Tag Archives: corporate ed reform

What’s going on in my town

activistdata2

Dear Readers,

Lots has been going on in our town. I’m happy to report that one of the best education bloggers out there has written a great post about Montclair, NJ. Thank you, Jersey Jazzman! Read it here.

Last week, we got a letter to the editor in The Montclair Times (link still not available) so here’s a scan of it and titled, “A wrong turn  for our schools.” wrrongturn

Plus this coverage.

And yesterday’s paper (7/17/2013) had this great letter to the editor from another resident.

So, that’s it for now. It’s  WAY TOO HOT.

Hope you’re staying cool, wherever you are.

Elana

Day 28: What we’re up against and a woman who stood up

Dear Readers,

I’m in awe of Wendy Davis. It may be slightly off topic to education, but not really if you consider it a civics lesson of the best kind. Her courage,  determination, and clarity are extraordinary and I’m compelled to mention her here. I draw inspiration from her bold act standing up for women’s rights.

upagainst
Up Against

This is what it feels like, what we’re up against in our fight against corporate ed reform policies and the new strategic plan in our town. It feels like David and Goliath. It feels like the little guy up against the BIG POWERS THAT BE. It feels like small voices not being heard. There are moments of victory and it feels like we’re making progress and are being heard and noticed. It feels like a mountain that can’t be climbed. It feels like a wall stands before us, impenetrable. It feels like maybe there’s a small crack in the wall.

It feels like parent power, teacher power, student power, must come together to withstand the waves crashing down on us; the impossible race to nowhere; the wall of obsfucation, greed and lies. The reformers’ endless resources, our lack thereof. It feels like the revolution needs a nap. It feels like we can’t stop. It feels like we have no choice. It feels insurmountable sometimes, impossible, it feels disturbing. It feels painful to watch and be in it and fight it. It makes me angry. It hurts we have to spend our energy this way.   It also feels energizing and uplifting to be taking action, real concrete action to change things. It is inspiring and hopeful to discuss education and what we want for our children with knowledgeable, kind, smart, funny, interesting, talented, unique parents, educators, and fellow residents. It’s a relief to have people I can speak with openly about all this.

I won’t ever stop fighting for my son. If we multiply that I WONT GIVE UP ATTITUDE by more parents, that will be the real sea change, the mountain to climb together, the wall to break through —-standing up  together.

Love and peace,

Elana

Day 24: WordCount Blogathon Haiku Day–We Stand Strong.

 

Berkeley state of mind

Dear Readers,

It’s Haiku theme day on the WordCount Blogathon 2013.

I’m loving writing a short piece!

This is my message to the people who are trying to steal my son’s
education. And it is also for everyone who is attempting to steal from all our children in public schools across America; And for all those who abuse and hurt children and students, parents, and teachers  with high stakes testing, over testing, standardized testing, and terrible reformer-deformer education practices devised by billionaires who are greedy and corrupt and who are enriching themselves and destroying people’s lives on the backs of our most neediest and vulnerable citizens. These people should be arrested for crimes against education,  children, and democracy. But in the meantime, here’s my Haiku.

You came for children.

We won’t let you take them down.

We stand strong in front.

Love and peace,

Elana

Day 22: Hiding under the covers

Dear Readers,

Sometimes I feel like hiding under the covers. If I didn’t have my husband, son, and cat to be there for me and love; If I didn’t have friends and family encouraging me; If I hadn’t found the group of parents I’m working with to fight back against the hostile corporate ed reform takeover happening in our school district, I’d feel like this all the time.

Image

When you’re up against this.

And you wish there could be this

One is thankful that   atthechalkface exists and that they’ve  posted this.

Thank you for being here. You’re helping, too.

Good night, good morning,

Love & peace,

Elana

Day 17: Big BOE meeting this evening and online petition

Dear Readers,

I’m completely humbled and grateful for the ongoing support, new subscribers, comments and likes here. Thank you! These flowers are for all of you.

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I’m up to my eyeballs trying to get ready for the BOE meeting this evening, in which the Superintendent will be presenting her Strategic Plan.

Over the weekend, this local news story came out. Within the article is a link to a petition. It has over 260 signatures. While support is appreciated from anyone who wants to sign, the petition will have more weight if its signed primarily by local Montclair, NJ residents. So, please keep that in mind if you find yourselves wanting to sign, but don’t live here.

On the other hand, if you’re  a Montclair, NJ resident  who agrees and wishes to help, please forward the article  widely within your Montclair, NJ network of friends, family, neighbors, and community members.

