For my first 16 years, (starting in 1984) I taught mostly 4th and 5th grade at a public elementary school in a middle to upper-middle neighborhood. It was a high-performing school, based on state test scores in the 85th percentile and above. I was considered a Highly Qualified and Effective teacher. I couldn’t afford to buy a house in the city where I worked, so I bought a house in Long Beach, about 35 miles south. I changed districts mid-career! I arrived in Long Beach (lbusd) in the year 2000, and I chose to teach at a 100% free lunch, mostly English Language Learner school in central Long Beach. I wanted to teach there. On purpose. I took my 85th percentile and above teaching to the 40th percentile and below school, and guess what? Although I taught the 5th grade GATE/Excel class pretty much the same way I had taught in Santa Monica (because I’d been doing it for 16 years, so I couldn’t really not, so I thought I might as well!), and although my teacher-collected data using authentic assessments and pre/posts tests showed that my students were learning as much (or more!) than the Santa Monica students had, the percentile ranking on the norm-referenced, standardized tests required by the state and federal government (thank you, NCLB) did not reflect the growth and progress my Long Beach students were making. My Long Beach students continued to score well below the Santa Monica students, even though I had collected data that could show evidence of similar academic progress! Not to mention that while teaching here in Long Beach I have I earned a Masters of Science in Science Education (2006) and I have become a National Board Certified Teacher (MC-Gen, 2010). I AM one of those highly qualified and experienced teachers that the reformers claim refuse to teach in low-performing, high-needs schools. And speaking of…Michelle Rhee would say that I suddenly became an ‘Ineffective’ teacher as I drove that 35 miles south on the 405 freeway that fateful day in August of 2000 when I moved to Long Beach. I beg to differ. I’ll be starting my 29th year in the next few days, and I can’t wait!