The Sweetwater Dialogues

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Forgot your password? Get help. IN FortWayne. Community News. Berry season arrives in Fort Wayne. Music is in the air: Outdoor concerts abound in region. As teachers, we are being exploited by the corporate reformers who profit from their failing experiments — and our families are left with nothing but ghosts of who we once were.

As Grayson Schaffer reports, the dead are often forgotten, and their families left with nothing but ghosts. It is only December, and yet I feel like a porter carrying the immoral weight of reformy slick packages — a porter who has trekked to the top of Mt. EdReform not given the resources we need to survive.

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EdReform, and what is left of my profession is becoming a data service industry that only benefits the companies getting rich. I have more second thoughts about continuing my profession and feel closer to succumbing to burn-out than ever before. From the movie, Beyond the Edge :. Just as the mountain above 26, feet is uninhabitable — classrooms in public schools across the country have become uninhabitable for human beings — teachers and students alike.

The climbers of spoke of how much effort it takes for each step forward, how confused their oxygen-starved brains became. When struggling to take the oppressive steps of corporate reform, I too feel I need to take 15 breaths to cover just one step of one of their new initiatives.

With each step further into the world of corporate reform, I become more confused about why I chose this profession and I recognize that a small part of me is dying slowly — as is a small part of each child. Where we once had art, music, creativity, joy, love, learning through play, and autonomy — many of us now have endless testing and data collection, data entry, data analysis, and meetings upon meetings about data. The corporate reformers have sucked the life out of teaching and learning.

We can feel the heaviness of fear and oppression — and the sense of impending death — as we deepen our voyage into this uninhabitable space. As an artist, I have not had the energy to be creative for several years now. I am becoming a mere ghost of who I once was as a whole person. My ability to engage in distant family communication is shrinking vastly. I am not alone. Other teachers in my district are ready to quit. At one school in my district 11 out of 14 teachers said they have thought about quitting — leaving their profession.

What will it be like when the uninhabitable death zone is the only place left in our public schools and all the creative passionate teachers have gone? In a workshop about children who have suffered trauma or have special needs called Re-education, Nicholas Hobbs wrote:.


In growing up, a child should know some joy in each day and look forward to some joyous event for the morrow. Ultimately, schools are places we can go to take a glimpse into what our future society will look like. But on top of Mt. EdReform, the air we are given to breathe in the deform think tanks is devoid of joy. Devoid of love. I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. Unless we radicalize ourselves and push back, our classrooms are devoid of joy, love, art, music, social studies that teach how to resist oppression, or the time to develop social skills through play.

Most teachers are afraid to push back, and without the time for self-care they are exhausted. They feel alone, alienated, and blamed. No one is standing up for teachers. Few people even know what we are going through. In years past, the Democratic Party used to stand up for us. No longer. Now they collaborate across the aisle to blame us for all the problems they have failed to repair. Teachers seem to be the scapegoats of society, awaiting the next reformy experiment. Their workloads keeps them busy and along with that, now they have to prove they are good teachers.

They do not have the energy to show up at a school board meeting or write an op ed piece. Yes, in fact, corporate reform is the abuse of both children and mostly women teachers, and another layer of racism for people of color, our ELLs, our gifted students, and those with special needs. Our response to this abuse is much like the response of abused women and children. Teachers and students could write a very long list to add to whyIstayed. But back to above 26, feet on Mt. Anyone could potentially save these Excel spreadsheets to their computer and share them anywhere in the world. Chicago friend and special education teacher, Katie Osgood writes :.

My school is drowning under the ridiculous Common Core Standards. Everything I know to do to inspire my students is forbidden. Instead, we are forced to deliver truly horrible curriculum in developmentally inappropriate ways, with pacing charts that move so fast all our heads are spinning.

My students with special needs are shutting down, acting out or just giving up entirely. Why are you making us do this? Up on Mt. Everest two of the climbers made it to the top in It was a climb of injustice when you dig into the story.

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On the top of Mt. EdReform all there is to breathe is data. Unless we fight back. Do we have the energy? We must rest and take time for self-care for the remainder of to prepare for battle. We must stay connected to those who are resisting locally on other fronts of oppression and across the country. We must encourage those who are hesitant to take the risk to resist… to fill up the classrooms with oxygen, with time for teaching children the importance of self-care, art, and lessons of resistance to oppression.

Do you know of teachers reaching this point? How is this impacting the children? What are you ready to do to support students, teachers, and our public schools? Are you ready to help? Go out and support your teachers today to breathe life back into our public schools. Get connected with organizers and activists in your area. We will only succeed by working together. Photo by Aike Parvex , used with Creative Commons license. Anthony Cody worked in the high poverty schools of Oakland, California, for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school science teacher.

So many teachers out there share your passion…and exhaustion.

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Your piece has me wondering: teachers across the country are connecting and organizing behind closed doors, but what about leadership? There are many of us, I am a superintendent, who are fighting the fight.

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I would rather foster traditional methods proven to be successful and effective with students, in classrooms. December 28, at pm. We,here in Wisconsin are feeling it too! I am starting to feel like I am a cog in a corporate machine. My creativity is being zapped as are many of the teachers I work with. When parents make the decision for their child to opt out, some express fear or hesitation, others say they are repudiated, over placing the burden of opting out on their often young children.

The burden of excessive, punitive high stakes tests on the children is a far greater burden for them to bear, which is not imposed by their parents. The children are really on the front lines for matters that have nothing to do with their actual learning. There is no way that it cannot be. To allow children to participate in this farce is to condone and perpetuate these oppressive and abusive policies. Susan: What you wrote made me so sad that I had to call someone to get some consolation.

What a load to carry. It is too much for me. I am too old and out of touch with other teachers and have seen my role more as writing than activism with school boards, etc. What makes things worse is that we all know now that they are doing this to children because they can feel the country slipping away; away from the image it cast for itself over the past years and from the promise of prosperity for anyone willing to work hard to make a life for a family. Right now, you have very little power. You are fighting a defensive battle wo a plan for the future.

For what its worth, I think you have to find some way to take an offensive stance. Suppose, for example, several teachers could take it upon themselves to become experts in what is coming down the pike in the way of computerization and digitized learning programs. We all know this is coming and most of the administrators know squat about it. Grab a hold of the initiative and find out everything you can about who what source is proposing what programs and what the programs are about. These programs are bound to have huge holes in them because the people programming them know nothing about education.

Many of these companies would love to be in touch with teachers who are trying to get ahead of the power curve. Take the play away from the Admin concerning what the best programs and companies are and they will have to come to you for advise on what to get and how to fit it in to existing programs. I know you hardly have time to breath with your existing load but it is only going to get worse.

Unfortunately, the kids who are caught in the current transition are going to get hurt real bad and there is little you can do in face of the momentum this reform movement has. My feeling is that you have to avoid fighting a losing battle for them and start preparing for how you are going to handle what is coming next and that is the automation and digitized learning. There is just so much getting pushed around that you all can take. Take the emphasis off defending the way it was and start building to take charge of what is coming next.

Good luck and thanks so much for what you are doing. Remember, it may seem bad but the world is not ready to end quite yet. Conserve your energy and direct it towards battles you can win. Remember, they want competition interwoven into the curriculum. And competition can work but not the type of competition between Charter schools that they envision. The competition that can work must come from teachers designing courses and selling them to parents and children.

If you can excite children and parents, you can win. I know it will never be so simple but I think it might help to start thinking this way rather than being fixated on how this reform is turning children off. Thank you for this powerful description and the call to continue resisting this oppression by banding together!

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It seems this is hitting a nationwide nerve with teachers. Thank you for posting the truth here Anthony. This fulfills a need in the field of gain a deeper understanding of particular problems. Sweetwater is built atop the Jackdaw Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for agent framework using the Jackdaw University Development personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are Environment JUDE [5] to provide basic multi-agent func- not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies tionality.

The Jackdaw agent framework is a lightweight, bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to flexible, industrial-strength agent platform that uses a mod- republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific ular approach to agent development. JUDE provides an environment for easily develop- metrics for a range of computational dialectic systems. A modular approach was taken to Sweetwater agent development which implements 5. The because it enables the comparative testing of disparate sys- dialectic manager enables a computational dialectic system tems of computational dialectic.

Testing is required to sup- to be loaded at runtime from an XML specification file us- port the wider adoption of computational dialectic as a stan- ing a unified specification format [16]. This enables a wide dard means of structuring inter-agent communicative acts. The knowledge communication. GC0 and Sweetwater have a range of ben- manager incorporates a store to maintain information about efits for both theoretical and practical work.

These include an agents relationships and the colour states of other known a means to test arbitrary dialectic systems using a unified agents. An agents knowledge is maintained through dialogue knowledge base and a means to determine standard metrics with its neighbours. As a result an agents knowledge can by which dialectic systems can be measured, compared and be limited and uncertain.

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  • Knowledge data is represented in characterised. An additional benefit is the generation of a an XML file which provides a simple, structured and easily corpus of example dialogues for each system of computa- extended means to store and access agent knowledge data. Arguments are constructed from concepts that are retrieved from the knowledge store, a process which is guided by the application of argument templates.

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    Argument templates can 6. Drosophila: A Laboratory Handbook. Argument templates [2] A. Open problem. Proceedings of the London are stored in XML files and specify the knowledge concepts Mathematical Society, , Commands in dialogue logic.

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    Practical in effect setting out the pattern for stereotypical arguments Reasoning: International Conference on Formal and in the knowledge domain. The aim is to provide a means Applied Practical Reasoning, Springer Lecture Notes to access the knowledge store guided by argument theoretic in AI, Methuen and Co. The reasoning manager utilses an iterative heuris- [5] Calico Jack Ltd. Question begging in non-cumulative set of relevant legal utterances at any given juncture with systems.

    Journal Of Philosophical Logic, —, the goal of resolving any conflicts through argumentative When a conflict is identified the agents attempt [8] P. McBurney, S. Parsons, and M. By taking this modular approach, new com- [9] J. Ai as sport. admin