Bill Gates’ Summer Reading List Showed Up in Bill’s Twitter Feed (with Minor Revisions)

 

Screenshot (Slight revision added.)

Dear Bill and Melinda,

You recently sent out your “summer reading list” on Twitter.  We couldn’t resist and made just a few minor revisions.  I hope you don’t mind.

Last year we sent you an annotated bibliography as a “summer reading list” ripe with our reader’s favorite books recommended for reformy billionaires.  We are wondering if you have ready any of them yet?

We thought maybe you’d run out of things to read when we heard you had to dig back to one of your old favorites this summer.  Your copy of “Business Adventures” may be a little dog-eared by now.  You probably had to go back to read it again now that you’ve had a chance to practice Common Core’s “close reading” techniques, but since there’s now a waiting list — it’s time for something new and exciting!  Katie and I have pulled a short list together for you and your reformy friends.

Here’s our short annotated bibliography for 2014:

  1.  Greene, David. Doing the Right Thing – A Teacher Speaks. FriesenPress, 2013. Print. “Who controls today’s conversation about what education should be in the classroom? Bill Gates? Arne Duncan? Michelle Rhee? Media? Politicians? Who has gained more and more control of what actually goes on in the classroom? Bill Gates? Arne Duncan? Michelle Rhee? Media? Politicians? Why? Where are the voices of the thousands of talented and loved teachers whose classrooms should be models of what works regardless of the socioeconomic environment they are located. I am but one of many. Each of us has gotten to be who we are as teachers through our own set of circumstances. We, like all other professionals learn our craft through our experiences as well as our academic preparation. Some of us get to pass on what we have learned about our craft by becoming supervisors, mentors, or university lecturers. I have mentored new teachers. I have taught a graduate education class. But those endeavours have reached relatively few. I have even spawned new teachers, inspired by me, but those are even fewer. Initially it is why started writing this book. Much of it started as advice to give to my mentees. Then some suggested to me to write a book. So I did!” – Amazon
  2. Journey for Justice Alliance. “Death by a Thousand Cuts – Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage.” J4J Alliance. Journey for Justice Alliance, 13 May 2014. Web. 23 July 2014. <http://www.j4jalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/J4JReport-final_05_12_14.pdf&gt;.
  3. Kuhn, John. Fear and Learning in America. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 2014. Print. “John Kuhn’s book is packed with more wisdom than any 10 books that I have read about American education. It is the wisdom born of experience.” –From the Foreword by Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error “In this moving account, ”America’s Superintendent” John Kuhn lays bare the scare tactics at the root of the modern school ”reform” movement. Kuhn conveys a deeply held passion for the mission and promise of public education through his own experience as a school administrator in Texas. When his ”Alamo Letter” first appeared in the Washington Post, it galvanized the educational community in a call to action that was impossible to ignore. This powerful book requires us to question whether the current education crisis will be judged by history as a legitimate national emergency or an agenda-driven panic, spurred on by a media that is, for the most part, uninterested in anything but useless soundbites. Essential reading for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and everyone concerned with public education, Fear and Learning in America.” – Amazon
  4. Naison, Mark. Badass Teachers Unite!. N.p., 2014. Print. “In this incisive collection of essays, educator and activist Mark Naison draws on years of research on Bronx history and his own experience on the front lines of the education wars to unapologetically defend teachers and students from education “reform” policies that undermine their power and creativity. Naison shows how dominant education policy systematically hurts the very children it claims to support and instead forces them to “race to the top.” He exposes the Duncans, Rhees, and Gateses for schemes that intensify racial and economic inequality. And he refocuses the conversation on teaching and organizing strategies that should be implemented in communities everywhere.” – OCLC World Cat
  5. Nielsen, Kris L. Children of the Core. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. Print. “The Common Core State Standards have been lauded as one of the most revolutionary ways to close the achievement gaps in reading and math, make our country competitive in the world economy, and equalize the playing field for all of our students in public K-12 schools. The reality is much different from the promises. Teachers are burning out and leaving the profession, states are cutting already-too-low education budgets, and districts are closing school after school in mostly low-income neighborhoods. This is not how we achieve greatness. This is how we narrow our potential and crush dreams. The ultimate suffering goes to the children. Nielsen helps us see, through his deep understanding of how children learn, and by the childrens’ thoughts he shares, that so long as we seek the “right answers” we are hopelessly lost. The Common Core is built upon this fundamental error. He helps us back up and reconsider what it is that our children truly need. Ironically, Nielsen is doing the critical thinking that the Common Core falsely promised it would promote. But unlike the tests that come along to measure compliance with standards, this thinking leads us to question, to challenge, and ultimately to escape the limits of the standardized thinking that has entrapped our schools.” – Amazon
  6. Schneider, Mercedes K. A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education. Information Age Publishing, 2014. Print. “Corporate reform” is not reform at all. Instead, it is the systematic destruction of the foundational American institution of public education. “The primary motivation behind this destruction is greed. Public education in America is worth almost a trillion dollars a year. Whereas American public education is a democratic institution, its destruction is being choreographed by a few wealthy, well-positioned individuals and organizations. This book investigates and exposes the handful of people and institutions that are often working together to become the driving force behind destroying the community public school.” ~ Amazon
  7. Sunkara, Bhaskar. Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook. Jacobin, 2014. Print. “Jacobin magazine and the Chicago Teachers Union’s CORE Caucus present a 118-page booklet on corporate education reform and the efforts to resist its agenda. Featuring CTU President Karen Lewis, economist Dean Baker, Jacobin editors Megan Erickson and Bhaskar Sunkara, Joanne Barken, and many others.” – Jacobin
  8. Vilson, Jose. This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education. Haymarket Books, 2014. Print. “José Vilson writes about race, class, and education through stories from the classroom and researched essays. His rise from rookie math teacher to prominent teacher leader takes a twist when he takes on education reform through his now-blocked eponymous blog, TheJoseVilson.com. He calls for the reclaiming of the education profession while seeking social justice. José Vilson is a middle school math educator for in the Inwood/Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. He writes for Edutopia, GOOD, and TransformED / Future of Teaching, and his work has appeared in Education Week, CNN.com, Huffington Post, and El Diario / La Prensa.” – Amazon

That’s the short list of the best books ever for your summer reading list, Bill and Melinda. There’s one more coming out this fall that will be well worth waiting for! Anthony Cody’s book is nearing completion.  Readers are already salivating at the news of its release.   In keeping with your favorite, Bill – “research and development” – Anthony will mix great stories with truths backed up by research in a text chock-full of quotes from you – leading readers to draw some important conclusions about the Gates Foundation’s true effect on public education.  Let’s just say it will be revealing to the nation, despite your best intentions.

Here’s the annotated bibliography for Anthony’s upcoming book.  You won’t want to miss out! (Katie and I would be happy to get you an autographed advance copy if you’d like.)

Cody, Anthony. The Educator and the Oligarch – A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation. New York, NY: Garn Press, 2014. Print. “Cody understands that teachers alone – no matter how good or great they are – and schools alone — no matter how good or great they are — cannot overcome the handicaps imposed on children, families, and communities by inequality, poverty, and segregation. This is his message to the oligarch who runs the Gates Foundation: Will he listen?” – Diane Ravitch “Cody’s brilliant analysis of the destructive education policy of the Gates Foundation is a touchstone for anyone interested in defending public schools.” – Jesse Hagopian, teacher, Garfield High School, Seattle  *Note: Available FALL 2014 – Print book available on Amazon. Ebook available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple (iBooks) and Kobo. http://www.garnpress.com .

We hear you are an “autodidact” – that is an avid reader capable of educating yourself through technology and books without the need for human contact.  We’d still like to offer you a chance to meet Katie and I – maybe form a book club and chat over tea? As teachers, we know: Books are always better with a little human contact.  We hope you enjoy “your” list, Bill and Melinda.  Soon, you too can become an expert at ending corporate education reform and developing social justice unionism.

