Shunned. The Shame of My Teachers Union – A Good Friday Reflection


Day 1 of Spring Break. I am up bright and early on this beautiful Good Friday morning.

The sun is shining over my little piece of Florida. We say tomorrow will always be a better day. Today, it came true.

I am thankful to be the mom of two wonderful daughters, raised among a family that stretches far and wide. I am thankful for my hardworking husband who never fails to be there for us. I am thankful to live in a caring, compassionate community of citizens.

Good Friday is a good day to remember what we are thankful for. After all, Jesus is a good ol’ hero of mine. He fought for what was right. He was persecuted. He would not be held down…

I’m with him.

I’ve been shunned by my teachers union, all the way to the top.

Make no mistake. Once, they loved me. I joined, I rallied, I organized, I affected change. But, then I witnessed, and then I whistled …

I blew the whistle. Hard.

I blew the whistle on election violations. I blew the whistle on unfounded, unvetted, early endorsements. I blew the whistle on backdoor deals. I did what you are never supposed to do – I blew the whistle on union leadership.

I blew hard. And, they buried me.

I am the shame of my union.

I am ashamed of my union.

I’m not with leadership. I’m not with Hillary.

I’m not with her. .

In my classroom, I have a saying written across the top of my board:

“Tomorrow is Always a Better Day.”

It is a daily reminder to keep on keeping on. It is a reminder to keep up the fight and to keep up the faith. I will do just that.

Will you?

I’m with you.

 

thorn

 

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Things That Make You Say Meh. #TestingFUps by GatorBonBC


Some of my favorites …

Oh Your data wall is so pretty! The high level kids are butterflies and the low level kids are worms. How cute! Oh? Those are caterpillars? Oh, Of course …

 

Spreadsheets are my life. Ask me for a benchmark, I will print you a pile of proficiency before you can say jebs a jerk 5 times fast …

 

Today, kids, we will practice three important lockdowns that could save our lives … tornado lockdown, intruder lockdown, and testing lockdown.

 

But, I don’t understand? How do you show the kid met the benchmark without data?

 

This test is transformative, I tell ya… It will teach me how to be a better teacher. I just know it will.

 

I’m concerned. You’re 1st grader is not college and career ready. We recommend tutoring and soon …

 

You don’t have a choice.

 

No choice? Meh. I bet I do ….

For more GatorbonBC ranting, follow me at Grassroots Mom Podcast

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Eat a biscuit. It’ll be OK… 

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:

http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/as-cps-sends-investigators-into-schools-to-interrogate-opt-out-students/

First podcast tomorrow, March 22nd. #BehindTheTest

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Behind The Mike:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ43UC5tIOY

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.

 

MESSAGE TO TEACHERS FROM COMMISSIONER PAM STEWART

 

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.

 

Sincerely,

Pam Stewart

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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.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7131496/podcast-fl-parents-say-no-to-vouchers

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

http://takeaction.fundeducationnow.org/page/speakout/voucher-expansion-bill

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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.

http://storify.com/GatorBonBC/selling-off-our-schools

FL Parents Say NO to Vouchers –

Take action here:

http://takeaction.fundeducationnow.org/page/speakout/voucher-expansion-bill

#FundEducationNow

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

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Just home from #NPEConference & Ready to AWAKE Activate AGITATE in FL Join Me ? @DianeRavitch #LetThemKnow #AwakeFL


FLORIDA PLEASE SHARE AND RALLY TOMORROW !

Awake The State Rallies all over Florida tomorrow, March 4th.

Find a rally near you !

Speak up

Make a sign with the VAM equation

Tell THEM to keep their junk math away from our kids and our pensions.

When I say THEM …

I mean those particular Representatives and

Senators behind these destructive education policies.

I mean the Governor we see on commercials.

I mean the reformer profiteers with their corporate charter schools,

who are waiting in the midst for our schools to crumble.

I mean THEM … the billionaire Jeb and Gates club … THEM.

Let THEM know our kids are not data points.

Let THEM know our teachers are not dispensable.

Let THEM know our public schools should not be ripped apart and then

flipped onto the real estate market like cheap condos …

Let THEM know if they try,

THEY WILL LOSE.

Speak up tomorrow… Awake – Activate – Agitate

‪#‎LetTHEMKnow‬

See AwakeTheState.com for a rally near you.

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FL Gov Rick Scott Lost Jobs? I guess it’s not working. #PinkSlipRick


“A loss of 49,163 jobs at companies with more than 100 employees between January 2011 and November 2013, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) data filed by large employers. These companies are required to provide advanced notice of plant closing and mass layoffs to the state and federal government.”

“A loss of 1,097,092 total private sector jobs between January 2011 and December 2012, according to the online research site YourEconomy.org which measures job growth using numbers complied by the U.S. Department of Labor and Dun and Bradstreet.”

Common Core Math Problem – Benchmark 2014

Question: If Florida Governor Rick Scott has ‘lost jobs’ in both the public and the private sector, whose vote do you think he has lost?

A. Republicans

B. Democrats

C. Independents

D. The Tea Party

E. Libertarians

F. Everyone

G. How can he lose votes when no one voted for him in the first place?

#PinkSlipRick

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/static/media/projects/2013/rick-scotts-jobs-record/part-2/index.html#storylink=cpy