A Call To Action – Tweet For Principal Jamaal Bowman and CASA Middle School Students

Please tweet ASAP –
@asugsvsummit @jamaalabowman #GSV2020vision

Poetic Justice

First – please watch this amazing video produced by the students and staff at CASA Middle School in the Bronx. It is based on Sean Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

Second – TWEET out the following message:

@asugsvsummit @jamaalabowman #GSV2020vision

Jamaal and his students are in a competition. They need only 1,000 tweets today to beat PEARSON – yes, I said – PEARSON in The Voice of an Educator at an Ed Reform Event!

Third – share this far and wide.
If you are interesting in reading more about the 7 habits – here is a document that summarizes them very nicely.     HB_Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Efffective_Teens8

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How did Anti-Public School Corporate Reformers become the Dominant Force in Education Reform?

The following is a point by point summary by Dr. Deborah Owens, whose book, The Origins of the Common Core: How the Free Market Became Public Education Policy is the main focus of a War Report on Public Education mini- series that begins today, Sunday, March 29, 2015.
We here at War Report encourage our audience to listen to the series, read this synopsis, and respond in the comments section. We will have a new blog post from Deborah each week, a live internet radio show, and a podcast. We will address questions from our audience and we urge listeners and readers to please call in, respond to the blog post, and then listen and read ahead in preparation for next weeks show on the Common Core and the Corporate Ed Reform Agenda.

by Dr. Deborah Owens

How did anti-public school corporate reformers become the dominant force in education reform?  Here’s what I learned in researching and writing my book:
  • The campaign to end public education has been a decades long venture.  There have been forces that for at least the last 80 years have been engaged in an assault on the institution of public schools, claiming that they are socialist institutions and actively seeking to label public schools as “government” schools.  Vouchers are not a new idea — they were born in an era of Cold War mentality, anti- New Deal rhetoric, and Jim Crow resistance to integration.  Charter schools are nothing more than an extension of this idea and we are seeing the ramifications of this misguided so-called reform effort now.
  • The book, The Origins of the Common Core: How the Free Market Became Public Education Policy, and the series, is one of unity around the preservation of the institution of public schools.  The goal is for the public and the education community to cast aside any political or ideological beliefs that distract from an ultimate goal.
    That goal is the preservation of the public school system and local control of this system within each community.
  • How can we accomplish this goal?  First of all, acknowledge that there are differing ideological views about education in the U.S.  Very importantly, we must acknowledge that many are militantly against the CCSS for various reasons; most are against high-stakes testing and the data mining that has resulted from the testing movement; and others are equally opposed to charter schools.  But what unites us?
  • Underlying all of this is the reality that corporations are dominating education policy decisions in a new environment of corporate and governmental mutualism that is out to usurp locally controlled public schools and that envisions children merely as a source of profit.  We must unite to stop this corporate assault. Do you want to defeat the Common Core? Stop the profit machine associated with these national standards.  Do you want to put an end to Draconian high stakes tests that are sucking the life out of education?  Stop the profit machine associated with high-stakes tests.  Do you want to reclaim public schools and end the incursion of the charter school movement?  Stop the profit machine associated with charter schools.
  • If we are able to accomplish this, we will reclaim the sacred ground of public education for all children, for all families, and for all communities.  Holding teachers accountable for the test scores of their children will become history.  We will realize that true societal transformation begins with the communities in which children and families live and that the schools within those communities are a part of a larger societal system.  Make it known to every federal, state, and locally elected official that they will lose their elected offices if they do not listen to the UNITED pro-public school forces.  

Author Bio:

Deborah Duncan Owens Elmira, New York

I am a product of public schools. My father’s career in the Coast Guard provided me with the opportunity to live in different states and communities within the U.S. Armed with the education I received in the various public schools I attended, I was able to earn a teaching degree at Mississippi State University and serve as a public school teacher for several years before earning a Ph.D. and joining the ranks of teacher educators — first at Arkansas State University and currently at Elmira College in upstate New York. Deborah Duncan Owens, Associate Professor of Literacy Education Elmira College

To learn more and read a complete Bio about Dr. Owens, please visit her website Public Schools Central for up-to-date information on the Common Core and the Corporate Ed Reform Agenda. Here is the link for the BBS Live Radio Show and Former and Future Podcasts: The War Report on Public Education Here is the link to The War Report Facebook Page: The War Report on Public Education Facebook Group Twitter: @WarRepPubEd

Here is the podcast link from today’s show: How did Anti-public School Corporate Reformers become the Dominant Force in Education Reform? Hosted by Dr. James Avington Miller, Jr and Special Guest Dr. Deborah Owens. This is the first in a three or four part series based on Dr. Owen’s book. If you missed today’s show please listen to the podcast, read the summary from the blog, and then leave feedback in the blog comments section.
Also, hot off the press! United Opt Out has an activist handbook that is now available for purchase: An Activist Handbook for the Education Revolution
Thank you UOO and Test Resisters everywhere. You are true heroes battling against the War On Public Education.
In Solidarity,
Team War Report

A Saturday Poem – Priceless

Amazing and inspirational poem by English teacher and ed activist Jo Lieb.

