Words from Dr. Denisha Jones, BadassTeacher


“To me, being a badass teacher means although you might have the luxury to pretend to be colorblind you have chosen not to. You have chosen to embrace your responsibility to help your students understand and fight racism. You have decided to be an ally to people of color and use your white privilege to dismantle racism. Not everyone will agree that this is what it means to be badass. And you can be in BATs and not believe anything I said and not believe that you have a responsibility to deal with any of it. But BATs is taking on that responsibility with or without you. We hope you choose to join us because with the support of over 51,000 members we can take on this challenge and do whatever it takes to make sure that none of our students and children becomes the next Michael Brown.”

~Dr. Denisha Jones, BadAssTeacher


For full text,  http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-death-of-michael-brown-teachers-and.html


Frustrated with Too Much Testing in Schools? Here is What YOU Can Do !

Frustrated with Too Much Testing in Schools? Here is What YOU Can Do !

Check out this storify about high stakes testing in schools … and take action today.




Shame on Chicago Board of Ed Members for Mocking / Bullying a Parent: Caught. Picture. #SHAME

Say it isn’t so … ?

Say I didn’t just read that Chicago Board of Education Members, Henry Bienen and Mahalia Hines, were making fun of an impassioned parent who chose to speak up for her children and their teachers … ?


Really ? Really ?

So, while Rousemary Vega, Chicago parent, is pleading for her children in the space of under two minutes, while she is fighting for the rights of students and teachers everywhere, the right to speak up and be heard … they mock her? They turn and ridicule her?

I am a teacher. When we see that kind of behavior in the classroom, we are obligated to address it. If it continues, prolonged, it is an indicator of bullying. And, even from way down here in Florida, this teacher can call their behavior exactly what it is … bullying.

Yes … bullying. And do you know what they teach us to do when we see bullying? Stand up to it … recognize it … report it.

So, Chicago Board of Ed Members Bienen and Hines … shame on you. Consider yourself REPORTED ! And for the rest, everywhere, remember : We are watching – we will speak up – we will not be silenced, shamed, or bullied.


Here is the video from that meeting. Watch the amazing Rousemary Vega, BADASS MOM, as she speaks up for children and teachers:

Article source : Picture : http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4902&section=Article




Behind the Test – Kicking off my new blog series. #BehindTheTest

I have recently considered doing a regular pod cast on education. I debated a name for this new series. Tonight, I decided on a name. While listening to my favorite podcast, a 1930’s radio show entitled, ‘Behind the Mike’ I decided to call my show ‘Behind the Test’.

I hope to dive deep into this recent obsession with high stakes testing in schools. To start off this announcement, I will share a tweet by a friend today. She is opting her child out of testing.

Retweeted  (@MSGunderson): My son, who is in 8th grade and opted out, asked me to write this on his forearm in protest. http://t.co/HlkPnPfND5

This is the state of testing in education today.

Read the writing on the wall … on the arms … behind the test.

To repost friend and fellow education advocate, Dr. Mark Naison : “Interrogation of opting out children by lawyers for the Chicago Public Schools is one of the sickest examples of police state tactics I have heard of in some time- a new low at a time when the bar of decency and morality has already been lowered substantially. We all need to stand up against this as if it were our own children being interrogated, because it is only a matter of time before others in power duplicate this outrage.”

More on Chicago Schools here:


First podcast tomorrow, March 22nd. #BehindTheTest


Behind The Mike:


FLorida TAKE ACTION – CALL Your Leaders NOW and Say NO to Vouchers !! #Florida #Schools #FundEducationNow

From Stop Senate Bill 6 Page on FaceBook – TAKE ACTION on VOUCHERS NOW!

PLEASE make these calls tomorrow (Monday 3/17). The voucher expansion bill will be up in the Choice and Innovation Subcommittee on Tuesday.

Vouchers harm public schools by diverting tax dollars to unaccountable private schools.

Please call or email members of the Choice and Innovation Subcommittee. Ask them to vote NO to HB 7099.

Representative Michael Bileca (850) 717-5115
Representative George Moraitis (850) 717-5093
Representative Joe Saunders (850) 717-5049
Representative Larry Ahern (850) 717-5066
Representative Randolph Bracy (850) 717-5045
Representative Manny Diaz (850) 717-5103
Representative Bill Hager (850) 717-5089
Representative Shevrin Jones (850) 717-5101
Representative Kionne McGhee (850) 717-5117
Representative Larry Metz (850) 717-5032
Representative Kathleen Passidomo (850) 717-5106
Representative Ross Spano (850) 717-5059
Representative Charlie Stone (850) 717-5022

Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart Emails FL Teachers – New Name for Standards & Tests #MoreGates #Florida ?

