Alison McDowell – What Silicon Valley Has Planned for Public Education

This is really hard to watch but every teacher, parent, and grandparent needs to watch this through to the end. The truth of what has been going on in public education, what is happening now in public education, and what is planned for the future of public education needs to be understood and shared with the public. If not, our future will be determined by a small group of elitists.

We need a miracle uprising to take down this scheme.

This is  Poetic Justice’s idea of educational transformation:

loveschools

Thanks to Christopher Chase and the Art of Learning Facebook page for the above graphic.

Please visit Alison McDowell’s blog Wrench in the Gears. You can download the slide show from the video. Feel free to use and share.

Share the TRUTH – the TRUTH will set us free.

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Silent and Compliant

What we have in our schools today is not my idea of a healthy, holistic, nurturing education. We need to return to a paradigm where we cherish children, creativity, and the teacher-artist.

 

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Silent
Compliant
Nonviolent
Invisible

Do our students even really exist anymore?
Or have they each become
just a data point?

Dead
All dead
not one alive
willing to risk
willing to scream
for their lives.

We have hidden
them all
and thrown them away – the outliers.

All that is left
are the silent
compliant
nonviolent
invisible children.

The Truth About Flint, Water, and Oppression – from LaMar Lemmons

Poetic Justice stands with the people of Flint, Michigan as they fight for the most basic of human rights – the right to water.

Poetic Justice also stands with the teachers, parents, and students of Detroit, Michigan as they fight for the right to an equitable and humane education.

Please read this letter from LeMar Lemmons.

“End State Oppression:

Rachel Maddow showed the world the sad truth many of us have known for a long time: Snyder is oblivious to the life of ordinary Michigan citizens. He is a cardboard cut out politician. For him, doing a good job is reading what his speech writer wrote correctly.

This tragedy is real. And it is happening to people I care about. Snyder’s agenda is clearly prepared by the donors to the NERD fund. Each day he asks himself, ” I am meeting my donor’s objectives?” The idea that human beings needed water, never occurred to him. The idea of safety never occured to Earley when he told Sue McCormick, “thanks but no thanks”. They had a plan and they were sticking to it.

As far as Governor Snyder is concerned, if the water is poisoned, just get water from somewhere else. Where is up to you. In his free market mindset, the choice of where you shop for water, is yours. It’s all supply side economics. So, shop wherever you like.
If you like Perrier, buy Perrier. He has read his speech to us, now it is time for he and his appointees to get back to the agenda of creating a better climate for his donors. He just wants this stuff off his desk! He just wants us off his desk. They don’t care about Flint. They don’t care about kids. Do you think he has met with me – a Detroiter, former State Representative and now a DPS Board member with 197 family members in the Detroit schools, even once? FYI: No, he has not!

A Little Background on Flint: Flint resident, Lee Ann Walters’ children tested high for lead poisoning. She called the EPA and Miguel Del Toral – one of the top water scientists in the world, tested her home and was shocked! Concerned for her well being, as a courtesy, he gave her a copy of his draft report showing that there was lead in her water, although her pipes were primarily plastic.

He knew that the source of the lead was not from her home. He recommended Flint water be treated.

Del Toral argued with MDEQ calling and writing back and forth. Patrick Cook, and Stephen Busch, MDEQ employees decided since Flint was hooking up to KWA in a year, there was no need to treat the corrosive water Flint residents were drinking. Lee Ann Walters gave the report to Curt Guyette, who made a phone call to Natasha Henderson, an appointee of Darnell Earley.

Rather than handling the safety of citizens herself, Henderson, who earns $140,000 plus $8,000 a month for expenses, passed the ball to Mayor Dayne Walling. Walling had asked for help from Washington DC, but he had neither the gumption nor courage to articulate concerns to the residents drinking the water. He kept looking to MDEQ for help. Why? Because they were calling the shots.

The Flint water emails, obtained by FOIA, show Brad Wurfel, the MDEQ Spokesman,was the one gathering facts from MDEQ so that he could refute the claims of Guyette. Wurfel called EPA employee Del Toral, a “rogue” EPA employee! Stephen Busch assured Wurfel in writing, that new MDEQ numbers would not justify Guyettte’s alarm. How did Busch know the outcome of the testing?

WMDEQ ALTERED the documents. Blamed the switch on Detroit and people with old houses. Rather than having 99 samples, they threw out the 30 samples showing high lead content to show just 69 samples of the best results. And they did this right around the time of a meeting with the Governor.

That is not the first time the administration made up their own science. Andy Dillon ordered a test to determine whether Flint should switch from Detroit. The engineering firm advised that it was a bad idea. It wasn’t what Dillon wanted to hear, presto chango, they throw out the report. Now refresh your memory of Earley’s lies, now caught on camera. Blaming Detroit, blaming Walling, blame the victim.

I can tell you working with Earley now, as a DPS Board Member it is HIS WAY OR THE HIGHWAY style management. He won’t even allow us to change the paper in the copy machine at the Fisher Building, let alone change a source of drinking water.

This is called oppression. Oppression is the exercise of power in a burdensome, unjust manner. In order to destabilize the DWSD, they needed to disconnect Detroit from it’s biggest customer permanently. Earley even sold a pipe that connected the two. It should be noted, Flint’s current city manager, Natasha Henderson, was hired by Earley AFTER she destabilized Muskegon Heights Water, and as a result Muskegon Heights lost their biggest customer, Norton Shores. Norton Shores purchased 70% of Muskegon Heights water. So what is this about?

Is this about Earley and Snyder are nice guys who just want to help? No. Later for that BS! Snyder’s administration makes up their own science on an as needed basis, alters documents, discredits anyone who stands in the way, removes from power and replaces anyone who is not with the agenda. Destabilizes public institutions so that they have to be privatized to survive. And they lie. Does any of this sound familiar?

