The current product of my latest research endeavor:
It started with six of us.
in the same geographical area
telling our stories.
Counter narratives to policy talk and
We went around and around—
teacher and student renegades,
entering the conversation
on what education should be.
Our children are desperate for connection.
We all are.
We have a responsibility
to expose them to the world beyond their doorstep.
You can be in an all-black school,
an all-white school,
and still learn what is going on out there.
Throw some yellow paint on the book.
We cannot stay in our little world—
these are your citizens in my school.
Our kids have the same issues,
not the same opportunities.
Everything you seek
is already there.
The luxury to work intimately
with 12 or 13 kids
to build trust
to engage each student
to hear every child’s voice
to make a difference.
I compensate for the numbers—
put out fires,
contact parents only when something goes wrong.
I do what I have to do
don’t even know where I am some days.
My students do not walk across campus,
to breathe fresh air.
They have blackboards without black.
Their stomachs growling.
Some have lost their homes
The frustration must burst
We are accomplices,
not connecting with children,
in ways they deserve.
We tell them:
Get in line.
Check off this list of requirements.
We don’t teach get-along skills,
just send them home.
They know they are being cheated.
We put up ridiculous barriers.
If The World Is Flat,
why this wall in Mexico?
why this graduation test?
It’s a set-up. A pipe. A farce.
600 in, 200 out.
Kids are failing,
with our names attached to the scores.
We separate students
and keep them separated.
What message are we sending?
Get the credit,
We have created a monster.
I always say curriculum ain’t everything—
you never know where talent is going to come from.
We have to model how we expect them to act.
When we pay attention—
let them know they are the end product—
they walk a little taller.
Surrender our power,
let their lives speak.
Where crisis is occurring,
If Bill Gates can talk about 21st century education,
so can our students.
I don’t think any of this
is going to change Arne Duncan’s mind.
Trained to sit in rows all their lives,
the students learn something important—
to find their voices.
Now we just have to listen.
We are the gatekeepers of education.
Unless we have these conversations in living rooms,
there will be no change.
Accountability measures strangling public education,
the Department of Education bullying us,
but I’m feeling a little empowered.
I did not go to share.
I went to learn,
and I learned a lot.