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Steven Szalaj

Raise the bar with national exam for teachers - - 53 views

    Editorial about a recommendation by the AFT Pres to develop a professional certification for teachers.  It's about time...
  • ...2 more comments...
    About time for what? For standardized tests to ruin the teaching profession like it has ruined our kids? For the government to control, from the top down, what education departments teach their students? Looks like a HUGE power grab and a very bad way for a Union, who professes to stand against standardized tests to act! Shame on them! Go to to find out more about the scam of standardized testing. If you think a standardized test can improve education, you must also think you can fatten a calf by weighing it!
    Michelle is right. More standardized testing is not the answer for anything, least of all teacher certification. Come on, Steven .. use your critical thinking skills. Don't encourage the bean counters and bureaucrats who are so enamored of things that can be measured and filed into neat categories. The most valuable things cannot be measured in any "objective" way. To focus on what's measurable is to focus on what's shallow.
    Mark & Michelle, thank you for your comments. When I posted this I knew the words "standardized test" would be a flashpoint. It is for me too. With nearly 40 years in the classroom, teaching a creative art (music) to all different levels (kindergarten through college and well beyond), I have often railed against reducing any education, any student, to a number. Very little in what I have taught can be measured with a pencil-and-paper test. What I see here is different than this. It is the union that she is saying should be the "gate-keeper" to our profession, rather than some generic government standard test. Yes, tests would be a part of the certification, but from what I read, so would much more, including actual classroom work. The certification would be similar to the AMA for physicians or the Bar for attorneys. These are certifications designed and administered by the profession - not the government - and validate a candidate's readiness to practice. Yes, I too am strongly against the government, or any organization outside of our profession, to certify, to validate, a teacher's ability to do the job. But we have to admit there is a problem with teacher certification and validation. There are people who simply should not be in the classroom (haven't we all seen them?). It is very difficult to remove folks who are dragging the respect for our profession down. Yes, there is remediation. Yes, it should be a difficult process to remove someone in order to protect against administrative abuses. But what is talked about here is the profession policing itself - something that the teacher's unions, in general, have steadfastly refused to do. What the AFT Pres is suggesting is that the best thing we can do to raise the status of teaching as a profession is to take action ourselves to make it happen. Really, if we in the profession do not do this, then it will be imposed from those outside who do not know what we do, how we do it and why we do it.
    You are still talking about a standardized test. Let's face it--doctors have to have specific knowledge to do their job. Whether or not they are creative or engaging is not as important as their knowledge base. The same with lawyers--knowledge of the law is essential, and everything else is secondary. However, in teaching, although educational theory and knowledge of their subject area is important (and already tested, by the way) the most essential aspect of teaching is how you can creatively engage students, interact with parents and peers, and stay organized and motivated. These things CAN'T BE TESTED. Right now, teachers already go through extensive training, evaluation, and continuing education. Do you REALLY think that a standardized test will really improve teaching? I know a lot of university professors who can easily pass a test, but few of them can teach worth beans.
Roland Gesthuizen

Australian Education Union (Victorian Branch) - 11 views

    The AEU provides advice for teachers and school support staff regarding work agreements, professional support and development programs, union training and free legal advice regarding work matters.
Sydney Lacey

Times-Union Reporters On The Publication Of Individual State Teacher Scores | WJCT NEWS - 21 views

    Jacksonville newspaper The Florida Times-Union wins the battle with FLDOE over the release of state's teacher evaluation scores which use the value-added model (VAM) to determine teacher effectiveness. Link to an approx. 12 minute radio broadcast of a public radio show - First Coast Connect - on WJCT Stereo 90.
Roland Gesthuizen

Gary Stager: First We Kill the Teacher Unions! - 117 views

    If the educational neocons succeed and break the backs of teacher unions, what do they think would happen? What would magically occur the next day? How are schools expected to improve? I demand that these Democratic tough guys and gals tell me what they will do next.
Sydney Lacey

