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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chicago Teachers Force Rahm into a Runoff | Labor Notes #Chuy2015

Chicago Teachers Force Rahm into a Runoff | Labor Notes:

Chicago Teachers Force Rahm into a Runoff

Chicago teacher Tara Stamps campaigns in the 37th Ward for a spot on the city council, and for mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Both Stamps and Garcia earned enough votes to make the April 7 runoff. Photo: Tara Stamps - See more at:

 On election night the Chicago Teachers Union and its new independent political organization didn’t knock out Mayor Rahm Emanuel—but they did take him down a notch, forcing him into a runoff with the union’s preferred candidate, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

It’s the first runoff in a Chicago mayoral election in 20 years.
Union-friendly city council candidates and ballot initiatives gave Garcia’s campaign a boost. Three rank-and-file CTU members running for city council seats—Tara Stamps, Susan Sadlowski Garza, and Tim Meegan—made it into the April 7 runoff, too.
Nearly 90 percent of voters favored an elected school board, in an advisory referendum for which CTU and United Working Families gathered signatures. The referendum appeared on the ballot in 37 of Chicago’s 50 wards, including the ones where Stamps, Garza, and Meegan are running.
Citywide, 82 percent of voters supported an advisory referendum to mandate paid sick leave.
The mayor, who’s raised $30 million, has been pulling out all the stops in the effort to solidify his lead in the race, spending $7 million on 4,600 TV ads and holding strategically timed events with Magic Johnson and even President Obama. The president has endorsed Emanuel, his former chief of staff.
Among the mayor’s other endorsers are 15 Chicago unions, representing 70 locals. They include UNITE HERE Local 1, Chicago and Cook County Building Trades, and the Teamsters Joint Council of Chicago.
But Emanuel failed to secure the 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff. His four opponents combined got more votes—indicating that the slogan “Anybody but Rahm” rang true to many voters.


Garcia, a Cook County commissioner and former member of Chicago’s city council, got 34 percent. His credentials go back to his alliance with the city’s first black mayor Harold Washington in 1983—the last time a progressive coalition including African Americans, Latinos, and organized labor came together to elect a mayor.
Garcia pledges to stop school closings, block the expansion of charter schools, bring back an elected school board, and reform Chicago’s tax increment finance system—all key issues for CTU.
It’s been a grueling four years under Emanuel. CTU beat back some of the worst concessions the mayor’s school board pushed, but the union was hit hard by a record 47 school closings in a single year. Broader attacks hit public sector workers and their pensions.
The new, independent political organization United Working Families—formed by CTU and SEIU Healthcare Illinois along with community groups such as Action Now—isn’t just out to oust the mayor. It’s trying to create a pro-labor political infrastructure to challenge the mayor’s pro-business agenda.
“We certainly want to break from the politics of austerity,” CTU organizer Brandon Johnson said. “We want a break from the disinvestment. Whenever you have incumbents that vote 100 percent of the time with the mayor of Chicago and his corporate interest agenda, there is clearly a need to have a more independent voice.”


United Working Families hosted one of several community forums on the West Side, where Stamps is running to unseat Emma Mitts—known for bringing Walmart to the 37th ward. In last night’s primary Stamps got 32 percent, and Mitts 49.
The coalition has given training and support to Stamps and the other CTU candidates. Garza, a 19-year school counselor from the South Side’s 10th ward, won 24 percent in the primary. Meegan received 35 percent to Deb Mell’s 50. Two other rank-and-file candidates didn’t make it past the primary.
Garza said Emanuel’s campaign cash is bankrolling her opponent, John Pope. Voters in Ward 10 were polled by a live caller
- See more at:

Big Education Ape: Chicago Inc. Rahm Emanuel Dances for Corporate Money - Vote for Chuy!!!


Badass Teachers Association:


By:  Lorri Gumanow

After a week off from school, one would think that a teenager would be happy to go back to school. Not my kid!

