Tag Archives: anthony cody

Tone, pt. 4: Dystopian Fiction, Passion, and the Education Reform Debate

Two early scenes in Shaun of the Dead require viewers to understand zombie narrative tropes in order to achieve the film’s satirical intent—distinguishing Shaun of the Dead from the zombie horror films it skewers: Shaun makes nearly identical trips from his apartment to a local convenience store, the first involving a normal day and the second after the (unknown to him) zombie apocalypse.

Throughout the film, a running joke involves that humans are pretty much zombies as a modern condition; this is achieved through the zombie-like movements by the surrounding characters, even when characters are not zombies. But during the parallel scenes, Shaun does not immediately recognize the before and after (including bloody handprints and slipping on a bloody floor at the convenience store the second time) because he hasn’t yet had the possibility of zombies enter into his consciousness.

In The Walking Dead (AMC series), viewers are often manipulated by the characters’ ability (and inability) to recognize and distinguish both zombies from living humans and whether or not zombies are animated. This recognition plot element is played out in the film version of World War Z as well as Zombieland—the former, serious zombie horror and the latter, another satire in the tradition of Shaun of the Dead.

Other sub-genres, such as superhero comic book narratives, depend on the recognition plot element as well; Unbreakable examines in sort of a meta-analysis of who constitutes the hero and who constitutes the villain in superhero comic book narratives:

Elijah Price: Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I’m not a mistake! It all makes sense! In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain’s going to be? He’s the exact opposite of the hero. And most times they’re friends, like you and me! I should’ve known way back when… You know why, David? Because of the kids. They called me Mr Glass.

Running through this recognition plot element is a message: To the uninformed, to the novice, to the unsuspecting, opposing forces (even though one may be “good” and the other, “bad”) may appear to be identical.

Dystopian Fiction, Passion, and the Education Reform Debate

Science fiction (SF), especially dystopian SF, and fantasy often work on two levels—the primary narrative serving as an imagined and metaphorical canvas allowing the author to analyze and critique the very real world. Zombie narratives are often commentaries on consumerism, for example.

Dystopian novels—such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tales—provide readers a psychic distance that contributes to their being able to re-see aspects of the normal real world that are often clouded by living in those moments. Atwood explains, in “Writing Utopia” included in Writing with Intent, that she did not manufacture the atrocities in The Handmaid’s Tale, but instead weaved real-world events into one imagined narrative. Orwell’s 1984 accomplishes much the same effect.

Writers of SF and dystopian fiction realize that there appears to be something anesthetic about the news and history; therefore, they reach for the readers’ heart, souls, and minds through hyperbole.

SF writers, in fact, are often deeply passionate people, almost single-mindedly driven to expose the wrongs they render metaphor in their writing. It seems likely, as well, that their novels and films come off far less looney than when they speak directly about the causes they champion in their fiction.

Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam trilogy, I believe, remains far more socially embraced and possibly considered than when Atwood the person holds forth in public about genetically manufactured foods, climate change, or other topics quickly dismissed by the general public as looney left-wing conspiracy theories. (Barbara Kingsolver exists both as a beloved novelists and as a looney left-wing ideologue, only distinguished by her novelist persona and her speaking or writing essays as a living, breathing real person.)

And that brings me back to the education reform debate, played out primarily on social media, and the problem of tone (see my previous three posts on tone: part 1, part 2, and part 3).

The Recognition Plot Element and the Education Reform Debate

Let me start with an example.

At his Living in Dialogue blog (Education Week), Anthony Cody posted Chicago School Rations Bathroom Visits to Help Prepare for Common Core Tests—in which Cody shared a memo from a school instituting new restroom policies and linking those policies to “maximiz[ing] student learning and reduc[ing] the loss of instructional time.” The memo also explains the new policy has additional benefits:

Have students fill in the “time out” and “time in” and then turn the pass in to the teacher when finished. This will help them practice the CCS of telling time with both digital and analog clocks.

I have written an extended blog about this memo, connecting it to David Kaib’s analysis of misguided outrage—Kaib’s about outrage targeting David Brooks, the columnist, and mine about knee-jerk outrage over the restroom policy as a single incident at the exclusion of confronting  systemic and historical hierarchical structures mis-serving students.

By the time I finished that blog, Ken Libby on Twitter and Sherman Dorn commenting at Cody’s blog had challenged that the headline and blog were misleading—Dorn stating directly:

This is petty bureaucracy (even if some students abuse hall passes). There is NOTHING in this that justifies the policy based on CCSS or testing — the mention of standards towards the end is silly, but not as silly as the headline here. [1]

Unless I am completely misreading people, by the way, this disagreement among Cody, Libby, and Dorn is not among people committed to dramatically different ideologies; I suspect that all three seek very similar conditions for students, teachers, and public schools.

This is a clash over tone, a real-world cautionary tale about recognition plot elements.

A few years ago, the Common Core debate was far less complicated in that the players in the debate were fewer, the power balance was terribly skewed (toward those designing CC, mostly because few people even knew about CC), and the debate was relatively insular.

As we slide into 2014, however, CC debates are much more public, and far more players are involved. Possibly the oddest and most complicated reality of the change is that two very different camps have gained fairly high profiles refuting CC—what I have labeled Libertarian Reformers and Critical Reformers.

A Tea Party-like, libertarian (popular, not pure) voice has begun to grow among parents, the public, and far right politicians, rejecting CC as (among other things) communist propaganda written by Bill Ayers (villain), brainwashing by the Obama (villain) administration, and Big Government (villain) corrupting children in the U.S.

Critical reformers are mostly educators and scholars who challenge CC as inseparable from high-stakes testing, driving huge costs (and corporate profit) associated with new standards and tests, and instrumental in corporate takeover and privatizing of public schools—with Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, and Michelle Rhee as the “villains.”

If we pause, then, and consider the lessons of SF and dystopian fiction—to the uninformed, to the novice, to the unsuspecting, opposing forces (even though one may be “good” and the other, “bad”) may appear to be identical—the entire tone (and related “hyperbole” argument) debate now must be viewed in a new light. As Diane Ravitch has addressed, will CC challenges have unintended consequences?

To the uniformed public, foaming at the mouth about the socialist Obama is indistinguishable from foaming at the mouth about evil genius and billionaire Gates (the general public sees Mr. Burns from The Simpson, I suspect). As I have discussed time and time again, evidence is relatively inconsequential in the education reform debate—again because determining the credibility of evidence asks a great deal of an audience.

If we become perplexed about why demonstrably untrue narratives (Bill Ayers did not write the CC) exist nearly on equal footing with evidence-based challenges to CC (Gates and his funding have had a disproportionate impact on CC adoption, as well as influence over a number of education policies not supported by the research base, such as VAM and merit pay), we must confront the recognition plot element.

From a distance, or through uniformed eyes, the looney and the passionate look the same, and most people don’t have the time or inclination to get closer to make a distinction.

While I remain firm in my previous examinations of tone—raising the tone complaint tends to show that someone doesn’t wish to address the substance below the tone—and I do not discredit the possibility that hyperbole and metaphor can be accurate and effective, I now have to acknowledge that those positions mean little if my audience cannot distinguish me from Glenn Beck.

I want to end by returning to Cody’s blog post and the complaints from Libby and Dorn. In my opinion, all three are in part correct.

Many of us who embrace evidence-based challenges to CC have and do reach in our passion to make our (to us) credible case against CC; Cody’s headline may in fact do just that, reach—especially if his blog post suggests that CC is uniquely causing what Dorn accurately calls “petty bureaucracy.” As my blog post connected to Cody’s piece explains, “petty bureaucracy” reaches far back before CC—although my years teaching all fell under the current accountability era in education.

In their quest to hold CC critics accountably, Libby and Dorn, I think, also reach: “There is NOTHING in this that justifies the policy based on CCSS or testing,” complains Dorn. Nothing? Even though CC is directly mentioned in the memo?

CC is not an apocalyptic plot to devour our babies and children (although that may make a damn fine dystopian novel or film), but neither is CC some innocuous and inconsequential minor issue.

I agree with Libby and Dorn that CC did not cause that restroom policy, but I am convinced—based on about 2 decades of teaching in the first part of the accountability era—that standards and testing are routinely used to justify a whole host of detrimental policies and behaviors that constitute the status quo of much that is wrong with traditional public schooling—such as enforcing dehumanizing restroom policies for children and justifying that by claiming teaching, learning, and yes, even test scores, are sacred.

I do not pretend to speak for anyone else, nor do I hope to tell others how to conduct themselves, but I have been learning a valuable lesson over the past year, a lesson about the recognition plot element.

Yes, my passion has often made me indistinguishable from the looneys. That’s on me.

Passion, confrontation, and a style prone to metaphor, if not hyperbole (English major, of course), have clearly distinguished me from CC advocates. But at what cost, if I come off as half-cocked and rabid, no different than Beck asserting CC is a Marxist plot by Obama?

And thus, as a SF and dystopian fiction devotee, as a serious and dedicated public scholar, I have to consider the lesson before me: to the uninformed, to the novice, to the unsuspecting, opposing forces (even though one may be “good” and the other, “bad”) may appear to be identical.

[1] The exchange beneath Dorn’s initial comment is also illustrative of the recognition plot element:


1:28 PM on January 5, 2014

Sherman, I think what you are pointing to is that this communication memo is wrong on many levels. I have trouble with giving very young children (this is a Prek-8th grade building) incentive to NOT use the bathroom.

I believe using the principal’s CCSS justification in the headline was Mr. Cody’s way of pointing out the silliness. Are we on the same page, or have I misread your comment?

Sherman Dorn

1:55 PM on January 5, 2014


It’s clear from the headline and the bold-faced intro remarks that Anthony Cody really is trying to claim that CCSS is responsible for this memo. That claim holds no water, at least by this memo.


2:39 PM on January 5, 2014

Ah, I take it in reverse. The principal wants to mandate something ridiculous so uses CCSS as justification for his actions. Not the other way around.

Sherman Dorn

10:11 PM on January 6, 2014

Yep, that’s how I see it.


Trickle-Down Administration: Education Reform in a Culture of Distracting Outrage

“One of the strange things about our politics is the disconnect between what sorts of things lead us, collectively, to express outrage and what sorts of things we don’t notice,” David Kaib begins in an examination of outrage centering on a marijuana Op-Ed by David Brooks, adding:

I’m thinking specifically of how a statement can set off outrage while the background behaviors, activities or policies that the statement expresses or seeks to justify do not….

I think this dynamic is a product of two things.  First, a great deal of our politics concerns people’s motives and character, which are largely unknowable, as opposed to assessing their actions on their own terms.  So when someone says something, potentially revealing their intentions, it seems powerful.  Second, and I suspect more importantly, it’s hard to get upset about long-standing, entrenched conditions.  We do better trying to oppose some deviation from the norm, or at least, things that are understood that way.

Kaib, I think, is confronting a socio-political and popular tendency to express outrage only at outliers and mistakenly within a cult of personality—all of which offers a powerful lens for reconsidering how teachers, scholars, academics, and public school advocates can better respond to the education reform movement.

For example, Anthony Cody shared a school memo that details how a school is instituting restroom policies “[i]n order to maximize student learning and reduce the loss of instructional time”—including justifying the policies in part by connecting the restroom guidelines to Common Core standards:

Have students fill in the “time out” and “time in” and then turn the pass in to the teacher when finished. This will help them practice the CCS of telling time with both digital and analog clocks.

First, restroom policies are a nearly universal norm of traditional schooling; thus, the likelihood that this memo will spur outrage is greatly reduced, per Kaib’s point above. However, one aspect of the policy does achieve outlier status (connecting the practices to CC) so we may anticipate outrage focusing primarily if not exclusively on that—reinforcing Kaib’s central argument that the norm of institutional and hierarchical control will remain mostly unchallenged.

Now, let me illuminate this further with an anecdote from my own career as a high school teacher. While I believe the memo above is a powerful artifact of many elements found in traditional schooling worthy of our outrage, I also think we must continue to see how policies manifest themselves in the day-to-day lives of students, teachers, and administrators.

I grew up in a small and deeply conservative (read: racism, classism, and sexism were norms and thus unexamined) Southern town in rural upstate South Carolina. After attending high school in my home town and completing college fewer than thirty minutes away, I returned to my alma mater to teach high school English for 18 years.

That school had when I was a student and continued while I was a teacher incredibly rigid and authoritarian policies for student behavior and dress. Many stereotypically strict private schools paled in comparison.

Included in those school rules (by the way, students had to pass a school handbook test at the beginning of each year) were restroom policies that mandated automatic demerits for any restroom visit during class (implicit in such rules were arguments similar to the new policies in the memo shared by Cody—protecting instructional time). The school had a demerit system connected to an in-school suspension structure governing these rules.

One year, I taught a young man who was an elite student and athlete (athletes were under a double set of extremely rigid and harsh guidelines, meaning any school infractions tended to be replicated and intensified by their coaches). During class one morning, this young man stood up quietly, walked to the trash can near the door, and then vomited (almost noiselessly) in the trash can before returning to his seat.