Union Backs 'Bar Exam' For Teachers : NPR - 0 views

    National Public Radio / All Things Considered transcript and audio for a story on teacher certification requirements and a proposal by AFT for a teacher "bar exam." "The system for preparing and licensing teachers in the U.S. is in such disarray that the American Federation of Teachers is proposing a "bar exam" similar to the one lawyers have to pass before they can practice."
    National Public Radio / All Things Considered transcript and audio for a story on teacher certification requirements and a proposal by AFT for a teacher "bar exam."
David Hochheiser

The union wants an evaluation deal  - NY Daily News - 1 views

    • David Hochheiser
      This shouldn't be an issue, but I don't like the word "sunset" either in that it implies a need to start over, from scratch.  Perhaps it should be stated that certain pieces will be reviewed and re-considered for a formal signing again in 2 years, after evidence is presented.
    • David Hochheiser
      This is posturing and politics on both sides.  Get over yourselves. 
    • David Hochheiser
      Are teachers really "waiting to receive a curriculum from the DOE"?  That seems ridiculous.  Aren't we all working on improving the work we already do and infusing the CCSS into our learning objectives?  Has there ever really been a full curriculum handed to teachers?
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    • David Hochheiser
      The state tests are getting more difficult this year? Yet to be seen.
    • David Hochheiser
      The union should come up with a better system for this.  Even if there are tough principals to work for, this is a problem.  
    • David Hochheiser
      This writing ought to have been edited by Mulgrew and the paper.
    • David Hochheiser
      Framework of best practices???  What's that going to look like?  Different from UDL?
    • David Hochheiser
      It is insincere of you to take none of the responsibility for this.  Seriously...the union's innocent?  Where is your concession?  
  • w evaluation system for every district in the state, pointed out that hundreds of other districts have precisely these provisions, and that such provisions do not prevent the districts from getting rid of teachers who don’t measure up
  • put on the table a two-year “sunset” provision that would have negated the effects of the evaluation process
  • We are now working on a framework of best practices that the Education Department can use as part of the training system it must outline to King by Feb. 15 if it wants to avoid the loss of even more state and federal funds.
  • But if we are going to be successful, we will need people on the other side of the table who are interested in creating a system that will truly help teachers improve, not in leaving a legacy of blame.
Steve Ransom

Stephen Krashen Pulls the Rug Out From Under the Standards Movement - Living in Dialogu... - 3 views

  • ur average scores are respectable but unspectacular because, as Farhi notes, we have such a high percentage of children living in poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries. Only four percent of children in high-scoring Finland, for example, live in poverty. Our rate of poverty is over 21%.
  • It means that the "problem" of American education is not ineffective teaching, not teachers' unions, not lack of national standards and tests, and not schools of education: It is poverty.
    "It means that the "problem" of American education is not ineffective teaching, not teachers' unions, not lack of national standards and tests, and not schools of education: It is poverty." Sarah's comment is heartbreaking
Charles Youngs

Special Report: Hounduran Teachers Get Shock Treatment - 39 views

    Post-coup regime in Honduras carrying out unprecedented assault on most organized sector of the resistance, the teachers. Government slashes salaries, steals pensions, fires, threatens, jails, and in some cases, murders teachers and union leaders. "Once you accept the unions are the enemy, you can accept the organizations can be destroyed." Reports claims regime leaders got privatization ideas from US.

Europe's economic crisis is getting worse not better, says Caritas report | World news ... - 10 views

    Survey shows increase in the number of new poor in seven countries and challenges the official European Union discourse
    Survey shows increase in the number of new poor in seven countries and challenges the official European Union discourse
Mr. Mohan

The Cost of Saving Lives in Bangladesh - Ben W. Heineman Jr. - The Atlantic - 13 views

