On the Fourth Anniversary of the Haitian Earthquake my Family Survived: end the U.N. occupation, end U.S. exploitation, and end corporate education reform on Haiti!
While we were lucky—the lobby of the hotel collapsed but not our room—many thousands of Haitians perished from the natural disaster, which was compounded by the U.S. and U.N.’s neglectful and exploitative response to the quake. On this fourth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, I am thankful to be alive, thankful to have a wonderful family, and thankful for the never-ending resistance of the Haitian people. In the aftermath of the earthquake we did everything we could to help in the medical care and relief effort, while the U.S. and U.N. acted as if Haiti was a war zone and the people needed to be contained and controlled.
Haitian’s will only begin to achieve justice when the U.N. apologizes for infecting the Haitian water supply with cholera, pays reparations and funds Haiti to build a clean water system, and ends its occupation of the world’s first Black republic. Moreover, justice for Haiti will only begin to be achieved when U.S. sweatshops are driven from the island and Haiti’s wealth is used to meet the needs of Haitians, rather than enrich corporations.
One of the things that causes me the most distress about the United State’s response to the earthquake in Haiti is its plan for corporate school reform in Haiti. I wrote this article explaining how the U.S. is attempting to export corporate education reform, modeled on its shock doctrine response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/3414:shockdoctrine-schooling-in-haiti-neoliberalism-off-the-richter-scale
Long live the resistance of the Haitian people! Our struggle for the schools–and society–we deserve is truly global!
I am forever in the debt of all of you who wrote letters, sent flowers, ordered us pizza, signed our petition, called the superintendent with the demand, “Suspend the test not the teachers,” sent us pictures of your community with “Scrap the MAP” signs, and demonstrated your solidarity in numerous other ways. Your support kept my colleagues’ job safe after being threatened with a ten day suspension without pay for refusing to administer the MAP test. And as a result of the growing movement, the district announced at the end of the last school year that the MAP test would no longer be required at the high school level.
As we enter the winter testing season, I am proud to tell you, Garfield High School will not be administering the MAP test this year!
Please take a moment to read and share my essay that ran on Common Dreams today, celebrating the MAP test boycott and analyzing the national movement against high stakes standardized tests it helped to ignite.
Published on Friday, January 10, 2014 by Common Dreams
One year ago today, my colleagues and I at Seattle’s Garfield High School set off on a bold journey: we called a press to announce our unanimous vote to refuse to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. That announcement led to what became known as the “MAP test boycott” and the boycott quickly spread to several other schools in Seattle, including to teachers at Orca K-8, Chief Sealth High School, Ballard High School, Center School, and Thornton Creek Elementary—while solidarity with the boycott spread around the nation and then around the world.
[Read the rest of the article at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/10-0%5D
Happy New Year of Struggle Against Corporate Education Reform: MAP test boycott tops lists of most important struggles of 2013!
2013 was the best year of my life.
My younger son was born–on Martin Luther King Jr.’s, birthday, no less–only two days after my colleagues at Garfield High School announced that they were going to defy corporate education reformers by refusing to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. Seeing my older son receive an unparalleled education at his play based preschool, while becoming a loving big brother; getting to know my magnetic, now almost one-year-old, son; and participating in the collective resistance of the MAP test boycott with my fellow educators at Garfield, made 2013 a defining year in my life.
There were many inspiring struggles to defend public education and create a more just society in 2013. The teachers in Seattle who refused to administer the district mandated MAP test, and helped ignite a national movement to curb the abuses of standardized testing, are honored to be included in these remembrances of the most important acts for social justice of 2013:
- Alternet named the MAP boycott the number one biggest win for public education in 2013!: 10 Big Wins For Public Education in 2013: http://www.alternet.org/education/10-big-wins-public-education-2013
- Zinn Education Project named the MAP boycott as part of “A People’s History for 2013”: Ordinary Citizens Catalyzing Change–A People’s History of 2013: http://www.good.is/posts/ordinary-citizens-catalyzing-change-a-people-s-history-of-2013
- Yes! magazine celebrated the “open rebellion” of the MAP test boycott: 10 Hopeful Things That Happened in 2013 to Get You Inspired for What’s to Come: http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/10-things-that-happened-in-2013
- Seattle Times: My op-ed, “Why Garfield teachers boycotted the MAP test”, finished as the number 8th most read op-ed in the Seattle Times in 2013! As Dora Taylor points out, not a single one of the many op-eds that supported corporate education reform finished in the top ten! Top 10 most-read opinion in 2013: Dating, kids and Dick’s Drive-In: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/opinionnw/2013/12/30/2013-top-10-opinion/
- Democracy Now’s Retrospective of the most important social justice fights of 2013, featured the MAP test boycott. Looking back a year of struggles: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/31/looking_back_a_year_of_struggles
- Socialist Worker’s “Top Stories of 2013″ includes Brian Jones’ interview about the MAP test boycott with Rethinking Schools editor, Wayne Au. Why testing fails our kids: http://socialistworker.org/2013/01/29/why-testing-fails-our-kids
- Peter Dreier’s essay for Common Dreams lists the MAP tests in The 25 Best Progressive Victories of 2013: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/01-1
Teacher Solidarity cited the struggles of Seattle educators as part of its prediction for “2014: The year of the global fight for democratic, public education”: http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/2014-the-year-of-the-global-fight-for-democratic-public-education
- The Nation magazine names the MAP test boycott, the Seattle Education Association, and the Social Equality Educators in its Progressive Honor Roll: http://www.thenation.com/article/177654/progressive-honor-roll-2013?page=0,1#
- ColorLines includes the MAP test boycott in its 10 Victories for Racial Justice for 2013: http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/12/10_racial_justice_victories_for_2013.html
- The Washington Post’s blog, The Answer Sheet includes the MAP test boycott in its Best Education News of 2013: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/11/29/best-and-worst-education-news-of-2013/
In 2014, I resolve to redouble my efforts of raising a family and a movement for authentic assessment. Happy new year to everyone in the struggle for social justice! May 2014 be the year the education revolution defeated education reform!