I’ll let you know what happens tonight. I’ve gotta feeling its going to be very interesting.

Have a great day. The revolution has begun.

Elana

“Every creative act involves a leap into the void. The leap has to occur at the right moment and yet the time for the leap is never prescribed. In the midst of a leap, there are no guarantees. To leap can often cause acute embarrassment. Embarrassment is a partner in the creative act – a key collaborator. If your work does not sufficiently embarrass you, then very likely no one will be touched by it”

Anne Bogart, Seven Essays on Art and Theatre

Day 16: Father’s Day Part Two and Rest from the Revolution

Dear Readers,

I spent the day with my family.

M gave Andy this:

dadurock

I gave him this:

fathersday
by EH 2013

We were talking about education and what’s going on around the picnic table in the back yard at Ms grandpa’s in NY. He said, “There’s no cookie cutter kids and there shouldn’t be cookie cutter curriculum.”

Andy is an amazing father to M. He teaches him about music and they play and sing together. He answers all Ms science questions, builds rockets, cooks delicious food, and he’s been very patient while my time has been split even more from all the recent activist work. I can’t believe my good fortune at having met him 18 years ago, but I did and I’m thankful,  happy, the luckiest. “Pizza saves the day!”

He found this for me online:

zappamind

Big BOE meeting tomorrow evening. Lots to do!

I hope you have a goodnight or morning.

Elana

Day 14: …And so now I’m a parent activist

Dear Readers,

How do you know you’re a parent activist fighting the good fight for public education? Here’s a few signs in no particular order:

  • You begin and end every conversation with “The revolution.” Or “We have to fight this.”
  • People start telling you their public education horror stories. Often finishing with, “So, I moved my kid to private school and now he’s doing great.”  Or,  “Now we home school and she’s doing well.” Or, “I don’t know what we’re gonna do.”
  • You  quote Margaret Mead, Martin Luther King, Jr.  Gandhi, Einstein, or Fred Rogers, when people ask you for the time, directions, or to please pass the butter. Other favorite people to quote include Albert Einstein,  Carl Sagan, Jim Henson, or any character from Sesame Street.
  • When you start singing Phil Ochs songs — your child begs you to stop.
  • The laundry pile gets bigger every day and no matter how much laundry you do, the laundry wins. Because  sometimes you put it off  “for the cause” and the pile gets outta hand. You feel guilty. The family needs clean clothes. This is an ongoing struggle in and of itself. You still like clean clothes, too. Eventually, laundry gets done.
  • You remember when you were so happy to be done with preschool payments and were looking forward to your kid going to public school.  It seems like a long time ago, but it was only a year.
  • You have files on your computer with links you’ve collected  and can find them in seconds whenever you need them. High Stakes, Testing, Common Core, Duncan, Broad Academy….
  • When you meet a fellow parent who’s familiar with the public ed. system, you can speak in shorthand bullet points: NCLB (No Child Left Behind), RTTT (Race to the Top), Duncan Rhee, Christie, Zero Tolerance, boys, taxes, moved here for the schools. And you both know exactly what you’re talking about. You both shake your heads. You end with, “Can you believe this is happening? And “We fight on.” You hug each other.
  •  Your home office space has become a crowded pile of papers and piles labeled PRESS,  CORRESPONDENCE, EMAILS, REALLY GOOD ARTICLES, etc. Your floor is under there somewhere. Your cat likes the piles and sleeps on them to keep you company while you work.
  •  You end up at night lying in bed looking at the ceiling and not able to sleep because although you’re exhausted, you’ve had 5 cups of coffee and are wired,  you’re worried about your kid’s future education, and your head spins in a  million directions. So you can’t sleep.
  • You use words like “resistance” and “the movement” and “we have to do this” as you go through your day. You wonder how anyone could have ever protested and organized anything before social media existed. But many have, and often successfully. You think of Rosa Parks every day. This fuels you. You know you can do this and you know you’re on the right side of history.  You’re amazed by the power of people spreading the word online, at bus stops, at parties, in passing. Standing up. Sitting down.
  •  Some people look at you funny when you tell them what’s going on. Students, parents, and teachers thank you for doing what you’re doing. Others shrug, resigned, and say, “That’s how it is everywhere.” You tell them the revolution is in progress. You’re reassuring yourself, as much as them, that you believe you’ll  make a difference even if its hard to tell that right now.
  • You believe and know this to be true:

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”—Albert Einstein

Goodnight, and good dreams,

or good morning,

wherever you are.

Elana