Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,856
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,856
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.
- 2014 (269)
- 2013 (166)
- 2012 (46)
- Older Archives
Two women with separate lawsuits to challenge teacher tenure are at odds
A judge consolidated a pair of lawsuits challenging teacher tenure in New York on Thursday — but the two people behind the cases couldn’t be farther apart.
Enid Alvarez/New York Daily News Mona Davids has filed a lawsuit seeking changes to teacher tenure, but she doesn't see eye to eye with Campbell Brown, who also filed similar legal action.
And the article is more favorable to Campbell Brown, which just illustrates the state of journalism lately. This is a news article, not an editorial.
Brown sought to stay above the fray. “Our view has always been, the more parents, lawyers and families supporting this effort, the better,” Brown said.
More from Capitol New York.
Anti-tenure plaintiff attacks would-be ally Campbell Brown
A would-be alliance in the battle over New York's teacher-tenure laws fell apart Thursday, as parent-activist Mona Davids held a press conference to attack CNN anchor-turned-education reformer Campbell Brown.
The Parents Union which has formed nationwide is the group which pushed the Parent Trigger Act in which a group of parents can take over a school, decide which charter group will get the nod. Actually it was formed by charter school groups. (The parents risk losing their power when the charter group takes over, I fear.)
This is not a healthy situation for students or teachers or parents. But for those funders who back the lawsuits there is much profit at stake if unions have less power.
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Sep 17, 2014, 06:21 PM (12 replies)
I can't begin to fathom how harmful it is to say teachers' due process rights harm civil rights. It is amazing how Boies and Campbell Brown and others are simply getting away with it...the media never questions it.
David Boies, eyeing education through a civil rights lens
David Boies, the superlawyer who chairs a group that is trying to overturn teacher tenure laws in New York and elsewhere, said Monday that his organization is not looking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not in the short run.
Well, thank goodness for that at least.
Last month, Boies became chairman of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group founded by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown to challenge teacher tenure laws. The group says that tenure laws make it too costly and difficult to get rid of weak teachers and that poor students are saddled with the worst educators.
This is what he plans to do.
Boies said in an interview with The Washington Post that he is crafting a state-by-state strategy regarding teacher tenure because many state constitutions explicitly require the provision of an equal education to all public school students.
All these lawsuits against teachers' due process rights....a hearing before being fired...are putting the blame on teachers for ills that are not their fault at all.
I don't think I could have stood up for the rights of my students if I had not had a continuing contract behind me. That did not mean I could not be fired, but it meant that there had to be just cause.
I could give so many examples. This one stands out because of the child's suffering. A 2nd grader in my class years ago had serious kidney and bladder problems. Because of their religious views the parents would not take him to the doctor for treatment. We even worked out a way they could go now, pay later, but they instead had a violent reaction to our (guidance counselor and I) even talking to them about it.
They threatened to sue me, they were furious. I told them they would have to do what they had to do, but that their child was suffering. I told them of his daily embarrassments and tears. They were not even moved by it. I could take a firm stand because I had tenure (due process)...and even if the principal agreed with them there would have to be just cause. The principal in fact was running scared of a possible religious controversy, not sure how it would have gone.
We had to resolve it through child services.
So to Mr Boies, go ahead with your crusade against teachers' right to due process before being fired. You will probably win because the money, the power, and the media are all on your side.
But the children will have lost. Teachers will fear being advocates for children if they are in a tenuous position with an administration that wants no controversy.
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Sep 17, 2014, 12:05 AM (115 replies)
Report: scrutiny lacking for Florida charter schools.
NAPLES – Officials have shut down at least five schools run by the Richard Milburn Academy of Florida, yet the company has continued to operate and open new taxpayer funded campuses in this state.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 01:59 AM (0 replies)
They are going to evaluate the situation. Maybe speaking out really does make a difference sometimes, even if we don't realize it.
Kindergarten teacher: ‘There is a good possibility I will be fired but…’
Susan Bowles sent a letter to the parents of her kindergartners.
She points out that K teachers evaluate and test already, just not the high stakes kind. She describes some of what is now required.
