks for help
and waits for the police
to come.

She tells them all
and is taken away
from the loneliness,
and the fighting,
and the evil that hurt
her heart every day.

This is courage.

To depend on our Father
and to obey Him when He
directs our path.

©Copyright 2006 Poetic Justice
Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street. – Lamentations 2:19