Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, January 29, 2016

Goodbye And Good Luck

This will be the last post at Perdido Street School blog.

I have been blogging for ten years at various sites.

For reasons that have been brewing for some time now, I have decided ten years is enough.

I can no longer give the blog the kind of attention I have given it in the past and so, I've decided it's time to shut it down and move on.

Thanks to all the readers and commenters over the years.

Thanks especially to Arthur Goldstein at NYC Educator, who got me started at this all those years ago, and thanks to my blogging buddies Norm Scott at Ed Notes Online, Sean Crowley at B-Lo Ed Scene, James Eterno at ICEUFT blog, Brian at Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association blog and Chaz at Chaz's School Daze.

The battles in education these past ten years have been brutal and we have seen our profession transformed into something barely recognizable from when I first started teaching fifteen years ago.

Common Core, teacher evaluations tied to test scores, EngageNY scripts and drive-by Danielson observations have ensured that many of us are teaching by numbers if wish to remain in our jobs for any period of time.

If you're a reader of this blog, you know that all the "change" we hear that is happening in education - from Cuomo's Common Core Task Force "reforms" to the changes NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says we'll see out of the State Education Department, is just so much window dressing.

The instructional focus of the Common Core remains.

The bludgeon of the Endless Testing regime on individual schools remains.

For many teachers, teacher evaluations tied to test scores remain.

The unions have run ads lately touting change, but quite frankly, there is no change  - just more of the same with minor tweaks.

Thankfully there is a parent-led pushback movement in Opt Out that continues to terrify the politicians and educrats, that continues to keep them off balance and on the defensive.

I must admit, I don't have a ton of optimism for any positive substantive change coming to public education in the near term, but if any does come, it will be as a result of the Opt Out movement and all the tireless folks there doing the work to end the Endless Testing regime.

When I first started blogging, the corporate education reform movement was in the ascendant, with no real pushback to them in the media or politics.

Despite the media narrative of the "powerful teachers unions," the unions never really tried to counter the reformers - they instead  collaborated with them on teacher evaluations, Common Core, Danielson, streamlined contracts and the like.

But the Opt Out movement has become that pushback and therein lies the hope I have for the future of public education - that parents, along with teachers, will take back their schools from the corporate reformers, the educrats, the consultants, the edu-entrepreneurs and the bought-off politicians.

If there is any bright light in the maelstrom of deform that we inhabit these days, it is the advent of a parent-led movement against the powers that be and their corporate backers to transform schools into one size fits all factories and children into interchangeable widgets.

On the union side, there are many great folks pushing back against the union leaders in the AFT, NEA, NYSUT and UFT, trying to end top-down unionism and make the unions more representative of the views of the rank and file.

In NYC, that movement is led by the people at MORE and before I go from the blogging scene, I want to say that I fully support the MORE candidates in the coming UFT elections and hope that we can finally get some people into the UFT leadership who fight for teachers and the teaching profession rather than sell us and it out piece by piece.

And with that, I say goodbye and good luck.

90 comments:

  1. Oh my, of course I wish to honor your decision but gotta say this is a very very big loss. You are the go to reference for opinion on many things political, most things educational. I hope that you will be picking up the torch in another venue so that we can continue to enrich our awareness. You have a remarkable gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  2. OMG RBE! I read you religiously! Thanks for all your hard work and brilliant insights.

    Abigail Shure

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  3. Your thoughts on the maelstrom that has become the teaching profession were appreciated and will be missed.

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  4. Thank you for all your hard work. Just wished our union was as dedicated as you

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  5. Thank you! For the past four years or so I checked your blog with my morning coffee, in the car before work, with my afternoon coffee and before bed. Will miss it.

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  6. Thank for your thoughtful viewpoints on so many issues in education today. You have been a fixture in my news feeds for a few years now and I will miss your commentary on so many education-related and political issue. You have been a key part of shaping professional and public opinion surrounding so many important issues.

    Best wishes,
    Michael Shaver
    Political Action Coordinator
    Glens Falls TA
    @gfta_ny

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  7. Man! I am gonna miss your blog. It is the best ed blog in NYC. You are da' man and I want to thank you for all of your awesome work here. Much respect to one of the few punk rock teachers out there. Take care and be well.

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  8. RBE

    You will be missed. Your blog spoke the truth to power. Please let us know that you'll be posting on other's blogs.

