Education 'reform' may be stifling creativity and collaboration in the classroom, but it's had an unintended consequence: it's made many of us stronger advocates for public education outside the classroom. All across the country education professionals, parents and community members are joining together, taking action and speaking out against the insanity.
Many of us didn't know each other a few years ago, but we are now a band of brothers and sisters, some of whom we've never met in person; some of whom have become like family; all of whom speak the same language. We inspire, encourage, support, lift each other's spirits, and most importantly, inform.
In addition to the countless ways Jersey Jazzman does all that—and makes it look so easy—yesterday he inspired me with this simple tweet:
Then last evening, I read this excellent call to action by Anthony Cody, another education leader who continually inspires me:
"We just wanted to teach, to make a difference in the lives of our students. But when that is made impossible, then we have no choice but to get organized and fight, for ourselves, and for the students we serve." (emphasis mine)
I urge you to read the entire piece. How can any educator (or parent or concerned citizen) not get involved after reading it?
There are too many people who are flat-out wrong about public education who are in positions of power and are steering the good ship Ed 'Reform' into a typhoon, and New Jersey has more than its share. Some, like Tom Moran and Laura Waters, author of the piece Duke mentions above, are deck hands or first officers. Others, like Christie, Cami and Cerf (he's gone, but not forgotten, and still doing reformy stuff, just on a bigger scale), are captains of the ship. They sugar coat their message with patronizing and misleading remarks about how much they love and respect teachers, but purposefully steer their efforts toward destroying public education, and away from poverty because to them poverty is a dirty word. They can't turn a profit from it. It can't be fixed with testing, 'data', chrome books, standards, teacher evaluations and all the other propaganda they spew. It can't be fixed using a for-profit model and that doesn't jive with their business plans. But they control the media, and therefore the message.
Except in places like Facebook and Twitter and comments on news sites.
So, as I sat in my car yesterday morning with the engine running—mid errands—reading Duke's tweet, I shut off the car, read the article (c'mon, admit it, how many of you ed junkies do that?), and re-tweeted it with this hash tag: #NJEdTruthSquad.
Then I sent out a call to action on Facebook and Twitter that any time you see that hash tag (or a shortened version: #NJEdTruth) you need to speak the truth. Whether it's re-tweeting or re-posting or leaving a comment on an article, we need to speak the truth! To paraphrase Diane Ravitch, they may have money but we have numbers. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country; there are a lot of us—teachers, parents, concerned citizens—who can and must speak the truth. If we don't, we hurt not only ourselves, but also our students, our own children and public education as a whole.
Silence equals acquiescence, agreement, capitulation. I for one will not go quietly. If I go, if we really do lose this battle (and I don't plan on it), I will be hoarse, bruised and bloodied because I will not stop fighting. Who's with me?
So, Jersey, time to get your Truth on! We need to be like sharks circling the water around that ed 'reform' ship taking bites out of the lies that pour out of its scupper holes. Whenever you see these hash tags: