My Inaugural Post

This blog comes about for a few reasons:

I am requiring students in American Voices, an elective class I teach, to design and implement a semester-long project.  This is my project.   Through it I can model what I teach, like using CreativeCommons to find my current header’s photograph, (thanks Sherri Thai).   Through it, I can know better what I am asking of them.

But then there is the question…why pick this project?  Why not the collection of six-word essays I thought about?  Why this?

Because there is so much to say about education that my normal 180-character posts and links are now insufficient.

Because I believe, as a writing teacher, that the only way I know my thoughts is to write, and I need to know my thoughts now more than ever before.

Because education is under attack.  Because those who believe and love education must speak up. 

 So this is me, speaking up.

Why now?  Beyond the fact this is the start of a semester, so I better do it now, it is also February 10, 2012 today… the start of a week here in Wisconsin to reflect back on last year’s Wisconsin protests.  This week last year started my journey to becoming an activist.  Yes, an activist.  I now own the word as true.

Why this title?  Why Seeing Shades of Grey?   This summer I started to feel hypocritical.   Dealing with data is essential in part of my job, and holes in the data leave me frustrated.  When students opt out of our schools EPAS (ACT’s Explore and Plan test suite) tests, I get frustrated, yet I was completely ready to join the Opt Out movement.  How could I hold both positions, valuing test data and yet opting out of tests?

I also felt hypocritical for spending my entire spring devoted to protesting Scott Walker and the GOP effort in Wisconsin for destroying teachers and public worker unions, when I have also felt deeply critical of aspects of the teachers’ unions.

Want more?  How could I spend my spring protesting the GOP-held Wisconsin capitol and then my summer protesting the Democratic-held national capitol?   How could I value and cherish the guidance of the Common Core Standards and abhor what they will and are doing to education?

Hypocrisy?  Some who read my posts will likely comment that yes, I am hypocritical.

Increasingly, however, I think I simply see shades of grey.

So this blog will be devoted to the shades of grey in education—and also, of course, a few side journeys into politics and family life.

It should be an interesting journey.

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