• FAIR testing – We have given the FAIR assessment in the past but this year it was revamped. It does provide useful information, but nothing significantly superior to what a typical kindergarten teacher would observe in her students. This year, it is more time consuming and more difficult. Kindergartners are required to take it on the computer using a mouse. (While testing a child last week, she double-clicked which skipped a screen. This little girl double-clicked three times and triple-clicked once. There is no way for the teacher to go back. Neither is there a way for the school administrator to go back and make a correction.) While we were told it takes about 35 minutes to administer, we are finding that in actuality, it is taking between 35-60 minutes per child. This assessment is given one on one. It is recommended that both teacher and child wear headphones during this test. There is no provision from the state for money for additional staff to help with the other children in the classroom while this testing is going on. If you estimate that it takes approximately 45 minutes per child to give this test and we have 18 students, the time it takes to give this test is 13 ½ instructional hours. If you look at the schedule, a rough estimate would be that it requires about one full week of instructional time to test all of the children. Our kindergarten teachers have been brainstorming ways to test and still instruct. The best option we have come up with is for teachers to pair up, with one teacher instructing two classes while the other teacher tests one-on-one. So now we are looking at approximately two weeks of true instructional time lost, because we cannot teach our curriculum, pulling small groups and targeting each child’s educational needs. FAIR testing is done three times a year.
A Florida parent, teacher, activist posts the letter from Bowles' superintendent.
Teacher Refuses, Florida DOE Responds. FAIR testing suspended statewide #Florida
If you think that you can’t make a difference, think again.
She includes the letter her superintendent wrote.
And to their credit, the Florida Department of Education paid attention.
Florida suspends a controversial exam as debate widens over school testing
Education commissioner Pam Stewart ended the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, known as the FAIR test, in kindergarten through second grade. In its place, teachers will observe children's reading abilities in a more informal setting than the online exam, which recently suffered glitches.
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Sep 15, 2014, 06:56 PM (21 replies)
I have seen some pictures from this 20 piece retrospective, but I have never seen it as a whole. Awesome pictures, tragic ones, it would be easy to spend a day absorbing it all.
I remember Life Magazine carried some of the pictures like these of the Holocaust after the war, but no one talked much about it. It was too horrible to imagine. Frankly I never heard of places like Manzanar and other Japanese internment camps until just a few years ago.
World War II in photos. A Retrospective in 20 parts.
World War II is the story of the 20th Century. The war officially lasted from 1939 until 1945, but the causes of the conflict and its horrible aftermath echoed for decades in both directions. While feats of bravery and technological breakthroughs still inspire awe today, the majority of the war was dominated by unimaginable misery and destruction. In the late 1930s, the global population stood at approximately 2 billion. In less than a decade, the war between the nations of the Axis Powers and the Allies resulted in some 80 million deaths -- killing off about 4 percent of the whole world.
Here are 4 pictures from different sections.
Adolf Hitler, age 35, on his release from Landesberg Prison, on December 20, 1924. Hitler had been convicted of treason for his role in an attempted coup in 1923 called the Beer Hall Putsch. This photograph was taken shortly after he finished dictating "Mein Kampf" to deputy Rudolf Hess. Eight years later, Hitler would be sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, in 1933. (Library of Congress)
The Santa Anita Park race track is converted into an internment camp for evacuated Japanese Americans who will occupy the barracks erected in background in Arcadia, California. Photo taken on April 3, 1942. (AP Photo
A Japanese family returning home from a relocation center camp in Hunt, Idaho, found their home and garage vandalized with anti-Japanese graffiti and broken windows in Seattle, Washington, on May 10, 1945. (AP Photo)
Looking north from 44th Street, New York's Times Square is packed Monday, May 7, 1945, with crowds celebrating the news of Germany's unconditional surrender in World War II. (AP Photo/Tom Fitzsimmons)
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Sep 9, 2014, 02:55 PM (11 replies)
Teacher: No longer can I throw my students to the ‘testing wolves’
Veteran teacher Dawn Neely-Randall and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown look at a post Neely-Randall wrote for The Answer Sheet about the reform movement. (Photo by Tom Traut)
Last spring, you wouldn’t find the fifth-graders in my Language Arts class reading as many rich, engaging pieces of literature as they had in the past or huddled over the same number of authentic projects as before. Why? Because I had to stop teaching to give them a Common Core Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) online sample test that would prepare them for the upcoming PARCC pilot pre-test which would then prepare them for the PARCC pilot post test – all while taking the official Ohio Achievement Tests. This amounted to three tests, each 2 ½ hours, in a single week, the scores of which would determine the academic track students would be placed on in middle school the following year.
Parents upset as well.
One parent sent me her district’s calendar showing that students would complete 21 mandated (K-3) assessments before a child would even finish third grade. When I asked an Ohio Department of Education employee about this, she insisted there were not that many tests. When I read them to her one by one from the district’s calendar, she defended her position by saying that some of them were not from her department, but from another one. “But it’s the SAME kid!!!” I told her.
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Sep 8, 2014, 03:53 PM (33 replies)
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)