Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Emanuel: New Curriculum By End of First Term / Chicago News Cooperative

Emanuel: New Curriculum By End of First Term / Chicago News Cooperative

Emanuel: New Curriculum By End of First Term

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel made a campaign promise this week to implement a new math and English language curriculum in Chicago’s public schools by the end of his first term.

Emanuel said the new curriculum would be geared toward meeting the “common core standards” that education officials in Illinois and more than 40 other states have adopted. How exactly to try to meet those standards, however, is left up to school districts.

“I want us, the city of Chicago, to be the first city to adopt the curriculum that teaches toward the common standards,” he told the Chicago News Cooperative. “Nobody has taken on the initiative.”

The effort would better prepare high school graduates for college or the workplace, he said, “so diplomas, on graduation day, mean something.”

But Emanuel quickly made clear that he meant no disrespect to retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley, who

Off for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Off for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Off for Thanksgiving. Enjoy your turkey.

“Gobble, gobble.”



The Answer Sheet - Why we don't eat deer for Thanksgiving (the Pilgrims did)

The Answer Sheet - Why we don't eat deer for Thanksgiving (the Pilgrims did)

Why we don't eat deer for Thanksgiving (the Pilgrims did)

Does this sound familiar? In 1621, Pilgrims, dressed in black and white with buckles on their shoes, held a feast in Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest. They invited Wampanoag Indians, and everyone enjoyed turkey and pumpkin pie. Probably, but we don't know for sure. Historians, including those at Plimoth Plantation, a living museum in Plymouth, Mass., say that they do know there was a feast that year shared by the colonists and Wampanoag Indians. Squanto, who had learned English, served as translator. But it wasn’t until the 1800s that Thanksgiving became an annual holiday and that turkey became the staple of the Thanksgiving holiday meal.

The first Thanksgiving proclamation, by George Washington

The following speaks for itself: A copy of a 1789 newspaper that published President George Washington's proclamation of the first official Thanksgiving holiday in the United States:

Schools Matter: November's Rotten Apple in Education Goes to James McSwain, Principal of Lamar High School

Schools Matter: November's Rotten Apple in Education Goes to James McSwain, Principal of Lamar High School

November's Rotten Apple in Education Goes to James McSwain, Principal of Lamar High School

With apologies to the work of Jerry Bracey, whose Rotten Apple Awards in Education should still be required reading for education policy students and "thought leaders" like Andy R, I am offering this monthly award, which will be announced on the same day as the Monthly Education Hero. There are so many nominees in this Rotten category each month, the competition will be keen for sure.

But hands down, this month goes to Larmar High School principal, James McSwain, who has dumped, burned, who knows, most all the books and "repurposed" the school library into a coffee shop run by students. I guess you might say McSwain is really serious about preparing his high schoolers to compete for those 21st Century American jobs.

The Library's website also makes a pitch for the right-wing online database, Questia, where students are

Rhee's IMPACT system linked to fate of tight D.C. teachers union election

Rhee's IMPACT system linked to fate of tight D.C. teachers union election

Rhee's IMPACT system linked to fate of tight D.C. teachers union election


Controversial D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will announce her resignation on Wednesday, nearly four years after she was brought in by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to improve the city's languishing public education system.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 24, 2010; 2:38 PM
Michelle A. Rhee is no longer chancellor of D.C. schools, but her presence still looms large over a Washington Teachers' Union election that is entering its final contentious days.
Incumbent President George Parker faces a stiff reelection challenge from Nathan Saunders, the union's general vice president, who contends that Parker was too pliant in his dealings with Rhee. He cites the collective bargaining agreement Parker negotiated with Rhee, one that weakens traditional seniority and other job protections for teachers. Union members approved the contract in June.
Saunders also pledges to pursue legal, legislative and lobbying efforts to undo Rhee's signature initiative, the new IMPACT evaluation system that links some teacher appraisals to student test scores and can trigger dismissals for educators who don't meet certain classroom performance criteria.

The Dream Act: Call Durbin and Burris. « Fred Klonsky's blog

The Dream Act: Call Durbin and Burris. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Punishment First at Brooklyn Charter School « EdVox

Punishment First at Brooklyn Charter School « EdVox

Punishment First at Brooklyn Charter School

My name is Jasmine Crawford and I’m a parent at Achievement First in Crown Heights. On Monday night, after stories surfaced about dozens of children being mistreated, more than 70 parents came together and attended the Achievement First Crown Heights Board meeting to call for a change to the school’s discipline policies. This was the most parents they had ever seen at a board meeting.

As parents, we are outraged at the excessive disciplinary actions taken against our children in Achievement First schools, and, at the meeting, we let our feelings be known. Many of the scholars have had detention almost every day of the year! Trivial infractions such as dropping a pencil, not making eye contact and “slouching” have landed our children in after-school detention. Students have received demerits for having tissues in class if they were sick; one scholar stood up and told of how, after she’d used her asthma inhaler, she laid her head on the desk and received a demerit. Although she was feeling sick, she didn’t want to ask to go to the nurse out of fear that the teacher would call it “talking back” and “being disrespectful.” What kind of environment is this schoo

As charter apps trickle in, Upper West Side debates demand | GothamSchools

As charter apps trickle in, Upper West Side debates demand | GothamSchools

As charter apps trickle in, Upper West Side debates demand

Hundreds of families have submitted early-bird applications to the newest charter school in Eva Moskowitz’s chain, which so far lacks a home but has seen no shortage of controversy.

