Monday, April 6, 2015

Atlanta Is Burning | A Day In the Life

Atlanta Is Burning | A Day In the Life:

Atlanta Is Burning

So I've had my blog off line for a long time.

No one actually asked me why, or seemed to notice, one person told me I had poor editing I should work on, but I noticed how often-at first-I wanted to write to something, and then as months passed eventually I noticed that the world went on without me.

I would like to comment NOW as a teacher, comment emotionally on the coming sentencing of educators in the Atlanta testing scandal, where it looks like they might get twenty years. This the result of fancy Georgia style prosecuting, the use of the RICO laws, test based punitive testing systems, their own mistakes, and an increasingly strong wave of criminalizing that has taken a hold of our country.

I remember when Diane Ravitch commented in remarkable insight, " just don't cheat- ever." I remember thinking that was probably sound advise that would help obscure the real issue in play in THIS particular mess. Never cheat. Black and white.

I also remember a federal government guy in the region I work in telling a group of administrators in an NCLB meeting I was sent to, "kick the teacher's in the ass" if necessary to achieve the unachievable when NCLB mandates brought into play the BIG legislated lie that 100% of children, no matter what, were to perform proficient or above on their state tests. Turns out no one, absolutely no one, will be held "accountable" for a testing system built on a lie.

That to me challenges my notions of fairness and legality.

That, for me, remains the main "crime" in the Atlanta situation.
Perhaps we need to use something other than RICO as a device to unwind and understand and frame that real situation, and the dynamics in play that came to result in an ugly time with erasers and "better results. "
By 2014 every child, no matter what proficient and above was not set as a goal-it was set as a truth, a mandate, and a punishable offense, and the mechanisms to achieve it were "ass kicking" and other forms of debasement. I know-I lived it. I saw it, and I saw how people behaved in schools in poverty reacting to that mandate and law and carrying it out.

Atlanta, it seems had plenty of spineless acceptance of this overarching system.
Guess what? Some of us said way back in 2006- writing and hurting ourselves- that the saddest part were those that "bought in" and actually beat themselves up doing this-those that now champion marching kids around in CHAMPS failing to see exactly what kids get marched and whose kids do not. (I call these folks the ones that are always hoping to one day cross over and be the elite....saddest of all. ) We made puns of the "collaborative" demand back then, and we documented our peers having cheerleading assemblies before tests, "We Can Do It", we noted the "No Excuses" banners and we silently witnessed the fact that the tests had "issues" we can never discuss because now we were forced to sign pledges that stated we could never discuss the tests. EVER.  The "bad teacher" entered the forum as the real shadow to defeat. And the gap in achievement that was 100% tied to economic status, just stayed smiling, and showed us how effective these new ideas really were. There must be more straw bad teachers left out there-things still look like money gets you something a free, fair public education does not.

Apparently in Atlanta principals lost jobs because of these damned educators who are manacled and awaiting their jail term, people erased scan sheets, bubbles got bubbled for kids too poorly taught to bubble in for themselves,  but nationally it was seen as a great "good" people began teaching to the test at least 50% of the time in a year, with Atlanta Is Burning | A Day In the Life: