What If Every Educator Pledged to Vote in 2016?


Diane Ravitch's blog

So many terrible education policies have been enacted in the past several years, and so many people feel powerless to act and make a difference. But there is a way to take action: Vote. That’s the only way to get better leadership. It works, but only if everyone votes.

What if every educator took a pledge to vote in 2016? If you vote, you can beat big money. Imagine the difference educators can make in every state. You can save public education, save the teaching profession, and restore democracy.

This idea is starting in Néw York. It should spread to every state and city and town and village and school district.

Subject: Educator Oath To Vote

Hello, Fellow BATs,

I have a bit of an announcement to make – sort of a “Coming to a School Near You” kind of thing and I believe, if successful, it will change the…

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Teacher Asks: Who is Behind SBAC?

Interesting questions about SBAC.

Diane Ravitch's blog

As you may recall, the U.S. Department of Education funded two testing groups to write tests aligned with the Common Core standards. One is the Partnership for Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC), and the other is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Since the Department is legally prohibited from attempting to control or influence curriculum or instruction, this grant (for $360 million) may actually be illegal, but no one has gone to court to challenge it. Meanwhile, both PARCC and SBAC agreed to adopt the same cut scores (passing marks), aligned with the rigorous achievement levels of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This was a fateful and unwise decision. Catherine Gewertz pointed out in Education Week that most students were likely to fail, given the alignment with NAEP:

The two common-assessment consortia are taking early steps to align the “college readiness” achievement levels on their tests with…

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Breaking News: Parent Opt-Out House Bill 50 On The Agenda For Full Senate Vote Tomorrow!!!

If jury duty is over early…. I am going!

The Exceptional Infinite

Delaware Senator David Sokola just emailed a constituent of Delaware that House Bill 50 will be placed on the agenda for tomorrow, Wednesday June 17th!  More details as they emerge.  It is not on the official  legis.delaware.gov  website as of yet, but once it is I will post it.  It looks like a lot of those last minute emails today may have helped!  Thank you to all who did so!

From: “Sokola, David (LegHall)” <David.Sokola@state.de.us>
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 5:28 PM
RE: HB 50

I apologize. I have placed the bill on the agenda for tomorrow. Dave.

The Delaware legislator website is not working for me.  Maybe we crashed the server!  No word yet on any proposed amendment by Sokola either, but I imagine if it is introduced he would do so at the time of the introduction of the bill for…

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Free E-Book about Teacher Who Refuses Test

Get a free book to add to your summer reading list!

I already read it!  It was good and fast, the perfect book!  I teared up a few times.  I think it gives a good inside look at how these tests effect students and teachers.  I also think the public will see a side of teachers that cannot be shared in the classroom or to the public.  A great read a free today ONLY!

Diane Ravitch's blog

You can download this e-book today. It is free today only. It was written by a Florida teacher using a pseudonym.

“This book is a way for me to come to some sense of understanding with the testing culture. I think parents, teachers, and students will relate to the experience of the characters in the book. It fully depicts the scenario of an opt out student and I wrote it geared to young adults (6th to 12th grade).

“Synopsis: In the story, a favorite teacher, Ms. Sandy, gets fed up during a state test and walks out of her classroom and career forever. The readers follow along with the students and fellow teachers as they try to make sense of Ms. Sandy’s actions, and as they discover her secret: she is a badass teacher with a ton of important information about testing. In the end, the community comes together to…

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Our Children are Creative by Nature

Art class anyone?  And to think, last year I was told my free choice; building 3d sculptures with dominoes, completing puzzles, free drawing and other activities were “meaningless” in my elementary art classroom because these activities was not assessed. 

Creative by Nature

179438_573519639346536_934910261_nChildren have a natural curiosity and creativity- and express it freely when young. They are able to learn new things rapidly, becoming proficient at communicating in their native language in their first five years.

For a child the way of learning seems more akin to play then study. They are able to master many things on their own, supported and guided by adults but also highly self directed.

Then formal schooling begins, and we put our children into classrooms. One adult is given the task of teaching a wide range of subjects. There is a lot of information they are asked to remember, often with little explanation about how these various subjects fit together.

For too many children, this new way of learning seems duller, abstract, rigid and very confusing. The world that up until then had been experienced as a whole starts to look more fractured and compartmentalized…

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Fraud at the Heart of Current Education Reform

What are we going to do to fix the American Educational System?

Creative by Nature


For many Americans it is becoming increasingly clear that the people behind current education “reforms” in the United States are purposefully attempting to sabotage the nation’s schools and deceive the public. Such is the story shared in a new book Common Core Dilemma by Mercedes Schneider and a documentary Education Inc coming out this August, by filmmaker Brian Malone. It’s a tale that was told last year by Diane Ravitch (see this excellent March 2014 Bill Moyer’s interview) and in Building the Machine: The Common Core Documentary. Here’s a summary of the fraud that is being perpetrated, a Letter to the Editor which I wrote to a local New York state newspaper last March…

Fraud at the Heart of Current Education Reform

There’s a scene in the film Dead Poet’s Society, set in 1959, where Robin William’s character Mr. Keating asks his students to read from the introduction of a poetry textbook. The text describes a rating method…

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Is This Possible? Lesson Plans for Babies?