Last night, my 15 year old freshman told me he hated school, he hated studying things that were not interesting, and there was too much boring writing. He hates all the talk and pressure about being “college-ready,” “this will be on your Regents exam next year so we have to get ready,” and “this type of writing requires a lot of practice.” But all kids complain about things like this, so what’s the problem? My son has an IEP, is in all general education classes, and realizes he isn’t going to make it. He is passing all his subjects and is working very hard, but knows that the tests he has to pass to get a diploma are going to be out of his reach. He gets great supports from the special education staff at his school. He is making great progress. And unfortunately, he also realizes he doesn’t have “the right stuff.”

This past week, he happened to see questions from the recent ELA Regents exam given in January, posted on Facebook. And his heart sank! He attempted to try to answer the questions, but gave up before finishing the first reading passage. His brain is not wired to do this kind of reading. And we can’t refuse the tests anymore because in NY State, students in grades 9-12 must pass specific Regents exams to get a high school diploma.

He’s got severe ADHD and executive functioning challenges. What does that mean? He has trouble juggling more than one idea at a time, and needs very specific types of instructional strategies that none of his teachers know, or don’t have enough time to use with him.

When asked to read three 3-page passages of single-spaced text on topics he is not familiar with, and compare/contrast, infer meaning, and answer questions like: on page 2, line 23, what does the author infer by… he completely shuts down. Can he orally read on grade level? Yes. Does he understand what he reads? Could he complete these tasks, independently, even with extended time? No. Could he complete these tasks with assistance? Yes. Would he choose to do this type of task, close reading and analysis, as an adult? No. Is this type of reading that is going to be required in his chosen career as a puppeteer? No. So he asks himself – why are they making me do this when I can’t do it?

Most of the parents of children with disabilities that are protesting excessive standardized testing are parents of children with severe disabilities. My child, by definition, does not have severe disabilities. We have always believed that through his hard work, our unending love and support, and the hard work and support of his teachers, he would be successful. Now that we are in the home stretch of high school, that dream has been destroyed. He feels like a failure that he has let everyone down, and he wants to give up. Getting a tutor would just be rubbing salt into a wound that won’t heal, and would take him away from the one thing that boosts his self-esteem – performing in musical theater. I won’t Badass Teachers Association:

Why Some Teachers May Question ‘New’ Education Trends | MindShift

Why Some Teachers May Question ‘New’ Education Trends | MindShift:

Why Some Teachers May Question ‘New’ Education Trends 


 ten frustration with the public education system is directed at teachers, even when they are following the standards and guidelines set out by the government. Everyone from politicians, to non-profits to parents tell teachers how to do their jobs better. So it’s no surprise that when the federal state education officials or school superintendents announce a new initiative that not all teachers are ready to jump on the new trend. Education has a long history of reform, each succeeded by another, and teachers have learned to pick and choose carefully where to put their energies.

“There is such a gap between policy talk and what happens on the ground,” said Larry Cuban, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University and a former high school social studies teacher and district superintendent. Cuban, a respected voice in the education community, says it can take a long time for new policies to actually get implemented in classrooms, and as schools are gearing up, new policies often come in to replace the ones being implemented. It’s a frustrating cycle for teachers and often leads them to follow their own best judgement about what works in the classroom and ignore the winds of change that can shift so quickly.
“They have history on their side,” Cuban said. He’s not surprised that teachers are reticent to immediately accept new trends in learning, especially if that trend is coming around for the second or third time. Takeproject-based learning, for example. It has become the catch phrase du jour, especially with the arrival of Common Core State Standards, but the concept isn’t new and many schools have been quietly practicing project-based learning since the time of John Dewey and Maria Montessori.
“It’s never disappeared,” Cuban said. Schools that were committed to a project-based learning approach continued to use it and made sure that their students also did well on state-mandated assessments. The practice has a history well over a century long — it didn’t arise just because new Common Core State Standards are now requiring similar skills, he says.
Even with other “new” teaching practices and ideas, “among teachers there are early adopters, so some teachers buy into it very quickly, and then when administrators pull back or funding dries up they’re stuck,” Cuban said. To avoid that kind of disillusionment many teachers have decided the best policy is to keep their heads down and continue to do what works — using trial and error to figure out how to reach kids, sticking to the textbook, and focusing on building strong relationships with students.


