Siddhartha sits under the bodhi tree.

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My friend Michelle Gunderson teaches first grade at a Chicago public school.

She is a staunch teacher union activist and a proponent of student-learning from play.

In a sane world this would be considered common sense and obvious.

As a sign of how nuts schools have become, Gunderson must be considered an educational radical for advocating play.

On Facebook this morning Michelle posted this:

As we build education policy groups, let’s make sure we include teachers who have spent their lives playing on rugs with children. Too often early childhood voices are missing from the process.

I think I would take that another step.

Education policy groups (if we need them at all) should only include teachers who have spent their professional lives on the floor with children.

Years ago I worked with an administrator who happened to be a Buddhist.

She often complained to me how she missed being in the classroom with kids.

“No problem,” I finally said. “Why don’t you come to my room and tell my second graders the story of how Siddhartha got to be the Buddha.”

I was already showing my students how to draw the human figure and how legs and arms bend and which way they bend. And which way they don’t.

And how some joints bend only one way and others have joints called balls. Which always got a giggle.

I would stick pieces of tape at the joints and we would move around and discover the amazing fact that arms and legs only bend where there is a joint.

One student would demonstrate a ballet position and then we would all take that position.

Another would pretend to be a hockey goalie. And then we all would.

Trust me. This all led to amazing discoveries.

The day came when the  administrator came to the art room with her personal Buddha and sat on the floor in a lotus position, telling the story of how Siddhartha sat under the bodhi tree and gained enlightenment.

And with tape on our joints we also sat in the lotus position.

Including me.

And listen. I was still doing this at 60.

I believe we gained a level of enlightenment.

I’m not sure that it made her a better administrator.

But she continued to come back every year for years.

I have to admit that in my last few years it was much easier for second graders to go full lotus than it was for me.

Yet I never gave up the floor.

Thinking about memorials on Memorial Day.

The Memorial - photo by Dan Arant

She had been after me for years to do an art project that connected her teaching of the Holocaust to her fifth graders.

And I had resisted it for years.

Artists had struggled for centuries on how to depict great human horror and tragedies. A few have been successful.

Guernica, of course, comes to mind.

But it is not an easy thing for an adult artist, let alone fifth graders. And I imagined drawings with swastikas with red circles and slashes across them. And the fifth grade boys would have a field day with drawings of Nazi tanks.

So, every year during the Holocaust Curriculum I avoided her, sometimes hiding in the supply room if I saw her walking down the hallway.

Then one year she went to D.C. and brought back posters from the National Holocaust Museum. One depicted nothing more than a pile of children’s shoes that had belonged to the youngest victims of the camps.

Okay. I had resisted long enough.

In class we had a discussion of the idea of public memorials. Some of the students noticed that sometimes the simplest image evoked the strongest reaction.

Like the shoes.

Alright. No Swastikas!

In class we generated a list of a hundred words that represented how they felt about this part of our history.

We sliced off tiles from the big block of clay and the students painted with glaze one of the words they had chosen on to the tile.

When finished, we arranged the glazed tiles on the bottom of the school’s stair well.

It formed a giant found poem.

It was just in time for open house.

One of the parents came over to talk.

“I’m surprised you decided to do something so controversial,” he said.

“Controversial? The Holocaust?”

‘Uh huh,” he said.

“It was not a problem for me,” I said.

Howl.

.

In 1965 I was not the greatest of students.

How is it that so many bad students aspire to be good teachers?

I stayed in school mainly to be with my friends.

I thought about this when I read the story of the Ohio high school teacher who was forced to resign after he obliged a student request to read an Allen Ginsburg poem, Please Master.

My Los Angeles high school defaulted to a college track. But I forced my parents to sign me out of that track.

This gave me the freedom to opt out of a required trig class, for example, while taking a bunch of classes I really wanted to take. Like one in international relations and a string of wonderful literature classes.

I was also looking to cause trouble and so spent many a lunch hour with our principal, Jim Tunney. He later became a National Football League chief referee.

In one of my lit classes the assignment was to bring in a poem to read aloud.

I chose Allen Ginsburg’s Howl.

Have I written about this before?

On the one hand I loved the beat poets.

Ginsburg in particular.

I spent many nights at the Venice West Cafe, listening to beat poets like Larry Lipton reading to the sound of bongo drums.

Seriously.

On the other hand I secretly hoped that reading Howl would get me in trouble.