  • if real reform is to occur on the ground, hard, complex questions must be asked and answered
    • Mr. Mohan
      what are these questions in your mind?
  • consumers across the globe looking for cheap prices
    • Mr. Mohan
      what is OUR responsibility?
  • global garment retailers who want the incur the lowest cost--and offer the lowest price--to compete in developed markets but who do not want to be complicit in publicized worker tragedies in developing markets
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  • $38 dollars per month
  • whether Bangladesh has the means to enforce such laws
  • International Labor Organization
  • Inadequate government is a huge obstacle to change
  • only about one percent of Bangladesh garment factories have good standards.
  • garment factory owners are willing to allow workers to organize in unions or associations in order to have a voice in health and safety conditions
  • "who pays" and "who is accountable"
  • Approximately 60 percent of the clothing made there goes to United States or the European Union
  • there are several problems
  • standards may depend on local law
  • buyers may simply cut off the suppliers rather than helping them improve their practices
  • global buyers simply leave the country when they conclude that conditions are so bad
  • question then becomes whether international buyers are willing to go beyond imposition of standards and supplier cut offs and to pay, in some form, for the undetermined costs
  • actually implementing major substantive change
  • significant challenge in a weak state like Bangladesh.
  • Can a robust consumer movement arise among those shopping for discount clothing in response to the Bangladesh building collapse?
  • What are the standards? What is the cost? Who is accountable?
  • drawn an analogy between the collapse of the Rana Plaza in the Bangladesh Capital of Dhaka and the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York which claimed 146 lives
  • Rana Plaza catastrophe represents a more complicated set of fractured global relationships, responsibilities and financial capabilities.
Al Tucker

Education 2011: A case study in seniority-and burn-out - Buffalo Spree - September 2011... - 74 views

  • The following year teachers are required to “map” curriculums, a long process with no apparent functional use. Teaching for Understanding and Cross Curriculum Literacy are two trendy new programs promoting the latest hot topic. Everyone reads Active Literacy before author Heidi Hayes Jacobs arrives amidst great fanfare to promote her comprehensive program, which administrators cherry-pick, then forget. By 2008 the latest buzz-phrase is Professional Learning Communities. The high school adopts this concept at considerable cost and strife. Three years later Principal Power moves on, and PLCs fizzle. With each new initiative Sara’s enthusiasm diminishes. She has twenty-two years of books, binders, and workshop folders stacked in a file drawer, representing hundreds of hours of abandoned work. Sara digs through the strata like a scientist noting geologic eras. She ponders the energy spent on each new program, technological advance, and philosophical shift, and decides the only way she’ll make it to retirement is to stop caring so much. President Obama introduces the Race to the Top Fund, and by 2010 New York has successfully secured its slice of the cash cow. Common Core Standards are developed in 2011, and a system is put into place to rate teachers based on student test scores. Epilogue In 2013 the anti-union movement hits NY State and teacher unions lose the right to collectively bargain. With the help of key Assembly members, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo push through legislation they had endorsed for years eliminating the time-honored practice of laying-off teachers by seniority—“last hired, first fired.” A new math teacher is hired at Sara’s school. Being young and unattached, Bob impresses the new principal, who sees to it that he is not assigned the “problem” kids. Sara remains a competent and dedicated teacher, but the fire is out. She is asked to mentor Bob, but feels no motivation to train the competition. Bob can’t help but notice that Sara shows little interest in the newest reform initiatives. In 2014 a math position is cut due to budget constraints. At half the pay, Bob is clearly the better choice. Sara is laid off, and at age fifty, with a son in college, she joins the unemployed.
    this article seems to chronicle the last fifteen years of my career - but the characters names are all different.
Glenn Hervieux

The Chromebook is Mightier Than the Sword: History Students Become Heroes - 70 views

    "History students in the Perris Union High School District can do more than adorn their classroom walls with cool projects and posters. PUHSD students join larger communities of activists, historians, and journalists to make the world a better place." And they did it with Chromebooks!
Steve Ransom

'What's Wrong With Education Cannot Be Fixed with Technology' -- The Other Steve Jobs |... - 4 views

