Tuesday, December 8, 2015

BAT Holiday Wish List

On a whim, we recently posted this question in our discussion group.

Hey Badasses! What's on your Holiday Wish List? On mine is the wish for all of these corrupt governors to get indicted! How about you?

Here are some of our BAT responses! 

- no more useless testing
- returning academic freedom to America's public k-12 schools
- an end to the attacks on public education in urban communities of color
- an end to the attacks on public education in all communities
- adequate funding for our public schools
- for people to see charters for what they really are, a for-profit drain of tax dollars away from students and a get-rich sceme
- the state to stop attacking my pension
- Pearson to go bankrupt because they lose endless lawsuits by angry parents
- teaching to return to the level of satisfaction that we had 10 years ago
- someone to take Common Core and close reading to the North Pole and bring back opt out forms
- a crisis of conscience in even one corporate education predator
- a class action lawsuit for all students that have been intentionally abused by the test and punish deforms of these past years
- philanthropy that addresses the scourge of poverty in the USA
- a budget that helps teachers address ALL students' needs and for the freedom to spend it on our students, not more testing or
- less data
- a big, GIANT lawsuit to keep our children's data 100% private
- that my beautiful, hard working ESL students are able to get adequate time for LEARNING and less time being forced to take standardized tests that are much too high for their English level

But you need to read our favorite response!!

Dear Santa,

This is the time of year when we write to you with our gift desires. What we want you to bring us. What we want to find under the tree, wrapped in bright paper, dressed in bold ribbon, and beautifully-crafted gift tags so everyone knows this package … is … for … ME.

Dear Santa,

I have no wish list for you. No demands for gifts that magically show up between the hour I go to bed Christmas Eve and the morning hour in which I wake up.

Dear Santa,

My list is for the things I want you to take away:

1. Invalid, unreliable standardized testing that tortures children with the hours they must spend on a computer taking an assessment that makes no sense to them. They have learned, but the test is just too damn confusing.
2. Collapsed curriculums because superintendents, under-superintendents, district staff, administrators and teachers have given up. “Give me the script and I’ll read the script.” Take the scripts away, Santa. Surely you have room on the sleigh after you have emptied your bag of gifts.
3. High expectations. OMG, no one has suffered from high expectations like you, Santa. Yet you deliver the right gift to the right person. Can’t we trust teachers to do the right thing by their students without the bludgeoning of ridiculous buzzwords and catch phrases?
4. Test prep masquerading as lessons. Achieve 3000 anyone? iReady? Or my favorite, please Santa, take away all the 
5. PARCC. SBAC. And all the derivatives that are nothing more than the Emperor dressed up in new clothes, especially you, SAGE test rented by Florida.
6. Charter school rules that tilt the playing field until we, public school employees and children alike, slide into the sewer.
7. Naked greed, as in Manny Diaz’s bill to strip school boards of any authority over charters in their district. But Manny is connected to a charter chain. Isn’t he reacting to Palm Beach County’s challenge to charter schools in the courts? Oh, Santa, maybe you could take Manny back to the North Pole and isolate him in one of your workshops. Ten years of making Legos sets might fix his lack of ethics. Or maybe not. I’d hate to see a new line of Legos Charter Schools. All you need is the plastic bricks and you too can rip off taxpayer dollars.
8. VAM measures for teacher evaluations, which everyone, including expert statisticians and research foundations, agree do not capture any significant metric for teacher performance.
9. School grading formulas. Stupid idea, really, when you think about it. Best practices and research say to have multiple measures, but then the JEB Bush ‘this-is-my-mark-in-history’ moment says one narrow test, flawed and badly constructed, tells all. Take it away, Santa.
10. Common Core. How did we let the worms that eat the apple construct the apple and convince us it was good to eat? This monstrosity makes Eve in the Garden look good in comparison.
11. At least Eve was deceived. Adam knew better and sinned anyway. Santa, could you take away the Gates Foundation? The Walton Foundation? The Koch Brothers? And just for kicks, Eva Moscowitz, too.
12. Finally, Santa, as in the 12 Days of Christmas, it is my twelfth wish and I am allowed no more. Can you take away the real cause of educational failure? Poverty, violence, and the mess our children must live in. Take away their trauma.

Please, Santa. Is it too much to ask for?

Stay tuned as the discussion continues over the holidays!


  1. Dear Santa,

    I want to not default to Ineffective on 50% of my evaluation because of disagreements over how paperwork should be filled out.
    I want to not be put on the defensive during my post-observation conference, especially for things I have no control over.
    I ask for courage to speak out and stand up for myself to my administrators.
    Dear Santa, I want a Friday evening where I am not filled with feelings of failure, poured into me all week long by punitive measures that amount to witch-hunting.
    Dear Santa, I want to experience real teaching and learning, not drilling and testing. I want to know what it's like when my lessons teach real goals, real content, authentic to my subject area. I want to not hate my subject area anymore.
    Santa, I would like some job security, please. Every day feels like it could be my last. Everything I do or don't do, say or don't say, feels like it is being cherry picked and twisted into proof that I am not a good teacher. I need employment, and I actually do want to be a teacher; it seems that the field of education does not want me.

    1. I'm sure I'm only one of countless numbers of teachers who've been in exactly the same precarious place. It took me over 4 years to escape the persecution by an administrator who, like so many others over my 11+ years on that campus, was using that position as a temporary landing pad while preparing to move up the district career ladder. It's unfortunate and dangerous for people like this--whose leadership is supposed to, at least in part, model for us the way we ought to treat students--to desecrate the relationships that are so important for effective human functioning. Regardless of your, or my, or anyone else's teacher rating, each of us deserves acknowledgment and basic human respect--not the reign of terror that's actually being used against us, and ultimately, against the students whose precious minds & hearts we are charged with nourishing & nurturing.

  2. I want my special education assistants who do so much for me and my giant case load of kids to get a raise. They shouldn't have to work for less than they can make at McDonald's.


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