And another lunch with Jim Tunney.

But my teacher, whose name has long escaped me, responded as if I had just read Emily Dickenson.

As the bell rang he called me up and opened a desk drawer, pulling out Andre Malraux’s Man’s Fate.

“Here,” he said. “Tell me what you think by Monday.”

Tell me what you think.

The best thing a teacher can say.

The way it’s spozed to be.

When I was a 16-year-old I read A.S. Neil’s Summerhill. Its utopianism was the perfect book for the time, which was 1966.

Summerhill was an actual school in England. It was founded on the radical premise that children should have the freedom to choose what they learn, when they learn it or if they learn it all.

As I decided that there was a reality to choosing teaching as my calling I read other radical critiques of traditional education.

I was a young man completely ignorant of life as a teacher in the classroom (except from the point of view of a student). What attracted me to these writers and their books was that for the most part they were written by actual teachers, not academics, and totally accessible.

I read John Holt’s Why Children Fail.

I read Jonathan Kozol’s Death at an Early Age.

I read The Way it’s Spozed to Be by James Herndon.

Looking back on this I see the limitations of what was available and known to me.

Yes, Kozol and Herndon wrote of their experiences teaching poor children and children of color.

But I was ignorant of what else was available. And there was the failure of publishers to make available to us the classroom experiences of teachers of color.

This created a huge gap in my knowledge.

In spite – maybe because – of the utopianism and radicalism of those I did discover, I was challenged to think of my classroom in terms of what I could do beyond the system’s expectations.

Now I look at the pictures of the parents and teachers who are resisting the standardized testing and Common Core and marvel at how young they are.

Or maybe how old I have become.

As a retired teacher I am excited by this rebellion and the explosion of resistance to the tests.

I am convinced that young teachers are again thinking and talking to each other about teaching in radical ways beyond the expectations and demands of the system.

I am convinced that this is not an educational movement that will be limited to a critique of poorly constructed test questions.

I am convinced that this movement is about rethinking curriculum, rethinking schools and thinking about who are the children and communities our schools serve.

When I was a student my mentor Professor Bill Schubert taught me that the curriculum was more than just the syllabus.

Curriculum was everything.

It’s more than a score.

It’s more than the test.

It’s everything.

Lee R. Talley. Yep…a roll of the dice. A commentary on Time Magazine.

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– Lee R. Talley is a retired teacher from Tinley Park.

Let’s start with the premise that nobody wants bad teachers in the classroom.  That’s just common sense.  Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the beast.  When I was in public elementary and high school in the 1960’s and 1970’s, I had teachers that were excellent to awful.  I had the same experience at the five colleges I attended while getting my undergraduate degree and three graduate degrees.

The Time magazine article, “Taking on Teacher Tenure,” by Haley Sweetland Edwards, doesn’t present a well balance argument on teacher tenure.  (A grade of “C” at best.)  Edwards writes that, “Teacher tenure is a policy that restricts the ability to fire teachers, requiring a “just cause” rationale for firing.”  Wrong!  The only thing that teacher tenure guarantees is “the right to due process.”

Tenure was created to provide teachers with protections.  A long time ago, teachers were subject to rules which impeded on basic rights, being told what time they should be home, which activities they should engage in, who they could associate with, etc.  They were often fired for breaking these ridiculous rules. Teachers came together to gain protections against such rules. They wanted their own rules which ensured they wouldn’t be fired for no reason and to protect college professors from losing academic freedom.  Wealthy industrialists started writing and undermining professors. Tenure was created to ensure professors would be able to write freely.  It angers many people that the reason why tenure was developed is not clear.

As long as I can remember, teachers don’t hire or fire teachers.  Administrators hire, evaluate, and then either retain or dismiss them.  So if you apply Edwards logic, how do you protect teachers from bad administrators?  How do you protect teachers from school board members with personal and/or political agendas?  Do bad administrators and board members exist?  Yes.  How do I know?  I’ve been a classroom teacher, building administrator, and school board member.  Trust me, they all exist…in numbers larger than I like.