What do our readers think?  Is there hope for Bill and Melinda to teach themselves how to become social justice Eduactivists with this list?

Susan and Katie

 

 

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Despite a Handshake and a Promise, Still NO Gates Foundation REPLY to #EducatingGatesRally Demands

Gates Divest from Corporate EdReform

Photo Courtesy of Alex Garland Photography, used with permission.

Dear Bill and Melinda,

In the summer of 2011 the seeds of this protest were planted when I read Bruce Levine’s book “Get Up, Stand Up:  Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite”.  Bruce Levine and I talked on the phone and exchanged emails that summer.  He spoke and wrote about the need to take our grassroots’ protest to the corporate elite vs the politicians — because that is where the real power seat is held.

Yet that July, I found myself taking the message to the politicians instead at the Save Our Schools March in DC, where I was fortunate to meet educator/activist/author Anthony Cody, Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ravitch, and so many of my activist friends.  During that meeting the plans for this protest were hatched.  We convened again in DC the following year.  It took time to build awareness of your influence on education.  It took time to garner grassroots support to confront you — because so many rely on your rhetoric  and your money — rather than your actions and their consequences on the people who experience what I call #TheGatesEffect.

Finally, on behalf of 100’s of teachers, parents, and community members I felt privileged to deliver our demands and the entire collection of Teachers’ Letters to the Gates to your foundation on Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at the Educating Gates Rally.   But what is the Gates Foundation’s response?  What are you doing about our demands?

Despite the fact that in an interview with KPLU’s Kyle Stokes, Dr. Vicki Phillips said the Gates Foundation gives our concerns “legitimacy  (like that is within her power?) — and claims we share the same goals —  we have yet to receive a reply. Despite a promise from the Gates Foundation’s Director of External Communications, Jeremy Hillman — we have yet to receive a reply.

Here is the story as it unfolded on Thursday, June 26th, 2014:

At 11:01 am  I received a text from the Washington Badass Teacher and lead co-organizer of our Educating Gates Rally event,  Julianna Krueger-Dauble.  She said:

“I just called the Gates Foundation.  I asked if someone wanted to come out and accept the letters.  No.  They do not want to send anyone.  She was rude, shockingly.”

At 11:41 am I received an email from Julianna:

“Well, this a change of heart…”

She included a email forward from the Gates Foundation:

“Dear Ms. Dauble,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding this evening’s planned rally of which we are aware. Teachers guide much of our work at the foundation and we are engaged in a constant conversation with teachers here in Washington State and around the country about what teachers need to help their students succeed and how we can support them. We share your passion for meeting the needs of students and ensuring they have the strongest environments possible for great learning.

You would be welcome to direct the videographers you mention here to our media line where we consider all official media requests. Thank you for alerting us to the letters you wish to pass on to the leadership at the foundation. We will endeavor to have someone available this evening to receive those and would be grateful if you or other organizers identify yourselves on site.

Regards,

Chris Williams
Press Secretary
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Emedia@gatesfoundation.org

Julianna and a video team met at the Gates Foundation and filmed an interaction.  I will try to share that exchange in another post.

Julianna

Here’s how the rest of the day unfolded:

The organization of the rally began early that day for the key WA BATs. We  organized our permits and planned to begin our rally at the Westlake Center at 5:00 pm.  Organizers began set-up at 2:30 after a dress rehearsal of our Flash Mob.  A sign making table, the sound system van, a WA BAT T-shirt sales table, and a Seattle Equality Educators table were quickly set up.

Signs

This event couldn’t have taken place without the support of many.  Becca Ritchie and Eric Emans led the choir with many others joining in our songs, giving the crowd a taste of the creativity and talent behind educators.  Without Dave our fantastic sound system would not have carried our message.  Tracey Drum organized the Flash Mob. Kim Golding wrote our PRESS RELEASE!  Linda Myrick spoke and sang.  Keitha Bryson and Paul Chonka safeguarded the demands during the march and organized the many marshalls who helped direct our peaceful crowd during the rally. So many more hands, hearts, and minds helped organize this event.  That is just to name a few who worked diligently behind the scenes and on the stage…

Vincent

 (Thank you to documentary film artist and Livestreaming expert, Vincent Precht on SchoolhouseLive.org.)

Billions of Dreams

At 4:30 it felt as if there may only be 20 of us at the protest, but by 4:45 the crowd was beginning to build.  Teachers from Oregon, Arizona, Maryland, Ohio, and California were joining in solidarity with 100’s of  Washington teachers, parents, students, and community activists at the event.

Wayne Au

Our choir kicked off the rally and Julianna began announcing the speaker line up.  Wayne Au of Rethinking Schools spoke saying, in part….

‘While Gates and his foundation tinker around with charter schools, high-stakes testing, the Common Core, and the junk science of using tests to evaluate teachers, they avoid the central and most important issue that impacts educational achievement: poverty. But Gates and the Gates Foundation aren’t hearing that. As far as I can see, they are not about actual educational equality and equity. Instead they seem to be about opening up public education to the marketplace. In fact, Gates has said as much. Back in 2009 in the run up to the Common Core, Gates said the following:

“When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.”

I find this ironic. It seems to me that Gates wants to fix inequality in public education by relying on the same market forces responsible for the crisis in housing, the crisis in medical care, the climate crisis, the massive wealth gap, and the increase in the schools-to-prisons pipeline for youth of color, amongst other national travesties.’

Finally, it was time to march to the Gates Foundation.  I was honored as Anthony Cody, who two years earlier had engaged in a dialogue that began with a visit to the Gates Foundation joined me and a friend, Doreen McGrath, leading the parade with the sign of our demand (see above).

Choir

We marched, singing and chanting with the choir right behind us.  People jumped out of their seats at restaurants to cheer us on and take pictures.  The Seattle crowd was supportive.  Many here have been victims or are aware of the American Psycho-style-stack-ranking policies you implemented during your reign to punish the employees of Microsoft through competition.  These relationships have cost you in the eyes of many locals.  Now you wield these same punitive measuring devices over mostly women and children in our public schools.

Not surprisingly,  people in cars waved and honked to cheer us on as we were singing “This Land is Your Land” and “Solidarity Forever” along the way as 2 media helicopters, the press, and film documentary artists captured the event on camera.

Your Data

We’d like to publicly thank the Seattle Police Department for their uneventful escort as this peaceful marching crowd made their way to our goal. We arrived at the Gates Foundation where our Flash Mob quickly began.

Rally Crowd at GF

Morna McDermott, a co-founder of United Opt Out shared a fractured fairy tale with cheers from the crowd. Then it was my time to speak.

Morna

It had been just over one year since Katie Lapham and I had started our collaboration on the project  – inviting you and Melinda to dialogue by creating a space for teachers to share their letters to you here on Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates.  The time had come to deliver them…

GF Rally

Julianna introduced me and said I needed to speak quickly  – 3 minutes was all I had.  As I started to speak, the security guards told Julianna I needed to hurry because your GF Director of External Communications,  Jeremy Hillman was standing behind the barrier waiting.  I continued on to finish, despite their request.

Here is my delivery of our demand that you return democracy to our schools and divest from corporate education reform .

As Hillman received the demands and promised me a response, the crowd began to chant:

“2-4-6-8!  Send the Core back to Gates!”

This was truly the culminating moment in our rally…. the air was electric as the anticipation of the delivery of the demands was about to be realized.   I hadn’t anticipated the cameras suddenly following me in unison, as they were aware before me —  this moment was important.

Somehow, for me, the unexpected cameras shifted the weight of  responsibility to my actions during those next moments.  The years of planning had an impact on me.  I had listened to and experienced first hand the  horror stories of children and teachers all over the world in activist meeting-after-meeting.