Once I realized what had happened, I calmly told him he needed to go to the restroom. He very politely explained he couldn’t risk the demerits.

And so let me stress here that while the new restroom policy shared by Cody and the student’s behavior in my class may appear to be outlier examples within perfectly normal and reasonable in-school policies, I must contend that they are neither outliers nor reasonable.

A comment, I believe, at Cody’s blog post helps make my case. Sarah Puglisi posted this response to the restroom policy: “Said Admin will no doubt pee as needed.”

For classroom teachers, and all workers under hierarchical structures, Puglisi’s comment is a succinct and powerful point. Let me return to my student who felt compelled to vomit in my trash can and remain in class to avoid the automatic (and I’d add “no excuses” and zero tolerance) punishment he was to receive for a situation beyond his control: The principal who sat as the personification of authority over this policy chain had his own bathroom in his office.

In the context of Kaib’s examination of distracting outrage and Cody’s exposing new restroom policies connected with CC, I want to stress several important points related to the central threads of the education reform debate:

  • We must be willing to highlight and then confront the norms of traditional schooling within which education reforms are being implemented. To continue to argue that CC is separate from high-stakes testing or simply a matter of implementation fails to acknowledge the growing evidence that adopting new standards and requiring different tests have never changed and continue not to disrupt many powerful ways in which schools function. The restroom memo is not an outlier; it is yet another artifact of how normal practices and new policies do not disrupt each other but inform and maintain the status quo.
  • Beware the hypocrisy of authoritarian and hierarchical structures, particularly as they include children. I think it is no exaggeration to compare how adults are allowed a different level of dignity in their restroom needs compared to the restrictions controlling the children under those adults’ care with the lack of accountability experienced by those imposing intensifying accountability mandates on schools, teachers, and students. The norm of accountability being inversely proportional to the hierarchical chain must be confronted in the education reform debate—not as a series of disconnected moments of outrage, but as a measured recognition that this norm is dehumanizing and incompatible with democratic ideals.
  • We must elevate the voices of teachers and students as we consider the claims and policies promoted by a social and political structure that is driven by leadership without public school teaching experience—not simply because that leadership lacks that experience but because the claims and policies are contradicted by the real world of teaching and learning.
  • We cannot afford to address social and educational issues as unrelated. Race, class, and gender inequity exists in society and is replicated in traditional schooling (for example, school discipline inequity as that mirrors the continuing era of mass incarceration). Our outrage must be at systemic policies and practices, and not diluted by targeted outrage at isolated events only, allowing an outlier mentality to suggest racism, classism, and sexism no longer exist, or can be easily overcome by in-school-only reform.

A pattern of education crisis and outrage has characterized the education reform debate for nearly 150 years. The result has been that education reform looks like the conditions of an overcrowded Emergency Room. While ERs often achieve laudable outcomes under stressful conditions, medicine is certainly better administered within a preventative care model.

The conditions of an ER are likely beyond our control to eradicate; people will continue to experience traumatic injury.

Our schools, however, need not be ERs. If we are willing to step back from crisis/outrage and then change the larger norms that tend to go unnoticed, starting with norms that are dehumanizing, as Kaib explains, we can reform our schools in ways that respect the basic dignity of children as well as honoring larger social commitments.

A Call for Non-Cooperation: So that Teachers Are Not Foreigners in Their Own Profession

Gandhi’s views on enhancing the vernaculars…so that Indians are “not foreigners in their own land” are directly tied to his opinions on developing communities (for “the poorest of the poor” ) and making community service an integral part of any education. (Ramanathan, 2006, pp. 235-236)

Standing in the middle of the road offers some statistical advantage to avoiding being run over since you aren’t in the prescribed lanes of traffic, but standing in the middle of the road can never assure the safety that refusing to walk into the road to begin with does.

Writing about a call for a moratorium on implementing and testing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) from union leadership, Anthony Cody ends his blog post with three questions:

What do you think? Should we join Randi Weingarten in pushing for one year’s delay in the harsh consequences attached to Common Core assessments? Will this year put the project on sound footing?

These questions about CCSS have been joined by two other calls for compromise and civility—Matthew Di Carlo challenging charges that value-added methods (VAM) of teacher evaluation are “junk science” and Jennifer Jennings penning an apology to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for protests at his 2013 talk at American Educational Research Association (AERA). [1]

Weingarten, Di Carlo [2], and Jennings share a call for standing in the middle of the road, a quest for ways to compromise, and these all appear reasonable positions. Ultimately, however, moratoriums, compromise, and civility are all concessions to the current education reform movement and the policies at the center of those reforms, specifically CCSS and VAM.

