TN Teacher Attends Public Ed Nation Event

On October 11th, the Network for Public Education hosted the first Public Education Nation event in Brooklyn, New York.

The event focused on “Changing the Conversation” and allowed critics of the current education reform agenda a platform to discuss ways to improve public schools. The event was chaired by edu-blogging celebrity Anthony Cody.

Tennessee was represented at the event by teacher and President of the Franklin County Education Association Lucianna Sanson. She previously answered some questions for us about her trip to DC with the Badass Teachers Association.

Sanson provided this report from the Public Education Nation event:


Overall impression
I attended the Public Education Nation Event, in Brooklyn on Saturday, October 11, 2014 to listen, learn, make connections, and build relationships with other education activists across the country. I was honored to be asked by Anthony Cody, author of The Educator and the Oligarch, and award-winning edu-blogger at “Living in Dialogue,” to take part in the event as a social media moderator.
What I took away from the NPE event was that we all have to work together and become community activists in order to, as Jitu Brown said, “kill” corporate ed reform.
On the current climate in Tennessee
Memphis, Shelby County, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, are all feeling the pressure applied by the heavy hand of the Achievement School District as it lays chains of Charters across the state. Teachers in Tennessee are stressed, demoralized, over-worked, and under-paid in many districts.
Tennessee teachers should all watch the archived videos of the NPE event. The panels featured students, administrators, college administrators, parents, and classroom teachers. The panelists are passionate and determined to save our public schools. Watching the panels will give TN teachers the knowledge that we are not alone in the battle here in the Volunteer state. TN teachers can learn how to band together and speak about the attrocities happening in our public schools. Tennessee teachers, I encourage you to speak the truth about toxic testing, developmentally inappropriate standards, loss of arts and recess, and the systematic removal of experienced teachers replaced by green Teach for America recruits.
TN teachers need to realize that they have a voice and they can use it to speak truth to power and stand up to the Corporate Bully of Ed Reform because we do have allies across the Nation that are watching and are willing to help us fight back corporate ed reform.
On how parents and teachers can fight back against institutional ed reform in TN
We begin by having honest dialogue with parents about what the testing is like in our schools. We educate parents on what is happening. We discuss with our students the affects that the testing is having on them. We inform our parents that they can refuse certain tests for their child. We can listen to the voices of our students when they have a concern about being tested. We can encourage our students to speak up about testing and the effects it is having on their educational experience.
These videos and discussions should be shared again and again and again with community leaders and policy makers, county commissioners, board of education members, lawyers, civil rights groups, and citizens who help fund our public schools. These are the grassroots experts discussing the “in the trenches” reality of ed reform, not astroturf faux educators discussing “rigor and grit.”
A message to TN policymakers
My message for Tennessee policymakers is to stop listening to the corporate millionaries, especially the Koch brothers (yes, Williamson County, I am talking to you)  and start listening to the teachers before our state loses our most valuable asset, our public school system, to venture capitalist vultures who grow fat while starving our students.
Tennessee Politicians- Here are my questions for you:  Are you willing to sacrifice our children and our public schools to corporate America? A corporate America that knows nothing about education, or education practice? Or will you choose to embrace community schools, listen to experienced educators, and allow our tax  dollars to support our public schools?
A final observation
One last tidbit from the forum. At the end of the finale, when Diane Ravitch and Jitu Brown were taking questions, I stood up and spoke to them about the ed reform situation in TN. I spoke about Memphis and Shelby County being merged and excessing veteran teachers. I spoke about TFA staffing the schools. I spoke about Nashville struggling to fight back the ASD invasion. I also mentioned our brave advocy groups here in Tennessee: the TN BATs, BEARs, TREE, and SPEAK, and how we network across the state to keep each other informed on the shenanigans going on in our state. I wanted people to know that Tennessee needs to be on the radar as a targeted state.
When I was through speaking, Diane Ravitch gave a positive shout out to our activist groups by saying ” Well, one thing I know for sure about Tennessee is that they have BATs, BEARS and TREEs!!”
Sanson with Diane Ravitch at the Public Education Nation event:
Luci and Diane
For more on the event, see Russ Walsh’s take.
Follow Lucianna Sanson @Lucianna_Sanson

One thought on “TN Teacher Attends Public Ed Nation Event

  1. Charters MUST stop in TN. The new Community School law passed during the last legislative session MUST be repealed. Charters and Community Schools are being promoted in an effort to eliminate elected school boards and when that happens local/parental control will be eliminated too. People need to understand the man running the ASD….Chris Barbic. He like Dr. McIntrye of Knox County are graduates of the Broad Superintendent Academy. Eli Broad is one of the 3 biggest financial contributors to Common Core and Charter School organizations. Eli Broad believes that education should be privatized and that is EXACTLY what Chris Barbic was trained to do and EXACTLY why he is here in TN. They are trying to model TN after the mess in New Orleans with their equivalent called RSD. Jesse Register just fired 4 teachers and it will be interesting to see who gets hired to replace them. Any bets on TFA teachers??? ALL aspects of Race To The Top must be REPEALED and that includes the teacher evaluations, ASD, massive data collection, etc etc. Roll back the clock. Put the old standards back in place (which by the way showed their success in our last NAEP results……CC had nothing to do with that success story) Then start building a REAL success story in Tennessee. Bring in experts, not political hacks from SCORE, Microsoft, Pearson, Chamber of Commerce etc. Hire Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Dr. Jim Milgram and/or Dr. Ze’ev Wurman to oversee true education reform in Tennessee. Put them at the head of the table and our state will be amongst the best just like MA (Dr. Stotsky turned MA into the #1 academic state in the US) Dr. Milgram and Dr. Wurman (CA – They too had excellent standards and performance before CC). If this administration tries to play games with us on this issue they are going to see a mass exodus of students from the public school system. Lets not forget Tennessee Against Common Core that has done a lot of work fighting Common Core for over 2 years now. And the comments about Williamson County’s new School Board members is totally unwarranted. Those ladies worked their butts off and AFP stepped in to take credit because they ran commercials against Common Core and gave them a little last minute credit for their fight to get elected BUT those ladies worked a hard campaign and THEY won the election not AFP. While you are at the polls I highly recommend voting for Dr. Shaun Crowell for Governor. He has committed to repealing all aspects of RTTT. Repealing Common Core is not enough. CC is just a small piece of the pie. A very important piece but only a piece of the entire mess that needs to be addressed in TN education.

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