As I walked towards Mr. Hillman, these stories of the real lives of children I taught — stories other teachers and parents shared, all the letters teachers had written to you from their hearts  — flashed through my mind. Those weren’t just letters and demands that I  carried with me.  They were the rights and voices of every public school child, every family, and every teacher.    That moment was about children like this young girl and their families…  about all teachers and public schools… I felt a sense of urgency to serve on their behalf, reclaiming a piece of our democracy.

More Than A Test Score

I walked up to the line, where the public and GF private property intersect and where two security guards kept a close eye on Hillman and the crowd as I approached.   I stopped at that line out of respect until the security guards invited me behind the “gates”.  Security refused to allow any press behind the line.  I walked toward Mr. Hillman and smiled as I greeted him with a hand shake.  We introduced ourselves and he handed me his card. I gave him our published demands and your letters prepared earlier that day at a local print shop.

I couldn’t convey to him at that moment how I felt.  The moment felt surreal. I was proud of all of the organizers and the people who marched with us.  I was proud of all the people who were with us in solidarity across the nation.  I was not alone – these people were “with me” as I walked.  Mr. Hillman asked me what I wanted.  I told him each teacher, each letter deserved a response. He laughed and said that wouldn’t be possible.  (I thought, surely the Gates Foundation can afford to spend that time if they really mean what Dr. Phillips stated.) Mr. Hillman promised to respond to our demands.  We shook hands again as I thanked him, then I walked back to the crowd.

The press asked me how I felt.  I told them I felt empowered and shared how I was speaking for our children, teachers, schools, and democracy.  I told them how I was speaking for my students and families –  where in my school 72% of the children qualify for free/reduced lunch — where my para-educator and I were the only blue-eyed people in our classroom — where my children/friends from Chicago have suffered school closings and  where the 70% of all children in NY have suffered the labels of failure at your hands — hands dirty with funding VAM, charter schools, teacher evaluations, high stakes tests, and Common Core.

Anthony Cody

We ended this FIRST rally with the important words of our keynote speaker, Anthony Cody.

The fundamental issue is that corporate education reform is perpetrating a fraud on the American public. They are pretending that the source of inequity in our society is bad teachers. You don’t need to look inside our schools for the source of inequity. You need to look outside, where there’s unemployment, where our students are being put into a college pipeline that leads to debt, as the jobs they were promised are evaporating. And teachers are supposedly to blame. When the American public realizes that our democratically controlled schools are a foundation of our democracy, we don’t want it to be too late. So please stand with your local communities, stand with your parents, stand with labor, and especially the communities of color that are seeing their schools closed left and right, stand with people fighting the overwhelming growth of prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline.

They (the Gates Foundation) needs billions of dollars to try to carry public opinion. We don’t need billions of dollars. We need the spirit, the hope, and the careful education that every one of us can carry out in our communities. So please, go forth and educate!”

That’s right.  We don’t need billions of dollars and this protest was just the beginning. Bruce Levine will be proud of our start.  We took our grassroots populist protest to the seat of power in our country.  We see signs of others doing the same.  It’s time for the vulture philanthropists to find a new perch.

Vulture

Sixteen different news articles were printed after our rally.  We got the attention of the media and our messages were clear.  Our next long-range plans:   We are building a coalition with activists who protest the Gates Foundation for other reasons – Monsanto, private prison investments, exploding oil trains, and more.  We are building relationships through social justice activism.  This grassroots movement against CORPORATE education reform will become global.

The seeds of a power shift have been planted.  Today, and every day until you stop – we will shift that seat of power one step closer to where it belongs — into the hands of the public, the hands of the commons.

Will the Gates Foundation keep the promise given with a handshake?  That remains to be seen.  In the meantime, our planning has not stopped for a minute.

Whose schools?  Our schools!  America are you ready?  Join us!  “Get Up, Stand Up”.

 

Susan DuFresne, Integrated Kindergarten Teacher

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We, the undersigned, demand the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from corporate education reform.

Billions of Dreams bus complete

We, the undersigned, demand the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from corporate education reform.

Dear Bill and Melinda,

Prestigious academics from around the world collaborated to write a letter to Dr. Andreas Schleicher, director of the Organization for Economic and Cooperation Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment, to express deep concern about the impact of the PISA tests.  The authors of the letter are Heinz-Dieter Meyer (State University of New York) and Katie Zahedi (Principal, Linden Ave Middle School, Red Hook, New York).  Here is the link where you can support their letter to Dr. Andreas Schleicher.  These academics who signed the OECD PISA Letter include David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University; Diane Ravitch, Research Professor, New York University; Alfie Kohn, Author and Lecturer; Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor, MIT, rtd; Carol Burris, Long Island school leader and former High School Principal of the Year; Henry Giroux, Professor of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, and Yong Zhao, Professor of Education, Presidential Chair, University of Oregon. Together they called for a halt of next year’s round of testing. Here is what they said:

“We assume that the OECD’s PISA experts are motivated by a sincere desire to improve education. But we fail to understand how your organisation has become the global arbiter of the means and ends of education around the world. OECD’s narrow focus on standardised testing risks turning learning into drudgery and killing the joy of learning. As PISA has led many governments into an international competition for higher test scores, OECD has assumed the power to shape education policy around the world, with no debate about the necessity or limitations of OECD’s goals. We are deeply concerned that measuring a great diversity of educational traditions and cultures using a single, narrow, biased yardstick could, in the end, do irreparable harm to our schools and our students.”

This statement also applies to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s corporate education reform policies. We at Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates and the following signers hereby assume that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation experts are motivated by a sincere desire to improve education. But we fail to understand how your organization has become the national and global arbiter of the means and ends of education in the United States and around the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s narrow focus on standardized testing risks turning learning into drudgery and killing the joy of learning. As the Gates Foundation’s national and global push for the Common Core, high-stakes testing, and teacher evaluations based on test scores has led many governments into a national and international competition for higher test scores, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has assumed the power to shape education policy in the United States and around the world, with no debate about the necessity or limitations of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s goals. We are deeply concerned that measuring a great diversity of educational traditions and cultures using a single, narrow, biased yardstick could, in the end, do irreparable harm to our communities, our schools, our profession, and our students.

You and the OECD have much in common, Bill and Melinda. Your imposition of corporate reform policies, which are measured using a single, narrow, biased yardstick, are successful in one area only: making a profit for you, test companies, publishers, and the privatizing corporate reformers. Your policies continue to use our children as guinea pigs in your corporate reform experiments and risk doing “irreparable harm to our schools and our students”.

We the undersigned reject the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s tight control of education policy. Venture philanthropy’s influence on public education has been all-pervasive and we demand an immediate restoration of democracy in our schools. Divest from corporate education reform.

(Note: We will deliver this letter with signatures along with a published copy of all Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates at the #EducatingGatesRally in Seattle on June 26th. Readers, please send us a note to add your name as a signer. Join us at the rally! )

Sincerely,

Susan DuFresne, General Education and Special Education Kindergarten Teacher, Co-Author of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates

Katie Lapham, NYC public school teacher, Co-Author of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates

Anthony Cody,  NBCT, M.Ed, Retired Teacher of 24 years,  Author and Education Blogger at Living in Dialogue 

Jennifer Rumsey, Parent, High School English Teacher

Mark Naison, Professor of African American Studies and History, Fordham University and Co-Founder of the Badass Teachers Association

Julianna K. Dauble, M. Ed. Teacher, Activist & Parent

Linda Myrick, Teacher, Bellevue School District

Kris Nielsen, Parent, Teacher, Activist

Keitha Bryson 1st grade teacher – Highline Public Schools

Michelle Murphy Ramey Elizabeth Lynch – Public School Teacher, Adjunct Professor, Grandparent, Activist

Lance Fialkoff, Founder, Musical Media for Education (MME)

Joan Kramer, Retired School Librarian

Noel Hammatt

Susan Polos, National Board Certified Teacher, Board Member Section of School Librarians, New York Libray Association

Kathleen Canavan, M.Ed.

