About Raz


About Raz

I’m Raz.

… and I am on fire.


I am a wife, a mommy, and a retired educator.

I have been very concerned.

Very, very concerned.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

Sophomore Year First Day Photo_2022My son is a Sophomore grader… and has never been subjected to the Smarter Balance Assessment (SBA). I have made the choice to opt him out of this assessment because I believe it to be an invalid and unreliable test. I also consider it to be developmentally inappropriate. The portion of the brain that reasons is not solidified for most children until around 12 years old. Even though my son is now older, I still take this stand for other children.


I’m not interested in contributing to the standardization of our children.

About Raz 3

I feel I have an ethical obligation to make a courageous stand for all children throughout our country. This is where I put on my educator hat. I have spent 33 years teaching young children how to learn and understand mathematics. Did the people who wrote the mathematics portion of the Common Core Standards have any early childhood education under their belts? Nope. Three of them had “some” secondary experience, and the others? Drum roll please…. business men and women who work for educational businesses and the testing industry.

Here are just a few tidbits regarding my educational background:

I am an accomplished and now retired 33 year educator recognized with the National Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, National Congressional Teacher Scholar, National Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Award, United States Senate Innovative Teacher Award, and the Washington State Christa McAuliffe Teaching Award. I was one of the first 60 educators to achieve National Board Certification in Washington State in 2001. I attended University of Washington and then transferred to Whitworth University completing a Bachelor of Arts in Education with endorsements in Elementary Education, Special Education, Mathematics, and Psychology. I then went on to do my graduate work at Gonzaga University (Go Zags!) and achieved a Master’s Degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Mathematics.

I taught several years of self-contained 4th – 6th grade at the elementary level, was in a middle school for three years teaching 6th grade, mathematics, and had a section of special education mathematics. I created a SMART Lab and a SMART Museum in two elementary schools in which I saw all 1st through 4th grade classes for integrated science, math, and technology instruction. I’ve been a math specialist and coach in several schools, taught K-4 math intervention for seven years, and was a District Math Coordinator K-12 for three years.

I was also featured in the book, “Teachers with the Courage To Give,” edited by Jackie Waldman. My short story is captured in Chapter 21, Pages 95-98.

I am currently a retired math specialist with 33 years spent in high trauma/high poverty schools in Washington State.

Common Core, Testing, Surveys & More

With the onset of the Common Core State Standards many moons ago, I witnessed first hand the impact they had upon our classrooms and children.  My concern has continued to heightened to alarming levels. As of September, 2022, many other things have continued to seep into our schools including surveys and curriculum outside of core subjects and electives.

Too many educators have crossed over and are using computer programs to instruct children.  Not all. Many educators continue to teach utilizing solid pedagogy, but others have abandoned this for ease.  I have witnessed this with my own child as he has navigated through elementary, middle school, and now high school.

Teaching and Learning

I believe our classrooms should be living, breathing museums of discovery, thought, and imagination. Our classrooms need to be alive with science, inquiry, and filled with the history of our nation. Learning is exciting and fun. Young children are capable of incredible things and the current “Common Core Aligned Programs” are boring and dry.

On a personal note…

Seaside Oregon_ Jeff and RennonRaz lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and son. Raz just retired from 33 years as an educator in WA State ten years early! (10 Bonus Years!) She loves watching her son play basketball, going to the lake, power walking, and devouring books of all kinds. Raz continues to write and advocate for families seeking to opt out of testing and surveys.  She has grown a small home based business with Thirty-one Gifts for the past 6.5 years and is passionate about leading a team of women who are able to supplement their income and/or stay at home with their children.  www.flybravebags.com  

My birth name means Divine Spark…



The momma


21 thoughts on “About Raz

  1. Pardon me, I was referring to the crying pig cartoon with the teacher’s letter to the principal. However, the content of your blog is top notch and you have a great background in education. I am very happy to subscribe to your blog and thank you for your contribution to education and for informing teachers, parents and public education advocates so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Sandra… I’m giggling a little. The picture is horrid. I utilized the picture in the context of my letter… the mandated, constant testing is harmful enough to be captured with this horrid picture. I feel those tears in myself, my fellow teachers, and our precious children.


