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My New Year’s Post

January 1, 2014

When I awoke on December 31st, I planned to write my New Year’s post. However, AFT’s 10 Myths rattled my cage, so I spent the better part of the day writing my response.

For me, 2013 has been a remarkable year. How my life has changed, and much of it due to this blog.

I attended college for thirteen years– six for my undergrad; two for my masters, and four for my doctorate. Not once in thirteen years of college did I pull an all-nighter. In fact, I cannot remember staying up past midnight in order to work on any assignment.

I laugh at that idea now, for I cannot count the number of times I have had four (or fewer) hours of sleep because I wanted to write a post for this blog. I consider doing so to be well worth my time.

Apparently readers nationwide (some, even worldwide) believe reading my work is well worth their time, also. It used to be that a google search of my name produced only automobile ads.

No more.

On Christmas Day, my mother and I stopped by her neighbor’s to say hello. Her neighbor told me that she heard discussion of my book on a local talk radio show.


Regarding my filming the Michigan Board of Education testimony, one of my students looked at me somewhat perplexed and said, “You must really be famous for people in other states to want you to speak in their meetings.” Her surprised facial expression made me smile.

To my students, I am “just Dr. Schneider,” part of their everyday routine.

I have a lot happening on the ed reform front, not the least of which is the upcoming publication of my book. I wrote it mostly during the summer, between May and July, while recovering from major surgery (which I wrote about in my Thanksgiving post).

The last word is that my book “is in the queue to be typeset probably [this] week.”

My book is already having an impact locally. My sister’s seven-year-old, Camille, told her mother (my sister’s partner) some months back that she was “writing a book, just like Sugar.” (Sugar is one of her names for me. The other is Auntie M.)



Camille writing her book, “just like Sugar.”

This evening I was at my sister’s to celebrate New years Eve. It was a low-key affair, just six of us (my sister, her partner, three kids, and me). Between bouts of lighting fireworks, I was checking my mail and my blog, and Camille was asking about my blog. She wanted to know the names of people who read it, so I read her some names of those who follow.

I showed her my blog homepage, and she was reading it aloud– it was the AFT post I had just written. The vocabulary was challenging for her at seven years old. After I helped her read the word “federation,” she asked me what it meant. It told her a federation is a group.

Later that evening, I asked her what a federation was.

She responded quickly, “A group.”

Teachers. Always looking for those teachable moments.

January 2, 2013, was a pivotal day for me and for my writing. In December 2012, at the suggestion of my activist colleague Lee Barrios, I had written a paper for legislators regarding the problems with value added modeling (VAM). A recent acquaintance by the blog name Crazycrawfish suggested I send it to Diane Ravitch.

I did so.

On January 2, 2013, I had the following email:

Hi, Mercedes,

I will be pleased to post this on my blog, if you wish. It will go out to a national audience.

Diane Ravitch

On January 25, 2013, again at the suggestion of Lee Barrios, I started my own blog. To date (including this piece), I have written 153 posts.

Diane Ravitch has been gracious enough to post approximately 85 of them. Thank you, Diane.

Yes, indeed. It has been a remarkable year.

Happy 2014, all.

Thank you for reading and sharing my writing, and thank you for fighting alongside of me for American public education.

God bless you.

  1. Teacher Ed permalink

    Happy New Year, Mercedes, and many thanks for your valuable contributions in the fight for public education!

    I would like to urge you to do a close reading of the transcript of David Coleman’s speech about the Common Core and his lack of qualifications here: I typically “read like a detective” and can’t believe what I read, as well as what I didn’t read. There are so many errors of omission, holes in his arguments, assumptions, lack of evidence, and even downright lies. I’m sure you would also catch those discrepancies and I would love to see you blog on this matter!

    For example, he talked about who he would not accept money from, while failing to mention who he did take money from –BIG money from Gates. He also basically lied when he said, “We do not and will not accept money from the publishers of any curriculum or assessment at any time, whether for profit or not-for-profit.” –As if ultimately taking the job as president of the College Board, which publishes the SAT and is aligning that with the CC, is inconsequential?

    There is so much more. especially pertaining to what he seems to assume that all teachers do, and the standards, particularly ELA, including his lack of evidence –when that’s his central theme. So, I really hope that you decide to go through it with a fine tooth comb and write another one of your insightful blogs about it.

    Wishing you a happy healthy 2014!

  2. Happy New Year, Mercedes. Thank you for all the hard work you put into the debunking of the ed reform movement. Your blog is invaluable to me.

  3. As one who trod the same path, a mite earlier, I can certainly echo your feelings. I not only respect the work that you are doing, I enjoy reading such well written tomes. I’ve pretty well retired from writing on education because I concluded that folks such as you, Lee, and other blog writers were doing such excellent work. Keep up the good work.

  4. Happy New Year Mercedes! Loved your piece on the AFT 10 Myths…thank you. This past year was filled with changes that I never imagined in education-some changes were eye-popping in their audacity from corporate reform, but what keeps me going are the changes I see as more and more families, students, teachers, and citizens developing a heightened awareness and greater voice concerning the attack to buy public education. It is hopeful and inspiring.

  5. Candyce Watsey permalink

    Mercedes, thank you for your insight and absolute tirelessness as you fight for all of us who revere public education. I check your blog daily and have learned and been inspired by you to keep fighting for the welfare of the children we teach. You are a warrior.

  6. Happy New Year! Keep up the good fight! I will continue reading and sharing.

  7. Thank you for your dedication and for your powerful blog. I have learned so much from you. You teach children in your job, but you educate their parents (like me) through your blog in your nights, weekends, and holidays. Because of you, I have learned to dig in to tax returns and raise questions about reformers in my state. Please keep up the terrific work and know that you are very much appreciated!!!

  8. ira shor permalink

    Your blog is surely one of the best things about 2013.

  9. public school crusader permalink

    I have always enjoyed your blogs and I send them on to my fellow working teachers. I am retired but they can learn from your hard work and research. Thank you for all you do and all that Diane does…

  10. Mercedes,
    Happy New Year! I want to reiterate my appreciation to you for keeping us informed regarding so many education reform topics. I know the personal sacrifices (sleep deprivation–being one of them) you make and am truly proud of you. I can hardly wait until your book is published. Please let me know when it is available for purchase. May 2014 bring you much happiness, prosperity, and continued success!

  11. 2old2tch permalink

    Your expertize and perspective really add something to the conversation beyond what most of us can offer. I nearly choked on your confession to never pulling an all-nighter during college (although I only came close during final exams) only to smile when you admitted to the blogging obsession. There are many nights when my last post is entirely too late. I must confess that I have to save some of your denser posts until morning when I can understand what I am reading. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you for finding blogging irresistable.

  12. ColoMom permalink

    Mercedes, you are by far my favorite blogger. Thank you for every bit of truth you spread. I am wondering if you will have time to blog about Colorado over this holiday break. Thank you again for all of your help and I look forward to your book!

  13. Your diligent research and clear analysis have been both helpful and inspirational for me. I am grateful that you have added blogging to your jobs list.

    It has been interesting in 2013 to see the number of teacher voices that have emerged in the blogosphere. I started blogging this year mostly to bleed off the steam that was gathering between my ears, but once entering, I’ve been amazed and inspired by many of the voices in that world. I think you’re one of the leaders in this movement simply by virtue of your scholarship, your clear writing, and your knowledge of the pertinent fields. I thank you for everything you’ve done in 2013 and look forward to continuing to read in 2014.

  14. Liz Lauter permalink

    Dear Mercedes,
    As you check your email for responses to your blog, so I check my email regularly for posts from your blog! I have a question via my 94 year old father who lives with me who is a sociologist, civil rights activist, writer, professor and now follower of the school reform crisis. He can’t believe that Congress’ Federal budget negotiations included allowing TFA-ers to be “highly qualified”. Do you have any explanation in your archive about how that happened? Dad’s name is Earl Raab, if you want to Google him. He’s writing his memoirs now about Democracy in America over his 7 generations.

  15. Janna permalink

    Happy New Year. I have been forwarding your work for months but I just wanted to personally thank you for your dedication and excellent work. As a fellow researcher/educator/mom I am indebted to you for demonstrating me the evidence behind the claims. You deserve all the positive attention you are receiving. I wish a wonderful 2014 for you. I am looking forward to your book.

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