It seems that the protests of the American citizen against the so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has become proverbial grains of sand in the works of the mammoth corporate reform machine. Die-hard supporters of CCSS are becoming desperate, and such is showing in their words and actions. Consider Jeb Bush’s declaration, “In Asia today, they […]
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
On March 22, 2014, the Monroe News-Star quoted Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) member and St. Martin Parish Superintendent Lottie Beebe (pictured above) in such a manner as to incorrectly portray Beebe as supporting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Beebe does not support CCSS. In her response below, Beebe clarifies not only her […]
In June 2009, the National Governors Association (NGA) held an education symposium in which NGA outlined its plans for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money. Twenty-one governors attended; so did US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The following information is included a part of that June 2009 report: At the Symposium, Secretary Duncan made an […]
Former Florida Governor (and likely 2016 presidential hopeful) Jeb Bush made the following comment, recorded in The Miami Herald, on March 21, 2014. It’s Bush’s undeniably callous perspective on attempting to force American public education to fit a mold that benefits American education corporations such as Pearson (and here, and here): Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they […]
On March 13, 2014, Bill Gates had dinner with 80 senators and other elected officials. Given his keynote the following day to members of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), make no mistake that Gates used his time with the senators and other officials to push the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, Gates is more than […]
The term Common Core is so negatively charged that Common Core State Standards (CCSS) proponents are trying their hardest to ditch the term– not ditch CCSS– just the term. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee suggested that states “rebrand” the CCSS product– give it a shiny new name in order to fool the public into thinking its gone. In my […]
Bill Gates has too much power. The following announcement, dated March 13, 2014, is from Politico: DINNER WITH GATES – About 80 senators are expected to attend a dinner discussion at the Capitol tonight with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the NYT’s David Brooks. The 6:45 p.m. dinner, according to an invitation obtained by Huddle, is sponsored by the […]
In his purchased keynote at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) (I know, huh?), billionaire-with-zero-teaching-experience Bill Gates insisted that the feds are getting the bum rap when it comes to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As Huffington Post’s Joy Resmovits notes: Gates went on to address critiques that the Common Core represents a national curriculum, […]
One would think that if teachers supported the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), then teachers would take the initiative to rally around said CCSS. Not so. It seems that we need Bill Gates to tell us that we need CCSS. He did so today (Friday, March 14, 2014), in Washington, DC: Bill Gates is rallying teachers to […]
Corporate reform loves opaque communications. Never call a thing what it is. Use catchy lingo that disguises (and often contradicts) the reality behind a so-called reform. If this does not work, rebrand. Rename. Or drop the naming altogether. Anything to obscure the privatizer-benefiting true intent. This way, a disgruntled public might be fooled into believing that […]
Over the past year, I have received three glossy mailouts telling me that I can “enroll my child in private school for free.” The last one included the message, “Time is running out!” and added, “Is your child stuck in a failing school? Send them to a private school for FREE.” Nothing is “for free.” […]
One of the panel discussions in which I participated at the first annual Network for Public Education (NPE) conference was on investigative journalism. I chose to use my twelve minutes to only touch the surface on using IRS 990s (the tax forms for nonprofit organizations) as a research tool. In this post, I would like […]
On Sunday, March 2, 2014, I participated in a much-publicized Common Core (CCSS) panel with four other individuals as part of the Network for Public Education (NPE) first annual conference in Austin, Texas. (A 40-minute video of the CCSS panel can be found here; a five-minute video excerpt of my seven-minute opener can be found here.) [youtube]http://youtu.be/4abuqu3tmeQ[/youtube] […]
I plan to write a reflection on my NPE Common Core panel experience. However, allow me to first post this 40-minute video, which, I am guessing, includes each panelists’ opening remarks prior to the 30-minute question and answer segment. Each panelist was afforded seven minutes to speak, in the following order: AFT President Randi Weingarten speaks […]
The purpose of this column is to provide a brief summary for Florida parents regarding the failure of the spectrum of so-called education “reforms” introduced and advanced by former Governor Jeb Bush (1999 – 2007). I have written this brief, two-page “talking points” Word doc to complement the contents of this post. Thus, parents can use the “talking […]