Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,590
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,590
Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.
Testing revolt brews in Florida as Miami schools chief urges delay in new exams
In Florida, the state where former governor Jeb Bush (R) pioneered the use of high-stakes standardized tests for school “accountability” purposes, a testing revolt is unfolding.
Not just teachers fighting back. Administrators, principals joining the fray now. In fact as early as 2011 many NY principals starting protesting these policies.
658 NY school principals revolt against Obama's school policies.
As of last night, 658 principals around the state had signed a letter — 488 of them from Long Island, where the insurrection began — protesting the use of students’ test scores to evaluate teachers’ and principals’ performance.
Also from the link, the words from the principal of one of the highest ratest schools.
“It’s education by humiliation,” Mr. Kaplan said. “I’ve never seen teachers and principals so degraded.”
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Sep 8, 2014, 02:39 AM (18 replies)
NY teacher blogger calls out NBC4 News for charter school propaganda.
Those who rely on your newscast for information are most certainly not getting the full story.
Harlem charter school spent $1.3 million to advertise itself to the community.
The image of hundreds of black and Latino parents packed in an auditorium desperately hoping their child would "win" the lottery and get into a local charter school has assumed mythic status in media reports on education reform.
Taking over public school space without having to pay a penny.
Moskowitz moving her charter into yet another public school. Causing tensions in NYC
The "Eva" Empire has expanded to the Bronx, bringing a Harlem turf war for school space into the borough. Eva Moskowitz, the City Council member-turned-charter school CEO, has opened two new academies from her charter school franchise, Success Charter Network, inside Public School 30 in Mott Haven, and PS 146 in Morrisania. And Bronx Success Academies 1 and 2 are already ruffling feathers with district school staffers.
Sweet deals for Eva Moskowitz and her Success Charter schools, public kept in the dark.
Under the plan, the Success Charter Network, run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, will see its management fee jump from $1,350 to $2,000 for each pupil enrolled at its five schools in the Harlem area.
Test taking machines.
Charter school director: When "test day came, they were like little test-taking machines.”
The day before the scheduled math test, the city got socked with eight inches of snow. Of 1,499 schools in the city, 1,498 were closed. But at Harlem Success Academy 1, 50-odd third-graders trudged through 35-mile-per-hour gusts for a four-hour session over Subway sandwiches. As Moskowitz told the Times, “I was ready to come in this morning and crank the heating boilers myself if I had to.”
Posted by madfloridian | Fri Sep 5, 2014, 08:26 PM (0 replies)
In a way I agree that the concepts taught the new way are important ones. In fact in the primary grades I and many others used those methods.
But in the end there is the real world. So many students simply get lost in the maze of the new math that they end up thinking they don't understand something that could be done simply and quickly as in your example above of 32-12.
There is a fine line to walk unless the "old" way is presented so the "new" way challenged ones can get it and deal with it in real life.
Teachers don't mind standards, but they want "good" standards. Actually it is the testing they are demanding that is going to be destructive.
Some of the best students are not good test-takers. They read too much into the questions, they over think them.
With these new standards the non-educators are moving in with an overwhelming number of new tests to give. There will now be testing most of the year at many grade levels...EVEN Pre-K and Kindergarten.
AND that testing is not teacher made testing...it is testing made in secret by conglomerates like Pearson and graded secretly as well. If parents want to see a test to understand why a child fails a test....they might as well hire a lawyer up front.
The old way is still going to be needed in real life. Many children with disabilities can grasp the concrete thinking in involved in 32-12. But they can not dissect the problem like the new math requires.
What happened to individualized teaching? We were always taught to take the child where he is and then take him as far as he can go. Some can go a long way, some can not.
Arne can NOT just magically make all children capable of the same degree of learning. He is not God though he thinks so.
Posted by madfloridian | Fri Sep 5, 2014, 11:24 AM (0 replies)
And at many forums when we explain that their policies are wrong, we are told that everyone knows public schools are failing. Not true.
We are told that teachers have not been putting students first, so the reformers needs to step in and take over. Not true.
We have allowed this commentary to go on for too long. It's propaganda but it's gone on so long and so effectively that teachers are made to sound petty when they disagree. Public schools have not been failing, though there are some which need more resources to cope with the problems they face.
Most teachers are not "bad" or "lazy", most teachers are there because they care for the students and their needs.