Poetic Justice

Sometimes, I really have to remember why I am teaching. This morning I read through some of my old poems, just to get some hope and inspiration. I found this one that I wrote six years ago as I watched 21 young people receive their high school diplomas. I am in this teaching gig for the miracles – the miracles that occur when I am a very small part of transforming a young life.

Our kids are so much more than a test score.

I hope you like this one. If you are a teacher, I thank you for all you do for your students. Keep – keeping on. Don’t give up. Fight on for a better day for our children and grandchildren.

Priceless is the smile
on her face –
she who was abused
violated at only four years old.

Priceless is the smile
on his face –

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Flaws at the Heart of Current Education Reforms

Thank you Chris from your thoughtful letter and blog post mentioning the War Report and Dr. Miller. #2015TheYearoftheStudent #solidarity

Creative by Nature

“Teaching is an art form rooted in the wise and careful use of educational research and assessment tools. When government policy makers continue to implement evaluation methods and tools criticized by education professionals they are embarking on a very dangerous nation-wide experiment. Focusing their attention on data collection and high-stakes testing creates the illusion of knowledge and control. It allows people who lack understanding to assert that they have it, when in fact what they are actually putting in place is more like a marketing strategy designed to intentionally bypass the truth. They are misusing scientific measures, ignoring what is actually most important and meaningful, measuring what is not easily quantifiable with numbers…” ~Christopher Chase

charter3The following is a Letter to the Editor which I wrote that was published today (March 11, 205) in Our Town, a local newspaper in Rockland County, New York.

There’s a scene in the film Dead…

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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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NAISON RANTS: My Memories of the Selma Protests – Written for BK Nation

Here is a piece written by Notorious PhD – Dr. Mark Naison:

It was the spring of 1965. I was a junior at Columbia,  preparing for the tennis season, where I had the opportunity to play number 1 singles. But as exciting as that prospect was, because i was an activist as much as an athlete, I was deeply concerned about two high profile political issues- the bombing of North Vietnam and the failure of President Johnson to move aggressively to secure voting rights for African Americans in Southern States. I found myself wondering- would the emerging conflict in Vietnam distract the President from undertaking the most important remaining civil rights initiative still left- making sure that every American, including Blacks living in the Deep South states, could go to the polls and vote their conscience without risking their lives?

Apparently, Dr. Martin Luther King had the same concerns, because he launched a high profile, high risk effort to force President Johnson to act on voting rights. His target city was Selma Alabama, where he knew that the local sheriff, Jim Clark would use the same brutal tactics against non violent protesters that Bull Connor did in Birmingham, and so doing create a set of embarrassing images, broadcast around the world, that would force the president to act.  But to do this, King had to persuade a large number of people to take the same kind of risk of beatings, and jailings and shootings and bombings that demonstrators in Birmingham faced, at a time when more and more Black people were getting fed up with non violence and were ready to fight back. This time, fearing that he might not get enough protesters from Selma alone, he encouraged protesters from all over the country to descend on Selma, including white labor activists, and Black and white clergy.

King’s strategy turned Selma into a tinderbox, an embittered outpost of the Old South which saw itself invaded by an occupying army. The resentment was directed at white supporters from outside the city as much as local Black demonstrators and the rage spilled over not only into fierce attacks on protesters, marked by clubs and tear gas, but the murder of two white activists who came to support the protests, Rev James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo.

King’s strategy ultimately worked, as he entered into high wire negotiations with both the President and local officials which produced a peaceful march to from Selma to Montgomery. But the violence and brutality against the protests was the thing that ultimately turned the tide, forcing the President into a dramatic step he had never anticipated- putting a Voting Rights Act before Congress that would send federal registrars into the South wherever there was evidence of discrimination at the polls. What forced him to take this step, ironically,  may have been the very Cold War logic that led the President to launch military action in Vietnam, forcing him to realize that what King had created through this protest gave the Communist enemy so much ammunition that the nation had to act to secure its global position and keep credibility with developing nations.

In any case, King’s gamble led to Black Southerners gaining the untrammeled right to vote for the first time since Reconstruction. But it also left a legacy of bitterness at white brutality, and presidential cynicism, that further eroded the African American communities already weakening commitment to non-violence.

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!


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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.


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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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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