Edwards’ piece also creates a bias towards suggesting that teacher tenure is a vast obstacle to student achievement.  Check out the “buzz phrases” used:  “pink-cheeked beneath a trim white beard” — (Santa Claus is making this decision, and Santa would never do anything bad); “what happened next was predictable” – “DEFCON I” — (It’s assumption mixed with opinion, not fact; and please, MAKE THOSE WORDS SCREAM!!!); “Silicon Valley muckety-mucks” — (Aw shucks, I’m just a country bumpkin, a regular guy, just like you); “Jumping off the cliff” — (How could Welch be anything but a hero because only heroes risk their life for others, right?)

Because you’re extremely wealthy you’re right.  Yes, rich people have all the answers…otherwise they wouldn’t be rich, right?  We live in Merry Ol’ England where the nobility of the rich upper-class society know what’s best for the other 98% percent.  If you examine their proposed solutions you’ll see they’re mostly “cookie-cutter” solutions, one size fits all, which those in education know doesn’t work.  Billionaires and business types live by the mantra of trying to apply a specific methodology that will maximize profits.

Edwards also trots out the same old tired names — Infinera’s David Welch (invested in NewSchools Venture Fund and founded StudentsMatter), Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix’s Reed Hastings,  and Walmart’s Waltons.  Ask yourself, how many jobs were lost and how much of the middle class has disappeared over the years because these so-called geniuses were using foreign workers, paying them very little.  They shipped American jobs shipped overseas so they could make billions rather than being good corporate citizens.  The bottom line is that all these reform efforts are all about how private sector businesses and Wall Street equity firms can get their hands on more government money.

Edwards also invokes the names of “education experts” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Fomer Washington D.C. Chancellor of schools Michelle Rhee, and former CNN anchor turned education activist Campbell Brown.  Duncan failed in Chicago and Rhee failed in D.C., both getting out of town before the walls came tumbling down.  (Rhee now runs StudentsFirst, a nonprofit — meaning the budget only has to show a zero balance at the end of the year.)  Brown didn’t get her contract renewed at CNN and is married to Republican operative Dan Senor (who was one of the geniuses who took us into Iraq looking for WMDs), both big players in the conservative charter school privitization movement.

Edwards also states “countless stories of schools and districts being unable to fire bad teachers.”  Okay, give me statistics.  How many bad teachers have been fired?  How many teachers have been denied tenure?  We all want excellent teachers in the classroom, especially those in the profession.  Nothing is worse than being a educator and seeing a co-worker who isn’t doing the job.  Unfortunately it’s a roll of the dice in knowing if someone is going to be a good -average – or bad teacher until they actually teach.  But as politicians and private industry titans keep hammering educators, I’d like to know what they’re going to do when the upcoming teacher shortage hits?  You think they’re going to find enough of the best and the brighest to fill all these vacate positions?  You want to guess why that’s not going to happen?

In the Vergara v. California case  Judge Rolf M. Treu’s state that tenure law “violates the state constitution” and the students rights to “basic eqaulitiy of education opportunity.”  So if this is true, then it should  be the same when it comes to school financing (books, supplies, equipment, etc.), including charter and private schools?

Welch’s argument is even weaker — “If children are being harmed by these laws, then something, somewhere, is being done that’s illegal.”  One could use this same argument as the basis for suppression and inequality in all laws.  Unless he’d like to live in a Socialist society?  Of course, we could apply his logic to members of Congress.  He has a good one, I have a bad one.  That’s not right.  Of course, it’s a rigged system geared towards incumbents and money.  “Oh, okay…nevermind!”

Edwards also cites the three-year study by Harvard “education expert” Thomas Kane, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports the Charter School theory of doing away with tenure improves student achievement.  Unfortunately, a recent study by the University of Minnesota Law School directly refutes that, concluding that charter schools are no better than public schools.

During my last year in education I asked a coordinator from a school reform model, “Can your company guarantee results?”  He replied, “No, we can’t.”  I countered, “Does that mean that your company will refund our money based of the percentage of students who don’t meet grade level standards?”  With a shocked look on his face, “Oh no, we would never do that!”  Yep, it’s a roll of the dice.

So, after all these geniuses get done “fixing education,” who is going to be left holding the bag, left to clean up the mess?  Geez, I wonder.  Here’s the one solution I know to be true:  Until you fix what’s wrong outside of schools you’ll never fix what’s wrong inside of schools.

Arne’s proof. Marcy’s proof.

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This morning NPR reports, “Under the new guidelines, Duncan says he’ll require proof that these (Special Needs) kids aren’t just being served but are actually making academic progress.”