Technology is another hot button. Cuban points out that education has a long history of expecting new technologies to “revolutionize” the classroom. Thomas Edison believed the instructional film would replace the textbook, and radio was supposed to change how teachers taught. None of the previous technological inventions have fundamentally changed the purpose of school, he argues.
Similarly, computers have been in schools since the 1980s, but were rarely used. Now that the price point has come down and tech devices have become a ubiquitous part of society, there’s a push for that same change in education. But Cuban is skeptical that this new round of excitement about technology is any different from those that came before. He points out that technology is an expensive investment and an ongoing expense as devices quickly become obsolete. “When dollars get short, administrators bristle at that,” he said. If education funding gets cut, as it often does, he predicts the technology dollars will dry up and that trend will go the way of so many others.
But perhaps even more importantly, the transformative potential of technology has not yet taken hold. “In comparing [mid-1980s] and now … high-tech champions (and vendors as well) expected that teachers using these devices with students would shift from teacher-centered practices to student-centered ones. Comparing then and now, that shift has not occurred,” Cuban writes on his blog.
For Carrie Oretsky, a 40-year veteran public elementary teacher in Oakland, Calif., technology is Why Some Teachers May Question ‘New’ Education Trends | MindShift:

UNITE HERE Considers Itself Progressive. So Why Is the Union Standing with Rahm Emanuel? - Working In These Times

UNITE HERE Considers Itself Progressive. So Why Is the Union Standing with Rahm Emanuel? - Working In These Times:

UNITE HERE Considers Itself Progressive. So Why Is the Union Standing with Rahm Emanuel?


UNITE HERE members and staff, in red shirts, can be seen behind Mayor Emanuel as he spoke after Tuesday's election results came in.  
In the winter of 2011, I was running as a delegate to the annual Representative Assembly (RA) of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the largest teacher union in the state. The 1,000 delegates to the state’s RA had long met at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. Running as a union delegate in 2011, my platform was simple and concise: “If the IEA RA is held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, don’t vote for me because I won’t attend. I don’t cross picket lines.”
UNITE HERE Local 1, who represents the housekeepers and other employees of the Hyatt Hotel chain in Chicago, were engaged in a labor dispute with the company. The downtown Hyatt Regency and North Michigan Park Hyatt were targeted with mass protests and non-violent arrests.
Members of my teachers local and I had joined with hundreds of others demonstrating union and labor solidarity against one of the city’s wealthiest and powerful corporate families, the Pritzkers. The owners of the Hyatt chain, the Pritzker family were prominent supporters and funders of the national and local Democratic Party. Penny Pritzker had been the chief fundraiser for Obama’s first presidential bid, and would soon serve on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand picked board of education; later, she would leave to be President Obama’s Commerce Secretary.
I wrote to the president of Local 1 and asked that a letter be sent to Ken Swanson, then-President of the IEA, supporting my call for the RA to leave the Hyatt for another location. And the IEA did move its convention. So did the National Education Association, which held its 10,000-delegate national meeting in Chicago the next year. Soon after, many other large organizations also cancelled their meeting contracts with the Hyatt.
This history with UNITE HERE makes my disappointment in the union’s support of Rahm Emanuel in the 2015 Chicago Mayoral election that much more bitter.

In service to Mayor Emanuel’s campaign, UNITE HERE produced a slick and, assumedly, expensive video showing Rahm and a group of hospitality workers who are members of the union. Near the beginning of the video, Local 1 President Karen Kent introduces the mayor by saying, “The best city in the world, the best hospitality in the world, [and] the best mayor.”

