1. We, educators in the public school system, admitted we are powerless over our compulsion to follow orders from pseudo- authority figures in a dysfunctional system that allows teachers to avert punishment if they submit to the will of the authority instead of personal will- as a result, our lives and that our students’ lives have become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that the transcendent power of educational ideals that are aligned with the internal landscape of our personal introspection and consequent beliefs. Our educational ideals and our personal beliefs are far superior to the willy nilly policies and procedures dictated by reactionary ideas of non-educators, the business sector and politicians- and these ideals and self-knowledge could restore us to sanity.
3. We made a decision to turn our practice and our actions over to those educational ideals and our internal voice as we continually seek to understand them.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of the way we followed directives that were unethical and unprofessional, allowing standardized testing, arbitrary standards, and political pressures to change fundamental aspects of our teaching in ways that were bad for kids.
5. We admitted to ourselves and to others the exact nature of our wrongs, such as
•delivering mindless curriculum and then disciplining kids who rebelled;
•putting the desks back in rows and out of small groups to maximize efficiency
•eliminating the poetry unit, the field trip series, and the big popular end-of the year projects
•implying imminent doom if the kids don’t do well on their tests
•setting a 10 second timer to radically abridge the kids’ stories they share about their weekends
•avoid sitting with kids who seek advice for a problem they are having at home and just hanging out having good conversations because the principal said that’s what counselors are for
6. We are entirely ready to remain true to our educational ideals and our internal voices so we may remove these defects of character.
7. We humbly find strength in order to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all the children we have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all, including :
•kids who we watched the school let drop out because they would lower our test scores
•the kids the school forced back to school, not because they cared, but because they have to reduce their graduation rate to get their federal funding
•the kids who we watched the school deny their request to attend their an academic speaking opportunity during testing because their tests would bring up our scores
•the kids who have the lowest scores who don’t extra help because all our extra resources are used for the kids just barely below proficient.
•the gifted kids who can’t score any higher, but we make them take the tests 3x a year anyway, taunting their self- esteem with the fluctuating score from the standard of error.
•the kids who hate school who used to love it
•the kids who hate themselves who used to love themselves
9. We will make direct amends to such people when possible, and indirect amends when it isn’t.
10. We will continue to reflect vigorously to match our aims to practice, and when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
11. We will seek through reading the great works in education, scholarly journals, and books about best practices by education scholars, not edupeneurs; and through writing, sharing, discussing with peers, and careful introspection, to improve our conscious contact with the true purposes of education as we understand them, so we may find the courage, confidence, commitment and power to carry them out in our daily actions.
12. Having had a raised consciousness as a result of these Steps, we will carry this message to other heteronomaholics so we may practice these principles with integrity.