Terry Preuss, NBCT, Career Public Educator, Broward Teachers Union Executive Board, Broward County Public Schools District Advisory Council, Concerned American Parent and Citizen

Helmut G. Preuss, Concerned Parent, co-founder ABC+LOVE

Tracy Eddins, Kindergarten Teacher, Parent and concerned human

Cynthia Liu, Parent and Founder, K-12 News Network

Rosalie Romano, Educator for a sustainable future with social justice for all

Ani McHugh, Parent and English Teacher

Lissa L. Coleman, Certified School Dropout Prevention Specialist

Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters

Judie Haynes, ESL author, educator and professional development provider

Thomas Garrard, Teacher Librarian

Amy Walls, Teacher and Parent

T. Daniel Brown, Parent, 4th grade Teacher, Grand Ledge, Michigan

Susan M. Goncarovs, Art Teacher K-12 and ^0^

Sheri Kittay, Parent and Teacher

Karen Glennon Retired Teacher with Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Master Teacher, author, and parent

Krisha M. Allgood, Badass student and Teacher-to-be

Ms. Robin Lunt, Parent

Sabrina Joy Stevens, former teacher, current public school guardian & Executive Director, Integrity in Education

Maria Schrenger, Parent and 1st grade Teacher

Marie Corfield, BFA, MAT, Elementary Art Educator, Concerned Parent, Vice President Flemington-Raritan Education Association, Vice President Hunterdon County Education Association http://mcorfield.blogspot.com/

Lesa Aloan Wilbert, M. Ed. Karen Adlum, Trained Professional Teacher, Early Childhood Development/Elementary Education and concerned citizen for our future democracy

Robert D. Skeels, public education advocate

Becca Ritchie, Veteran Middle School Educator, Education Activist and concerned citizen

Mary Reed, 1st grade Teacher

Linda Liddell-English teacher

Ann Marie Finnen, Music Teacher and Parent

Sherm Koons, Teacher, human, Washington County Career Center, Marietta Ohio http://hypnohio.blogspot.com/

Jeanne Berrong, California Public Educator

Tina Andres, California Teacher and parent

Michael Struchen, proud public school English Teacher

Jannike Johnsen, M.Ed, Special Education Teacher, parent, and concerned citizen

Stewart Bloom, Retired Elementary/Reading Recovery Teacher, Fort Wayne, Indiana. http://bloom-at.blogspot.com

Kathleen Jeskey, Teacher, Parent, Grandparent; Oregon Save Our Schools, Oregon BATs

Gerardo Barboza, M.Ed. Education Policy Research

Helen Sadler, Educator

Nancy Bailey, Ph.D. former Special Education Teacher and Principal, public education advocate, author and blogger Nancy Bailey’s Education Website at http://nancyebailey.com/

Noelle Jaddaoui, Veteran Public Elementary Teacher of ELs, Parent, Education Activist, Concerned Citizen

Michelle Coy

Cathleen Calderone Montilla, Special Education Teacher 28 Years!

Sheila Resseger, M.A., retired ELA teacher, RI School for the Deaf; parent of two college graduates; member of the Coalition to Defend Public Education (Providence, RI), national BATs, RI BATs, and the Southeast MA and RI Coalition to Save Our Schools

Cathaline Gray Carter, retired member Chicago Teachers Union, member Caucus of Rank and File Educators, parent of two public school graduates who now have graduate degrees

Vonda Van Farowe, Teacher in Alternative Education; M.A. Reed College; Portland Association of Teachers

Clinton Rozelle, PSU Art Education, VA Public School Educator

Pia Payne-Shannon, Educator, Founding member of REACH, Fierce Protector of Public Education and the Joy of Learning

Heidi Jensen, 3rd grade teacher in a distressed-Title 1-Priority School with SIG money, in Salt Lake City, Utah

Caroline Hooper, Teacher, Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Doug Martin, Researcher

Sharlayne Henske, Reading Support Grades 3-5. Prosser Heights Elementary, Prosser, WA

Heather Poland, M.Ed, English Teacher, Reading Specialist, A Teacher’s Perspective, BAT, CA BAT, Mom to 6 year old twins

Judith Lienhard, RN, concerned citizen

Michelle Gunderson, First Grade Teacher, Vice President for Elementary Schools Chicago Teachers Union

Lloyd Lofthouse, Taught in the public schools from 1975 – 2005 http://lloydlofthouse.org/

Janice Strauss, Grandparent, Retired Teacher, Student Teacher Supervisor for SUNY Cortland

Ted Dettmann, 4th grade Teacher

Martha Roe Mulcahy, M.Ed plus 30 additional graduate credits. Twenty-two years of teaching experience

Julie Borst, Parent and Special Education Advocate

Drs. William and Jeanne Pollock, Retired NJ Principals

Bettie Saccardo Educator, Parent, Advocate of Free Public Education

Cheryl Pavkovich, Retired (33 years) HS Teacher

Pearl K. Holloway, Providence (RI) Public School Teacher

Debra Martin, RN, Concerned Citizen

Sue McCabe, M. Ed. Special Educator

Dana Bialecki, 20 years experience as a Special Education Teacher and parent of two boys impacted by Common Core aka Bill $ Melinda Gates

David Greene: former HS teacher; author, DOING THE RIGHT THING: A Teacher Speaks; Treasurer of Save Our Schools

Cherie Schneider M.A., Earth/Space Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Honors Logic, Agri-science and Reading teacher, Concerned Teacher, Concerned Parent

Teresa Collins Rotella–3rd Grade Teacher 21 years–Master’s Degree

Christopher J. Benison, Pre-K Teacher, Morgantown, WV

Clyde Gaw, Parent and K-12 Educator, Indianapolis

Heather Jones, Teacher and Concerned Parent

Joel Melsha, Educator

Cheryl Lee Dorsey, Parent and Teacher

Mary E Burnham, Educational Consultant and Grandmother

Demian Godon, Concerned Parent

Rose Girguis, Middle School Math Teacher, Parent, Concerned Citizen, California

Christine Marmé Thompson, Professor of Art Education, Penn State University

Rebecca Nutile, Public Education Advocate and Parent

Lindy Cavness, Parent, Middle School Teacher, Public Education Advocate

Michael Flanagan, Ed.D, Parent, High School Teacher, BAT and Activist, NYC

Michael Klonsky, Ph.D. Small Schools Workshop, De Paul University

Nancy Thall, Concerned Citizen

Dana Doyle, Early Childhood Trainer/Consultant

Dr. Evan Lowenthal, PhD. High School English Teacher

Janie Dixon, MA.Edu, Former Classroom Educator, Mother, BAT, Public Education and Special Education Advocate

Yvonne Siu-Runyan, Professor Emerita, University of Northern Colorado and Past President, National Council Teachers of English

Paula Meyer, PhD, Bilingual Eeacher Emerita

Liza Womack, First Grade Teacher

Maggie Joralemon ESL Public School Teacher –  “Education is not a business.”

Susan Kaller, Teacher of Advanced Mathematics, TESOL, and Computer Science for Portland Public Schools: Portland International Scholars Academy, and Hillsboro Online Academy Mathematics Department Chair, Recipient of 2014 National Science Foundation STEM Grant University California, Berkeley

Angela De Scalzo, 20 Year Veteran Teacher -How many years in education do YOU have Mr. or Mrs. Gates??

Dale McIntyre, Editor,  CentervilleAdvocate.com

Tracy Clifton, Retired Middle School Math Teacher

Paula Hurdle, In solidarity with Public Educators

Tiffany T. Reed, 4th grade Science teacher
Shelby County Schools, Memphis, TN
Memphis-Shelby County Education Association, member, Board of Director
Tennessee Education Association, member, Board of Director
National Education Association, member

Charlotte Vrooman, Retired Elementary School Teacher with credential in Bilingual-Cross Cultural Competency

Candace Lawrence, I’m a successful AP English teacher in a low-income school, and I’d like to know why “Bill and Melinda” (like they’re our best friends) don’t offer their largesse to cancer research or–someplace where they might actually be able to do some good–instead of throwing their considerable weight around in a field they clearly know nothing about.