  • But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent.
  • It’s a political problem. The problems are sociopolitical. The problems are unions. You plot the growth of the NEA [National Education Association] and the dropping of SAT scores, and they’re inversely proportional. The problems are unions in the schools. The problem is bureaucracy.
  • You’d be crazy to work in a school today. You don’t get to do what you want. You don’t get to pick your books, your curriculum. You get to teach one narrow specialization. Who would ever want to do that?
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  • It’s bad only if it lulls us into thinking we’re doing something to solve the problem with education.
  • The trouble is that education’s sociopolitical problems — its bureaucracies, its stakeholders, its poverty, as well as the sheer mass of the industry — are exactly what makes building a disruptive business around education so difficult.
Louis Guglielmo

State of the Union 2011 | The White House - 22 views

    • Louis Guglielmo
      Who will the guests of the first lady be? Students have said the following: Oprah, Citizen involved in BP cleanup, High School student in Asian studies, Christina Green's family, A chilean coal miner, Michelle Rhee, Daniel Hernandez.
Martin Burrett

Reflection - Are we part of the problem? by @sheep2763 - 23 views

    "I went shopping at 8 o'clock one evening in my local supermarket (one of the German chains) and was chatting to the man on the checkout who was moaning about his job and his employer. He says he has to work very long hours (tonight he was going to finish at 1:00am) - longer than his contract says he should; he gets paid for the hours he works but only at standard hours. He doesn't like some of the jobs, they are not really his responsibility but they have to be done. There is a union but they don't seem to be very helpful. His bosses don't always seem to consider the consequences of their actions - the manager was leaving as I was being served and commented that he'd left two bags of garbage on a till further along and they would need moving in a bit. The man serving was the only person on the tills and he said that between customers (there weren't many at this time of the evening) he had to move the garbage and clean all of the tills then when the store closed he needed to work at changing stock and stacking shelves. As the manager left he turned and said, "I asked Matt if he could stay and help you but he gave an unequivocal no!""

Building 21st Century Writers -- THE Journal - 44 views

  • The real key to success in both Littleton and Saugus Union was ensuring that the netbooks would not be used as glorified word processors.
    • michelecain
      I have seen our laptops being used in this capacity in spots. This idea demonstrates the importance of teaching the skill and showing the best tools for the skill.
Brianna Crowley

Adam Kirk Edgerton: Why I Quit Teaching - 53 views

  • Who orders books? A classroom teacher. Who writes the curriculum? A classroom teacher. Who handles discipline? A classroom teacher.
  • Evaluations are done by peers, and the tools are developed by teachers. Teachers are hired by other teachers. There are no outside consultants, no central office administrators, and no superintendents.
  • Let it be the person who pays the electrical bill, who makes sure everyone gets paid, who is a sounding board for teachers. Let it be someone who still has to lesson plan, grade and walk in front of a room of children every day and figure out what's best for them, one day at a time.
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  • given leadership positions while remaining in the classroom for their entire careers.
  • If we continue to treat our teachers like children, what will become of our children?
  • I quit teaching because I was tired of feeling powerless. Tired of watching would-be professionals treated as children, infantilized into silence. Tired of the machine that turns art into artifice for the sake of test scores. Tired of being belittled, disrespected and looked down upon by lawyers, politicians, and decision-makers who see teaching as the province of provincials, the work of housewives that can be done by anyone.
    "If we continue to treat our teachers like children, what will become of our children?" Although this article is very confrontational, it does offer some solution-focused thinking. Teachers should be pushing our profession in these ways--prompting dialogue and debate among our communities and our faculties. 
Daniel Spielmann

How Online Innovators Are Disrupting Education - Jason Orgill and Douglas Hervey - Harv... - 122 views

  • flips education on its head
    • Daniel Spielmann
  • First, online education isn't the one and only teaching tool.
  • Second, online education integration will help teachers make a more impactful influence on students.
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  • concern — that teachers will become less relevant
  • higher quality education
  • The real problem lies in the effects standardized education has had on a student's internal and external motivation.
  • insufficient money, the teachers' unions, and large classroom size, all relevant issues, are not the root cause of our schools' troubles.
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