Opine I will

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

Archive for the tag “courage”

This is our Sputnik moment.

School’s all across the nation are either starting or about to start a new academic year. It’s suppose to be an exciting time for students and teacher. However, this year may be much, much different.  This has been the summer of Trump. Our students  have been subjected to Trumpism all summer.

Before this weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, I was wondering where did we go astray. How could our nation elect someone like Trump? After this weekend, I think I have the answer.

As a teacher, it’s hard for me to admit this. I view this past year as a failure of our education system. As educators we have not fought hard enough to protect our curriculum, our methods, our standards and our public schools.

All too often we  observe teachers dutifully, following directives that they don’t agree with. We observe teachers, following standards that are not research based and often inappropriate for the children they teach.

I have watched  Social Studies lessons being put aside for high stakes testing skills and subjects. I have observed Social Studies standards morph into ‘big ideas’ that often lack correlation with history. For example, teaching about the Articles of Confederation without taking the necessary time to teach the events that led up to them.

Social Studies is being put aside. Now we hear STEM is the new ‘ big idea’. Science Technology Engineering and Math is turning into this year’s new focus. We’ve already witnessed literature, take a back seat to non-fiction in Common Core.  Look at the results, look at society, and ask yourself, “ can we really afford to abandoned the humanities”?

We need to refocus our teaching towards Social Studies. Link your lessons towards teaching history. Not a whitewashed version, but real history. The history of the peoples of the world.

We now have a President that has no understanding of our nation’s past. We have thousands marching in the streets protesting things they do not understand.

This is our Sputnik moment. We need to emulate the counter protesters of this weekend by resisting any attempt to water down our curriculum. We need to stand against those that want us to teach a revisionists version of history.

Forget the damn high stakes tests. It’s time to roll up our collective sleeves and do what we need to do to save our nation. Resist and teach like our future depends on it, because it does.

Get over it? No freaking way!

We have  been told over and over again  “get over it!”   I won’t get over it, I won’t sit back quietly, I won’t stand idle while our country is in trouble.

How can we stand by when our illegitimate Commander in Chief puts our nation’s standing in the world at risk every day? On Thursday, his  Ambassador to the United Nations told the world representatives at the UN that she will be taking names.  Our national security is at risk due to his traitorous  appointment to protect our nation. His continued attack of the press corp threatens the very fabric of our national identity. His appointments to his cabinet are direct attacks on our environment, workers’ rights, regulatory protections, our judicial system, and many of our God given human rights. Even his latest selection to be our National Security Adviser turned down the important job. It’s reported that he refused because, as he put it, this administration is a real “shit sandwich.”

Trumps response to these concerns consists of lies, repeated lies of his election, attacking the questioner, and holding rallies. Folks, when asked about the uptick of antisemitism and the growing violence to Jews, he responded by telling the reported to sit down.  When questioned by a black reporter if he is willing to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus to discuss violence in the inner cities, he acted as if he didn’t know what the CBC was then asked the reporter to set up the meeting with her friends.Trump is mentally ill!

His appointment of Betsey DeVos should raise alarms across the nation. Do Trumpkins really want children with special needs to go without needed services? Do they really believe evolution is made up science fiction? Do they really believe schools should be privately owned ventures that are funded with taxpayer monies and that these schools should not be held accountable for these funds or the success of their programs?

Do Trumpkins really believe that 100’s of thousands of National Guard troops should go door to door, school to school, office to office, hospital to hospital as a deportation force? Are we ready to hid our neighbors in our attics, hidden rooms, barns, and basements? Is that what we are about to become?

Are Trumpkins prepared to live in a nation, where there will be no protections on the job site, where basic employee rights will be stripped, or where they will not be able to negotiate a collective bargained agreement that would protect the company as well as the employee. Are they prepared to return to the workplaces of the late 1800’s where they have no choice but to owe the company store?

Are Trumpkins prepared to watch people die due to the lack of healthcare? Will they be willing to return to the era of only those with money get treated and watch others suffer or  die? Is this making America great?

Folks I will not get over it!  Trump and Pence needs to be impeached. I am not willing to sit back and watch this egomaniac systematically destroy our country. I won’t sit in the corner, I won’t sit quietly, I refuse to accept this blatant attack on our national conscience.

Join me at rallies, join me at organization meetings, join me making calls, join me on social media. Don’t get over it.. get organized. Resist!





It’s All About to Hit the Fan

It’s all about to hit the fan. 

New York State’s own version of  ‘Hell Weeks‘  begins this week. Beginning on Tuesday, most of New York’s children will be undergoing a grueling 540 minutes of high stakes testing.

This past weekend NY Education Commissioner John King said, “… that these assessments are an opportunity, not a judgment of failure,” King said, “It’s an opportunity to see how we do against something that is challenging … after all, we want students to become adults who are courageous about taking challenges.” King,whose own children go to a Montessori school and will not be subjected to this testing, doesn’t have a clue about transforming children into courageous, and independent  lifetime learners. His actions speak much louder than his nonsensical words. Shielding his own children from these tests, and his own regulations, while subjecting other children to them, is gross misconduct. Every parent in this state should be demanding his immediate resignation. He obviously does not believe in public schools.

I wish Governor Cuomo and Commissioner King would answer the tough questions on courage.

  • Will these test measure how an extremely courageous child in my class is handling a devastating family situation?
  • Will these test take into consideration, a child dealing with a breakup of his family? A child dealing with a parent’s illness? Their own illness??
  • Will these tests measure the awesome curiosity and courage developed over the course of the year?
  • Will these tests measure the emotional growth of a child who entered my class shy and withdrawn and now is willing to take a chance?
  • Will these tests take into consideration, the child who is entering puberty and his /her confidence is on shaky ground as they struggle with their identity?
  • Will these tests measure how a child has developed into a creative writing, willing to share their personal thoughts as they write from the hearts?
  • Will these tests measure how a child has become confident enough to recognize that they need to reach out for the extra help they need?
  • Will these tests take into consideration the fear and anxiety brought on by the excessive pressure of high stakes testing?
  • Will these tests measure how children who go to sleep hungry at night, manage somehow to show up to school and do their very best?
  • Will these tests measure how those with physical challenges courageously do the best they can every day?

Commissioner King, you have no clue what courage is. You are about to learn a lesson of courage from thousands of parents all across the state.

The Power of Courageous Parents

All across the state thousands of parents are gearing up for battle this week. Arming themselves with letters they are informing their local districts that they are their child’s best advocate and they are responsible for their child’s education, future ,and most importantly, their emotional well being. They are informing their teachers, principals, superintendents, and school boards, that their children will not be taking these tests. They are refusing to have their children sit though 540 minutes of abusive testing, and that they don’t see these tests as a challenge. They see these tests, as an example of corporate reform, hell bent on destroying public education and being  let through the hallowed gates of our communities most precious assets, by a Education Commissioner and Governor, who don’t believe in local control and the ‘public’ in public education.

These parents have the courage to say, “No! You will not be doing this to my child!  This is not an opportunity this is abuse and we won’t let you do it!

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