During the 2011-2012 school year – my final year of teaching – I was on evaluation. In our district tenured teachers were formally evaluated by the principal every two years.

The process would usually involve several meetings and a classroom observation.

For many years my school had a large number of Special Needs students – particularly students with autism – and we struggled to successfully apply best practices, including inclusive classroom settings for every student.

It was always my belief that even those students who were identified on the far end of the autism spectrum should be included with typical students in the art room. With the help and support of great paraprofessionals, that is what we did.

The idea of being evaluated by the principal in the final year of my teaching seemed silly. It was a fluke of the calendar.

But as union president I had witnessed awful principals give poor evaluations to retiring veteran teachers just so they could claim they were not giving every teacher a high rating. And I had also seen the devastated look on many of these teachers’ faces who took this stuff seriously, believing that after a life-time of teaching, they were now considered less than adequate.

I, on the other hand, was more skeptical of the process. So when Marcy, my principal, asked me to fill out a sheet on what my professional goals for the year were, I told her that I had none. “I’m a good teacher. I will be a good teacher this year. I am retiring at the end of this year.” 

She asked me to tell her what my goal for the lesson was that she was going to observe.

I told her, “Why don’t we meet afterwards, and you see if you can tell me what my goal was?”

At the appointed time, Marcy walked into my room with pen and a legal-sized note pad and sat on a stool in the corner.

It was a class of fifth graders and we were exploring perspective. I was demonstrating the tricks of using one-point perspective to create the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.

This class – like most of my classes – had a student with autism. In this case Jimmy was on the extreme end of the autism spectrum. He was not verbal and would often appear inattentive, shaking his hands or staring out the window. But we – the paraprofessional and I – knew that Jimmy was hearing me, understood at some level and with problematic motor skills, Jimmy would attempt to do the work. Or some work.

Marcy missed all that.

Worse, Marcy was unaware that she was missing it.

In her post-observation write-up she said that Jimmy was not engaged.

I was appalled. I refused to sign the write-up and wrote a response which I insisted be placed in my personnel file.

“You cannot tell whether Jimmy is engaged or not engaged simply by a one-time observation,” I wrote. “You clearly have very little knowledge of autism, although you were a special education administrator for many years.”

I also pointed out that whether a child has autism or is a typical student, engagement is not binary. A student is not in or out. There are degrees of engagement with a project. This is no less true for Special Needs students.

The Obama administration said Tuesday that the vast majority of the 6.5 million students with disabilities in U.S. schools today are not receiving a quality education, and that it will hold states accountable for demonstrating that those students are making progress.

A major shift in Special Needs accountability.

It must be demonstrated that the students are making progress.

One can only shudder at what Arne has in mind.

Hinsdale board member: Our salary and benefits should be lower than other districts.

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As I have been reporting, Hinsdale High School District teachers gave their union leadership full backing last week in the union’s bargaining with their board. With nearly every member voting, a strike authorization vote received 100% of the members support.

I can see why.

The current board is now controlled by ideologues who are willing to sacrifice Hinsdale’s quality public schools on the altar of their anti-government, anti-tax agenda.

Rich Brandeis is a board member of Cass District 63.

Cass is a separate school District from Hinsdale 86 but is a feeder district. Cass’s students go to Hinsdale for high school.

In an exchange of emails that were supplied to me, Brandeis gets attacked by one of Hinsdale’s anti-tax board member, Ed Corcoran, for siding with the union.

Brandeis is a graduate from Bradley University with a Bachelor in Business Science and an MBA from Indiana University.

Brandeis wrote to the Hinsdale board:

As you consider your options with regard to the upcoming tax levy, I’d like to caution you to consider your actions carefully. What you decide will impact Hinsdale D86 for many years to come. I have heard you are considering a 0% increase. While it may be a popular decision with the majority of the homeowners in the District, I believe your decision must go beyond that factor alone. Your number one responsibility is to ensure that Hinsdale Central and South continue to provide an excellent environment for teaching and learning. You are, after all, trustees of an asset that is owned by all of the taxpayers. It continues to be an asset only if both schools provide the opportunity for excellence in education. If the quality slips, ultimately so will the value of homes within the District. Having Hinsdale Central and South provide the education they do is a major reason people want to buy homes in the area.

Hinsdale board member Ed Corcoran responded:

Unfortunately I do not share any mutual interest to increase the levy and taxes and would like to see you support a zero levy as well.