Then there is the all pervasive meme that all students can succeed at the same level. Teachers have always been able to give students a chance at an even playing field, a chance to reach their highest potential. They can do that for students if they have resources to do so. It can't happen if policies continue to give tests which will be failed by many just because they are not able to take a test at that level....then after giving those tests they take away resources and give them to charter schools or private schools for vouchers.
The very latest unbelievably scary thing that Arne has said is that he thinks all students can succeed if they are given honor level classes and tests to prove they can do it. Hey snap your fingers, wave your wand...and suddenly no more below level students. That's a very faulty premise.
For some reason people find that stance of Arne's compelling....just push special needs students until they get it. It's like part of the remaining foolishness pushed by the zero tolerance believers.
Not every child will behave alike, not every child will or is able to do work at higher levels. This country was built on the virtue of individuality. People succeeding at different things, on different levels, having different abilities.
Imagine the harm being done to a child who has to struggle to perform life's everyday activities. Imagine the sense of failure that will be instilled.
The new policy of the US Department of Education is that no longer special needs children will be given modifications at test-taking time.
I asked how we let the reformers so this far, but I really do know the answer. If George Bush, whose policy this basically is, had tried to carry it this far....Democrats would have at once become the opposing party.
But now it is a movement supported by both major parties, and teachers have become the enemy.
Posted by madfloridian | Thu Sep 4, 2014, 09:29 PM (31 replies)
It is so unreal it is almost unbelievable.
Anyone who has worked with students with special needs knows that all kids are NOT alike, and they can NOT all function at high levels.
He said this:
“We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel.”
It's insulting to teachers to say that we do not demand the best of students. How did we let the reformers take the high ground on this issue?
Now since the extreme right opposes it we who are teachers and are on the left wing....are treated like trolls if we oppose it also.
Nothing wrong with sensible standards, but FL has had standards for decades. They keep changing them, changing the name.
It's the tests that are going to destroy public education.
You simply can not declare that all children are capable of reaching the same level....and have it be true. Magic wands don't work that well with kids.
Posted by madfloridian | Thu Sep 4, 2014, 02:33 PM (0 replies)
I just recorded Kidnapped for Christ on Showtime. I only watched a portion of it so far. I wanted to read more about the background, and I found this from July at Newsweek.
Where American Teens were Abused in the Name of God
Logan describes herself as having been a “very enthusiastic and committed evangelical Christian” when she began filming Kidnapped for Christ. Now, she identifies as agnostic, “mostly because I find myself no longer being able to believe that I have found the absolute truth and that all other religious convictions are wrong. This kind of thinking contributed to what happened at Escuela Caribe, and to countless other abuses in the name of religion,” she says.
There was also an article at The Daily Beast in July.
Kidnapped for Christ’ Review: Come Because You’re Gay, Stay For Jesus
Kidnapped for Christ is a heart-wrenching story, both anger-inducing and redemptive, about ordinary teens abducted from home and sent to the Caribbean for pricey religious fixes.
As the producer points out the same people were never really shut down. They can keep opening new schools with different names in different places.
The Showtime schedule:
Kidnapped For Christ:
Upcoming Airings (All Times ET/PT):
Thu, Sep 11, 9:30 AM
Fri, Sep 12, 5:20 AM
Mon, Sep 15, 7:40 AM
Fri, Sep 19, 12:30 PM
Fri, Sep 26, 7:30 AM
Sun, Sep 28, 4:50 AM
Tue, Sep 30, 9:40 AM
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Sep 3, 2014, 02:43 PM (9 replies)
This Labor Day there was something missing. Respect for teachers and their unions.
From the Jacobin Magazine:
This Labor Day, Thank a Teacher
The assault on teachers unions and on teachers’ competence and caring (gender is a key element of the attack) should be seen in light of education being the final sector of the economy that is public and unionized. Education is being restructured in a global project to “marketize” schooling, using the rhetoric of “modernization” and “putting students first.” Throughout the world we see the same footprint of reform, which includes privatization and loss of democratic oversight; use of standardized testing to control what is taught and turn teachers into contract labor; increasing costs to “users” while simultaneously limiting access.
From the time Arne Duncan was appointed as Secretary of Education unions for teachers have been treated with disrespect.
Arne Duncan already confronting teachers' unions and threatening states
Legislatures in New York, California and some other states have enacted laws that limit, to one degree or another, use of student achievement data in teacher performance evaluations. Both national teachers’ unions oppose the use of student testing data to evaluate individual teachers, arguing in part that students are often taught by several teachers and that teacher evaluations should be based on several measures of performance, not just test scores.