I hope it does. Because sitting here as a Detroit School Board member with no power, watching Darnell Earley run our district into the ground, I weep.

Pastor Bobby Jackson in Flint has been distributing water to all who can’t afford $300 per month to buy drinking water from the grocer. These are the families Snyder is blind to. Bobby Jones ran out.

The next day, a Detroit teacher and I drove in the rain to Flint and we formed an assembly line to help distribute water. A grandmother tells me that she doesn’t drink the poisoned water, she just washes her greens in it. She says thank you and squeezes my hand. I am humbled.

She could be anyone’s grandmother. So many people said, “Thank you,” as I handed over my jug. I realized then how desperately they needed the water. Now we learn 10 people have died from Legionnaires disease!

An astounding 87 people have gotten sick. I have 197 children in my family attending Detroit Public Schools who are cold in their classrooms and I have friends and family in Flint. Snyder can’t relate, but for me, this is personal.

Snyder has now asked that Flint be declared a National Emergency.

Help us God.

LaMar Lemmons
Detroit Board of Education”

Please support the oppressed in Michigan. Read about what is going on. Help in any way you can. Justice must prevail and good must conquer this evil.

As LeMar Lemmons pleads in his letter – “Help us God.”

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“Today I resigned from the school board.” From Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD

Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD from Florida handed in her resignation letter today. Her letter speaks the unspoken words of thousands of professional educators across the country. Her letter is the cry of what is in the hearts of teachers who, also, can no longer harm the children.

Please share her words so just maybe, we can once again have schools that love and tenderly care for the well-being of our most precious gifts – our children and grandchildren. #DoNoHarm

“Today I resigned from the school board. I would like to share with you what I gave them. Feel free to share it if it strikes you as important.

To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida

I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.

Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education. Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process. I am absolutely willing to back up these statements with literature from the research base, but I doubt it will be asked for. However, I must be honest. This letter is also deeply personal. I just cannot justify making students cry anymore. They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development. They cry as their hands shake trying to use an antiquated computer mouse on a ten year old desktop computer which they have little experience with, as the computer lab is always closed for testing. Their shoulders slump with defeat as they are put in front of poorly written tests that they cannot read, but must attempt. Their eyes fill with tears as they hunt for letters they have only recently learned so that they can type in responses with little hands which are too small to span the keyboard.

The children don’t only cry. Some misbehave so that they will be the ‘bad kid’ not the ‘stupid kid’, or because their little bodies just can’t sit quietly anymore, or because they don’t know the social rules of school and there is no time to teach them. My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered. The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system which has decided that students and teachers must be regimented to the minute and punished if they deviate. The disorder is in the system which values the scores on wildly inappropriate assessments more than teaching students in a meaningful and research based manner.

On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, “In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.” That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread. I will not subject my child to this disordered system, and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it myself. Please accept my resignation from Polk County Public Schools.

Best,
Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D.”

do no harm
Letter printed with permission from the author.

“It’s All About the INHUMANITY” – an Anonymous Teacher’s Tale

Summer School- Turning the Heat Up On Achievement
by – One Fired Up Teacher

NOTE: This was written by a teacher in a high poverty district somewhere in the US. Child and Teacher Abuse in full effect

A time to maintain achievement, right? To prevent the “summer slide” and keep students engaged and excited about learning. After all, it’s building relationships with our students that can extend far beyond the confines of classroom walls.

But what happens when the school offering summer school has no air conditioning? Does that sound beneficial? Healthy? Safe? Temperatures inside the classroom reading 98 degrees on the thermostat. How about that for the student with Epilepsy who’s seizures are triggered by heat exhaustion and dehydration. Sound safe? Healthy? Beneficial?

If that doesn’t have your attention, let’s turn up the heat a little more. Requiring teachers to supervise lunch for the students but not allowing them to eat. Not allowing them to sit down. Oh no, teachers must waste instructional time. While students eat inside the fiery furnace called the cafeteria, their teachers are commanded to stand and do flash cards or another educational task. Teachers are expected to not only suffer these conditions themselves, but to sit by and watch their students suffer, too. Every minute counts, right? Don’t waste precious time walking kids to the drinking fountain, either. The water is not only warm, it’s “against district policy” to use instructional time in too many transitions.

Yes, the fire has been lit, folks. Our kids, who deserve better, are being burned. They deserve the best and brightest education. Your highly qualified, certified teachers and their students are suffering in silence while those at the top are sitting inside their air conditioned offices on the phone with the next best corporation who’s in the running for the silver bullet. The next “new program” they will demand the teachers use in the classroom to bring up those test scores. Here’s an idea for administration and school boards.

If you want to bring up the scores and raise the achievement gap, turn down the heat on your teachers. Take some of the pressure off your teachers. If you can’t do it for them, do it for our students. Provide them with safe and healthy learning conditions. Foster an environment built on the foundation that our teachers and students deserve nothing short of the best. Stop burning the candle on both ends with the corporate world. They don’t know our students. You don’t know our students.

We, the teachers know our students. You want to know why your good, hardworking teachers are leaving the profession? They’re sick, physically and emotionally. They’re tired. They can’t stand being on the front line every single day sacrificing blood, sweat and tears, all to no avail. They, along with their students, are dying inside while fires set by you rage beneath them, threatening to extinguish all they’ve ever known and loved. Each other. Hang up the phone, step away from the computer in your chilled office and save our teachers and students from the blazing inferno you’ve put them in.

Signed,
One Fired Up Teacher

blazing_inferno_by_manga_wolf-d49noz6

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