How creatively crushed can children get?

Diane Ravitch's blog

I am by nature a skeptic. I don’t believe whatever I read. I want proof or confirming sources. In the past few years, I have heard that Common Core pressure has created bizarre demands on children and teachers. A reader posted the following comment. Is it true? I don’t know.

“I have a friend who does Head Start…her “class” is birth to 14 months and she has to write lesson plans and kids have to meet “benchmarks”….got to be college and career ready from the womb.

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I Have No Value.

I came it this realization over the past year, which is the number one reason I have a new job for the fall.

Value is very important to an art teacher because we are called to share art with others.  We do not do it for the money or the recognition;  it’s the small things.  The smile on a child’s face when they paint for the first time.  The smile and presentation of their smock as they enter the art room.  The tears you see when they mess up and the smile when you show them that artists never mess up.  We always mean for that to happen, it’s the artistic license we all have.  This is what an art teacher experiences everyday, this is what I cherish and remember as I reflect on my years in the classroom.

I know my students value me, I am the art teacher, it is almost a given that 80% of students love my class, much like the gym teacher that has 98% of students eating out of their hand.

Contrary to my students, I HAVE NO VALUE TO MY ADMINISTRATION.  I do not improve reading comprehension. I do not increase math fluency.  I do not teach the writing process.  I do not teacher math computation.  Art is not mentioned in my schools’ improvement plan, in our mission, vision, or anywhere else of importance. On paper, I am a wasted teacher unit. (Yeah, I have tears in my eyes.)

So, to decrease the waste of my teacher unit, I have to incorporate writing into my classroom.  I have to push into math classrooms and help other teachers.  I am forced to go to professional development that will never improve my class.  I stand cleaning paint brushes wondering, why do I do this when no adults care?

This is me.  But, if it were you, how would you feel?  Would you want to go to work?  Would you be able to greet your classes with excitement?  Would you be able to sit and listen over and over and over and over again how other classes are important and yours……silence?

Yeah…… I HAVE NO VALUE, but if you step outside “THE BOX.” And you look at the big picture.  Art is more important than anything you will ever learn in Math and ELA.  The act of creating is key to a successful society and my students create everyday that I can teach art.  Crazy thing, I can teach math while creating art.  I can teach reading and writing while creating art.  Art is that all-inclusive class where you do it all and HAVE FUN TOO!

I am valuable and an asset to every school building in Delaware.  We need to wake up and see all Creative Educators for their value to society!

IT’S PERSONAL, not business!

You’ve Got Mail, comes to mind.  Tom Hank’s character puts Meg Ryan’s character’s bookstore out of business.  You know the story, big bad business takes over the little guy.

What bothers me about this scenario, is that it is happening in our schools, in our classrooms, and in our conference rooms.  FYI: EDUCATION IS NOT BUSINESS!!!!  But, over and over again, I see this objective view in education.

Example 1: Students are human beings with personalities, likes, dislikes, and opinions, strong ones.  So, why do we, as the educational system, reduce our children to numbers on a page, scores for the school to make AYP (adequate yearly progress).  Children are labeled, sorted, re-sorted, and discussed to find the right mix, the right balance, so improvement can occur.  I am all for personalized education, but it should be based on the needs of the student, not the system.  Why do I have to explain to my students that I have to collect data about them, to prove I can teach?  THIS IS PERSONAL, not business.

Example 2: Teachers are human beings with personalities, likes, dislikes, and opinions, strong ones.  So, why do others, the system and administration, reduce me (since I am a teacher) to satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  Why do I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt why I decided for my students to create turtles instead of frogs?  Why do I have to explain how creating pinwheels fits into my yearly scope and sequence?  Why do I have to sit in a room with three administrators and listen to them tell me, all alone, that creative play in my classroom is “meaningless” because it is not assessed?  THIS IS PERSONAL, not business.

I create turtles because I love them.  Pinwheels are fun to make!  Creative play is awesome and as a professional, certified art educator, in the state of Delaware, I should be able to choose what works and doesn’t work in my classroom! THIS IS PERSONAL, not business.

Education is personal.  Education is about educating individual people to improve their futures and in turn improve the future of society.  Individuals become teachers to share their love and passion for a wide variety of topics in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of artists, scientists, plumbers, engineers, and teachers.  Research and data?????  I guess it can be used in education, but it is not the end all, be all in education.

The end all, be all  IN EDUCATION is happy, creative, empowered teachers teaching, inspiring, and pushing eager, engaged, willing students.  Plain and simple.  IT’S PERSONAL!!!!!!!!!