Friday, March 13, 2015

My children are not for your profit.

I am refusing the test. "Opting-Out" if you will, of the state mandated Georgia Milestones Assessment for my kids.  In Georgia, the law only mandates that the students be offered the opportunity to test, and my students will be exercising their rights of refusal.

Yes, the test is stressful for kids and teachers. Yes, all children will be subjected to this test, even those with IEPs and 504s. Yes, the testing material is developmentally inappropriate. Yes, forcing children to take tests, to write passages, and write mathematical explanations on a computer is unreasonable for 8 year olds.  

Yes, the language arts curriculum is training our kids not to connect seemingly unrelated pieces of information to find innovation and/or truth by returning them into copy editors. (One topic sentence, three supporting facts, from THIS TEXT ONLY). Yes, this is making children reluctant to read, as all they know of reading is "informational" texts. (Remember monthly book reports? They don't exist anymore)

Yes, in the coming years up to 50% of  teachers' salaries will be tied to the results of these tests, effectively forcing the teachers to teach to the test to preserve their careers and livelihoods.  Yes, even this year, a year inwhich the   scores "don't count", if you will, teachers and students are losing weeks of instruction time to test prep. But this is not why I am refusing.

I am refusing the test because my children aren't for profit. These tests are projected to have up to a 70% failure rate. MY kids will (probably) do well on them (maybe), but if they are in the 30% that pass, it means nothing if the rest of the school is deemed to be failing.  

Now, I don't care if my kids are at a "failing" school, as long as I feel the school is doing well for them, but recently the Governor decided that he will have the State take control over the 100 worst schools in the state. Technically, he said those schools will have the "opportunity" to have the State take control of them, and the state will follow the lead of the Louisiana RSD.

In Louisiana, these schools were turned into charter schools, whose operations were then farmed out to private charter school companies to run.  So, effectively, these private companies are making huge profits these children's' "public" education.

Sure, it might not be "my" school this year, but one day, it will be.  That is how the plans are lining up. The writing is on the wall, and parents are too busy wanting their kids to succeed on THIS test to see the big picture of what that really means.  They are using our children to make billions in profit for private companies, i.e. the test writers, the book publishers, the test prep market, the software companies and eventually the private charter school companies.  

Speaking of software, guess whose foundation provided millions in funding for the push to transition to the Common Core Standards? The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. New testing software, anyone?

My children aren't for sale. Are yours?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

This Day

I hope I remember this say. This day when I was so exhausted I debated the reasonability of going to work in long johns and slippers. How Mister and I texted back and forth about traffic and lazy dogs, and changing dog nose colors, and the unique pain of stepping on monkeys (the barrel kind) from a half a world away.

The day when I picked up Alan and Danielle and Little Guy and Little L from school and Little L gave me a present of  paper scraps to use at our next Daisy meeting. Then we all went to the gym and jumped on trampolines. I hope I remember that then Coach D said Little Guy was a bit timid on the Pbars and the kids ran amuck at babysitting and G and Little Guy got into a horrible fight at the end.  The time when Little Guy pouted under the toddler climbing structure and refused to come out until we wereliterally  walking out the door. I hope I remember how by bedtime, all was forgiven. How I rubbed oils on his back for his sore muscles and tucked him in like toast. How G let ZoZo upstairs for bed in her too big Braves Tshirt swiped from a bestie who moved to Pheonix and panties - no more matching PJs for my tween, but what a way to remember far
Flung friends. How Little L collapsed in my bed fully clothed and only stirred when I took out her ponytail braid. "Cow!" she said, thumb in her mouth.  

And I really hope I remember how Little Guy asked me to cover him up again with an extra layer because his feet kept poking out from under his fluffy blankets; the same fluffy blankets he has been covering up with for his entire life.

Tonight, I watched Grey's Anatomy and was bummed because this is the last season, and ate cucumbers and drank wine.  An unremarkable day.  But a day that was good because it was lived.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Following Directions

Little Guy brings me a box of frozen waffles.

Mom, it says right here, right here it says, KEEP FROZEN.  So. Should we eat them cold or.... is it ok to warm them up?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Press Play, then Repeat

No one told me that being a parent would hurt so bad, deep down in my heart where the ache lives. When I think about how I probably won't remember today, a good day, a day spent with family and friends, watching my son do gymnastics. A day when my oldest was happy and helpful and at peace. A day when my youngest sang to me,  "All I want for Christmas is my family" with her brown eyes sparkling and the burn on her chin still visible from when she tried to sneak an oven fresh cookie this past holiday.  I won't remember the way they smelled, the sound of their little voices at these ages, the sailor knot oldest made in the little one's hair. And it pains me. 

I wish I could just hit rewind and then repeat and do it all again. I wouldn't change a single moment. The happy, the sad, the stressful, the mundane. I'd just like to do it all again.  I love them so hard it hurts, and we've really just begun.

Play it again, Sam. Play it again.