… and I am on fire.
RAZ 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
My 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.
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…
Raz 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…
And I am IGNITING.
RAZ ON FIRE