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

Poetic Justice

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…

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Help! Leader of United Opt Out Under Attack in Colorado

War Report has your back Peggy. Whatever you need. We are here. # Solidarity.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Peggy Robertson, the leader of United Opt Out, is under attack. In this article in the “Denver Post,” administrators warn that she might lose her job if she doesn’t give the test. Even union leaders express ambivalence about supporting her.

Peg has Ben a hero of the Opt Out movement. She has been fearless and outspoken. She belongs on the honor roll of the blog as one of the indispensable voices who support children.

Please write letters and tweets to the Denver Post and tweet your support for Peg.

The Denver Post is @denverpost

Peggy Robertson is @pegwithpen

United Opt Out is @UnitedOptOut

Stand with Peggy and UnitedOpt Out!

#IsupportPeggyandOptOut

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The Other PARCC: A Short Film by Michael Elliot

Michael Elliott, parent, activist, film editor, brings it all home here in his latests short doc about the PARCC exam. Thank you Michael, for standing up for not only your own children, but ALL children in the War on Public Education. Thank you for producing these grassroots films- with no financial support from any organization at all- to raise awareness about the PARCC exam and other abuses that are inflicted on our children by the testing regime.

parentingthecore

Back in January, I was asked to be one of many interviewees for Michael Elliot’s short film (5 minutes) about New Jersey’s test refusal movement, which kicked into high gear this January as the state began gearing up for the PARCC tests (which begin tomorrow here in Montclair). The film was released today. If I was more technologically savvy, I’d embed it here, but just click on the link — and please watch it — it it definitely worth seeing.

Michael shot over 25 hours of video for the final 5 minute product. He did a great job editing together a wide range of voices united around a common theme. This afternoon, Montclair Cares About Schools hosted a premiere event for the film with Michael. I attended along with my family and many of the other people whose voices contributed to the film. We had a full house despite…

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Becoming Prisoners in This Education War

“Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.”

Two nights ago, at an Orlando middle school’s “FSA parents’night,” I was accompanying Spanish-speaking parents. A teacher, the principal and even a counselor did a great job explaning “the beauty of FSA” and the computer test coming up next week.

The three professionals in front of us were being exceptionally good soldiers doing a good job making sure neither those they are serving (the students) and themselves (and their families) do not get killed in this education war.

Knowing the harm that these tests, and the FSA EOC do to students, teachers, principals, everybody at a school, and even the school itself, I couldn’t help to feel for all of them, but specifically last night for the teachers and the principal.

I asked several questions to which they answered knowing (I read their body language) none of them are good for students, teachers/princpal, and the school, but like good soldiers, they were following instructions to the “t.” They were, like any other human in their situation would have done, defending their post. And defend it they did with care and professionalism and for a particular care for the children they knew were not really being served by the abusive accountability system.

When they presented the “State mandated, locally developed EOC” tests as not of the high-stake test kind, I raised my hand once again. “They are high-stake tests because the purpose of the EOC are specifically to evaluate teachers (as per a PPT slide confirmed),” I said. Their eyes told me the whole story. But they could do nothing about it. Their lives, their families’, their bread and butter are in stake here too as much as our children’s future is.

They are soldiers alright. But like the children–and parents– they are also prisoners of war following instructions they would rather not do. Their stoicism showed exactly that: “endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”

HispanEduca’s work is directly with Spanish-speaking parents. Our focus has always been these parents who have been forgotten by many.

However, that night I realized that if we do not join the prison students and teachers are thanks to the accountability system of which Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame, we all are going to end in God knows what kind of social prison.

Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.

11020405_10152754246547169_1249769738_n-2 Lourdes, and grandson, Ben, who is in Kindergarten in CA

Check out http://hispaneduca.org for more information on HispanEduca and the services they offer the Hispanic Community.

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

Poetic Justice

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…

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Bronx Principal Jamaal Bowman Debunks Common Charter School Myths

This article was originally posted as a FB reply, then as a personal note, then as a blog on With a Brooklyn Accent,

http://withabrooklynaccent.blogspot.com/2015/02/bronx-principal-jamaal-bowman-debunks.html

then in LA Progressive http://www.laprogressive.com/charter-school-myths/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+laprogressive+%28The+LA+Progressive%29&utm_content=FaceBook

AND NOW FINALLY- the place it all started: The War Report FB group post:

Jamaal Bowman was responding to this question posted in the War Report on Public Education Group after the internet radio show on the School to Prison Pipeline.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWarReportOnPubEd/
Discussion Topic:

What do you think?

Charter schools are the best thing that has happened to public schools because they have forced public schools to “wake up” and for public school teachers to begin teaching better, due to the competition brought by Charters, than they have in previous years.

