Collective Courage

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 6.38.47 AMAfter reading How the Common Core Is Slowly Changing My Child, I couldn’t help feeling similarly. I don’t think Common Core is terrible; I think the implementation in New Mexico is inappropriate. A system created with the help of some professors and fewer K-12 teachers who didn’t consider the learning curve of English Language Learners can’t be considered completely adequate in a state that has roughly 20% ELL students. The Common Core is also being implemented too soon, with too many inconsistencies, and with too many eventual punitive measures to teachers if success isn’t met.

Now, on top of all the other testing from the district over each and every unit of study for common core, Skandera’s State Department has mandated that students take end-of-course testing K-12. What valuable information will be gained from students being tested in P.E. in Kindergarten? And how is it the PE teacher’s fault if students who are genetically not gifted athletically don’t do well?

The troubling thing about teaching right now is that at some point, we’re complicit in this perverse system. I realize we’ve signed contracts, we’ve made commitments, we have mortgages and bills, but as a friend of mine says, “Even the guards at Auschwitz thought they were just doing their job.“ The extremity of this comparison might not bear weight; yet, the sentiment rings true. Why are we just going along with everything?

I understand insubordination: willfully disobeying laws or superiors. Acts of insubordination might get you fired, and it’s this fear that keeps many of us doing exactly what’s asked of us, even as we roll our eyes and wonder which non-educator came up with the idea. Yet, there’s not been sufficient talk about the courage of creative insubordination: using best practices despite the trends and laws–the decisions many of us make individually to help our students in numerous ways everyday. Now might be the time to be collective in our courage.

Maybe as teachers, as educators, as parents, as community members, it’s time we started saying, “No.” We can stop. We can think. We can join together. If we’re brave and have courage and decide that creative insubordination can make a difference.

The first step here in Albuquerque happens on October 22, 2013 from 5-6 at Del Norte High School parking lot. There will be a march to protest the changes the State Department has implemented: more testing, more requirements to graduate (without allowing for grandfathering), and the continued use of test scores determining students’, teachers’ and schools’ worth through a flawed evaluation system.

Who’s with me?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Collective Courage

  1. I am 100% with you. Thank you for expressing what so many of us are thinking. I don’t know one teacher that isn’t drained, confused, exhausted and that isn’t feeling insulted every time a new mandate comes from the PED. But we continue working with our hearts and minds, here, in the trenches, with the ones that matter to us. As you wrote two entries ago, they want us to be selfish, to worry more about ourselves and our “grades” but our act of subversion is that we continue to work for our students, using our insight, our knowledge, our expertise and experience with the understanding that those “inventing” policy know little to nothing about how to educate and change lives positively! They can’t take that from us, they are not inside these walls with these hundreds of evolving young minds, we have the real power to continue to make changes. Yes, teaching IS a political act.

    I love you friend!

  2. Gilberto Lobo

    DANA:

    COMO SIEMPRE, LO QUE ESCRIBES TIENE MUCHO SENTIDO.
    TE FELICITO Y OJALA EL 22 DE OCTUBRE HAYA UNA ASISTENCIA NUMEROSA DE PADRES Y EDUCADORES.
    EL ARTICULO QUE MENCIONAS “COLLECTIVE IN OUR COURAGE” ESTA MUY BUENO. GRACIAS POR COMPARTIRLO.

    DANA, LA RESPUESTA ESTA EN EDUCADORES COMO TU Y NO EN TANTO PAPELEO Y EVALUACIONES. NUESTROS ESTUDIANTES Y NUESTRA PROFESION MERECEN RESPETO POR PARTE DE LOS ADMINISTRADORES DE PED.

    CUIDATE Y SALUDOS A LOS TRES MOSQUETEROS
    GILBERTO

  3. Lisa Salvador

    Dana-
    Our professions may differ, but I empathize with you. You make me very proud when I read your blog.
    Lisa
    PS and damnit…I just want to know what Gilberto is saying!!! : )

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