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  9. 18 years in here - you have taught me and informed me of very much. What a loss! No! WHAT A LOSS! You're undoubtedly going to receive a ton of praise and it is all well deserved - you are/were a PROLIFIC blogger. The information you shoveled to your readers helped us inform the rank and file we work with, and trust me, it has made a dent. My only regret with you is that I never had the chance to actually meet you in person or to have a beer with you. Seriously, I had a man crush on you with the things you were blogging and informing about. One last question I have always wondered about: What is the title of the art work under the blog title? I do hope you one day reconsider because YOU HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE TO MANY TEACHERS IN THIS SYSTEM. What's the difference on may ask - YOU TAUGHT US! Be well.

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  10. sorry to see you go , this blog was a beacon of information

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  11. RBE thank you so much for your wonderful efforts these past years! I have been a daily reader and have commented several times. You are an insightful voice and a great source of information. Best of luck to you in all you do!

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  12. Cuomo is doing the jig. We will miss you but this is not the first time you have stopped blogging so I have hope you will be back at some point. I will be by your school to drop off election lit for MORE supporting opt-out leader Jia Lee on a happy hour day and treat you to a beer. You correctly identified the key change in our fortunes as opt-out and Jia as a leader of opt out and a teacher of conscience is worthy of support.

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  13. Thanks for everything .... Truly educated me on what's really going on .

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  14. Going to miss your blog. You have a insight into politics that most people don't see. Good luck, Cheers 🍻

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  15. no say it isn't so!! You will be missed. Maybe if you get the itch you can guest post at some of the other blogs. Thxs for all the hard work and effort all these years.

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  16. Thank you for your efforts and insights over the years. You will be greatly missed.

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  17. Thank you for your efforts and insights over the years. You will be greatly missed.

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  18. Thank you. Insufficient words but all I can offer.

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  19. Thank you. As a daily reader, the time and effort you put into your blog will always be remembered.

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  20. THANK YOU for being the eyes, ears and collective conscience of the public school teaching profession in New York (NYC and beyond). One can certainly understand your need to step back from the Herculean task of maintaining this very active blog for 10 years. It's time you got back to enjoying your own life (and family and friends).

    Surely, your perspective and commentary has been a source of great inspiration and motivation for the thousands (if not millions) of folks who have visited your page over the years.

    The future of public school education will undoubtedly continue to change especially with a new president coming into office this time next year. I am sure that you will find another outlet to continue your rant and to share your thoughts. You speak for many of us and though we may choose ultimately to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, we have come to your blog time and time again because it has been a place to commiserate, laugh, cry and express anger over our profession and the way it has been treated.

    So, Godspeed RBE and thanks again for being there for us. May you rediscover the joy of being untethered from your computer and this site and go back to living your life knowing that you carry the well-wishes and thanks of so many who have appreciated your always clear-headed and honest appraisal of our profession. "Ya done good, my boy!" Thanks, again!

    Tom G from Long Island

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  21. hanks bud for this great site which I will miss badly as an anonymous person making comments out of frustraton by which of all the issues you mentioned in this last sign off. It truly is a shame what has happened in our NYC schools which have become a sad state of affairs - My last comment remains as I have posted it before and the comment evolves around a movie called planet of the apes - (I prefer the 1968 version) also 2001 version - but the scenario of Charleston Heston playing an astronaut lost on a mission gone wrong finds himself on a strange planet where apes rule the land. They live in a barbaric environment and are backwards as can be also thinking that man is inferior to the ape. The humans or man and woman are mutes and the apes do all the talking. The apes use the humans as cattle and experiment on them with ape brain surgery using ape doctors who basically are, well, apes! This same scenario is what NYC schools are like these days. The apes are ruling the schools and the real teachers and educators are the mutes. Take care bud cya next lifetime hopefully the apes will be gone.

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  22. I feel like we've lost Glen Frey, David Bowie and Abe Vigoda all over again.

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  23. RBE,

    You are the most insightful Ed blogger in NYC and a fixture of my newsfeed. You will be missed and I hope you are back one day!

    Goodluck!