Ellen Lubic, Director, Joining Forces for Education
Educational Researcher
University Public Policy Educator

Gene V Glass, Emeritus Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University, Senior Researcher
National Education Policy Center

Lisa Litz-Neavear, M.Ed. (and proud of it!) Public School Educator since 1988
Those who can, teach!

Paula Johnson, I am a 4th generation, now retired, educator and I have never witnessed such greedy predators targeting America’s students. Saddest part is the government is giving their blessing so personal legislators can profit. Shameful!!

Michael P. Dominguez: Your policies have given school administrators nationwide the cover that they need to make decisions about personnel based solely upon payroll costs while claiming that they are protecting children. The best example of this is the LAUSD where Gates clone Mr. John Deasy has orchestrated a 20% increase in administrative positions and pay while firing thousands of veteran teachers based upon false charges of incompetence and child abuse. The GatesBroadWalton agenda is so pervasive and the power of your money so corrosive that the media cannot and will not cover this. The evil that you perpetrate will attach to your name forever.

John McTigue, Badass & Buffalo Public School Teacher

Laurie Krause Taylor, Parent, public school teacher, taxpayer, citizen. I disagree with every educational policy you have funded. STOP using your wealth to circumvent democracy! Leave our children alone!

William J. Adsley, Masters in Music Education and Administration

Nicholas Tampio, Associate Professor of Political Science, Fordham University

Karen M. Fraid, Chicago, IL. Public School parent, Arts Educator, student, Local School Council member, former PTA officer, and advocate for non-traditional learners and at-risk youth. Signing because true philanthropy never has strings attached, especially when children are involved.

Julia C. Vassilatos, Chicago IL. Masters in Religious Studies, Divinity School, University of Chicago. Public school parent, former Preschool Teacher, former Local School Council member, former PTA officer, advocate for Deaf and hard of hearing children and programs, Art Educator, public school advocate and education blogger. Your work in education is causing untold harm that you will never see because your children, who are not in the public schools, will never experience the problems you have caused.

Adenia Linker, Chicago, IL Social & Emotional Health Advocate, UIC Youth Development, College of Education

Stephanie Jordan, Parent/Teacher

Karla Maroney, Mother of two elementary-aged children, middle school English teacher, NYS citizen who votes

Thomas Ultican, Physics and Mathematics Teacher, Mar Vista High School – Imperial Beach, California

Omar Sangiovanni, Father. Husband. Printmaker. Artist. Art Teacher.

Mary Beth Franzeo, Special Education Math Teacher Clark County School District, Nevada

DeeAnne Bennett, MS Social Studies Education, I.B. Certified, NBPTS Social Studies AYA, 24 years in classroom experience!

Erica DuBois, NJ BAT (14 years and counting in an urban public elementary school) and parent of 2.

Terry Weber, Retired High School Math Teacher, New York City

Kathryn Hogan, Mother and Teacher

Cindy Hayden, Public School teacher 40+ years

Elizabeth Rubenstein, Art Educator, Pacifica, CA – Children are neither standard, nor common.

Luis Alicea, Bilingual Chemistry Teacher, Jersey City Public School

Diane Sekula, ESOL Teacher, Mom and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Walter and Kim Baskin

Darcey Addo, National Board Certified Teacher, M.Ed, PhD candidate with 12 years experience in public education. Parent of two elementary school children who are individuals, not data points and consequently will not be sitting for high-stakes tests. #OptOut #RefuseTheTest

Jeanne Damone Parent & 5th Grade Teacher New York

Nancy Malsom, Iowa Middle School Special Education Teacher from 1982-current, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, BS in K-8 education with endorsements in reading, learning disabilities, mental disabilities, behavioral disabilities, Level 1, self-contained, self-contained with integration, and multicategorical resource.

Anna Shah, JD; Education Policy Advocate: Hudson Valley Parent Educator Initiative/ HVACC, Schools of Thought Hudson Valley, NY

Dr. John Thompson, Oklahoma education writer and Retired Teacher

Josh J. Middleton, Ed.D. American public education has deep roots and proud heritage in local control. Any attempt at deep change must include the stakeholders who have students and student learning interests the top priority. Ed reform does not work with top down directives.

Sharon Higgins, Concerned citizen, Oakland (CA) public school parent (1993-2011)

Mr. And Mrs.James Ardito; Parents, Advocates and Educators

Andrea McCoy: Public School Educator and Psychologist

Wanda L. Horne, Special Education Teacher, Pulaski Country Special School District, Little Rock, AR.. Your changes have dealt a blow to special needs students that is actually worse than the disability they have. I’m afraid this could be irreparable damage to a group that is already behind in so many ways.

Sylvia TeGantvoort, Classroom volunteer, Concerned Citizen & Pissed off Parent

Shawn DuFresne, Parent, Grandparent and husband of a hardworking public school teacher!

Janet Demers, Retired Teacher, B. Ed in Education, M.Ed. in Reading from University of Massachusetts, taught for 34 years in public schools. I am against the corporate take-over of public schools, high-stakes standardized testing, teacher-bashing, Department of Education officials who have little or no experience as educators, and robbing children of joyful, hands-on learning.

Kristina Carbone, Concerned Parent and prior Teacher

Sara Gilberg, Mom, Grandma, Teacher

Bob Shepard, Concerned Parent, Member of Coloradoan’s Against Common Core, U.S. Air Force veteran, Retired Firefighter/EMT, business owner

Vanessa McMahon, Academic Intervention Specialist and Mother

Shaun Johnson, Teacher, PhD, At the Chalk Face

Eileen Glynn, Art Teacher for 25 years, mother to 4, mother-in-law to 3 teachers and grandmother to 6 present and future public education students. I am committed to working for quality education that hasn’t been deformed by those with monetary interests and without knowledge from long term experience in education. Those with direct teaching experience need to lead not those who only have inexperienced opinions and limited outside experience.

Warren Williams: Stick to health care.

Ed Lambert, Parent

Donna Saragnese, Middle School Math Teacher, parent, taxpayer.

Judy Bjorke, REACH Caucus, Minneapolis, MN

Phillip Cantor MEd, Science Department Chair at North-Grand HS, Chicago, IL

Shoshanah Mercado, Ed.S , School Psychologist, serving K-6 and 9-12

Stefanie Norris, MSpEd. — Bill, you should stick to what you know…..and it isn’t education!

Jamy A. Brice-Hyde, Public school Teacher, parent, educational activist for public schools, human rights, and the eradication of poverty.

Monique Caton, M.Ed, Teacher in Philadelphia School District

Caroline Hooper, Founding member of the REACH Caucus, Teacher, Minneapolis, MN

Daniel Santos, Educator, Advocate for Public Education, & one of The Houston 7

Monica Kalfur,Speech & Language Pathologist, public school speech provider & mother of a student in the public school system

Teresa Kiedrowski, Parent & High School Teacher: Divest now, Bill & Melinda!

Kristen Caven, Public School Parent & PTA leader

Elizabeth Welsh, Linden, New Jersey

Kathleen R. Nelson, Special Education Teacher, Parent, Taxpayer, Milwaukee Public Schools

Laurel M. Sturt, author of Davonte’s Inferno: Ten Years in the New York Public School Gulag.

Kate Levin

Terri Graham, retired Arts Educator 32 yrs teaching in a large northeast urban school. Mr. Gates: explain again where you received your degree in education…..& how many years experience do you have teaching in a public school classroom.