Please discuss – this was a topic raised in a group message after the School to Prison Pipeline show:

Podcast link for the Show from Sunday:
http://bbsradio.com/content/war-report-public-education-february-22-2015

By Jamaal Bowman

Good evening. Please allow me to indulge for a moment. First, good schools are good schools. I don’t care what we call them. The most important thing in a child’s life after a parent is a good teacher, coach, or mentor. When I say good schools, I don’t mean schools that simply have good test scores. I’m speaking of schools that get good scores, as well as develop the character and passions of their students toward self actualization.
Allow me to debunk a few charter school myths. I don’t know if this applies to all charter schools but definitely the ones I have some experience with. First let me say that studies show if a parent is savvy and passionate about education, regardless of race, class, or educational background, their child is more likely to graduate high school and college. Charters (at least the ones I have experience with), make sure that parents prove how serious they are before even giving their child a chance of getting in. For example, one charter that I know, mandates (not using this word lightly), that parents attend 5-6 meetings before even entertaining the possibility of the child making it to the lottery. These are obviously parents that value education in the home. If parents miss one meeting, no lottery. On the other hand, district schools have to take everyone. The savvy parent AND the struggling parent without meeting mandates. A parent can go through an entire school year without attending a meeting and the child is guaranteed a spot in a district school.
Further, in case you didn’t know, parents also sign contracts in many charters to ensure homework is done, meetings are attended, and certain behavioral execrations are met. If the parent or child breaks the contract, the child can be kicked out of school. I know. I’ve seen it done while “interning” at a charter school.
Lastly, charters can fire teachers and have extremely high turnover rates. From my conversations and observations of charter schools, I’ve heard many of the policies and procedures be called “inhumane.” This could be why so many teachers can’t last anymore than two or three years in many charters. Ironically, these charters serve as a perfect pipeline for TFA –mocking two year commitment.
Based on what I know, as they are currently constituted, charters, TFA, and yearly standardized testing are wrong for our high need communities. We should stop funding them all unless they agree to make major adjustments to how they do business. Why? Because that money can be spent on giving all students a quality holistic education. Charters, TFA, and yearly testing infuse anxiety, disunity, and even worst, standardization into the psyche of society. They are trying to recreate a 21st century idea of “empire.” Keep the masses, and “lower class” under control while the elite continue to rule. A standardized mindset will always be controlled. Whereas in schools like Riverdale Country School, there are not state standardized assessment, no TFA and no need for a charter, and they are taught to lead and change the world.
Consider KIPP’S first graduating class. Ranked fifth in NYC in mathematics in the 8th grade, but only 21% graduated college. Why? Because KIPP test prepped the kids to death and the kids never built their character or learned to manage their own freedom. KIPP and many charters standardize and try to control everything from how kids walk through the halls to how they ask to go to the bathroom. But teaching and learning is organic; it is human. When are we gonna ask ourselves why must poor communities of color be treated like this, whereas middle class and upper class parents would NEVER go for this treatment!
WE HAVE TO hold politicians and private citizens who invest in education accountable to the true needs of our at-risk communities. We must give our communities a true voice. If charters, TFA, and the state really cared about our children being their very best, show us, by investing in daycare, Montessori, music, sports, counselors and everything in between. Charters should take all children and TFA should change everything! If not, the powers that be will continue to fatten up the district school kids to be slaughtered and fed to their private school bosses as adults.
For the rest we have jail cells waiting for them. ‪#‎wemustunite‬

BREAKING! Newark Student Union Call to Action!

Join Tanaisa Brown and the Newark Student Union as they Occupy the Office of Cami Anderson. These students are brave and really know how to take on the elusive Cami.

CALL TO ACTION: ALL NEWARK STUDENTS, TEACHERS, PARENTS, AND FELLOW COMMUNITY MEMBERS THAT STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH US AGAINST THE PRIVATIZATION OF OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM… COME OUT TOMORROW MORNING TO 2 CEDAR STREET. WE ASK THAT THE COMMUNITY COMES OUT AND WELCOMES CAMI ANDERSON WITH OPEN ARMS!

THERE WILL BE A PRESS CONFERENCE AS WELL (TIME NOT SPECIFIED YET). LETS SHOW THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT NEWARK IS UNITED AND STANDING STRONGER THAN EVER!

STUDENTS: GET YOUR FRIENDS!
PARENTS: STAND WITH YOUR CHILDREN!
TEACHERS: THIS IS YOUR FIGHT TOO! 

Watch Live Stream Here:

Read and watch news coverage here:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2015/02/live_newark_student_activists_occupy_district_offi.html#incart_story_package

Newark Student Union FB here:

https://www.facebook.com/NewarkStudentsUnion?fref=nf

GoFundMe here:

http://www.gofundme.com/newarkstudentsunion

Newark Student Union

Twitter : @NewarkStudents

Email: The Newark Student Union: newarkstudentsunion@gmail.com