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  24. RBE, I am honored and humbled at being mentioned among the company of James, Norm, Arthur, Chaz and Brian. Your shoes are going to be hard to fill. You've done way more than your share. God bless and thanks for the incredible body of work. Peace

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  25. Isabella Keegan-BuffaloJanuary 29, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    Will really miss reading you EVERY DAY! At this important time in NYS education, you have been a source of timely, relevant, trusted and focused information. Where will we go now? Wishing you the best and many thanks.

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  26. Eh y dont you fade back and bécome editor of this blog to keep the name and ideas alive but let others write some of the content

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  27. Oh, by the way, and not to lay a guilt trip on you, rather to show the importance your blog has had, but our Reptilian Governor and his Flying Monkeys are very happy today.

    Please think of that as the deep flattery it is.

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  28. Thank you, solid man, for all you have done.

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  29. I am VERY unhappy to hear this. Since the Albany Project went silent, Peridido Street has been my primary portal to stay up to date on NYS politics. (And I know other people more active in reforming state government than me follow you closely too). I hope you will keep the blog up as a source to reference even if it isn't getting updated.

    And I hope the itch to blog returns to you soon.

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  30. I'm not religious, hardly, but as St. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7--"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

    You have. Be well. Get some rest. We all salute you.

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  31. It's a great loss to the education blogging community and to me personally.

    Chaz

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  32. It's a great loss to the education blogging community and to me personally.

    Chaz

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  33. "The great future belongs to those who have strong vision and determination.
    And it doesn‘t matter where are you now,
    Starting well and finishing strong is all that matters.
    Wishing all the best to you!" - anonymous

    All the blog readers will miss you immensely and respect your decision. But, know this that starting tomorrow morning we will feel the void of not reading your informative, insightful posts.

    From I noticed that...

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  34. Thanks for your work, RBE. You'll be missed.

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  35. Your work cannot be matched, the void that remains cannot be filled...but you have inspired a battle for our democracy that will continue on.

    Thank you RBE

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  36. I will feel a big loss not being able to continue to follow your blog. I've been following you for many years. You went beyond the profession itself, delving into economics and politics. I will miss your insight and informative posts about what's going on in Albany and Buffalo. Good luck in your next chapter, and maybe you'll be back at some point in the future, with your terrific analyses. Be well and here's to moving forward

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  37. Your focus on NY state politics and education were greatly appreciated. I will miss your insight and writing style.

    Best wishes for the future.

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  38. We salute you and thank you for all that you have done. Every great movement needs its literary heroes and we are saddened to see one of those heroes leave.

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  39. Thank you for all the info over the years!! You have been invaluable RBE. No idea where I will find out what is really happening now. Does anyone have a recommended site or blog to help fill the gap?

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    1. The ones he mentioned are good places to start.

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    2. Thank you for mentioning me as a fellow blogger. I look to your blog as often as I can. I sometimes try to build on what you write. OK, some would say I steal from you.

      I have no idea how you find the energy to post as often as you do and still teach your classes.

      Wishing you the best and hope one day you return.

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  40. Wow.....what a real loss, though I've often wondered how you find the time to keep going. Perhaps, after a break, you could come back online using some other format...weekly....monthly....? Take care and thanks for your devotion to public education and democracy.

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  41. Your blog was the first I read every day. Insightful, inciting, intelligent, your blog always made me feel hope that in a great rural desert, I was not alone. RBE, you always understood the bigger picture, plus High School English. I wish you well, and I am incredibly appreciative of your pertinent blogs, but I will miss you, mostly because you are a kindred soul who saw my crazy world, hundreds of miles from yours, exactly as I did. Raise your wands, all you RBE readers. "If there is hope, it lies with the proles."

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    1. It was the first I read to. I'd start up my smart board twenty minutes before the class began in the morning and check out Perdido Street School Blog - sometimes even while the kids where knocking on the door telling me if was time to open up. Someone said "No, this is a real loss" up there in the comments. I can't agree more! Thank you for the endless hours you spend preaching the truth to us all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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  42. Truly saddened but understand completely. Your blog has been a must daily read for me along with sharing on social media, with my union brethren, and opt out groups. Please stay on twitter, 140 at a time is easier!

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  43. We were very fortunate to have your insight, especially from the east coast. I am grateful.

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  44. Thank you. We will miss your voice.

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  45. Thank you for all you have provided. I feel as if I will be floundering without the real info. Best of luck in whatever you find yourself spending your free time doing.

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  46. Thanks RBE! I looked forward to reading your blog. Your insight will be greatly missed.

