Wednesday, September 3, 2014

On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now) | The Jose Vilson

On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now) | The Jose Vilson:


I-love-coffee

On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now)

 JOSE 1 COMMENT

The first audience reaction to my speech at the Network for Public Education came from a older, burly white man with big hands and a soft voice. Not that any of this scares me much since I’m from the hood, but context matters.
“Jose, I’m glad you’re here and I appreciate what you had to say today, but, when you referred to Tea Party people as subhuman …”
Whoa, what?
“No, that’s not what I said,” as I furled my eyebrows. “I said that Tea Partiers look at many of us [read: people of color, women, people who identify as LGBT ...] as subhuman, and that’s the thing …”
“OK, I get you. I just wanted to make sure because you need to be careful not to insult others. Once we start insulting people, then that becomes a problem …”
I tried to wrap up the conversation and say “Thank you” before getting smiles and hugs from the people of color in the audience, many of whom have had to deal firsthand with activists within the same supposed umbrella disavowing social justice in favor of alliance along single-issue lines like student privacy and Common Core State Standards. Before my comments on the panel, I thought it obvious that a group committed to social justice would include discussions on race, class, and gender, which would force those who sought allies within said group to have a better grounding on these issues, and their accompanying -isms.
My bad.
So when Peter Cunningham dropped this post on his new education website, I laughed, not because I disagreed with him. I don’t know much about him except that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan congratulated him on having a new website. Because vitriol seems to do well On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now) | The Jose Vilson:


This Is Not A Test

"Out of this cacophony rises a beautiful, lyrical voice—one that is uncompromisingly self-aware, reflective, and analytical. That transcendent voice belongs to “The” José Luis Vilson."
Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union
My debut solo book, This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education already has endorsements from Karen Lewis, Pedro Noguera, Raquel Cepeda, Gregory Michie, Chris Lehmann, Randi Weingarten, Dennis van Roekel, Diane Ravitch, Barnett Berry, Renee Moore, Cindi Rigsbee, and many more ...

Pearson: Inside the Belly of a Very Troubled Beast | Alan Singer

Pearson: Inside the Belly of a Very Troubled Beast | Alan Singer:



Pearson: Inside the Belly of a Very Troubled Beast



"And the noise was in the beast's belly like unto the questing of thirty couple hounds." -Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, Book 1, chapter XIX, c. 14769
Being trapped in the belly of the beast is scary. In the Old Testament, Jonah was trapped in the belly of a great fish. In modern urban slang, the "belly of the beast" means being incarcerated.
But beasts can also be vulnerable. Jonah escaped. In medieval lore, knights slayed dragons. In the folk tale, Jack defeated the giant. Harry Potter bested Voldemort. The sun never set on the British Empire, until it withered away. The Soviet Union suddenly collapsed. In the same way Pearson, the publishing mega-giant, is looking more and more like it is vulnerable and its time dominating education in the United States and around the world may be coming to an end. Beasts are scary, but they can be brought down.
In Los Angeles investigators from the school district's inspector general's office uncovered a questionable email exchange on May 22, 2012 between John Deasy, the Superintendent of Los Angeles schools, and Marjorie Scardino, who at the time was the CEO of Pearson. They also had a lunch meeting prior to the awarding of a contract to Apple and Pearson to provide Apple iPads with Pearson software to L.A. students. Deasy emailed Scartdino, "Looking forward to further work together for our youth in Los Angeles!" Scardino replied, "Dear John, It's I who should thank you, really can't wait to work with you."
There were also email exchanges between Jaime Aquino, the head of instruction for the district and Pearson officials. After a series of newspaper exposes, L.A. schools Superintendent John Deasy suspended the contract which was potentially worth $1 billion.
Contacts between school officials, Apple, and Pearson may have been going on for nearly a year before bidding was opened. According to the Los Angeles Times, the entire process was "beset by inadequate planning, a lack of transparency and a flawed bidding process." Ties between Deasy and Apple and previous ties between Aquino and a Pearson affiliate gave an appearance of impropriety, initial rules for securing the contract may have actually been written to favor Apple and Pearson, and rules were then changed after most competitors were eliminated. I will have details from these emails in my next blog.
In New York State, college faculty rallied on the steps of the state capitol in Albany demanding that the State Education Department "stop sabotaging student teachers" and cancel contracts with Pearson. Pearson designs, administers, and grades the state's teacher certification exams including the video and portfolio assessment of student teachers. Karen Magee, President of New York State United Teachers, "shook a copy of the state's contract with Pearson in the air before tearing out a page and Pearson: Inside the Belly of a Very Troubled Beast | Alan Singer:

The Wal-Mart-ization of Education: Wal-Mart Wants Classrooms to Run More Like a Business, Teachers Are Fighting Back | Randi Weingarten

The Wal-Mart-ization of Education: Wal-Mart Wants Classrooms to Run More Like a Business, Teachers Are Fighting Back | Randi Weingarten:



