8.25.2015

Fasting Again as the War Against Public Education Wages On

I know, I look tired and hungry. 
I'm fasting today in solidarity with #FightforDyett, a community movement in Chicago to save a beloved school.

I fasted during testing in 2003 to protest the high stakes testing and punitive measures of No Child Left Behind. I blamed Bush for NCLB, but as congress revamps the bill this week, most democrats, even the most progressive, continue to support the "accountability measures" that corporate education reformers use to foster distrust in our public schools, shut down campuses like Dyett, and privatize our public education system.

With deep pockets in The Gates Foundation and Walmart's Walton family, the reform movement's attack on teachers and students can feel too big to fight, but we are fighting back. We will not surrender our classrooms. Communities like Dyett are fighting back. Representatives like Mark Takano, a former teacher and public education advocate, are fighting back. Our unions who represent our teachers are fighting back. Our parents who send their students to us and trust their public schools are fighting back. We will continue to fight against the failing school narrative and show that our teachers are teaching, our students are learning and despite what they throw at us this is happening at schools everywhere.

Today I fast, but I also teach. Then, I go home and get my little ones to bed. With an empty belly, I write this hoping that when my kids are ready to attend our neighborhood school, it is still there. I hope the attacks will cease, that our schools will be fully funded and filled with joy and music and play and sport alongside the academics. I hope our schools have all they need, in my neighborhood, in South Los Angeles, in Chicago, and New Orleans. That is what our families and communities deserve. That is what I fight for it.

For more about my fight for public education, explore these posts:

To Test Prep or Not to Test Prep?

Fighting for Democracy: Some Lessons From Egypt

Testing Season Is Upon Us! But It Doesn't Have to Be...

My Take on Waiting for Superman

Testing Fast Anniversary

Thank You Patriots, Our Public School Parents

The Schools Our Communities Deserve

Civil Disobedience

8.17.2015

First Day of School Jitters

Sometimes I worry I won't be able to do it.

Maybe this year, because now I'm a mom of two, because I'm so tired-in-my-bones, because I've become the veteran teacher, because, because, because, I can't.

But every year, well, every year so far, my students have filled my room with energy. They lift me up and help me forget the grief of losing my mother, or the heartbreak of leaving my six-month old at daycare, or whatever else might be weighing me down.

And every year when I ask they share their stories with me. They remind me that mine is just one of so many stories unfolding. Sometimes their stories bring a small smile, or a belly-laugh. Sometimes their stories make me hold my head in my hands. Sometimes I have to turn away and fight back the tears.

I've promised myself I will walk away from teaching if I ever stop loving this job, my students; their stories. So, tonight, as I wait on the edge of another school year, I hope I can do it again. I hope we can all do it again.

Other first day posts...