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  47. A true inspiration for us all. Thank you for all you've contributed to our cause. Your knowledge and opinion has always been welcomed. Not being able to read your words will create a enormous void and you will be truly missed fellow warrior!

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  48. Many thanks for all you've done. Like so many others who have commented, yours was my "go-to" blog on a daily basis. I will miss checking in to Perdido Street. Your work has helped inform and I truly believe has helped many of us find our own voice in this war. Be well.

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  49. Thank you for educating. Your voice will be missed. Best Wishes!

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  50. Pls don't go. You're hard to replace.
    Excellent analysis of state scene, hard to replace.

    NYC Eye

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  51. No!!!
    You know, if you think about it, it's absolutely nuts that we're all in a position where we have to depend on blogs just so that we can receive correct, accurate information. But thank goodness your blog has been there offset the incredible information we get through the other outlets. It has played an absolutely crucial role in the way I have come to understand our school system and our political structure. I can't thank you enough for writing and being there each and every day. I also want to say that it's a real loss for everyone who cares about good information that you're leaving.
    Good luck!

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  52. Thanks for all you have done. Your work has influenced many. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  53. I found out the news this morning while killing time at a distributive scoring site. I immediately sent a link to my buddies at my home school. We collectively let out a "Noooo!!" As others have mentioned, you've been an invaluable resource, and more people than you know owe you a lot. Thanks for all that you've done, and best of luck!

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  54. I will miss your blog ... a lot. Hope we can stay in touch via Twitter. You did good work and I'm so appreciative.

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  55. A huge loss for the "informed" community. Completely understand your need to walk away. Thanks for all of the work throughout the years. You will truly be missed.

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  56. Obviously, if we had any say in this we'd just say, "NOPE! That ain't happening!" So many of us love your blog and the insight it provides and we don't want to do without it.

    Not sure what led to your announcement but I hope all is well with you and yours. Thank you for the time and effort you've put in and thank you for making sense out of things that don't always make sense. I've learned so much from you and hope we can keep in touch via twitter and/or email.

    All the best,

    Mary Ahern

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  57. I just hope the real reason to end your blog-wasn't because you decided to work for Andrew Cuomo.
    You will be missed-good luck.

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  58. Your voice will be greatly missed. Thank you for keeping us informed, keeping us motivated to fight for change, and inspiring us -- as teachers and parents. I wish you well in all future endeavors (with fingers crossed that they involve a new blog one day!).

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  59. Crack of dawn - you and NYCeducator always started my day. Loved telling other teachers about blogs like yours. Your integrity and fight were unmatched.

    May a Cuomo indictment bring you back for a few quick posts.

    In the meantime...Go easy, step lightly...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl5u7z_hNUA

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  60. As an opt-out parent trying to figure out what the hell was going on in our kids' schools, I quickly realized the truth wasn't to be found in any of my favorite supposedly enlightened media sources, but in blogs like yours. You're the greatest. THANK YOU and as we parents continue the revolution in education alongside growing ranks of emboldened teachers, I hope we disprove your well-founded pessimism.

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  61. Thank you for educating myself and my colleagues out here in Staten Island.

    Fare you well!

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  62. Thank you for all your work in the defense of public education. Your voice will be missed by me and many. Thanks also for linking to Russ on Reading and sharing my stuff.

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  63. Well this is very disheartening news. No, not the MORE endorsement, but rather the fact that we are losing a very valuable and informative resource of real information.

    Perhaps an encore return?

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  64. I am so sorry to hear this! I have enjoyed this blog so much over the years and learned so much from it. Thank you for everything you have done--but you will be missed (and I hope, at some point, you reconsider).

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  65. Thank you for all of your hard work for these many years. Nobody stayed on top of the deform movement better than you. Your blog was invaluable to keeping teachers informed. I think the UFT or NYSUT should hire you full time with an inflated salary. I don't know where I will tune in for vital up to the minute information now. Thank you for all your hard work very day.

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  66. I have read your blog every single day for the past five years or so. Absolutely excellent. It's a sad day in education blogging. Best and warmest wishes to a fellow teacher!

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  67. Please reconsider ... even if you participation is merely a once-a-week article or update ... or once-every-two-week ... or once-a-month, or whatever ...

    Or take a break, then come back.

    Please.

