On Friday, February 10, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sent to state superintendents a letter regarding the formulation of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans. In short, she notes that the ESSA guidance composed under the direction of former US Ed Sec John King could be scrapped by Congress but that states should […]
About Mercedes Schneider
I am first and foremost a teacher. I have been formally teaching in some capacity for the past 22 years. However, my first “student” was my younger sister, Anna, whom I taught to read when she was four years old and I was seven. That was in 1974.
I am a product of the St. Bernard Parish Public Schools (1972-85). I attended P.G.T. Beauregard High School, where I graduated salutatorian. In 1983, at fifteen years old, I tried to drop out of high school. I’m glad I stayed.
I attended Louisiana State University from 1985 to 1991 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, English and German. I taught for two years in St. Bernard, my home; then, I moved to Georgia and taught German (1993-94) and English (1994-98) for Rome City Schools. While teaching full time, I earned my masters degree in guidance and counseling from the State University of West Georgia (1996-98).
While working on my masters degree, I became interested in counselor education. I applied to the Ph.D. program in counselor education at Auburn University and was rejected because I “did not compare favorably to other applicants.” I framed that letter and kept it in my office at Ball State; years later, I was able to use it as an encouragement for my students who came to me in tears at receiving doctoral program rejection letters. It hurts, but press on.
I was accepted to the counselor education program at the University of Northern Colorado in 1998, and they gave me money to attend. (The Auburn rejection didn’t hurt so much then.) I began my Ph.D. in counselor education but decided I liked all of those stats courses well enough to ask to transfer to the Department of Applied Statistics and Research Methods two years in, in February 2000. I graduated with my Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods, with a counselor education concentration, in August 2002.
Following my time in Colorado, I moved to Muncie, Indiana, to teach in the Department of Educational Psychology, Teachers College, at Ball State University. I taught graduate-level statistics and research courses, except for one undergraduate course I taught, Tests and Measurement. It was in this course that I had to address issues related to No Child Left Behind. It was in this course that I taught students how bad an idea it was to attempt to measure teacher performance using student standardized test scores.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, New Orleans. My mother chose not to evacuate and had to axe her way out of my sister’s attic. She was missing for a week and ended up in Houston. It was a while before she knew that she would not have to have her right arm amputated.
Even though there was no home to go to, I wanted to go home to New Orleans. It took me two years to plan and reorganize my life for my return to southern Louisiana.
In July 2007, I returned home and began a new job teaching high school English in St. Tammany Parish. I was told at the university that to “go back” to public school teaching was frowned upon and that I would not likely be able to resume a careeer teaching at the university level if I chose to replace it with a public school position.
I had to reckon with that idea.
But I love to teach. High school, I decided, would be fine with me.
And it has been fine for the past seven years. I love my kids.
I dedicate this blog to my St. Tammany students and to the thousands of students I have taught over the years, students of all ages, chiefly from grade seven to graduate-level, beginning with my little sister, Anna.
Entries by Mercedes Schneider
The chief purpose of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative was to develop a “common core” of ELA and math standards that states (ideally all) would adopt so that state education might be standardized and therefore comparable using similar assessments. At the center of CCSS development was Student Achievement Partners (SAP), an organization created […]
For my 2016 Christmas post, I feature two entries from the Ligonier Ministries blog. The posts concern two real individuals: Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. Both entries are written by president of Reformation Bible College Dr. Stephen J. Nichols. In the first post, Nichols offers some intriguing history about Saint Nick: Saint Nicholas and the […]
In October 2015, the Republic of Turkey retained the international law firm, Amsterdam and Partners, to investigate the global activities of Pennsylvania resident, the mysterious Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whose network of followers happen to operate over 100 US charter schools. On May 19, 2016, the Texas Tribune reported that Amsterdam and Partners planned to file a […]
It seemed that Bill Gates’ Common Core push had cooled. As of June 01, 2016, I had seen no grants specific to Common Core listed on Gates’ “awarded grants” website. However, as of June 26, 2016, it seems that the first two Common Core grants for 2016 have indeed appeared on Gates’ site. The combined […]
Not long after President Obama brought former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Arne Duncan to Washington, D.C., to become U.S. Secretary of Education, Duncan spouted out this March 31, 2009, declaration regarding his desire to establish mayoral control over more school systems. As NBC Chicago reports: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday that mayors should […]
Since 1999, the state has been “taking over” Detroit Public Schools. Since 2009, Detroit’s schools have been subject to a stream of emergency managers who move in for just under 18 months, do not answer to voters, and can basically do what they want without consequence. The Detroit Public Schools state takeover is a dismal failure, as noted […]
I have been reading Peter Elkind’s January 01, 2016, article in Fortune on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Elkind’s work is a study in foolishness. Basically, he demonstrates the unfounded faith that powerful individuals whose lives only skirt the worlds of whose with children in public schools have placed in a set of rushed, contrived standards […]
December 2015 is gone, and so is US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who announced in October that he would be leaving DC in December. In this January 02, 2016, NBC “Meet the Press” article, President Obama offers an unsubstantiated statement in an effort to portray Duncan’s tenure in Washington, DC, as successful: “Arne has dedicated his […]
A numeric average is a relative statistic. If I have a set of numeric values and I calculate an average using the set, by definition, some individual values will fall below average, and likely, some will be right on the average. If I remove these below-average and average values, the original average does not remain […]
This is a post about a fourth-grade assignment for a Louisiana student, and given that Louisiana is under Common Core for 2015-16, it is logical to conclude that the assignment below is McGraw Hill’s effort at a Common Core math assignment for fourth grade. (I write “effort” since the worksheet appears to try to offer […]
Addendum 11-07-15: Originally I had written that the assignment below was teacher-made. However, I have received other info to the effect that the assignment was “a supplement” to the Seven Habits book. I am trying to get a clear word on where the assignment originated. Adding to the above, hours later: I visited a bookstore to skim The Seven […]
In September 2015, I received the following email from a New York student in a graduate-level teacher education program: Dear Ms. Schneider, I am an educator at a school in New York City who was shocked to find a letter from a Professor [name] in my mail box this week. As an educator, I am […]
It’s true: US Secretary Arne Duncan has resigned. He will be out of the White House in December. His story is that he is headed back to Chicago to be with his family. What is noteworthy is that Obama has another year in the White House. The Duncans could have stayed in Virginia where they were […]
In November 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Hillsborough County (Florida) Public Schools a $100 million grant as part of its “Empowering Effective Teachers” effort: Hillsborough County Public Schools Date: November 2009 Purpose: to support Hillsborough County as part of a cohort of Intensive Partnership Sites to improve teacher effectiveness to transform outcomes for low-income, […]