Laura M. Longhi, MAT, 20 year science teacher, math and science upper elementary lead teacher, math and science on-site school specialist Pre-K through 8th, concerned citizen, member BATs, Illinois BATs and BATs Prisons to Schools. A true philanthropist doesn’t push agenda based on his or her ego and desires and tie giving to said agenda. A true philanthropist listens to the experts, learns about the needs from these professionals and then gives to actually improve upon a situation. In this case, those that should be listened to are professional educators. Give it a try. You might learn something.

Lorraine Naggi, The elite would never subject their kids to this nonsense, so why is it acceptable to subject everyone else’s kids to this? Our children will not be cogs in the machine, or serve as your children’s underlings to be dumped on and further disenfranchised!

Janet Dendy, Retired Public School Teacher, Parent, and Grandparent

Stephani Itibrout, English Teacher and Public School Parent

Michael Sahlman, 5th Grade Teacher & Taxpayer, Oakland, California

Lynne Rerucha, MA, Literacy Specialist, grandparent, taxpayer, Littleton, CO

Christina Cortez, CA Educator and Parent

Julie Borst, Parent and Special Education Advocate

Jennifer K. Cody, Post Secondary Financial Aid Adminstrator for 25 years, Current Director: Cornerstone Community Educational Foundation, Huntsville, AL

Lawrence Graykin, M.ED., Chairperson of NHCIC & Public Educator, NH

Lisa Harris, I have a Ph.D in education. I’m a 20-year veteran high school English teacher and adjunct professor.

Aneva Williams, Grandparent and school bus driver

Rose Reyes, Bilingual Teacher

Arthur S. Getzel, 36 years as a Public School Teacher New York City Department of Education, soon to be retired.

Melissa Bunch

David Sudmeier, History Teacher

Newark Students Union:  The Newark Students Union is an organization founded by and for Newark students with the goals of protecting student rights, ensuring we receive a quality education, and empowering the student voice in the political process.

Shanon Dahlstrom, Common Core Forum member and parent, Chelmsford MA

Kelly Trussell M.ED Special Education Teacher and parent

Sue Morgan, Retired Elementary Teacher Oakland Unified

Jody Harbison, Retired Public School Teacher of 42 years, previous Union President and Grievance Chair

Cathy DiBenedetto, Parent

Michelle McFadden DiNicola, Our committed group of parents in Highland Park support you in the divest quest! Bill Gates was not elected to anything & he is no Demi-God.

Lisa Bauman, Science Teacher and concerned Parent

Amber Tyndzik, MEdT, 5th grade teacher in Honolulu, Hawaii.
I have conducted thorough research on high-stakes, one-size-fits-all testing and its effects on our students and teaching practice. My master’s thesis was written on this topic. As a 5th grade teacher, I also have personal experience of the emotional distress and anxiety it causes my students. Bottom line, the Common Core, along with its high-stakes testing component, does not only negatively affect teaching practice, but it also does not give an accurate measure of student achievement and is causing unnecessary stress and anguish in our young people.

Pamela Spadaro, Parent/Teacher

Sue Snizek, Mom of 8 grown people all working all graduated all had that old time education you 2 + 2 is 4!!!! Get out of the education game !!!

Mandy Vonnie-Buehlander, Proud 26 year veteran Classroom Teacher

Tr. Kerry Quillen, Public School Teacher

Lynnda Butler: The Gates Foundation has no business sabotaging education!!!

Betsy Carpenter-Wilson, Music & History Teacher

Lynn Coleman, Early Childhood Educator, 18+ years experience in public schools, Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education

Angela Hanson, M.Ed., Teacher, Taxpayer, Union Member, Advocate for Social Justice

Alison McDowell, Philadelphia Public School Parent and member of Opt Out Philly

Kirsten Pannek, M. ED., teacher, and parent of a son who attended public school. My son and I both left public school because of Bill Gates’ influence on curriculum. Bill and Melinda Gates need to keep their money.

Carmen R. Andrews, MA Ed Parent & Teacher

Theresa Patane, Educator, Union member, public school parent: Our once great nation is being undermined by corporations, and the fact that corporate interests seem to matter more than those of the average citizen.

Dale Garrard. 18 year teacher of AP Japanese, Psychology, English, and IB Theory of Knowledge

Shirley Deckard, Parent, Grandparent, Retired Teacher, School Board Member

Susan Victoria, Teacher, Chicago Public Schools

Susan Lee Schwartz, NY State Council of Englis Teacher’s “Educator of Excellence” 1998, Retired NYC Teacher

Melanie Meridith: Bill and Melinda, you need to stop trying to control everything! You two are not GOD!

Chris Willems. Public School Science Teacher since 1997. New Haven, CT

Carole Scott, Kindergarten Teacher NYC Public School

Deborah Villagomez, Concerned Parent

Jackie Craig, Ms Ed, Counselor Education: We need equality in education – the great equalizer – to strengthen our communities. To obtain equality, we need to remove profit making entities who cherry pick those they feel are most likely to succeed.

Melodie J Larsen, Proud Public School Educator, Union Member and Advocate for students

Deb Hansen, If our wish is for this great country of ours to remain a democracy then corporations and special interests such as the Gates Foundation should stay out of the business of educating. I have no desire to live in an oligarchy – neither should you.

Scott and Amanda Schulte- Parents of a child with special needs.

Rhonda Greco, M.A., 3rd grade Teacher, 20+ years, concerned parent

Warren Williams:  Stick to your world health care improvement & leave education to those who actually know something about education.

Jo Lieb – Teacher, union member, grandmother

Please consider substitute teaching in a high-need school corporation for a week (without publicity and advance notice to the press or the public). Once you see where children and their schools need help, you might change your educational philanthropy so that more aid be given to CHILDREN and SCHOOLS rather than to organizations and so-called “leaders” of educational reform.

Mr. Leslie Kistler, Public School Teacher – Indiana

Z. Amansky, A 24 year veteran high school computer science teacher that’s prepared… just the type of student that Mr. Gates’ company would hire agrees 100% with this letter.

Edward B. Cook, WA Resident: Budweiser or craft beer?
Beer and education are best crafted by hand in small batches.
Embrace your inner PEMCO, Gates foundation, and be a little bit different.

Elizabeth Hastings, M.Ed, ESL Teacher, Union member, 25 years experience in public schools

Zen Q.I.: Please add my signature to your petition. I am a mother of a dyslexic child and we do not need the Gates to dictate to us how to educate. Shame on you Bill & Melinda Gates!!!!

Dr. William Cozart, Retired English Professor (40 years of university teaching), now English Tutor in New York City

Cheryl Consonni, Retired Teacher, CT

Martha L. Greene: You need to listen to the many educators that are telling you that we are heading in the wrong direction with these reform policies. I am a well respected educator that has been in the field for 37 years! I am not lazy but I am very concerned that you equate educational knowledge with money!

Heidi Nance, First Grade Teacher

Rick Bobrick, 34 year Veteran Teacher: Please read, sign, and circulate petition entitled DUMP ARNE DUNCAN. Thank you.  Here is the link to the people’s petition to rid the nation’s public school system from this one man disaster:  http://www.petition2congress.com/15685/dump-arne-duncan/

Elsie Berry:  Collaborate with TEACHERS and child development EXPERTS who VOLUNTEER their input and expertise.

Susan McGuire, High School Math Teacher

Joanne Godfrey: My students, as well as my teaching, are not a microsoft program that you can sell and make a profit from – you may be the richest man in the world, but you are dirt poor when it comes to dictating anything related to education. I don’t want your money, period. Sincerely, Joanne Godfrey, 26 year Kindergarten veteran teacher and master teacher with student interns via 4 major colleges in my city.

Susan Holtz, Parent of 7, Grandmother of 5, Teacher for 27 years

Janet Cain, Art teacher of 18 yrs and Parent

Jennifer Guerrra: Shame on you!

