thorn

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

 

cats

Teacher Sings Testing Parody to the Tune of “MaCavity” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Musical “Cats”


It is amazing how creative a teacher can be while passing time giving standardized tests. All that standing in silence, hour after hour, day after day, in a classroom full of testing teens, can really get the creative juices flowing. After all, during state testing, teachers are locked down right along with the kids.

Here is the product of one teacher’s enraged captivity.

She writes: “Today as we took a prep test for ISTEP, I wrote a little song…to the tune of “MaCavity” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical “Cats”. It’s called ACUITY….”

Acuity’s a test we take
In middle school times three
The data’s used for lesson plans
But scores don’t affect me.
(restart melody)

It takes a week from teaching kids
The kids, they bitch and moan
Technology won’t work today
And reading is a groan
Who makes this test,
Are they insane?
Do they have half a brain?
The public wonders why our youth
Is going down the drain!
It doesn’t matter what they know
Assessing no one’s brain.
Preparing them for life, it don’t,
All testing is so lame!

Acuity’s a pointless test
It’s called the suck of time.
It takes too long, we lose a week;
This should be called a crime!

The reading’s long, can’t find their pins
Excruciating days

Computers froze, long-winded prose
It don’t affect my raise

They Christmas tree , disrupt and plea
And drive me quite crazy

And when you think it’s time to end,
They add the writing phase!

Acuity, Acuity,
no matter how I whine,
The state don’t know, the state don’t care
We’re squandering our time.
The clock it ticks
Severely slow
I swear the hand is stuck.
The Grapes of wrath
For eight grade math?
That takes a lot of pluck.
The kids don’t try
I ain’t gone lie
I wish I gave a duck.
And though we know it won’t be used
The state won’t give it up!
Acuity…Acuity…Acuity…

 

walmart

The Hypocrisy of OUR Teacher Union Leadership Bragging about Hillary Clinton in Nevada


So, I see our president,  Randi Weingarten, president of our 1.6-million member American Federation of Teachers union,  bragging that they helped Hillary Clinton win Nevada.

Ha. Really?

Listen. Teacher unions have a few mantras. If you have ever been involved in one, you know. Fight charter schools. Fight against tying test scores to contracts. Fight against privatization.

Who are they fighting? Big corporations, like, um … Walmart.

Oh yea. Walmart and unions … not friends.

But …

Who is our teacher union leadership  running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get elected to President of the United States?

Yup. You guessed it. Poster child for Walmart, herself…

Hillary Clinton.

Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

Ward Harkavy, Village Voice, 2000 – Twice in three days last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton basked in the adulation of cheering unions . . . They would have dropped their forks if they had heard that Hillary served for six years on the board of the dreaded Wal-Mart, a union-busting behemoth. If they had learned the details of her friendship with Wal-Mart, they might have lost their lunches. . . 


As she was leaving the dais, she ignored a reporter’s question about Wal-Mart, and she ignored it again when she strode by reporters in the hotel lobby.

But there are questions. In 1986, when Hillary was first lady of Arkansas, she was put on the board of Wal-Mart. Officials at the time said she wasn’t filling a vacancy. In May 1992, as Hubby’s presidential campaign heated up, she resigned from the board of Wal-Mart. Company officials said at the time that they weren’t going to fill her vacancy.

So what the hell was she doing on the Wal-Mart board? According to press accounts at the time, she was a show horse at the company’s annual meetings when founder Sam Walton bused in cheering throngs to celebrate his non-union empire, which is headquartered in Arkansas, one of the country’s poorest states. According to published reports, she was placed in charge of the company’s “green” program to protect the environment.

But nobody got greener than Sam Walton and his family. For several years in the ’80s, he was judged the richest man in America by Forbes magazine; his fortune zoomed into the billions until he split it up among relatives. It’s no surprise that Hillary is a strong supporter of free trade with China. Wal-Mart, despite its “Buy American” advertising campaign, is the single largest U.S. importer, and half of its imports come from China.

Was Hillary the voice of conscience on the board for American and foreign workers? Contemporary accounts make no mention of that. They do describe her as a “corporate litigator” in those days, and they mention, speaking of environmental matters, that she also served on the board of Lafarge, a company that, according to a press account, once burned hazardous fuels to run its cement plants. . .
And the Clintons depended on Wal-Mart’s largesse not only for Hillary’s regular payments as a board member but for travel expenses on Wal-Mart planes and for heavy campaign contributions to Bill’s campaigns there and nationally. . .

Lisa Featherstone, Nation 2005– Unlike so many horrible things, Wal-Mart cannot be blamed on George W. Bush. The Arkansas-based company prospered under the state’s native son Bill Clinton when he was governor and President. Sam Walton and his wife, Helen, were close to the Clintons, and for several years Hillary Clinton, whose law firm represented Wal-Mart, served on the company’s board of directors. Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform” has provided Wal-Mart with a ready workforce of women who have no choice but to accept its poverty wages and discriminatory policies.

Just read this from today’s edition of USA Today and ask yourself … why did our union leadership jump to endorse Hillary Clinton ?

First, some background. Clinton was a director at Wal-Mart from 1986-1992, a time of rapid growth for the company. From 1986-1991, Wal-Mart created 230,000 jobs, more than any other firm in the country. The company grew quickly because it was wildly profitable and it was wildly profitable because it obsessively managed expenses. Cost management was vital to Walmart because, like most retailers, its profit margin — the amount of profit a business makes on each dollar in sales— is notoriously thin. For every dollar in sales Walmart makes, the company pockets just about three cents in profit.

