This Is What Democracy Looks Like

democracy-cover-5

I had been to the Lincoln Memorial before. I had visited earlier in the week, even. But on this scorching July day, I wasn’t there by myself. Or with a few friends.

I stood before the Lincoln Memorial with hundreds of like-minded people. Ready to talk. Ready to listen.

Ready Continue reading

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And Justice For All

npe2016

My suitcase is unpacked; my belongings are put away. Already last weekend is fading into the recesses of my memory.

Last weekend I got to see friends from across the country. I met new people. I networked with bloggers and documentary filmmakers and teachers and parents and librarians. I, who hate having my picture taken, willingly joined in group photos in restaurants and convention center ballrooms and with Diane Ravitch.

Last weekend was the NPE conference in Raleigh. Continue reading

#NPE16NC

Thus far, the Network for Public Education has held two annual conferences. Their third conference will be this April in Charlotte Raleigh, North Carolina. (It’s possible I keep saying the wrong city, although I have triple-checked that I booked a ticket to…Raleigh. Yes. Raleigh.

Make that quadruple-checked.)

So why do you care? Or rather, why should you care? Continue reading

Oh, 2015.

Sparkler, Holding, Hands, Firework, Sparkles, Fire

Or alternately:

undercoverBAT and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Oh, 2015.

It was the year I met activists from around the country at the Network for Public Education’s Conference in Chicago. It was the year I was a delegate at the NEA Representative Assembly in Chicago. Those were the two bright spots in an otherwise dark year.

Because there’s no nice way to put it: this has been a devastating year, both personally and professionally.

I thought the last few years had their low points. Little did I know what was lurking around the corner when the ball dropped to ring in 2015.

It was the year I lost my job.

It was the year I suffered a loss far greater than that.

***

This blog is almost exactly one year old. I adopted the Twitter handle @undercoverbat in the fall of 2014 after the BAT Rally in DC on the steps of the Department of Education. Even then I pondered starting a blog and participated in Anthony Cody’s how-to session, but I wasn’t ready. Yet.

I’ve been rereading what I’ve posted this year, and wow. I sounded so naive and innocent in the beginning. (In my defense, I hadn’t returned to school from break yet. Things quickly spiraled downward.)

I’ve looked at the page statistics on WordPress, and these were the 12 most-read posts of 2015. Interestingly (to me, anyway), exactly half were published before I lost my job, and half were published during and after.

So…here we go. Continue reading

Dead Teacher Walking, Or How BATs Are Awesome

box

There is a tv trope of a character who has been fired immediately walking to his car with a single box of personal belongings.

It doesn’t work that way if you’re a teacher.

If you’re a teacher and you’re told you won’t be teaching there next year…you go back to work. Maybe for a few days. Maybe for a few weeks. You teach and attend IEP meetings and watch that countdown to summer take a new meaning. Now it’s the countdown to your unemployment.  Continue reading