Susan Lee Schwartz: We know what you are doing. You are ending democracy by ending public education WHICH IS A Crucial INSTITUTION. INSTITUTION! Not schools! Word choice makes all the difference. An institution is at the root of a society! “School” is your shill- Duncan’s jargon, just as ‘teaching’ is the word he uses to replace the crucial ingredient… LEARNING! You twist the language and substitute “slogans” that sell magic elixirs… CHARTER SCHOOLS disguised as CHOICE. Orwell’s double-speak!
There are real, insidious forces in motion, visible to anyone who is looking, and we are looking at YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Names will be added as they are received. Please share your name and how you wish to be titled. You can add your name here by posting it with your title to the comment section, tweeting us @TeachersLetters2Gates , @EducatingGatesF or on Facebook here. Thank you in advance for signing. )

Posted in Demand to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Divest from Corporate Education Reform | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 364 Comments

Common Core Tests: Educational Malpractice for Students with Special Needs

Dear Mr. and Mrs Gates:

This is what is gong on in every county across the country as students with disabilities are forced to take tests they are not yet ready for and have not learned the content:

In about one week I, and my colleagues, will be asked to participate in educational malpractice. This malpractice will be in the form of administering the state mandated standardized tests. I have read many critiques about these new Common Core aligned tests. But no criticism I have read has touched on an issue of such fundamental fairness and decency that I must speak of it.

These tests discriminate against students with disabilities. They do this is many ways, but the method I wish to address today, is that they require us to give tests that cover material the student has not yet been taught. So imagine if you had taken French all year and were eager to demonstrate how much you had learned and felt ready for the French test. But the test you were handed instead was in Spanish. Your face flushes, you feel like you are about to throw up, but instead you shakily ask the teacher and she says, “well I know you have not learned this yet, but just do the best you can.”

This may seem extreme and unfathomable. But imagine a 5th grader with a severe learning disability in math. He needs to begin learning math facts and how to add and subtract accurately and place value. At the end of the year he has learned a lot and is so much farther ahead then when he began. But he is not yet at the end of the year 5th grade level. He is handed a test that contains decimals, percentages and fractions. He has learned none of this and we just shake our heads and say, “Do the best you can.” Right next to him sits the 5th grade girl reading at a 2nd grade level. After a year of hard work, she now reads at the beginning of 5th grade level! She is so proud. But the test she is forced to take is at the end of the 5th grade level, and she has not learned yet about metaphor and point of view. She’s heard of these things but has had no time to practice. She was busy working with her teacher on fluency, and difficult spelling and word patterns.

She looks around, feeling sick to her stomach. Her non-disabled peers are working easily and steadily. Some will do well and others not so well. She however will fail, and she knows it. She shakily raises her hand. Her teacher shrugs and says, “I know you have not learned this yet. Just do the best you can.”

Sincerely,

Jane Lenk, Teacher

Posted in Common Core High Stakes Testing, Educational Malpractice, Special Education, Special needs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teachers, be silent no more! TLtBG will be signed, sealed, delivered to Bill and Melinda Gates at #EducatingGates June 26th!

 

Dear Teachers,

Katie and I have formally endorsed the Washington Badass Teachers Association’s Educating the Gates Foundation Rally to be held on June 26th.  We would like to join hands in coalition building with the Wa BATs by asking our readers to write letters to Bill and Melinda Gates over the next 7 weeks prior to the rally.

It just so happens that our blog will be one year old  on June 9th and we thought we would coordinate our anniversary celebration with the Wa BATs rally (June 26th) by inviting all of you to join in both events!

All year long, teachers across the world have been writing and sharing their personal stories about how the Gates Foundation’s policy decisions — through Bill and Melinda’s corporate education reforms — have impacted the lives of their students, their classrooms, their schools, their communities, and their own profession.

Here’s how we would like to celebrate your work: We are asking you to be part of the Educating Gates Foundation Rally in letter form.  We know many of you will not be able to attend the rally in person.  Please think about the following list of  7 questions.  Analyze: How have the policies of the Gates Foundation impacted the lives of your students?  Your classrooms?  Your schools?  Your communities?  Your pedagogy?  Your personal lives? Your profession?  Your unions?

Here are a few guidelines for our new teacher TLtBG authors:

1.  Keep your letters professional, no foul language or personal attacks.

2.  We are not editors.  If you need help with editing, ask a friend before you share your letters to make sure you have used proper grammar, spelling, punctuation.

3.  We will post your letters “as is” with formatting changes when necessary.  Readers, please forgive minor errors and read for content.  We will include a picture that we feel most demonstrates the emotive quality of your letter.

Over the next 7 weeks, please write to Bill and Melinda Gates and share your letters with Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates via the following methods:

A. You can post your letters here in the comment section  here at http://www.TeachersLettersToBillGates.com or

B.  You can email them to the Wa BATs rally email address: EducatingTheGatesFoundation@gmail.com .

Teachers, be silent no more!  Write your story…

Here are the 7 topics:

1. How have you been affected by the teacher evaluation systems that were the result of the Gates Foundations’ advocacy?

2. How has your community been affected by school closures and expansion of charters as influenced by the Gates Foundations’ advocacy?

3. How have the Common Core State Standards — which are funded and promoted in great part by the Gates Foundation — influenced your teaching and your students?

4. How are the Common Core tests working?

5. How have No Child Left Behind, NCLB “waivers”, and Race to the Top policies influenced your classroom?

6. How have high stakes tests influenced your students, you, and your schools?

7. How has the use of technology and “personalized learning” via devices influenced your classroom?

We hope for an outpouring of letters from teachers over the next 7 weeks.  On Friday, June 20th, we will begin publishing the letters from the last year — including all of the letters to Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates for this rally received prior by June 20th.  These published letters from all of you will be hand delivered to the Gates Foundation on June 26th at the Wa BATs’ Educating the Gates Foundation Rally.

Thank you to all of those who have written previously.  Remember to write no later than June 20th!

Your letters will be published in Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates, Volume 1 and hand delivered as well.

Help us make history that day by including your letters in the movement begun a year ago June 9th.  Please pen your letters and send them to us as described above.  We want your voices to be part of “Educating the Gates Foundation Rally“. We hope that Bill and Melinda will accept our invitation and receive our letters in their published form.

What is your story that will help us in educating the Gates Foundation?

Sincerely,

Susan and Katie, Co-authors of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates

 

Posted in Educating the Gates Foundation Rally, Publishing Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates, Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WaBATS are Leading a Movement: #EducatingGates Foundation Rally – June 26th!

Dear Bill and Melinda,

Katie and I would like to extend an invitation to both of you to join us at the Gates Foundation in a movement started by teachers and hosted by the Washington Badass Teachers Association on June 26th in Seattle. This is an important event in your lives, one that will be part of your legacy.  Of course it will also be important for you to be there in person to receive our published Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates in a free printed copy of all of the heart-felt letters teachers have written to you over the first year of our blog to you.

Our blog anniversary date is coming up on June 9th. That day, one year ago, we invited you and Melinda to join us in a dialogue. The day before, Linda Shaw of the Seattle Times wrote this piece: “Gates Foundation looking to make nice with teachers“.

“Five years into the second phase of its mission to overhaul America’s public schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is moving to work more closely with teachers, generating interest but also wariness because of past hostilities.”

Irvin made that day: “We’re trying to start a movement,” Scott told the teachers in Scottsdale. “A movement started by you. A movement you’re leading.”  The reforms your foundation has sponsored have indeed started a movement, but perhaps not the one you intended.  There are scores of organizations working to support public schools, to oppose high stakes tests and the Common Core. Even Louis CK has joined in the fight!

So I guess we can say you (via Irvin Scott) were right! You started a movement and we are leading!  With the spirit of that movement, we’d like to celebrate our one year anniversary by inviting teachers from around the world to join us by writing to you and Melinda using weekly topics. These topics will be included in our published letters and hand delivered to you, should you attend this important event. We find the title of the rally fitting: Educating the Gates Foundation Rally, as that is exactly what Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates movement has been trying to do for the past year.