I am a teacher in Florida.

Today, during spring break, a friend and colleague encouraged me to log into my school email and read a letter from our FL Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart. 

Her letters tend to come wrapped in much controversy, so I took the plunge and opened the email. Here is her letter below. I will reserve judgement, except to share a few info links below the letter (to give it a frame of reference, ya know).

I am assuming sharing is allowable as our Commissioner’s communication department  preempted the letter with the words: “We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and your students’ families.”

So, here is me sharing. What do you think?

I have already heard from one parent who responded with links re the Gates connection. See links below Commissioner Stewart’s letter:

Dear Florida Educators:


Thank you for all you are doing to prepare Florida students for success in the classroom and beyond. Please see Commissioner Stewart’s letter to teachers regarding Florida’s new statewide assessment at http://www.fldoe.org/pdf/CommissionersMessageTeachers3-17-14.pdf.


We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and your students’ families.


Sincerely, The Office of Communications and External Affairs


Full text below.




I know that this has been an exciting time for all of us involved in education and especially for those of you who are devoting each and every day to helping prepare Florida children for success in college, career and in life. Your work has resulted in improved student performance in so many areas and in Florida becoming a national model in public education. I cannot thank you enough.


With your input and dedication, we have successfully taken the steps to implement the Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts for all students. I appreciate the support and excitement so many of you have shown for the new standards, and I have heard from so many of you who are embracing the flexibility in your daily instruction and opportunities for our children to develop more critical and analytical thinking skills.


Building on our history of improving student achievement, we are ready to move forward. With the State Board of Education’s unanimous approval of updates to the Florida Standards in February, I have chosen the not-for-profit American Institutes for Research to provide the new English language arts (ELA) and mathematics assessment, which will be administered in the 2014-15 school year.  I am confident that this new assessment is the best decision for Florida’s students. The new assessment will measure each child’s progress and achievement on Florida Standards. With the high quality instruction that you provide, the assessment will help us keep all students on their path to be college and career ready. In his Executive Order, Governor Rick Scott outlined the objectives for this new assessment, and these assessments meet each of those.


I also have heard over and over from teachers that you want tests that provide a more authentic assessment of our students’ grasp of the Florida Standards.  These assessments will do that, because they will include more than multiple choice questions.  Students will be asked to create graphs, interact with test content and write and respond in different ways than on traditional tests. New question types will assess students’ higher order thinking skills in keeping with the higher expectations of the Florida Standards.  Later this spring, students, educators and parents will be able to preview samples of new question types by taking practice tests that will be made available for anyone interested in reviewing them.


I am sure many of you will have questions and will receive many questions from parents and colleagues as well. We have prepared some answers to potential questions. Please feel free to review that document and our press release announcing this decision at http://www.fldoe.org/eduaccsummit.asp.


I am proud to say that the Florida Standards and this new assessment are the result of unprecedented input from teachers, educators and the public. We will continue to work directly with teachers and school districts as we develop this new assessment.


We will also continue to provide information to support your work. Please share this message and encourage your colleagues to email us at justforteachers@fldoe.org to continue receiving updates on this and other topics.


I look forward to working with you together on this truly historic effort to help our students succeed. Thank you for all you do.



Pam Stewart


There you have it. I shared with some close friends immediately.

One parent responded with this information: “From Gates Foundation website…. “Partners include representatives of the following institutions and organizations: American Institutes for Research…”

“We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and your students’ families.” #TheirWords #DoIt


Podcast: FL Parents Holler NO To Vouchers !!

Podcast: FL Parents Say NO To Vouchers

I focused on FL Voucher Expansion Bills in my podcast today.


Listen in, share and please follow link to take action:



I draw my own conclusions, provide links for reference, and embrace the snarky. #GatorBonBC

Cash Money Kids – Florida’s Voucher Scheme

It’s simple. One word. Profits.

I created a “Storify” to describe the FL vouchers scheme.


FL Parents Say NO to Vouchers –

Take action here:



Don’t let big money lobbyists be the voice of Florida parents.


VIDEO – AFT President, Randi Weingarten, #NPEConference – Last 3 Minutes -Common Core Panel Debate

AFT President, Randi Weingarten, on the Network for Public Education – Common Core Panel Debate – National Conference, Austin, Texas

Closing 3 minutes of commentary. While we may disagree on Common Core, I respect the hell out of her for attending this conference. She listened to teachers and participated in the discussion. I appreciate that … and I think she makes important points here at the end. We must focus on our public schools.

#AFT #NEA #FEA #WeAreOne