Opine I will

I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

I will not be ashamed this year!

Almost a year ago I wrote ” Ashamed to be a Teacher” because I just finished administering the sixth day of New York State Common Core assessments. I was a facilitator in a process that made my 10 year old students struggle,to the point of frustration, to complete 6 days of 90 minute tests. I sat by as I watched my students attempt to answer questions that were beyond their abilities. I knew the test booklets I put in front of them contained questions that were written in a way that 95% of them had no chance of solving. I even tried to give my students a pep talk, in hopes of alleviating their angst, when I knew damn well they didn’t stand a chance. That day last year I knew I was part of the problem.I pledged  to double my efforts to stop this form of institution abuse.

And I did..

I attended the New York State United Teachers ( NYSUT) leadership institute. I made sure I attended as many  workshops, meetings, conferences and protests as I physically could. I helped plan Nassau County’s “Stand Up Speak Out for Education” forum. I reached out and educated parents who formed their own alliances. I increased my presence on social media, relentlessly driving the message that high stakes testing was institutional test abuse. I educated the members of my local to ensure that they knew and understood that we were at war with those who are looking to destroy public education for all.

I was not silent when my local elected officials tried to persuade parents that they were for public education while casting votes that have dire consequences for our schools.I confronted them, hounded them, and continue to do so.

But I am not alone..

All across New York State thousands of teachers, parents, and citizens are doing the same thing. I predict hundreds of thousands of parents will refuse to let their children take New York State’s Common Core tests next week. Parents and teachers have been standing arm in arm with a single voice exclaiming that it is time to stop this madness.

On April 1st, New York State adopted a new budget that failed to fully fund schools. This budget also provided provisions that doubled down on high stakes testing, eroded due process rights, and took aim at the livelihoods of every public school teacher. It also put every public school student smack dab in the middle of a political agenda fueled war.

Parents from across the state have been swarming to their legislators who voted for this budget and are demanding that they fix it. I have never witnessed this much vitriol and outrage at state senators in my lifetime.

Even though, I will be forced to administer these abusive tests this week, I will not be ashamed this year. I am proud of the many students in my class,  and across the state that will be refusing to take it. I am proud of the parents who stood up and demanded that we need to end this madness.  I am proud of my union sisters and brothers who have tirelessly educated their communities that our nation’s most important assets are under attack.

Yes, the tests will go on this year, but the data will be meaningless. Thanks to the multitudes that have put their shoulders into this battle, the pendulum is beginning to move in the direction we need it to go, ‘excelsior’!

I will not be ashamed this year, I am fired up and ready to win this war.

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10 thoughts on “I will not be ashamed this year!

  1. Valerie Lucas on said:

    You are a atrong person and have done your part. We are beginning in Flial Park to see a change. People like you have helped. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your efforts. I am with you in many ways, being on the side having to administer, having children of my own that won’t be taking it, and having sat at a table with legislators who act helpless, hostage and regretful about “having” to vote yes on things they know are wrong (or having sponsored ed bills they aren’t prepared to describe/defend). I have also been to the leadership conference a few times over the past decade, and watched as the tone changed from inspiring/empowering/collegial to sad/resigned/hospice-planing, to suddenly (this year) geared up for battle. Our own union- late to the fight,waiting (like our governor often does) to see which way the safe wind blows and the majority marches before standing up to pretend you’ve led the fight the whole time! I am encouraged by the activism of real people and parents, it is all that will save us. I am also interested in a new political party, the Parents And Kitchen Tables party. We need real leaders.

  3. Why not add to the fight? Instead of just using the students as pawns by having them opt out, make the voice stronger by “opting out” of administering the test. We want a united front so why not? I loved your blog and your passion is strongly felt. My statement here is a result of it.

    • Dee,
      I do not have the option of opting myself out of administering the test. Unlike students there are serious consequences if teachers refuse to administer the test. ( Loss of job, certification suspension to name a few).
      So we do what we can..educate and advocate.
      RR

      • I have considered opting myself out of administering PARCC to my third graders. I have also informed families of their right to refuse the tests. Approximately one third of my students are opting out. I have decided to administer PARCC because I don’t want someone besides their beloved teacher to proctor the test. I know these children, and I can better help them cope. I can’t abandon them.

        • Thanks for sharing Erin. Today I administered the tests to those in my class who elected to take it. I knew they needed me in the room for moral support as well.

  4. Great post, thank you for sharing! I am a parent of a 3rd grader, we are refusing since we feel no real benefit to her for taking these tests. There are enough tests in our children’s lives they will take but this one we will pass on for now. This whole issue really needs to come back to the core of what this is about – our children!
    Have a great day
    Betsy

  5. Pingback: Come back to the core, our children that is! « sunshineonwater

  6. Labras Mac Anna on said:

    As a Parent,Former Teacher in The North of Ireland and a mentor to one and all children I meet I abhor CC . I experienced it’s Parent in the hands of the British Board of Education during The late sixties and seventies and saw how it destroyed two generations of young helpless minds .I did not administer The Tests as proscribed and neither did many other Teachers and eventually The Board got the message to re evaluate ! Some one has to draw the line in the sand and that person has to be The Primary and Secondary Educators of our Children– Parents first and then the Teachers ! If you are not prepared to make the sacrifice by holding the line for our children then who will !

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