Recently I read some posts online about UOO and the future of opting-out. There was name calling, and it was uncalled for. So in the midst of negativity, I wanted to write a love letter to UOO, to past and present administrators and members.
Back in 2012 I started following Diane Ravitch’s blog after I started looking for information about what was happening in US Public Education. Her posts rocked my core, and it was hard to digest. Then she started posting about UOO and how you all were rising up in areas around the US, and flat out refusing to take standardized tests. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around such a concept. How can someone just flat out say no?! I was mesmerized.
During this time, I moved up to Massachusetts for my college program (I was still an undergrad at this time, and not in the classroom) and I found out about the Occupy the DOE 2.0 in DC and I knew I had to go. Thanks to you all at UOO, you helped me get to DC.
What an incredible and inspiring event, and while that sounds very cliche, it was. I was opened to the truth about education, no matter how scary that truth is. I learned that opting out was much more than about refusing a test. It was about taking back public education. Giving it back to our students, our children, and our teachers. It was about removing corporate “interests” from our classrooms, because we knew and still know, that the only interest these corporations have is their bottom line. You showed me what we are losing in our schools because of this hyper-focus on test scores.
UOO, you also brought me to new friends from this event who have mentored me, and have become family to me, and who I cherish as I begin my career in a corporate and test driven environment. It is hard, but because of you UOO, I keep my focus on the children. That is where our focus should always be.
Because of you UOO, you have shown me how to be a real, passionate, student-centered, whole-child teacher. I don’t know what the future holds for you, or for any of us fighting this fight, which is no longer an uphill battle, its now become trying to scale the wall.
Thank you UOO for showing me truth, perseverance, and how to stand up, and stand loud, and never forget that children are more than any score.
My first years in the classroom have been great because of the love you showed me UOO, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you UOO, for standing up for truth, and for our children.