The Wal-Mart-ization of Education: Wal-Mart Wants Classrooms to Run More Like a Business, Teachers Are Fighting Back



As part of Wal-Mart's back-to-school marketing efforts, the company recently launched a series of teacher appreciation videos, ads, hashtags and discounts. Teachers--who routinely dig deep into their own pockets to pay for supplies and materials for their students--are grateful for appreciation in all its forms. They are understandably less pleased when half-hearted discounts come from a company with a terrible track record for respecting its own employees and are accompanied by a large-scale effort to dismantle our nation's public education system and silence their voice. In fact, teachers are so offended by the so-called education reform agenda promoted by Wal-Mart's owners, the Waltons, that one teacher recently launched a petition calling on his peers not to shop at Wal-Mart this back-to-school season. More than 5,000 teachers have already added their names to his pledge.

A closer look at the Walton family's massive investment in "education" paints a clear picture of why teachers are so upset. Since 2000, the Walton Family Foundation has given more than $1 billion to destabilize public education--draining funds from students and closing neighborhood schools, and instead supporting corporate-style education policies in an attempt to bring Wal-Mart's business model to classrooms across the country.

With a collective $148 billion fortune, the Walton family is using their unfathomable wealth to exert outsized influence on school systems in cities across the country, often in communities where they neither reside nor do business. In Chicago, the Waltons gave $500,000 to support the process that resulted in the closure of nearly 50 public schools in underserved communities. Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton spent $2.25 million in 2012 alone to promote the charter and private school sectors in Georgia, Indiana and Washington--hundreds of miles from her current home state of Texas.

In California, the Walton Family Foundation cheered the recent attack on teachers' due process rights in the Vegara v. California decision, which not only strips teachers of the ability to advocate for their students without fear of retribution, but also suggests that teachers' needs are at odds with students' interests. One family member also contributed $250,000 to defeat a ballot measure that would have instituted public universal pre-K education for the state.

The Walton family's actions in the education realm are very familiar to those of us The Wal-Mart-ization of Education: Wal-Mart Wants Classrooms to Run More Like a Business, Teachers Are Fighting Back | Randi Weingarten:

Reflections of a BadAss Teacher – Year Two - Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:



Reflections of a BadAss Teacher – Year Two

Getting ready for work this morning, I experienced something I had never felt before.

I was not ready to go back to work.  

I am sure that my working at the school for four weeks during the summer had something to do with it.  But it was more than that.  Trying to pinpoint exactly what it was at first was hard.  Last year I had found BATs before going back in September.  Last September I was energized, excited, aware and awake. 

Where were these feelings this year?  BATs had worked hard over the past year, forming relationships in our fight against corporate education reform.  Strides had been made, bringing our pushback to a point that I had not predicted, that passed my expectations. 

So then I should be even more energized, right?  I should be strapping on my virtual boxing gloves and tightening those laces.

Why the hesitation this year?  Why the lack of enthusiasm to go into the classroom?  I could hardly believe that, as I got dressed this morning, I toyed with thoughts of finding yet another career, even though that would almost guarantee that I worked until the day that they wheeled me out on a stretcher.

Thinking about all of this as I sat in our opening day staff welcome sessions I thought about what had made me become a teacher in the first place.  We all know it wasn't for the money, (minimal) or the summers off, (a myth) or the 8am to 3pm workday (a joke).  So what was it.  Why had I become a teacher in the first place?  What had changed since then?

Sitting in these meetings, with three more days of meetings still ahea, I realized what had changed.  I knew what had shifted in focus this year.

The children.

The children have not changed.  They will always be these creatures with sponge-like brains that have new ways of doing things.  Different ways, that we as adults, will always struggle and race to keep up with.  That has not, and will never, change. 

But education no longer focuses on the children.  It has become a political tool that is used in an attempt to shift power.  To shift power from one political party to another, to shift power from the have-nots to the haves, to shift power from the people to those that rule their state with an iron fist.  From a Badass Teachers Association:

BustED Pencils - Fully Leaded Education Talk - BustED Pencils

BustED Pencils - Fully Leaded Education Talk - BustED Pencils:






BustED Pencils: Fully Leaded Education Talk is a progressive talk radio show. The show is hosted by Dr. Tim Slekar and Dr. Jed Hopkins.

Nite Cap 9-3-14 #BATsACT #RealEdTalk #EDCHAT



James Baldwin said it best: 

"For these are all our children, and we will profit by or pay for whatever they become."


A BIG EDUCATION APE NITE CAP



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Nite Cap 9-2-14 #BATsACT #RealEdTalk #EDCHAT
James Baldwin said it best: "For these are all our children, and we will profit by or pay for whatever they become."A BIG EDUCATION APE NITE CAPempathyeducates – Why ‘Funny Kid Shaming’ Isn’t Really Funnyempathyeducates – Why ‘Funny Kid Shaming’ Isn’t Really Funny: Why ‘Funny Kid Shaming’ Isn’t Really FunnyPhotograph; Teenage girl (16-18) sitting by laptop, woman in background. A mother?





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