Watch the slick video and the message is clear: UNITE HERE supports the mayor because he brings tourism to Chicago. That means jobs for the hospitality industry.
What isn’t said is, what kind of jobs? Good paying jobs with good working conditions? That would require a union leadership with fire in its belly—one that does not depend on simply having a good relationship with the mayor.
UNITE HERE has certainly shown such fire in their bellies in the past, as it did in the streets during the last campaign against the Hyatt. But the decision of Local 1 to back Mayor Rahm sends a message that says that cooperation between labor, city and corporate management is the best route for unions to take. Such relationships simply don't exist—at least for the rest of the labor movement in the city. Yet it is a message promoted by a union leadership that seems to have lost its stomach for a UNITE HERE Considers Itself Progressive. So Why Is the Union Standing with Rahm Emanuel? - Working In These Times:

Decarcerate The Garden State: Interviewing Free Alabama Movement (FAM)

Decarcerate The Garden State: Interviewing Free Alabama Movement (FAM):

Interviewing Free Alabama Movement (FAM)

The following is an interview with Free Alabama Movement Founder Bennue Hannibal Ra(y)-Sun (Spokesman Ray) and Co-Founder Kinetik Justice Amun (Robert E. Council).

For more information about the Free Alabama Movement – check out their site:
In order to share the unique perspective of the Free Alabama Movement and their perspective on the means of struggle against the system of mass incarceration, the NJ Decarcerator conducted this interview with two of its founding members.  Please share this interview widely as it could help open our minds to outside the box, avenues for our struggle to defeat mass incarceration.

Question 1: What do you see as main motivators of mass incarceration?

At the heart of mass incarceration we see economics. It iss so much money involved, many jobs across all branches of government, and now private businesses have access to this market of human capital that can be forced into free labor that produces hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products and services. The money that is being made off of mass incarceration is just . . . massive. What they say is a crime, is a crime. Whomever they say is guilty, is guilty. The Constitution only applies to who they say it applies to. Businessmen and women write laws like mandatory minimums, to make sure that you stay long enough to pay for college for their children to finish college. When the police in New York went on protest and stopped making "petty crime" arrests, the first people to complain were defense attorneys and bailbonds companies. Mass incarceration is all about the money, and many people are getting paid B-I-G !!!

The only other main factor is race, because someone has to serve the rich and provide the free labor. In America, we already know how that works. The exception in the 13 th Amendment is there for a reason. Right there is where you find the heart of mass incarceration. "Neither slavery or involuntary servitude" is an expression of economic principles. So that's (economics) is where you have to look to find the solution. We see McDonald's, Bob Barker, Koch Brothers, ALEC, Wells Fargo, Wal Mart, Wendy's, US military, Dick Chaney, AT&T, you name a company, and all of them are using prison labor. We know that when vulture capitalist like some of those whose names we see are hovering over private prisons or private factories, then that should tell you that mass incarceration is about money.


You advocate a particular form of resistance to mass incarceration – can you give a high level overview?

Today, Mass Incarceration is one of the most talked about issues plaguing this country. However, only a few years ago, there were only a hand full of people that had ever heard the term.


The numbers support our contention that "MONEY" is the motive and most important factor in explaining the policies and conditions within the D.O.C. Therefore, an economical response is our most effective strategy. A PEACEFUL & NONVIOLENT ECONOMICAL RESPONSE...Each institution is a"STATE FREE LABOR FORCE", which generates BILLIONS of dollars each year, in tax dollars, industry market, imposed fines & fees, co-payments, court costs and the millions saved by inmate "FREE LABOR." We have researched and studied the lessons of previous prison movements throughout the country; and the evidence of the Jan. 1, 2014 - Jan. 21, 2014 work stoppage has confirmed that prisons do not function without inmate labor. And every day that the prison does not function the prison profit margin plummets.