The Teacher’s Union has delivered a demand to bargain and is aggressively pushing for a levy increase with no basis other than self interest. My concern is that your push appears to be a clear sign of support for wage increases for the teacher’s Union vs showing your support for and respect for the taxpayer. With 75%+ of taxpayer spending going to Union represented employees who are already paid generously over the market rate, and who received large raises during the recession (compounded annual since the recession), we need to show some restraint here in Illinois and in D86.

So since you are pushing so hard to increase funds over and above what is necessary for operations, the main question is “Is Rich Brandeis advocating for the Union?”.

As a person elected by the taxpayers, I hope you understand your duty and to advocate for only 2 parties. The student and the taxpayers.

With the excellent work conditions and benefits teachers realized in District 86, the salary levels would be lowered substantially by market forces. Our salary and benefits should be lower than other districts due to the great parents and great students and excellent work environment/conditions – not to mention the prestige our teachers enjoy in the education community. There are large numbers of unemployed and highly qualified teachers, so it should be obvious to anyone that we should not be paying above market wages with taxpayer’s hard earned money.

I believe a zero % or negative levy in D86 is the only approach to instill proper respect for tax payer’s hard earned money and move our spending in the right direction, since we already have adequate revenue and many efficiency gains to be made. I would also challenge your District to consider the same.

Today was my last teaching day. What?

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For the love of the game.

Today was my last teaching day for the school year.

“What? You retired from teaching two years ago.”

True.

But every Thursday from January to June I volunteer to teach ukulele to a mixed age class of kindergarten and first graders in Little Village.

No assessment to be done. No Common Core to worry about. No accountability.

Except the looks on my students’ faces.

Trust me. Sometimes it isn’t a good look.

And I worry far more about that assessment – that look – than any performance review I ever received from a principal.

I’m not a trained music teacher. I have worked with some great ones though, so I know what I don’t know.

Knowing what you don’t know is a key to being a good teacher by the way.

One of my criticisms of Teach For America is that with the average TFA teacher lasting two years in the classroom there is not enough time for them to know what they don’t know. To know what the questions are.

It took me at least five to even become aware of what the right questions were. And much longer to figure out the answers. Some questions still remain unanswered.

But I know how to teach. And my uke skills are passable. Passable enough to demonstrate some rhythm patterns and to demonstrate a few chords.

Our play list includes This Little Light of Mine, This Land is Your Land and Yellow Submarine.

A good Thursday morning involves a half-dozen first graders and kindergarten kids belting out the chorus to Yellow Submarine so loud in can be heard down the hall.

I don’t want to admit it but I am a senior volunteer.

When I was a teacher I used to have senior volunteers. Our schools are filled with them. We senior volunteers contribute millions of dollars of free service to our country’s public schools.

I love doing it.

You know that look on the faces of professional basketball players in the NBA play-offs when they hit the big one? You know that at that moment it isn’t about the money.

Teachers too.

That is what is meant by a calling.

So many of us senior volunteers used to work in classrooms as paid certified professional teachers.

Turns out that teaching is a hard habit to break.

Something else to remember when the politicians go after our pensions.

 

John Dillon. Teacher life after Senate Bill 7 and PERA.

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– John Dillon is a retired teacher, activist and blogger at Pension Vocabulary.

A Dinner with an active colleague in May, 2014:

Sorry, you guys, but while you have been fighting for us in pensions, they’ve come under the cracks in the door. You missed what happened since you left, since the Performance Reform Evaluation Act. The classes you remember no longer exist. The teachers you remember no longer exist. We are miserable and defeated; I’m not kidding, all of us are either counting how much time we have left, or we’re trying to figure out some new kind of life outside of what has become a surreal nightmare of mandates, testing, and “enduring outcomes.”

Another younger, talented teacher responds to query regarding that dinner conversation:

You hit the nail on the head with the term ‘defeated’. That captures it perfectly. We’re beaten down, convinced that we’re stuck in a downward spiral that will end with the corporatization of our districts, the elimination of our pension funds (if not our jobs entirely), and the demise of public education in general.

We’re cogs in a data wheel now, expected to produce only quantitative results at the expense of the very qualities of relationships, values, and knowledge that inspired us to pursue this noble profession. The nobility and art is no longer valued. What IS valued is an adherence to strict data models, and finding ways to prove we’ve actually done our jobs. We are guilty until proven innocent under the Danielson model of evaluation, which in our district demands certain practices that we as teachers are legitimately against both pedagogically and philosophically (the daily posting of ‘learning targets’ is one of them – this is required now by all staff members).

