A Letter to My Massachusetts Colleagues
Dear Massachusetts Public Schoolteachers,
I am writing to you today from Dubai, where I relocated in October to escape the insanity that came with trying to educate our students under the ridiculous mandates of corporate reform. We all know well the disastrous turn education has taken over the last decade or so, and it is time we finally unite to stop our schools from careening down this path any further.
While I know PARCC is already underway this week in many schools, it’s still not too late to do something about it. Most parents – and many teachers, I assume – have been led to believe that a child’s participation in PARCC is mandatory. It is not. Bob Bickerton, an official with the MA DESE, recently admitted that students can not be forced to take PARCC. Likewise, they may not face any adverse consequences as a result of being opted-out.
The purpose of this letter is to urge each one of you to notify your students’ parents about their right to opt their children out of PARCC – immediately. Our Freedom of Speech Act entitles all of us to take this step without any possible consequence.
The bottom line is, each of us went into teaching because we care about the well-being of children, and because we want to see the next generation succeed. We do know best; we are experts in the field of education, and we need to stop letting non-experts dictate. Especially when everything they are telling us to do is so very, tragically wrong.
The state of Massachusetts has long been considered as having the best public schools in America. Isn’t it time we reclaim that title, and go down in history as the state that led the nation to victory in this corporate reform war?
Let’s see what can happen to ed reform when it comes from the bottom up for a change. Let’s see what we teachers can do when we do what we know is right. Let’s join together and encourage our students’ parents to opt them out of PARCC.
I have written a sample letter below – please feel free to share it, edit, or create your own. But please, please do what’s best for the students in Massachusetts, and at the very least give the parents the option – and the knowledge – to make an informed decision.
As you know, the PARCC field test is currently being administered in your son or daughter’s classroom. I am writing to inform you that your child’s participation in this field-test is not mandatory.
Having your child participate in PARCC this spring will serve no benefit to his/her personal education or development as a citizen. Students are being asked to take part in this “experiment” to “test the test” of the Common Core – the set of standards that Massachusetts (& most other states) adopted. Common Core State Standards were set – and in stealth – by a small group of people (none of whom were actually teachers), funded from start to finish by one source (Gates Foundation), for the purpose of competing for federal monies via Obama’s Race to the Top initiative. While the media may say differently, education experts and the vast majority of teachers do not support these changes that Gates and RTTT have imposed for many reasons; the primary one being that they are not what’s in the best interest of the children we teach.
I am writing to you today because I care very much about the social, emotional, and academic development of your child, and also because I know that the general populous is being fed mis-truths about what is happening in public schools. As parents, caregivers, and taxpayers, you have the right to make informed decisions when considering the well-being of your children, and so today, I am urging you to do just that.
For more information, I suggest you visit dianeravitch.net, networkforpubliceducation.org, citizensforpublicschools.org (MA advocacy group), teachersletterstobillgates.com, and theindignantteacher.wordpress.com; also check out the “Mass Parents Opt Out of PARCC Pilot” page on Facebook.
Only then will you be able to make the best choice for your child, and the future of his education.