Teachers as Foreigners in Their Own Profession

Briefly, I want to identify how arguments about a CCSS moratorium, implementing VAM properly and cautiously, and the need for civility are concessions that render teachers foreigners in their own profession.

As long as the debate about CCSS and VAM remain how best to implement them, the essential questions remain unasked, and the agenda behind both are assured success. While I want to address the civility argument next, let me note here that calls for CCSS and VAM are inherently civil and derogatory, exposing the myopic concern for the civility of those rejecting Duncan’s discourse and policies.

The implied and stated messages of calls for CCSS and more high-stakes testing include the following: (1) Teachers do not know what to teach, or how, and (2) teachers are unlikely to perform at the needed levels of effort in their profession unless they are held accountable by external and bureaucratic means.

The implied and stated messages of calls for VAM and merit pay include the following: (1) The most urgent problem at the core of educational outcomes is teacher quality, and (2) teachers are unlikely to perform at the needed levels of effort in their profession unless they are held accountable by external and bureaucratic means.

Calls for CCSS and VAM also share another implied and stated message: Failed educational outcomes are the result of in-school deficiencies; in effect, out-of-school factors are irrelevant in the pursuit of education reform.

These messages are factually false and, despite the civility of the language, irrevocably offensive.

Standing in the middle of the road of bureaucratic, accountability-based school reform, then, may decrease the likelihood of being run over, but it concedes the road itself to those who have built it, to those who govern the laws of transportation.

To answer Cody’s second and third questions, then, No. And now to his first.

Civility: Standing in the Middle of the Road of Accountability

The call for civility exposes a foundational problem with the current education reform debate because, for all practical purposes, there is no debate.

Civility, CCSS, and VAM may all have some appeal in theory, but all of them fall apart in reality, in their implementation.

Civility is the last recourse of the powerful, those who can afford to appear civil because they hold all the power.

Through the lens of history, we must recognize that CCSS will become “what is testing is what is taught,” as all standards movements have shown.

VAM also sits in a long history of the corrosive consequences of stack ranking, merit pay, and competition.

And this brings us back to standing in the middle of someone else’s road.

Education reform and policy have been historically and are currently under the control of political and corporate leadership who are not educators—many of whom did not even attend public schools, many of whom send their own children to schools unlike the environments they promote and implement.

The locus of power in education is catastrophically inverted; thus, we do not need more or different mechanisms for accountability-based education reform, but we do need a new era of non-cooperation.

The goal of non-cooperation must include seeking ways in which to shift the priorities of the locus of power:

  • First, the central locus of power in education is the student, situated in her/his home and community.
  • Next in importance is the locus of power afforded the teacher in her/his unique classrooms.
  • These must then merge for a locus of power generated within the community of the school.
  • Finally, the locus of power in this school-based community must radiate outward.

A Call for Non-Cooperation

Non-cooperation, as found in the philosophy and actions of Gandhi, represents another inversion—away from in-school only education reform and toward, as Ramanathan explains, “communal and educational change”:

As is evident, the take on “education” presented here is not the usual one—of teaching and learning in formal contexts of classrooms and institutions—but one that is intended to move us toward becoming collectively open to realizing that very valuable “education” often goes on outside the constraints of classrooms: in ashrams, in madrassas, in extracurricular programs, by local, politically minded youth, all drawing on local vernacular ways of healing rifts. Indeed, “education” in both these institutions is civic and community education that seems to assume Gandhian ideals of “Non-Cooperation” (and nonformal education) and that is aimed at primarily effecting changes in the community, sometimes before addressing issues relevant to formal education. (p. 230)

Non-cooperation, then, moves beyond a call for teacher autonomy; instead, non-cooperation is the act of the autonomy by “people directly involved” (Ramanathan, p. 231):

Not only do they have Gandhi’s larger philosophy of Non-Cooperation against political hegemonies  [emphasis added] at their core…, but they also opened up for me a way of understanding both how Gandhianism is situated and how particular dimensions of the identities of participants (Kanno, 2003; Menard-Warwick, 2005; Norton, 2000; Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004) get laminated. I was able to see how Gandhianism is first collaboratively interpreted in workshops, then applied and translated on the ground in most local of contexts, and then recast and reinterpreted by individuals and groups as they regroup. (Ramanathan, p. 232)

Non-cooperation is a new paradigm that begins with those most directly impacted by the institution (here, education)—parents, students, teachers. In other words, the people most directly impacted ask the foundational questions: Do we need formal education? And if so, what does that include and how should that be implemented?