We are all treated like we have no ability, intellect, or motivation, and while a good 95% of our teaching staff is among the most capable, professional, and intelligent any school could hope for, we’re all being treated as if we are in that 5% of teachers who aren’t quite cut out for the rigors of the job. This assumption about our professionalism and ability is demoralizing on its own, but it’s just the beginning.

What’s your perception of students within this ‘new culture of testing and performance expectation – for you and them?

Students are less and less able to solve problems and think critically now because we’ve trained them not to. We’ve trained them to get the right answer at all costs. They’re less and less responsible for themselves because they no longer need to be – if they fail, it’s on someone else. If they fail, the teacher did something wrong, not them. If they did not turn in the work, it was because the teacher was not ‘creative enough to figure out how to the tailor the work to their needs, and shame on that teacher for being so arrogant as to expect the student to fit into their deadlines’ (that quote is nearly verbatim from a guest speaker our district brought in last year to usher in new grading policies). The amount of anxiety and depression among students has never been higher – I’ve had six students this year alone hospitalized for severe school refusal behaviors related to anxiety.

Another teacher/administrator describes his relationship with students after changes in SB 7:

If I can just get through another 37 years.

Read the entire post here.

Teachers at Brooklyn’s International High School at Prospect Heights boycott the NYC English Language Arts Performance Assessment Exam.

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This just in:

On Thursday, May 1, 2014, we, the teachers and school staff, at the International High School at Prospect Heights are refusing to give the NYC English Language Arts Performance Assessment Exam. We are standing in solidarity with the more than 50% of our parents who have opted their students out of taking the test.

Please support the teachers and staff members who have joined together to abstain from administering a test we we believe is harmful to English Language Learners(ELLS). We are not willing to sacrifice the trust of our students, their feelings of self worth, and our professional duty to do what is best for them. In good conscience, as educators dedicated to the learning of our students and the welfare of our school communities, we are not administering this test. We ask that Chancellor Carmen Fariña remove the New York ELA Performance Exam in favor of an assessment created by educators who best know the individual needs of their students and classrooms.

Please read our letter and sign in support!

CONTACT:

Emily Giles, e.giles@ihsph.org, (917) 575-2936

Emily Wendlake, emilywendlake@gmail.com, (413) 657-7255

Rosie Frascella, r.frascella@ihsph.org, (917) 767-1001

Anita Feingold-Shaw, afeingoldshaw@gmail.com, (510) 872-1712

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**Media Advisory**

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26 Teachers and Staff of International High School at Prospect Heights refuse to give NYC ELA Performance Assessment Test

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WHEN: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7:45-8:20am,

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WHERE: International High School at Prospect Heights, 883 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

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WHAT: Teachers will hold a press conference to announce their refusal to administer the NYC ELA Performance Assessment. 26 teachers and staff at Prospect Heights International High School are refusing to administer a new assessment that is part of the new teacher evaluation system pushed by Bloomberg’s DOE and the UFT last spring. 50% of parents have opted their children out of the test. The high school serves almost exclusively recently arrived English Language Learners.

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WHY: The test was constructed and formatted without any thought for the 14% of New York City students for whom English is not their first language. The level of English used in the pre-test administered in the Fall was so far above the level of our beginner ELLs that it provided little to no information about our students’ language proficiency or the level of their academic skills.

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Furthermore, the test was a traumatic and demoralizing experience for students. Many students, after asking for help that teachers were not allowed to give, simply put their heads down for the duration. Some students even cried.

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Teachers at Prospect Heights are drawing a line with this test. Standardized, high stakes test dominate our schools, distort our curriculum and make our students feel like failures. This test serves no purpose for the students, and ultimately only hurts them.

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26 Teachers have signed a letter to Chancellor Farina declaring that they will not give the exam. The letter expresses gratitude for Farina’s immediate turn around of the DOE’s attitude toward teachers, and asks that the Chancellor reconsider the use of the NYC ELA Performance Assessment with English Language Learners.

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WHO: Teachers and support staff from the International High School at Prospect Heights.

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RSVP: This event is open to press and coverage is welcome.

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The International High School at Prospect Heights is a public high school located in Brooklyn, NY.