Monthly Archives: August, 2013

Scrap the MAP Victory Tour Update

Over the past few months I have traveled around the country to speak to audiences about the lessons of the historic victory of the Seattle MAP test boycott.  Since spring break, I have spoken at the AERA academic conference in San Fransisco, at a high school in Portland with test resisters, to the teacher’s union and Rethinking Schools in Milwaukee, with the CTU president and at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, with the MORE teacher caucus in New York city, at the Advancement Project’s convention in Washington, D.C., and at the National Education Association’s conference/RA in Atlanta–with trips to D.C., Minneapolis, Eugene, and beyond still to come.

So far, the tour has been a major success.  Between all the events I have spoken at, hundreds of parents, students, and teachers have attended, shared powerful stories of their own resistance, and asked thoughtful questions to figure out how they might build a more powerful resistance.  School districts around the nation have reason to worry about the explosion of boycotts and opt-outs against the tests next year!
Here are links to some of the highlights of the tour:
In Atlanta I spoke to at the National Education Association’s Joint Conference on the Concerns of Women and Minorities.  Here is an interview I did there that aired at the NEA Representative Assembly.
In Washington, D.C. I spoke at the Advancement Project’s national forum (Preview) , “We Can Do Better: Collaborating to Reform School Discipline and Accountability”.  This was an incredible gathering of some of the best activists and educators from around the nation involved in ending the school-to-prison-pipeline and organizing opposition to standardized testing.  You can view my speech, “A View From the Front Lines”, here.RethinkingSchoolsCrew
I spoke alongside Chicago Teacher’s Union president Karen Lewis in the spring and then returned to Chicago to speak at the “Socialism 2013” conference on a panel of social justice education activists–including Chicago Teachers’ Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey, Brian Jones, Malcolm London, Asean Johnson, Jen Johnson, Megan Behrent, Israel Munoz, Rousemary Vega, and Sherise McDaniel.  You can view the forum here.
At the same conference I participated in a workshop session with Julie Fain and Stephanie Rivera, available here.

In San Fransisco I conducted this interview with FSRN:

Stay tuned for a stop near you!

Seattle Magazine: “How Garfield High Defeated the MAP Test”

Garfield reading teacher Mallory Clarke, Garfield PTSA president Phil Sherburne, and myself are all featured in Seattle Magazine’s August issue in their examination of the MAP test boycott victory.

As Phil said, “When we identify the kids who are not performing, we need to figure out the optimum way to use our resources to help them progress. That’s not about more testing. That’s about figuring out a learning style and how you motivate these kids to learn.”  With leadership like this in the PTSA, you can see why we won! Garfield High Seattle magazine MAP test,2

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Ok, I’ll admit it: I was in Teach for America

Owen Davis has a new piece in today about Teach for America.  He interviews TFA alumni about their experience, including me.  Yes, I must admit, I was a TFA corps member.  The interviews that Davis conducted with these former corps members truly reveal TFA as part of the corporate education reform agenda to impose a business model on education.  What could be more in line with the neoliberal impulse, after all, than the idea of hiring temporary workers to keep costs down and undermine the union?

I worked hard to try to keep TFA out of Seattle–Including helping to organize an ultimately successful protest at the Apple Store against their practice of giving away free iPads to TFA corps members but not to regular classroom teachers–however, the School District went through with the plan.  Now, highly qualified young teachers, with Masters degrees, are being denied employment while TFA recruits, with only five weeks of training, are filling positions.

Thankfully, as Davis outlines, a new national organization is forming of TFA alumni to tell the truth about the program and to advocate for a true social justice approach to transforming education.

For anyone considering joining TFA, and for everyone interested in real solutions to educational inequity, check this out!:

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