Based upon these premises and understanding the motive behind Alabama's Prison Policies, Free Alabama Movement takes the position that - if we, collectively, engage in a proactive peaceful & nonviolent work stoppage, the financial burden will compel the Dept. of Corrections and the law makers of this state to be more Decarcerate The Garden State: Interviewing Free Alabama Movement (FAM):

BATs Teachers Congress 2015 by Marla Kilfoyle - GoFundMe

BATs Teachers Congress 2015 by Marla Kilfoyle - GoFundMe:

BATs Teachers Congress 2015

The Badass Teachers Association is an education activist group of 53,000.  The Badass Teachers Association was created to give voice to every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality through education. BAT members refuse to accept assessments, tests and evaluations created and imposed by corporate driven entities that have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.  Last year we held a successful rally in front of the USDOE with over 38 states present.  This year, we want to hold a Teachers Congress to create resolutions and actions to defeat the privatization agenda of the 1%.  We hope to have teacher, student, and parent delegates attend this Congress to give their voice to the resolutions and actions that will define BATs as they go into the 2015 school year.  We are honored  to celebrate with Jesse "The Walking Man" Turner as he walks again from Connecticut to D.C.   to protest the education malpractice that is demoralizing parents, teachers, and turning our children into human capital.    We hope to use the donations for:
1.  Our Congress Venue at the Holiday Inn
2.  To continue to fund our website
3. To fund the BAT Student in Need Book Scholarship (which was launched this year and we hope to extend).

What Would Matt Damon's Mom Say? | BustED Pencils

What Would Matt Damon's Mom Say? | BustED Pencils:


NancyCP-216x324Question:  What would Matt Damon’s mom say and who cares?  Answer:  We all should!
Matt Damon’s mom, also known as Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, is an early childhood scholar who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to education.  Yes, Matt–her son–is an awesome actor with a lot to say about education, but let’s face it, he’s just another celebrity with an opinion.  If you’re looking for expert analysis concerning public education policy then “Mom Knows Best.”  Especially Matt Damon’s mom!
Below are extended clips with Matt’s MOM–Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige.
WWMDS – 2/26/15(2/26/2015)-What is this Common Core stuff?  Where did it come from and who actually produced the standards? Listen to Nancy for this primer on the Common Core State Standards.
WWMDMS – 12/1/14(12/1/2014)-This week Nancy comments on Arne Duncan’s inability and lack of qualifications to be Secretary of Education.

Rahm Emanuel Seemed Unstoppable—Until He Ticked Off Chicago’s Teachers | #Chuy2015

Rahm Emanuel Seemed Unstoppable—Until He Ticked Off Chicago’s Teachers | The Nation:

Rahm Emanuel Seemed Unstoppable—Until He Ticked Off Chicago’s Teachers

Amid Federal Corruption Probe, Andrew Cuomo Administration Purges State Government Emails

Amid Federal Corruption Probe, Andrew Cuomo Administration Purges State Government Emails:

Amid Federal Corruption Probe, Andrew Cuomo Administration Purges State Government Emails

Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey (not pictured) vetoed a bill that would bring improvements to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. 
Earlier this month, New Yorkers watched an inferno tear through a warehouse full of old government records from the bygone paper era. Many probably felt relief in thinking that such records are now often digitized and therefore not at risk of being accidentally incinerated. Yet as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is showing this week, many records are vulnerable to another form of destruction: deliberate deletion.
In a memo obtained by Capital New York, Cuomo officials announced that mass purging of email records is beginning across several state government agencies. The timing of the announcement, which followed through on a 2013 proposal, is worth noting: The large-scale destruction of state documents will be happening in the middle of a sprawling federal investigation of public corruption in Albany. That investigation has been looking at state legislators and the Cuomo administration.
Cuomo’s move to purge state emails follows a similar move he made as state Attorney General. International Business Times confirmed that in 2007, he put in place a mass deletion policy for emails in the New York Attorney General’s office that were more than 90 days old, making it difficult for the public to know how -- or whether -- his office investigated bank fraud in the lead-up to the financial crisis of 2008. In the Cuomo administration’s announcement this week, the governor's chief information officer, Maggie Miller, justified the new email purge as a cost-saving measure aimed at “making government work better.”
But former prosecutors and open-government advocates interviewed by IBTimes say the move seems designed to hide information.
“The government belongs to the people and the government has to be transparent,” said Hal Hardin, a former judge and U.S. Attorney who famously investigated Gov. Ray Blanton of Tennessee. “Citizens ought to be able to know what our government is doing. The average email generated by a government owned by the people should be available to the people.”
Melanie Sloan, a former Clinton Justice Department official, said the timing of the move raises significant legal questions.
“This is potentially obstruction of justice,” she told IBTimes. “The only reason that the government destroys records is so no one can question what it is doing, and no one can unearth information about improper conduct. There’s no reason for New York not to preserve this information.”
Sloan said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who is spearheading the Albany probe, could issue a letter to Cuomo ordering him to preserve all documents that could be relevant to the public corruption investigation. In May 2014, Bharara issued such a letter to state legislators. Bharara’s office declined to comment when asked by IBTimes if it had now issued a similar directive to Cuomo.
John Kaehny, the head of a coalition of transparency group called Reinvent Albany, said the purge order may be designed to circumvent obstruction of justice statutes that are designed to prevent deliberate document destruction.
“[The policy] may mean that you could never be accused of obstructing justice or destroying evidence because you could claim that the machine automatically deleted it,” he told IBTimes. “It creates a loophole and opportunity to destroy embarrassing emails.”
The technological mechanics of the Cuomo administration’s email purge remain murky. According to a document from New York’s Office of Information Technology Services, the state’s new Microsoft Office 365 system purges deleted mail after 90 days and makes sure that mail “cannot be recovered.” The document says that all mail -- whether manually deleted or not -- “will be subject to the 90 day retention policy.”
When Cuomo officials in 2013 announced the state government’s move to the Microsoft Office system, Amid Federal Corruption Probe, Andrew Cuomo Administration Purges State Government Emails:

This so-called “Student Success” Act should be named the “Student Regress” Act #NOonHR5

Today, I spoke against House Republicans moving forward with a misguided education bill that shrinks school funding and threatens protections for disadvantaged students. This so-called “Student Success” Act should be named the “Student Regress” Act or the “How Little Can We Do” Act. There is broad agreement that No Child Left Behind must be reformed, but the many groups who are truly committed to quality education have urged a no vote on this sorry bill, including--LULAC, the NAACP, NCLR, and the National Education Association.

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#STOPHR5 #NOonHR5 US Representatives on Twitter Find your Member Hit them with a Vote No on HR5 Tweet

Ethnic Studies Now Sacramento City Unified School District - Ethnic Studies Now

Ethnic Studies Now Petition (SCUSD) - Ethnic Studies Now:



 Why Ethnic Studies?

We, the undersigned, support the effort to construct and implement an ethnic studies class as a high school graduation requirement in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Sacramento, CA is the 2nd most ethnically diverse city in the United States (US Census Bureau, 2015). Our school district is a beautiful mirror of our population; our students are 37% Hispanic or Latino, 17.4% Asian, 18% African American, 19% white, and 5.3% of students are two or more ethnicities. In our district, residents speak over 44 languages and 38% do not speak English at home (SCUSD, 2015).

We need a high school curriculum that reflects the diversity of all students.  Despite our numbers, only 1 out of 13 high schools within our district offers ethnic studies.  Because over 80% of our school district populations are students of color, we need to offer a course that includes and investigates these rich histories and lived experiences.

