Where Have All the Teachers Gone?

stop the war on teachers and public schools

Where have all the teachers gone?
Children are asking.
Where have all the teachers gone?
Parents want to know.
Where have all the teachers gone?
Lost to classrooms every one.

When will they ever return?
When will they ever return?

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To Test or Not to TEST? STOP THE INSANITY NOW – great new web film from Michael Elliott coming SOON!

There is another powerful video coming soon that will seal the fate of the high stakes test movement in the United States. A Parent, a Teacher, and a Principal are interviewed in this amazing web film from producer Michael Elliott.

Bottom line – if you take the test, you are supporting the education reform movement. If you refuse the test, you are sending the message that the reformers are just plain wrong for America.

Refuse the test – use your PARENT, TEACHER, ADMINISTRATOR VOICES!

We have more power and influence than we think we have.

So watch for this ground breaking video coming out in just a few days.

To-Test-or-Not-To-Test

When children are informed about why their parents are opting them out of high stake tests

Here is a repost with permission from Lourdes Perez Ramirez a new friend and the founder and CEO of HispanEduca – a wonderful non-profit organization “empowering Hispanics/Latinos with access to education policy and reform so they (we) can impact and shape it!”

He followed every single instruction he had been given to refuse his computer-based tests scheduled for today.

He clicked SUBMIT without having answered a single test item. He raised his hand, very politely, and his teacher knew the student had finished before his classmates because he and his mom had decided to refuse.

His wonderful, Hispanic mom, who has two jobs every single day of the week, could not pick him up and keep him away from school for more than an hour, and then come back for the rest of the school day. Missing a few hours of her job would be the difference between paying the rent or being evicted.

After HispanEduca and the mom handed the principal a test-refusal letter, the school agreed, and the mom authorized for the child to spend the rest of the testing period at the school’s office.

There he was, doing some homework, when an office employee of this Orange County middle school approached the boy and threatened him saying that “he had to take the test because it was mandatory and if he didn’t he would be affected!”

But this 8th grade boy had been instructed, kept informed for more than a year, of what was going to happen today;  what to say and do and the importance of respecting his elders no matter what. And respect he did, when he told the lady”

“I know what I am doing; you are wrong, I will not be affected, and my mom supports me. I am a good student. Do you want me to call the organization who is supporting me and my mom so they can tell you that what I am doing is my right?” 

The old lady shut up and went back to her desk. She didn’t say another word, and the boy went back to his homework. He felt empowered! He knew there were responsible adults behind him, working on his behalf and his right to have the same education opportunities that non-Hispanic children have.

Does school staff know; have they been informed this is illegal?

Maybe not.  But keeping an 8th grader informed of what is going on, makes it even more satisfactory because we are also educating these wonderful children on civil rights issues. Even if they are residents with a visa. They too have rights. These children have rights and we have to make sure they feel protected and supported.

Kudos for this boy! We know there must be many more out there!

And Kudos to you Lourdes, and your organization HispanEduca, for helping Hispanic families learn of their rights and find their voice and power in the age of abusive school reforms.

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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.

Student Voices

I am reblogging this great collection of NY State High School Student voices. These were collected by Christine Zirkelbach – an angry mom who just wants the voices of these NY state high school students heard.

One Mom's Journey Through Education Reform

The following are letters written by students from a high school in the Hudson Valley.  This is very good school district, with a strong sense of community.  The graduation rate is 93% (keep in mind graduation rate counts only those who graduate in 4 years).  This year, special education students no longer have the Regents Competency Tests (RCTs) as a safety net if they are unable to pass the Regents.  Instead, they have to pass a math, science, US History, Global History & Geography and English Language Arts Regents exam with a 55 (or borrow points if one grade is high enough to loan to another exam). These tests are meant to be challenging, which makes them unfair for students with many different learning disabilities.  These students have taken some of the these exams 3, 4, 5 or more times and are now seniors.  Some made it and others are ready…

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Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo – A Fifth Grader Speaks Out – Maggie’s Letter

Two days ago, I published a letter from Josh – a fourth grader from NYC. That one letter has gotten over 13,000 views from all over the globe. I truly believe IT IS TIME for STUDENT VOICES to be heard. Today I received this letter from the parent of Maggie – a fifth grader from Central NY State. I am honored to share Maggie’s letter with my readers.

Maggies letter 2 2 2015Maggie is the fourth Student Hero presented on this Poetic Justice blog. She, too, is bold and brave and not afraid to put her opinions in writing. I truly hope that Maggie’s letter will be read by many and will encourage other students to voice their opinions in writing to the governors of their states.

As Maggie writes:

“Please read this letter completely and thoroughly until you (Governor Cuomo) get my gist. I am not the only student who doesn’t appreciate you trying to get our teachers fired.”

I do not think any of us adults could have said this any better. BRAVO MAGGIE!

Dear Mr. Cuomo – A Fourth Grader Speaks Out

This is going to be my third blog about a Student Hero. My newest hero is Josh – a fourth grader from NYC who has a legitimate beef with Governor Cuomo. Here is the very persuasive letter he wrote to the governor: 10407630_10153047556870798_3534263753656568750_n He is my hero because he is bold and brave and not afraid to express himself in writing. He is also my hero because he wants his words shared with the world. Josh happens to be the son of a filmmaker. Josh expressed his desire to impact the world with his own words just as his father impacts the world with his movies. His dad agreed to post his letter on Facebook and included his own fatherly rant with the posting. In the rant, his father stated:

…for full disclosure josh will never take a standardized test not while im around to make sure he doesnt. but we have watched as schools here lose their budgets and the pta turns into a fundraising arm to supply every single bit of funding for art, music and science, and we have watched the class size grow and recess and lunch get shorter and shorter. we love our school in spite of it all, and i will say to gov cuomo, you’ve really pissed the kids off…

It is time for those who hold the power and the purse strings over our schools to start listening to the voices of students and parents. Thank you Josh and thank you Josh’s dad for speaking out truth, and thank you for honoring me by letting me blog your letter. Now let’s just hope and pray that your power-packed words are heard.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many letters written by students to the governors of their states speaking out about the negative impact of school reform.

#DoNoHarm

#2015YearoftheStudent

#studentvoices