In 2010 Arne warned states not to "water down" education plans to please unions.
Mr. Duncan said in an interview that he welcomed the friction between union and state officials but warned against states weakening their overhaul plans simply to win buy-ins from unions. "Watered-down proposals with lots of consensus won't win," he said. "And proposals that drive real reform will win."
He encouraged the friction.
In 2009 Jeb Bush highly praised the policies of the Obama administration.
Even the ACLU has taken legal stands against teachers unions. Through lawsuits teachers are losing many hard-earned due process rights.
ACLU wins their appeal against teachers union. L. A. teachers lose seniority rights in layoffs.
LOS ANGELES—A state appeals court has refused to delay a settlement that would protect 45 of the lowest performing schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District from layoffs.
Even the Christian Science Monitor noticed the attacks on teachers' union before the elections in 2010.
Christian Science Monitor: Why is Obama taking on teachers' unions right before midterms?
Why is President Obama pushing so hard against teachers right now, weeks before the election?
By June of this year Arne Duncan was openly standing with the lawsuits that are starting in states that mean to strip teachers of hard-earned rights of due process.
From Bloomberg News:
The Obama Administration Picks a Fight With Teachers Unions
Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama’s education secretary, was scorned last week by teachers union leaders and their supporters for applauding a California judge’s tentative ruling that the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional. “This decision presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect, and rewarding careers they deserve,” Duncan said.
It would be nice to think that a future Labor Day would find teachers again being respected, at least by the Democratic party.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Sep 2, 2014, 02:05 PM (7 replies)
Just ran across this article from The Atlantic. Spares no words. Good for them.
From the Dept. of Insane and Dangerous Overreactions to Fictional Threats
A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—"taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future.
And the reporter's last paragraph is powerful.
If law-enforcement authorities in Dorchester County have additional information that implicates McLaw in a crime, or in the planning of a crime, it is imperative that they release it immediately. As it stands now, they appear to be violating the constitutional rights of a citizen, and also, by the way, teaching the children of their county something awful about the power of fear over reason.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Sep 2, 2014, 02:59 AM (7 replies)
There is huge support for this initiative.
Florida poll: Most back legal marijuana
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday, 55 percent of Florida voters back legal possession of small amounts of recreational pot, compared with 41 percent who oppose it.
What's amazing to me is that just 3 people have donated 98.5% of the total money against it.
In fact those of us who are in support of the initiative are receiving frequent emails to donate so we can stay up financially with the opposition.
Here are the 3 who are fighting hard against the majority of Floridians.
Supporters, opponents kick in $7.6 million in Florida medical pot debate
The first is very disappointing to me. She is the daughter of Publix grocery chain founder, George Jenkins.
The Drug Free Florida Committee, spearheading the opposition to Amendment 2, recently pocketed a check for $2.5 million from Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp. The Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust, headed by the daughter of Publix Super Markets founder George Jenkins, gave $540,000. And Mel Sembler, local developer and former ambassador to Italy and Australia, donated $100,000.
Mel Sembler has had enough problems with his own attempts to run drug abuse programs.
Mel Sembler Is the Last One Who Should Influence Florida Drug Policy
As I've already written, for 16 years he and his wife Betty directed the leading juvenile drug rehab business in America, STRAIGHT Inc., which prosecutors closed in 1993 after reports of sexual abuse, beatings, prisoner-of-war-style torture and unrelenting cover-ups. Despite the six-figure settlements that sucked the business dry, the 40-plus client suicides, the clinic licenses state health officials yanked, Sembler not only found a way to escape punishment, but he defends his program to this day.
And Sheldon Adelson? Well, I'll just let Jon Stewart explain that guy.
Must-see morning clip: Don’t pick on Sheldon Adelson!
There is a video.
The libertarian Koch brothers aren’t exactly in need of defense, but on Tuesday Jon Stewart had to call out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for condemning the billionaires while, in the same breath, lauding anti-union billionaire Sheldon Adelson — whose “social views are in keeping with the Democrats,” according to Reid.
I know there are many smaller donations to the Yes on 2 group led mainly by John Morgan.
But if 98.5% are donated by those above, that's a small percentage left for small donors.
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Sep 1, 2014, 12:09 AM (31 replies)