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  68. Thank you. Your blog was a real sanity saver.

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  69. I was at a meeting last spring just after Cuomo's plan to attack public schools really hit the fan. About a dozen of us teachers were talking with our NYS Assembly Member, expressing our shock at her decision to wimp out and join the "heavy hearts club". And, you and your blog came up during that discussion, sitting there in that rep's office. You were cited as a source of reliable information...and an inspiration. RBE, your blog has been that sort of life ring,so to speak. It's been something that teachers can hang onto in the midst of this terrible hurricane of so-called school "reform". You know the state ed. game is rigged....the powermongers in Albany hold the cards and feed out the information as it suits their purposes. You might be underestimating the positive impact you've had for teachers and students statewide, RBE. Thank you for your hard work. You deserve a break. Maybe you can leave a message on here for us when you think about getting back in the game -whatever way that is. I know I'll be still checking in here regularly. -John Ogozalek

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  70. Thank you for all you did to keep us informed and up to date on all the maneuvering, sometimes, right in front of our faces, in public education. I, as countless others before have stated, read your blog faithfully for so many years. Perdido Street was the one recommended must read I shared with colleagues. You will be missed more than you know. I wish you well and will always be grateful for all that you did for public education and public school teachers. ~ Maryann Mercer

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  71. Thanks and good luck.

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  72. Your posts will be missed! Hope you reconsider over the summer and check in with more insight.

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  73. Say it ain't so. :( You obviously must do what's best for you, but I hope at some point you reconsider. Your insights and perspective and knowledge and passion are a much needed and valued resource to those of us trying to fight the good fight for our students. I've learned a lot from reading your blog, and will miss it very much.

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  74. I feel the same way! You are the go to blog for me! But I totally understand 10 years is a long time and for that we all grateful. Your voice and your smart opinions will be missed!

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  75. Thank you, RBE...there isn't much more to say that hasn't been said already, but you are not just a colleague, but a friend as well...we will all miss you

    Nothing is ever permanent...my two wishes here are that 1) public education is restored, protected, and respected, and the reform movement is destroyed sooner rather than later, and 2) that you will one day be back...

    It's been an honor and privilege to be on the same side!

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  76. Cuomo is happy now that this site will no longer bash our esteemed governor. Cuomo has proven to be a trader and this site documented all the hypocrisy our governor has spewed upon us but rest be sure, we will over come the black cloud over us and destroy neophytes like the campbell browns of the world. These types of people are destined to burn and self destruct - watch it happen. Peace out.

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  77. I would love to see our talented billionaires of our country start a program in which our country will no longer have any kids who are hungry without any food. I saw an ad on television asking for donations for hungry children - in our country - asking the regular Joe's of the world to donate money for food for these starving children. Well I thought, how about the Gates and the Bloombergs of the world, the Koch Bros??? Where are these freakish people?? These are the same billionaire people who are spending countless millions on all kinds of unnecessary bull crap like "education reform". Or,for that matter spending countless millions of dollars are "super pac" elections, going after teacher and other unions filled with hard working regular people. The fact that these billionaires are spending their money are bull shit is proof that they are all full of crap. Why not say hey we are not going to have any hungry children in this country. But no for example idiot Mike Bloomberg stated he would spend a billion dollars for a presidential campaign run. Are you kidding me mikey bloomcraps?? A billion dollars on a campaign that is useless and 0 ZERO chance of winning any presidential election. Hey Mikey Bloomberg, how bout spending that billion on some starving children in this country who really need the food!!!!!! This is why this country is full of sh** especially people like Gates and Bloomberg who spend their money making others miserable for their own stupid gain while we have starving children in this country.

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  78. I have often come here to read news clips with your commentary. I never understood how you kept up the posting at such a high intensity. Thank you for all you did.

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  79. Ahh, I figured Scalia's death might pull you back (temporarily). Hate saying this, but when I first found out he died my first thought was, "That's really good news."

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  80. Anyone else checking back occasionally in hopes that RBE will return? I'm not losing hope!!

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  81. I hope he does. And yes- I do check to see if he has returned. What an amazing voice, we are truly at a loss.

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  82. Your posts will be missed! Hope you reconsider over the summer and check in with more insight.

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  83. Reality Based Educator has emerged a few times the last couple of weeks over at the ICEUFT blog. Go over there and see his stuff.

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