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 […]
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
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, […]
On August 17, 2015, the Washington Post editorial board wrote a piece in which it “did not blame Mr. [Jeb] Bush from shying away from the term [Common Core].” Bush has his political career on his mind, and using the term “Common Core” is “poison” to that career. So, Bush is using a carefully-crafted Common-Core euphemism, saying that […]
Jeb Bush is trying to distance himself from Common Core. He is avoiding using the term, and when he was asked about Common Core while campaigning in Iowa on Friday, August 14, 2015, Bush responded, “The term Common Core is so darned poisonous, I don’t even know what it means anymore.” He’s just a guy who […]
In fall 2012, three philanthropic mega-organizations, Education Funder Strategy Group, Grantmakers for Education, and Growth Philanthropy Network, united to form the Common Core Funders Working Group (CCFWG). The goal of this mega-mega philanthropic machine is to cement Common Core into American public education. Here is a description of the purpose of CCFWG as noted in December 2013: Recognizing the unique […]
In September 2013, the Arizona Daily Star noted that then-Governor Jan Brewer “ordered state agencies to stop using the term ‘Common Core’ when referring to the new education standards, in response to hostility from critics over what they see as a federal intrusion.” The Daily Star article continues: In an executive order, the governor said she was “reaffirming […]
On July 08, 2015, the Senate approved by voice vote an amendment to the Senate version of the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. The amendment in question, Senate Amendment 2086, sponsored by Senator Mark Warner (D- VA), allows states to spend the […]
I just read on The Hill an article entitled, “Team Clinton ‘Worried’ about Bernie Sanders Campaign.” Sanders is quickly becoming serious competition for Clinton in the Democratic nomination: Hillary Clinton’s campaign is “worried” about Bernie Sanders, whom a top Clinton aide described as a “serious force” in the 2016 battle. “We are worried about him, sure. […]
The following text is from an email that New York parent Scott Strong received from his twins’ eighth-grade teacher. It concerns the Pearson-crafted, allegedly Common-Core-aligned algebra exam administered in New York in 2015. (New York continues to be listed as a “PARCC state,” but New York has not yet administered the Pearson-PARCC exams.) In the […]
On April 14, 2015, I wrote a post about 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s support for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). I maintain that Clinton is a CCSS supporter, period. CSPAN has a 4 1/2- minute video clip of Clinton addressing CCSS in response to a question from a student, Diane, at Kirkwood College in Monticello, […]
Hillary Clinton was in Iowa today, campaigning. According to The Guardian’s live blog coverage by Tom McCarthy, Hillary Clinton is sympathetic towards “the plight of Common Core.”McCarthy reports:: Clinton bemoaned the plight of Common Core educational standards, a good idea she said had been taken hostage by the political debate. Implicit in Clinton’s message is that Common […]
On April 7, 2015, the Senate education committee announced the following as part of a press release: WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced a bipartisan agreement on fixing “No Child Left Behind.” They scheduled committee action on their agreement and any amendments […]
On March 31, 2015, the New York State Assembly proved that budgeting well takes a back seat to “budgeting badly but on time.” Even before the official vote was taken, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie knew that the budget would pass the Democrat-controlled Assembly because “the people of this state want an on-time budget.” So, according to Heastie, […]
It may have happened in April Fools Day, but it was certainly no joke. On April 1, 2015, 11 Atlanta educators were convicted of racketeering related to their roles in what has come to be widely known as “the Atlanta cheating scandal.” I first read of the verdict in the New York Times: …A jury here (in […]