This is not about seeking compromise at someone else’s table, not about standing still in the middle of someone else’s road.

The purposes of universal public education, then, is refocused in the ways that address the needs of the least among us, as Gandhi envisioned:

[Nonformal education] … will check the progressive decay of our villages and lay the foundation for a juster social order in which there is no unnatural division between the “haves” and the “have nots” and everybody is assured a living wage and the rights to freedom.…It will provide a healthy and a moral basis of relationship between the city and village and will go a long way towards eradicating some of the worst evils of the present social insecurity and poisoned relationship between the classes. (Harijan, 9-10-37, cited in Prasad, 1924…). (qtd. in Ramanathan, p. 236)

Bureaucratic accountability-based reform is ill equipped to address inequity, mismatched with goals of social justice since the paradigm is authoritarian, the locus of power exclusively with the “haves.”

Non-cooperation seeks instead, as Ramanathan explains:

[an orientation] toward viewing education in broader, community-oriented terms to draw out “the best in children,” to build a “healthy and moral” base for both “the city and the village,” to be entirely secular in its orientation (with “no room … for sectional religious training,” and to eventually transform the “homes of the pupils”[)]. (p. 237)

As well, this call for non-cooperation reframes the civility debate, as Gandhi recognized: “We must welcome them to our political platforms [emphasis added] as honoured guests. We must meet them on neutral platforms as comrades” (qtd. in Ramanathan, p. 237). Civility then follows the re-imagining of the locus of power: “Non-Cooperation…emerges as a deeply historicized awareness committed to doing the opposite of repressive, silencing ills. The quiet way in which both projects bridge perceived gulfs are reminiscent of Gandhi’s insistence on responding to tyranny by searching for nonviolent, quiet alternatives that tap the moral instincts of humans” (Ramanathan, p. 238).

Currently, since calls for CCSS, VAM, and civility all work as “repressive,” “silencing,” and “tyranny,” non-cooperation is the only alternative remaining.

The results must be “interpreting all education as ‘civic education’ and on attending to the most basic of human needs—food, clothing, shelter—before addressing any issues related to formal learning”  (Ramanathan, pp. 241-242) as direct action refusing to compromise on in-school only education reform that drives arguments for how best to implement CCSS and VAM:

This close attention to “educating oneself,” of figuring out and questioning one’s own default assumptions, has echoes of Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation, and finds interesting articulation in the idea that we each need to “not cooperate” with our default views but attempt to step outside them by “educating ourselves” by learning from others. (Ramanathan, pp. 244)

In the West, specifically in the United States, we are deeply entrenched in our “default views,” most of which are tinted by commitments to competition, authoritarian structures, and the sanctity of the individual. This call, however, is a call to recognize the importance of community and social justice in our national pursuit of democracy.

Arundhati Roy confronts the tensions at the core of why compromise, moratoriums, and civility fail the narrow education debate as well as the broader democracy:

Fascism is about the slow, steady infiltration of all the instruments of state power. It’s about the slow erosion of civil liberties, about unspectacular, day-to-day injustices.…It means keeping an eagle eye on public institutions and demanding accountability. It means putting your ear to the ground and listening to the whispering of the truly powerless. It means giving a forum to the myriad voices from the hundreds of resistance movements across the country that are speaking about real issues….It means fighting displacement and dispossession and the relentless, every violence of abject poverty. (Roy, 2002; qtd. Ramanathan, pp. 246)

Now is the time for non-cooperation, not moratoriums, not compromise, and not civility on other people’s terms.

Now is the time for non-cooperation so that teachers are not foreigners in their own profession and students are not foreigners in their own classrooms.

[1] See also Jeff Bryant.

[2] Of the three calls for moderation, I do not place Di Carlo’s position as essentially equal to those by Weingarten and Jennings. Di Carlo’s nuanced and detailed discussion of VAM contributes a credible position that I find compelling to a point (such as Di Carlo conceding: “Now, I personally am not opposed to using these estimates in evaluations and other personnel policies”); however, Weingarten and Jennings present far more problems and suffer from a much greater degree of lacking credibility.