Monday, September 14, 2015

Good bye In-House Suspensions...Hello Liberated Homeschooler...

June 2015 USSF - Philly BLM March
Nani in the Middle

Nani's 2015 Gardening The Community Summer Job Experience
Nani Building Our Village One Brick-at-a-time...
After four years of being known as a "well-behaved" star student at Sullivan elementary school, my 10 year suddenly became a victim of systemic marginalization and policing.  Nani had never been disrespectful to teachers or students, even.  Nani, was beloved by all her teachers save Patricia Moriarty, her 5th grade homeroom teacher.  Moriarty blatantly targeted students of color and systemically removed them from her classroom, everyday.  

Nani said "Mommy, it's like watching my friends get shot everyday and not being able to do anything about it."     

So, my daughter began documenting the stifling stillness students of color are subjected to: they could not laugh, talk, whisper, giggle, socialize much less move around without being ejected from class.  Contrastingly, White students in Moriarty's class were given fair and even stern warnings that she would call their parents but, she never ejected them from class.   The disregard and intolerance Moriarty has for the Latino students in her class was blatantly obvious to my then, 10 year old. And Nani began speaking up about it, in class.  

Nani was in her third year of complaining about major deficiencies in music, art, gym and recess.  The physical, social and creative prohibitions coupled with incessant test-prep drill and watching her Latino friends be removed from class everyday simply for talking arrested any remaining dignity my daughter struggled to hold.   

I addressed all of my daughter's legitimate complaints through the proper channels, over a two year period.  None of our legitimate concerns were redressed.  When I decided to start blogging, I was ignored by the administration.  I became heavily involved with the Teacher's Union Reclaiming Our Schools effort which required I be quiet about racist teachers in the district something I was not prepared to do.  Only after informing local media outlets, did Holyoke Public School administrators and staff patronize me with red tape procedural emails and suggestions to meet with key committee heads which, never manifested.   

When I informed John Breish Nani would not be taking the MCAS he literally targeted her by creating an "MCAS dance" for the fifth graders.  One afternoon Breish pulled every fifth grader out of music and herded them to the cafeteria.  Breish proceeded to inform students

"Everyone who uses their strategies on the MCAS, will go to the MCAS dance," Breish announced.   

Distraught, Nani approached Breish after his pep talk

"Does that mean, I can't go to the MCAS dance?" Nani asked.  

"You can go but, I think it would be fair that you should do an essay about why you don't want to take the MCAS.  Don't you think it's only fair to the other students who are working hard?" Breish asked trying to shame or guilt my daughter.

A few days later my daughter called from school almost in tears.  Some of her classmates chastised her on the playground; they didn't think it was fair she wasn't taking the MCAS.  Breish essentially created a hostile learning environment and cultivated a culture of bullying among previously friendly peers.  

The final straw was drawn when Breish tried to have police officers escort me out of a public parent meeting held at Sullivan's cafeteria.  I was on crutches; fresh out of surgery.  My infraction? I was asking real questions and raising legitimate concerns about Holyoke Public Schools lack of transparency about the impending receivership.  That was our last chapter with the Holyoke Public School to Prison Pipeline.  

Nani and I have joined a national network of Liberated Learners, we are homeschooling.  We are happy and Life Is Our Classroom.

Check out these awesome pics from our summer of learning and our first weeks of homeschooling curriculum.


1st ELA Lesson on Edwidge Dandicat: Interactive Journal
Reading to Develop Meaning

Harlem Yarn Bombin'

Nani's Chess Community at the Recovery Learning Center, Springfield MA

E.Harlem Urban Cmmty Garden

Nani's Summer Job Fundraiser- GTC Hadley, MA

1st Science Lesson- Hangman Science?
The 3 Branches of Science
Sis. Chiquita McCullough Veteran NYC Homeschooler & Hampshire College Student Amara

Intro To Interactive ELA Journaling

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