      1. too cutesy and silly for such a well written letter. When I shared your post on my facebook page, I used a more professional looking image. Perhaps you should have just folded it into the essay without making it the lead image.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your satire on baby walking at 6 months. One of my teammates can’t stop talking about it. So funny, but yet sad as I can see where we might be heading if major changes are not made. Glad to see you started your blog, I remember seeing the comments you made on a Schoolhouse Live Event, I think back in October, and you said you wanted to start a blog. You have a great start! If you need material, I would be happy to chat.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Raz, I would like to say thank you for fighting against Common Core. Secondly I saw an article about leaving you a story about a child’s experience with Common Core. I’m not sure if this is the place to leave it but here it goes.
    The first year when my son was introduced to Common Core he was in 5th grade. That year he started having panic attacks in the morning before school that I would let him stay home. He missed alot of school days that year. So much that I got a warning letter that to many missed days then the proper authorities would have to start looking into his absences. It was because of Common Core not from neglect. After that warning letter I made sure I took him to the doctor for even the sniffles just so I had a doctor’s note. It scared me seeing him crying that his chest hurts. At that time I didn’t know why so I took him to a cardiologist and they put him on a heart monitor for a few days. Now after that year he’s not getting panic attacks and it’s not that he understands Common Core because he still don’t. It’s because he don’t care or respect education anymore. He struggles only a little to get the lowest passing grade. Panic attacks for a child is a very scary thing.Thanks Cuomo for destroying my son’s desire for education, to strive to be the best he can be and for killing his desire to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I do believe this is happening to many of our children. I hope you are opting your child out of the state tests. Have you found a good support group where you live to learn more about your options?



  4. I was extremely impressed with the spoof you had on the Core Curriculum from Peeta’s point of view. It was what brought me to your site. I do not have school age children anymore but I hope to be a grandmother one day. What we are doing to our educational system is absolutely frightening! I have many teacher friends who have convinced me that all our children are doing is learning how to take tests. That is not education! What ever happened to reading, writing and arithmetic? I will definitely follow your blog and help any way I can in your fight to change this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello RAZ, I am the lead contact for Grandparents Against High Stakes Testing (aka–AGAHST) and a steering committee member for Parents Across America Oregon (the first state-wide chapter in the nation). We are sponsoring a visit by Dr. David C. Berliner to Portland, OR the last week in March. He is coming to help kickoff our Myth Busting Public Ed. Forum Series (Berliner is co-author of “50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: the Real Crisis in Education”. Would you be interested in participating in this series in the future?
    We are just getting this up and going. We have a producer connected to 3 community media studios in our county. We have taped psa’s and a forum “One Size Does Not Fit All” which are now available on YouTube.
    If you are interested, I think we can share psa’s, lectures, forums etc. remotely, and at times meet advocates from the NW for a regional share/plan session.
    Paul “Pat” Eck

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would like to meet you, if possible. I was a teacher at Rogers for two years. Before that I taught in Tacoma. After winning the Milken, Terry Bergeson asked me to come work for her. She didn’t get re-elected but Randy Dorn promoted me to cabinet. I left just as CCSS was being implemented. I am not in favor of the SBA. I have watched the devastation to our most vulnerable children. I am NOT in favor of a cookie cutter approach to learning or expecting every student to be in the same place at the same time. We talk about differentiation but then have expectations (particularly in math) that everyone be on the same lesson (especially in elementary and middle) at the same time.

    There’s so much more…

    I am running for OSPI and, like you, I am one who appreciates listening to and hearing from as many people and perspectives as possible. I would love to connect with you when I’m in Spokane in June.

    What’s the best way to connect with you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Erin. I am familiar with your work and know you are running for State Superintendent. I know how misinformation can be spread and believe the truth needs to be fully exposed. There are those worried you promote data collection of children and the tests… I would love to meet and hear your response. I worked on some state committees while Dr. Terry Bergeson was State Superintendent. – Raz DivineSparkIgnites@yahoo.com

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Would you consider doing some writing for a Civics education nonprofit, a 501(c)(3) Civics education organization dedicated to curing the Civics Deficit with an education outreach on social media and our website?

    We are all volunteers with a mission to make up for the decades lost with no real Civics education. Formed in December 2016, we are a young organization with a passion to Take Civics to Citizens. We have an educational meme series, a video series and a website, along with a Facebook Page, a Facebook group, and a small presence on Twitter, Instagram and beginning on LinkedIN. We are looking for more education writers.

    To learn more about The Founding Project, you can see the “About” section of our website at TheFoundingProject.com

    Or, please feel free to email me at thefoundingproject.com and I will leave my personal email address in the provided form.


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