I just sent the following email to Senator Lamar Alexander of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee regarding the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the most recent version of which is No Child Left Behind (NCLB): Senator Alexander, why the rush? This ESEA reauth is following the same fast-track as Common […]
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
Standardized testing has been driving American education for over a decade, and even as the discussion and debate over the continued role of standardized testing in the long-overdue re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is in full swing, states nationwide are facing yet another round of the time, money, and manpower drain incurred […]
Most mornings, I turn on the TV in the play room across from my bedroom in order to listen to it as I get ready for my day. (I don’t keep a TV in my bedroom. Just never think about watching TV in bed.) I usually begin with about half an hour of soothing instrumental […]
President Barack Obama pretends to be a friend of public education, but it just is not so. Sure, the White House offers a decorative promotional on K12 education; however, if one reads it closely, one sees that the Obama administration believes education (and, by extension, those educated) should serve the economy; that “higher standards and better assessments” […]
What now for the Common Core? That is the question that the three hoping to Save the Core asked on the October 22, 2014, AEI panel. Of course, their answers completely gloss over the fact that the Common Core (CCSS) is a bureaucratic attempt to frankenstein “success by standardization” out of a failed, high-stakes-test-driven No Child […]
On October 22, 2014, the corporate-reform-friendly think tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), hosted a panel discussion entitled, What Now for the Common Core? Below is the description of the panel participants and the *implementation-focused* conclusion is actually what should have happened before the Common Core (CCSS) was adopted by any state and certainly before CCSS was ever proclaimed […]
On October 2, 2014, I will be speaking in Indiana to an audience chiefly comprised of university students who have a passing understanding of the intentions of moneyed interests to usurp control of public education. With a mind toward preparing for my upcoming engagement, I happened to read three pertinent (and powerful) articles: This one on September 26, 2014, […]
Billionaire Bill Gates funds the media. This is no surprise to me. What did surprise me is the discovery that he meets with the media he funds (and others) regularly behind closed doors. Yep. Gates Briefs a Media He Pays For (And Then Some) In February 2013, journalist Tom Paulson wrote a piece on Gates’ private meetings […]
One way to ensure permanence in the field of electronics is to “hardwire”– which means to “permanently connect.” In electronics, “hardwiring” refers to circuitry. For billionaire public education purchaser Bill Gates, circuitry and mass education, it’s all the same. Bill Gates has already likened the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to circuitry, with the moronic […]
Bill Gates lives in Seattle. His money buys experiments there, too. In October 2013, the Seattle Times announced that it had “sought” a grant from the Gates Foundation for a year-long “project” in partnership with Solutions Journalism Network– a blog called the “Education Lab”: Education Lab, a partnership between The Seattle Times and Solutions Journalism Network, will explore promising programs […]
Billionaire Bill Gates believes in testing. However, it appears that he believes in “the market” even more. Consider Gates’ words to legislators in 2009: When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will […]
A very good thing will happen on Sunday, July 13, 2014, at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convention in Los Angeles: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will be debated on the floor. No behind-closed-doors killing of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) resolution opposing CCSS. As Politico states: Weingarten, for instance, has repeatedly said she supports Common Core, but she […]
I just finished writing a post about American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten’s allegiance to the Democratic Party above all else, and what link do I open up next? That of a New York Magazine article by Jonathan Chait, entitled, Teachers Unions Turn Against Democrats. Now that’s funny. Apparently Chait is upset that the two political parties are not […]
United Way Worldwide offers the following as its mission statement: United Way envisions a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives. Our mission: To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. The goal of the United […]
Jindal just finished a press conference. His words, summarized: PARCC selection did not comply with La state law requiring a bidding process– this voids PARCC agreement. Jindal has asked for a financial audit of PARCC spending and an open, competitive bidding process for assessment. He said that suspending PARCC is what he was able to do immediately via executive order. […]