By having an ethnic studies course, our hope is that all students will learn to respect, accept, and love themselves.  We want all students to think critically about the importance of their race, ethnicity, location, and identity as it exists in history and in the present.  We believe that ethnic studies courses can offer important narratives that are missing from the euro-centric lens that history is often shown through.  We want to empower our students to learn more about themselves and their communities, build empathy and unity with other ethnic groups, and push for social justice.

Who's signing Ethnic Studies Now Petition (SCUSD) - Ethnic Studies Now:

Getting Clear on Opt Out/Refusal of Tests: An Act of Civil Disobedience - UNITED OPT OUT: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform

Getting Clear on Opt Out/Refusal of Tests: An Act of Civil Disobedience - UNITED OPT OUT: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform:

Getting Clear on Opt Out/Refusal of Tests: An Act of Civil Disobedience 

 Now that Opt Out/Refusal is increasing with speed across the nation suddenly there are attorneys available and organizations available to research opt out and get the legal mumbo jumbo clear for all the parents, teachers and students.

So, this is the deal:  We at United Opt Out have been working with opt out/refusal for four years now. And there are many parents across the nation who have been refusing these tests for much longer than UOO has been in existence. At UOO, we have worked our hardest, for free, to put together a guide per state to support parents as they move forward with refusing the tests – and this year, in particular, is a crucial year to opt out or refuse the tests. The national Common Core tests that are being implemented this year are the trigger for a landslide of opportunities to privatize public schools across the nation.
If we refuse to take the tests, therefore refuse to hand over student data, we create a situation in which corporations cannot profit and in which states have no data to shut down public schools.
These tests are designed to fail approximately 70% of America’s children. We must refuse these tests.
That being said, it’s fascinating to us at UOO, to watch everyone point out the “legalities” of opt out just in time for testing – and specifically in the year 2014 -2015 when testing drives the privatization plans at fast speed. We are not sheeple. We will not read these reports and policy papers,  nod in meek acceptance, and move forward with opt out only if the legal mumbo jumbo allows it.
These legalities mean nothing. In other words, we will continue to refuse the tests.
Opt out is an act of civil disobedience. It is an act of civil disobedience that is necessary in the face of unjust immoral laws.
We at UOO have always believed that the guides offer a base – a place to start for parents and students who plan to opt out. We recognize that opt out is not “legal” in most states in terms of education statutes. The Education Commission for States is happy to inform you of the legalities. But everyone is a little too late to the opt out party. It’s a done deal and here to stay. And we are certain that more folks will suddenly find the funding to address opt out/refusal in the upcoming months as the testing revolt continues and the masses come forward to say,
We are done. We are done allowing the federal government mandates and the corporate cronies to destroy our public schools and make billions of dollars on the backs of our children, our teachers and our public school communities. We are done watching our teachers and children attempt to survive in a fear-based high stakes testing environment where policies are designed to fail everyone. We are done watching our teachers commit educational malpractice against their will. We are done watching school funding support testing, test prep, technology for testing, infrastructure for technology, and staffing – for more testing. We are done watching public schools feed our children tests while denying children small class sizes, librarians, libraries, teachers with actual teaching degrees, nurses, counselors, art, music, PE, recess, books, resources for classrooms, quality school buildings and more. We are done watching our children suffer from poverty while funding continues to feed the corporate beast instead of creating school communities with wrap around services to support our children and communities in need. We are done watching politicians use student test scores as a measurement of student, teacher and school success or failure – as these scores mean nothing. Our children are so much more than a test score. We are done watching children with special needs, children with anxiety disorders and other emotional stresses, and English Language Learners suffer under these mandates.

We will opt out as an act of civil disobedience until the mandates and policies change to allow public schools to thrive while protecting our children from the effects of poverty.

While attorneys busy themselves writing policy papers about opt out legalities,  while federal and state mandates busy districts Getting Clear on Opt Out/Refusal of Tests: An Act of Civil Disobedience - UNITED OPT OUT: The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform: