Glasswork by Leigh Checkman; design by Greg Peters.

Congratulations to B2L2 contributor G Bitch for winning the 2011 Ashley Award at the Rising Tide Conference in New Orleans yesterday.

I have special access to her, since we’re married, and I often get to hear a rant before anyone reads it. Or I’ll instigate one by casually dropping a toxic byte of information.

She filters a lot for me. Like when the U.S. Department of Justice released its scathing report about the New Orleans Police Department.  She ran it through her system first, then gave me an itemized accounting of the impurities. She bucks up my citizenship in a big way and keeps me sane.

I have floated all manner of ideas by her, which from time to time has spared me–and you, unsuspecting reader–considerable grief.

Though it is true G Bitch has been brilliant at asking probing questions about education reform and the charter school movement in particular, she has done much more and I would like to draw your attention to her work as an exceptional letter writer, especially of the letter-in-a-bottle variety. When she was pregnant, she wrote a series of scathing single-spaced letters to the authors of the mega-hit What to Expect When You’re Expecting–and she hit a nerve because she got a fairly detailed if lame response. (Then there’s that novel of hers–quite a letter in that, too.) And there are many more letters she’s published at The G Bitch Spot. Here’s a quick sampling:

To University student #22a, b, & c:

If your assignment is late, attach it to your excuse-laden-but-I-don’t-want-to-make-excuses email. Submitting the late assignment 2 days after the excuse email tells me that it’s late because you never bothered to do it, and, instead of doing it when you realized your error, spent time composing an excuse instead of the assignment.

Male student #52:

#52 plopped into a desk after class in front of me. It’s the 10th week of the semester, we’ve done 2 essays, 8 assignments, 2 peer reviews and he still has no research topic. Also no books. He attended so rarely and slacked so much other students made fun of him in class, during class. He just failed an open-book quiz on the MLA handbook the other day. (To be fair, students who did have the book barely passed the quiz though the questions were like In what section can you find the correct bib entry for a book with 2 authors? [Answer: Section 5.6.4]) I sighed and folded my arms.
He said, Oh, it’s like that, huh? That’s how you feel about it?

I held up both hands in a bring-it-on gesture. Okay, whatcha got?

He had bullshit. He blamed KATRINA, among other things. I told him to drop, said that there was no way I was going to accept and grade 9 weeks of work (see Dear University Student, Dear University Student #19, #20 and #21) and there was no way he could possibly pass the course. He hung his head and left.

#20:

Do not turn in 3 or 4 weeks of missed homework, essays and assignments on the day midterm grades are due. Not only are you not my sole student but I see no reason to bust my ass because you didn’t bother to apply yourself for the last EIGHT weeks.

University student #19:

Do not expect a ‘Congratulations!’ or free pass because you tell me 3/4 into the semester that you ‘never bought the books.’ Do not tell me this after an open book quiz and wait for a response.

To Education Secretary Arne Duncan:

You seem to either ignore, forget, or not know that the “reforms” enacted in NO post-Katrina were not driven by the public, by parents or teachers, but by the politically connected who saw an opportunity to impose their vision of education upon a traumatized and scattered population. Aside from a few of the charter schools created post-Katrina, parents were minimally involved in the changes. Look at the boards of these schools now. How many parents are on them? And which schools have parents on their boards and who are those parents? You can keep turning a blind eye but that is neither reform nor leadership.

I do not accept your apology. No one with any stake in or concern about public education should.

She manages to write through the mad making bullshit. I think we have incontrovertible evidence it’s working.

 Note: That’s the tattoo Dedra got Friday in honor of Ashley Morris.

 

 

Derek Bridges lives in New Orleans, trading in words and pictures. A carpetbagger of long standing, he grew up in the top right corner of IL and later went to college in the middle cornfield part. He has also lived in MS and FL, for educational purposes only, and was diasporized for a time in TX.

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