Teaching or Testing – Teachers Talk

Surveys and focus groups do not capture the pain and frustration teachers experience under mandates for high stakes testing and teacher evaluations that require the constant proving of ones worth. This video from Educators for a Democratic Union captures some of the devastating impact of testing on teachers, students, and our hopes for public education. […]

Why I am running for President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association

I became a teacher because I was committed to public education as the soil in which we grow the democratic project. I became a teacher of English Language Arts because it seemed an ideal space in which to develop empathy and imagination; to ask the questions of meaning and purpose that guide our choices; to […]

education activists gather, talk, strategize: reclaim the conversation

On May 4, 2013 a group of educators, parents, students, and community activists gathered at Barnard College to share their experiences within the assault on public education, draw connections of understanding, strengthen ties, and plan actions. One of our first actions was to create the video linked below. In it organizers and participants talk about […]

Activism is the alternative

Last week I was on a local radio program, Bread and Roses, to discuss the assault on public education in its various nefarious forms, and the possibilities of resistance, especially through grassroots union organizing. As I was discussing the ways that educators are being boxed in by shock doctrine tactics of depleted resources on the […]

A story of retaliation, of struggle, and of joy in solidarity

In the year since I received my letter of non-renewal for supporting students who stood up to Pearson-Stanford’s field test of a national assessment for student teaching, I found myself in many conversations about fear. Teacher educators, teachers, students, even parents worry about the power held over them and the repercussions if they speak out. […]

On thoughtful disagreements and righteous anger

I have been writing this post in my head since at least Occupy the DOE, so it is not simply a direct reply to president of the American Educational Research Association Bill Tierney’s recent email in which he, I expect in anticipation of the protests planned for Arne Duncan’s invited talk at the AERA conference, […]

“your very existence is an act of rebellion”

We’ve been clanging the warning bells in higher education for years, maybe this story about computer scoring of essays as a way to improve students’ writing will get the attention of our colleagues in the academy. Like all of the data driven, computer based instruction that is being sold to us/imposed on us, this is […]


Today the people of Chicago take to the streets to let the plutocracy know that public schools are OUR schools and will not be shut down by fiat. Schools are being defended in Philadelphia and New York. Parents and students are saying no to high stakes testing and yes to opting out. Teachers boycott and […]


This is not a blog about being shocked, shocked to find out that the AERA has invited the state’s chief purveyor of the corporate takeover of public education to speak at its annual conference. There is nothing shocking about Arne Duncan speaking at the AERA, anymore than it is shocking that corporate think tanks get […]

Dangerous Talk

Talking is dangerous. Jesse Hagopian, a teacher leader from Garfield High School, says that their boycott, “began with a conversation in the teacher’s lounge.” In the fall of 2011 I found myself in many conversations with people I had never before met. Conversations about economic justice, about the possibilities for and nature of change, about […]

The emotional violence of the accountability regime: part two

You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?-   Talking Heads In the lead up to NCATE at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I was given the job of helping to figure out how the various assessments could be fitted to the structures of the web-based data management system we had purchased. As […]

The emotional violence of the accountability regime: part one

You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?-  Talking Heads When I came to education later in life, I had two pictures of the work in mind. One was of conversations with students about literature—poetry, novels, stories, essays and treatises. Works I selected. Works they selected. Our own writing. I had some sense […]

Pearson comes to teacher education, and we are supposed to be cool with that?

When I am not spitting mad at the calls for some kind of high stakes assessment for teacher education, I am flabbergasted and frightened. How can it be that at the same time that we are experiencing the full destructive impact on k12 education of the accountability regime, its high stakes testing, surveillance and privatization, […]

see something, say something–organize!

These are scary and exciting times to be an activist. Scary because the privatizing dehumanizing forces of neo-liberalism are wrecking havoc everywhere; from the climate, to endless wars, to health care, to outrageous income inequality, and, as readers of this blog know, to dismantling public education.  The magnitude of this assault, its machine-like ability to […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,952 other followers