Of course, then, as now, Walmart’s biggest cost was labor. And to keep labor costs in check, Wal-Mart took pains to make sure its workers didn’t unionize. During Clinton’s tenure, the company’s strategy for dealing with organized labor was directed by fellow board member, John Tate. Mr. Tate famously summed up his philosophy at a 2004 managers meeting: “Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living.”

According to former board members, Clinton did not denounce the ‘anti-union’ efforts Tate spearheaded, nor rail for increased employee wages. Donald G. Soderquist, the board’s then vice chairman, has said that not only was Clinton “not a dissenter,” but that “she was a part of those decisions.” Wal-Mart’s stock rose by more than 500%during her tenure and Clinton’s shares were worth nearly $100,000 by 1992.

Clinton’s Wal-Mart tenure not only not only raises the issue of hypocrisy, but it makes one question whether she even believes in her own policy prescriptions.

Whose interests are our teacher union leaders representing?

Not ours.

Maybe they should have polled more than 2% of members before endorsing. #JustSaying

Wake. Up. Members. Wake. Up. Voters. #WithAQuickness

walmart

ps. Really, Randi?

Ms. Weingarten suggested that some of the blame for confusion about the level of labor support for Mrs. Clinton resided with the A.F.L.-C.I.O

Pitting us against AFL- CIO?

Choosing Hillary over solidarity? That’s low…

The reason folks doubt support your endorsement of Hillary is

because you endorsed without even asking.

Big mistake.

#Huge.

 

 

rahm

The Real Reason You Don’t Want President Obama to Pick the Next Supreme Court Justice


OK. Let me just put this out there. I’m guessing since I’ve been a card carrying, blue dog democrat, for decades, I have earned the right to say it. So here goes.

I hope the Republicans do block President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

Yup. I don’t trust him. I did once.

I definitely don’t anymore.

Go ahead. Attack away at me for saying it. But, tell me this.

Do you trust a man who gave you Rahm Emmanuel, Arne Duncan, The Race to the Top, and John King?

Nope. Neither do I.

rahm

#JustCountingDownTheDays

For more snark by GatorbonBC, check out my podcast: GrassRoots Mom

Are You Kidding Me? Here’s Where You Can Put Those Test Scores …


Listen. The tests are a joke. We all know it. Our children are suffering. Our schools are falling apart. Our teachers are quitting in droves. It is time to do something. Will you?

Here is my state: The Florida Standards Assessment test questions were rented from Utah for 5.4 million after Utah realized the test was so bad, they threw it out. Then, Florida computer systems crashed for weeks making testing a complete joke. You remember the posts. Now, 11 months later and 2 weeks before the kids start testing again, they finally release scores … and people care what grade their school got?

Are you kidding me?

Listen.

Wherever you live, do this instead … call every news station, every news paper, and every politician running their mouth about school testing grades, and give them the hell. Flood their emails. Tie up their networks and media pages with opposition until they stop or step up.

That’s how.

Here are some contacts to get you started:

For all elected officials, go here.

Orlando Sentinel
633 N Orange Ave
Orlando, FL 32801-1325
407-420-5000 – Telephone
407-420-5350 – Fax
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Make that call.
stupid
The Best Link On This Page? Here it is … United Opt Out. Know Your Options. 
Fan of Snark? Catch more GatorBonBC on her podcast: GrassRoots Mom

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.

https://storify.com/GatorBonBC/frustrated-with-too-much-testing-in-schools

 

#ForTheKids

Chicago ‘Opt Out’ Mom Speaks up for Teachers and Kids at Chicago Board of Ed Meeting – Video


Chicago has got it going on …

By it – I mean a huge ‘Opt Out’ movement. Parents have figured out that their children are taking too many standardized tests. They have figured out that the high stakes attached to those tests are destroying their schools and robbing their kids of a true education. And, they have had enough.

Take a look at this video of Chicago parent, Rousemary Vega, at today’s Chicago Board of Education meeting. She opted her child out of testing and now she is speaking up for Chicago teachers who are being threatened with disciplinary action.

She questions the Board: “I opt my children out of ISAT testing and the teachers get in trouble for it?” Then she speaks up and tells the truth, to a crowd of applause: “You shouldn’t punish teachers for standing up for our children. They are the ones who know what is going on in the classrooms.”

Watch her video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS6Q2WzFliA

It is no wonder that Rousemary is what we fondly call a BADASS MOM. She has had it with these so called reforms that led to the closing of her own children’s neighborhood schools. She has had it with the over testing of her children. She has had it with these for-profit charter schools and management companies that are pilfering off her neighborhood schools.

She tells the Board of Ed: “Private, charter, whatever it is … it all sounds the same – Ching Ching Ching Money Money”

Then one by one, in the space of her two minutes at the microphone, she asks the right questions:

“Can we be respected as parents?”
“How fair is that for my student?”
“How do I explain that to my kids?

“How do I explain that their school wasn’t good enough for them but it is good enough for outsiders?”
“Why do you break up communities and expect us to sit still?”

And as she is escorted away, with her voice choking back tears, she calls out the words that bring tears to every mother watching: “I need more than two minutes … as a mother I am asking for … “

End tape. Rousemary didn’t get another minute.

But she will be back. And, she will continue to inspire teachers and parents everywhere. And they will be back, too …

One by one. This will happen.

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Thank you, Rousemary Vega. You are my personal hero !

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For more on the situation in Chicago, check out this article:

ISAT Probe Prompts ‘Livid’ Parents, Teachers to Berate School Board

For more on opting out : UnitedOptOut.com

Photo Credit: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/

 

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