This rally is an opportunity for all of us to tell you how we feel about the levers you pull. It is also an opportunity for the two of you, and one that we don’t want you to pass up – an opportunity to get educated by the community impacted by your controls.

Anthony Cody, wrote recently about 3 main areas where your influence over corporate reform experiments are failing:

  • Teacher pay and evaluation systems that must give significant weight to test scores and VAM formulas.
  • Unlimited expansion and deregulation of charter schools.
  • Creation of Common Core standards and aligned tests and curriculum.

Over the next seven weeks, we will be collecting additional letters related to these issues, which we will share with you on June 26 in Seattle.   Readers, look for our next blog to be addressed to you with a list of our weekly topic questions.  You can see some of the issues WA BATS take with the Gates Foundation sponsored corporate education reform and their solutions to replace them here:

Educating the Gates Foundation png

Perhaps, you too, could learn from all of us. We hope you will be there to receive our letters, Bill and Melinda.  They may be one of the most important reading you add to your “summer reading list” this year.  Katie and I, on behalf of all those who have written to you at Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates, formally endorse the Educating the Gates Foundation Rally.  We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Susan and Katie, Co-Authors of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Educating the Gates Foundation Rally, Washington Badass Teachers Association | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Hours of Gates-led Kindergarten Common Core MAP Tests! #TESTHearingsNow

Dear Bill and Melinda,

You are making history, Bill and Melinda.  You have now reached a new level of notoriety.  You two can now be known in history books as the American billionaire couple — with your seat on Air Force One and 80 senators in your pockets — who are forcing 5 year olds to sit behind a computer screen taking a Common Core MAP test for 5 hours.  As the richest couple in the world, you have the hubris to think you have that right?

You can now be infamous for pushing a testing system of adaptive Common Core MAP tests down to the early childhood level.  You are accountable because you have used your power and wealth to force feed the Common Core to the Department of Education, the State School Officers, and the state Governors with what amounts to as a whopping $2.3 BILLION as discovered recently by Jack Hassard, noted here by Diane Ravitch.

“We have long known on this site that Bill Gates’  foundation underwrote every aspect of the Common Core standards. Mercedes Schneider has documented nearly $200 million in grants specifically for the writing, evaluation, review, implementation, and advocacy for the Common Core standards.

Jack Hassard, a retired professor of science education, has scoured the Gates search engine and concluded that the investment of the Gates Foundation in the Common Core is actually $2.3 billion.”

You are pushing the inhumane and unnecessary NWEA Common Core MAP tests with major financial backing.  Sara Littman wrote about your $5 million grant to the NWEA MAP tests in Connecticut here.  Seattle Education Blog wrote about the Gates Foundation grants for MAP tests also.

Because of you — despite being in tears, these innocent 5 and 6 year old children — children who used to be finger painting, learning nursery rhymes, engaging in dramatic play with miniature kitchens, role playing with costumes and puppets, and building forts with large wooden blocks — endured FIVE hours of standardized testing.  FIVE hours of standardized testing of 5 and 6 year olds?  Do you really think American parents and teachers are going to allow this testing abuse?

As a kindergarten teacher and special education teacher with 20 years experience in early childhood education, I am outraged!

Every early childhood expert I know will be as well, but I want more than that! I want parents to be outraged! I want teachers and administrators to be outraged! I want them all to call Congress and demand #TESTHearingsNow!

And then I want Congress to be outraged enough to put a gate up between corporations and public education to preserve public education for our children, our parents, our teachers, our communities,  and our very democracy.

So is this test really that bad? Here is a demo of the MAP test for primary grades.  Just imagine being 5 or 6 years old, sitting behind a screen taking this test for 5 hours, then read the details below as written by the Badass Teacher who is sending out the alarm call to stop this madness!

The day my kindergarten took a test called the Common Core MAP

 

“We had been told to set up each child with their own account on their numbered Chromebook. The Teacher on Special Assignment came around and spent about an hour in each class doing this in the previous weeks.

We didn’t know exactly when the test would be given, just that some time on Thursday or Friday, the proctors would come and test. I set out morning work for my kids today but before the bell rang, the proctor arrived. I quickly swept off the tables and she said we’d begin right away. I went out to pick up my class.

 

While the proctor set up the computers (disregarding what we had done — that hour the TOSA spent in each class was unnecessary), I went through the usual morning routine.

 

Parents who happened to be in the room scrambled to unpack the headphones, which had arrived in the office that morning, and distribute the computers. We started a half hour later. The kids were excited to be using the computers. That didn’t last for long.

 

The test is adaptive. When a child answers a question, the next batch of questions is slightly harder or easier depending on the correctness of their answer. The math and language arts sections each had 57 questions.

The kids didn’t understand that to hear the directions, you needed to click the speaker icon. We slipped around the room explaining.

 

Answers were selected by drop and drag with a trackpad, no mouse was available. A proctor in one room said that if a child indicated their answer, an adult could help. Other proctors didn’t allow this. I had trouble dragging and dropping myself on the little trackpads.

 

Kids in one class took five hours to finish. Kids were crying in 4 of 5 classes.

There were multiple computer crashes (“okay, you just sit right there while we fix it! Don’t talk to anyone!”). There were kids sitting for half hour with volume off on headsets but not saying anything. Kids accidentally swapped tangled headsets and didn’t seem to notice that what they heard had nothing to do with what they saw on the screen.

 

Kids had to solve 8+6 when the answer choices were 0-9 and had to DRAG AND DROP first a 1 then a 4 to form a 14. There were questions where it was only necessary to click an answer but the objects were movable (for no reason). There were kids tapping on their neighbor’s computers in frustration. To go to the next question, one clicks “next” in lower right-hand corner…..which is also where the pop-up menu comes up to take you to other programs or shut down, so there were many instances of shut-downs and kids winding up in a completely different program.

 

Is this what we want for our youngest children?” ~ Anonymous Badass Teacher

Are people standing by and letting this happen?As it turned out, Jesse Hagopian led the Seattle teachers, parents, and students to protest the MAP tests and won.Last night we organized a Twitter Storm #TESTHearingsNow to call on Congress to hold formal Congressional hearings on the misuse and abuse of standardized testing. Our Network for Public Education #TESTHearingsNow Twitter Storm engaged parents, students, teachers, administrators, education experts, unions, professors emeritus, media, and legislators in this social media activist event.  After the event, this press release went out from Network for Public Education.  One congressman has taken up our call so far:

“Answering NPE’s call, Arizona Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-3), a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, responded with a sentiment that has been echoed by parents and educators throughout the United States. The six-term Representative said, “The need for an impartial and transparent hearing on mandatory testing and privatization efforts directed at public education, is critical.  We need to have an open discussion about the dismantling of public education. I hope the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will hold hearings that allow our public schools and the families they serve the opportunity to have an open and honest hearing.”  

We trended #1 for several hours, showing evidence of wide support for these Congressional hearings investigating testing abuse. The many horrific examples of the misuse and abuse of standardized testing — like the one above that I read about today on the Badass Teachers Association blog  — become one more important reason we need to support these hearings.Bill and Melinda, it is time to stop this insanity!

We need a firewall between corporate education reform and public schools.  We need a firewall between privatizers and public schools.  We need a firewall between predatory philanthropists and public education!

Readers, it is time to take action!  Join us in calling your Congressmen on Monday, March 24th and demand formal Congressional hearings on standardized testing!  Use this Common Cause link to find your congressmen/women.  And use the Network for Public Education Toolkit to assist you with this campaign.

Readers, it is time to demand #TESTHearingsNow!

Susan DuFresne – Full Day Integrated Kindergarten Teacher and Co-Author of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates

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