Upper West Success Academy reports that 357 families have filed applications since the school was approved last month. Two-thirds live in District 3, the diverse and relatively wealthy district stretching from 59th Street to 122nd Street on the West Side of Manhattan where the school will be located.

“Given that every great elementary school on the Upper West Side is overcrowded and the terrific private schools cost more than $30,000 a year, it’s hardly surprising that Upper West Side parents are lining up for a high performing charter school,” Moskowitz said in a statement. Her organization is also touting the results of a phone poll that found 70 percent of neighborhood parents would support the school opening in the area. When told that the school would share space with another public school, support dropped to 59 percent.

But applications from 269 district families and a poll of 300 households does not “demand” make, according to parent leaders who are pushing back against the school. They say the city would do better to invest in existing

Why Isn’t #demo2010 Trending On Twitter? « Student Activism

Why Isn’t #demo2010 Trending On Twitter? « Student Activism

Why Isn’t #demo2010 Trending On Twitter?

Today’s massive student protests in Britain have produced a huge amount of Twitter traffic, much of it using the #demo2010 hashtag. But although a number of tags and phrases connected with the demonstrations have trended in the UK over the course of the day, #demo2010 has been strangely — and entirely — absent from the country’s trending topics list.

Why that’s the case still isn’t clear, but a comparison of the relative frequency of tweets using that tag with

Students and volunteers help run Tigard-Tualatin school libraries after district cut | OregonLive.com

Students and volunteers help run Tigard-Tualatin school libraries after district cut | OregonLive.com

Students and volunteers help run Tigard-Tualatin school libraries after district cut

Published: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 11:00 AM Updated: Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 11:10 AM
library assistants.16737553.JPGView full sizeTristan Kelleher, middle, helps Amiee Casugay learn how to check in books as Barret Bowman, right, waits in line at the Durham Elementary School library. Many schools in the Tigard-Tualatin School District have enlisted student and community volunteers to make up for the loss of the district's 10 elementary library assistants this year. Some schools have also reduced library hours and increased the responsibilities of their full-time librarians.
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This year, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Durham Elementary will help fill a job that used to be done by an employee of the Tigard-Tualatin School District.

They'll come in before school or on recess to sharpen pencils, clean the library, organize materials -- tasks the school's library assistant, Rosemary Pasteris, used to perform as a salaried employee.

Tigard-Tualatin eliminated Pasteris' position this year, along with the district's nine other elementary media assistants. The move saved $420,000, but keeping the libraries functioning without assistants has been a challenge.

"The hard part is finding out what are some things we just really have to stop doing," Byrom Elementary Principal Rick Fraisse said.

District officials say there was little choice in the matter. If not the library assistants, something else would have been cut to deal with the district'sbudget woes.

"It just became something that was difficult for us to continue to be able to afford," Tigard-Tualatin Superintendent Rob Saxton said.

Without assistants, the elementary school librarians have taken over as both full-time teachers and library stewards. The switch hasn't been easy, said Lynn Bird, a library and computer teacher at

Hechinger Report | Unique Bilingual Education Program Spreading Across New Jersey

Hechinger Report | Unique Bilingual Education Program Spreading Across New Jersey

Unique Bilingual Education Program Spreading Across New Jersey

In Amanda Castaño’s classroom in a Long Branch public preschool, the four-year-olds get ready for reading circle with a song: “A leer, a leer, todos calladitos!” The native English speakers in the group join in as enthusiastically as the Spanish speakers, and when Castaño begins reading the story – in Spanish – the entire class is rapt.

Next door, the four-year-olds in Sean Kelly’s class raise their hands as he asks questions in English, including several students who started preschool as monolingual Spanish speakers. After a week, the two classes will switch places: Kelly’s students will go to Castaño’s room for a week of learning in Spanish, and Castaño’s students will join Kelly for a week in English.

Bilingual Experiment

The four-year-olds in both classes are part of an experiment in bilingual education in Long Branch preschools.

This Week In Education: Thompson: When Simple Demographics Miss The Point

This Week In Education: Thompson: When Simple Demographics Miss The Point

Los problemas de la seguridad del trasnporte en los Estados Unidos – Puntos de vista de un bloguero « Spanish Readers' Blog

Los problemas de la seguridad del trasnporte en los Estados Unidos – Puntos de vista de un bloguero « Spanish Readers' Blog

Los problemas de la seguridad del trasnporte en los Estados Unidos – Puntos de vista de un bloguero

A partir del 11 de Septiembre muchas cosas —y quizá hasta demasiadas, cambiaron la vida en los EE.UU y la vida de lo que viven en este país. La organización que vela por la seguridad del transporte es la Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Después que el Congreso la creara a finales del 2001, la TSA ha crecido tan rapidamente que de 13 empleados que tuvo en el 2002 pasó a los 65.000 el pasado año. Eso significa que con toda la capacidad que tiene esta

What Does Panel's Vote Against Cathie Black Mean? - Gothamist

What Does Panel's Vote Against Cathie Black Mean? - Gothamist

What Does Panel's Vote Against Cathie Black Mean?

Yesterday, a state education panel of eight voted 4-2 against granting Cathie Black a waiver that would allow her to become the city's Schools Chancellor, with the other two voting "not at this time." And while many parents and politicians would love to believe this is the last of the drama, it's far from over. Not only does state Education Commissioner David Steiner have sole power to grant or deny a waiver (he will take the panel's recommendation into consideration), but the "not at this time" votes open up a few other options.

The vote could mean that either Bloomberg would have to submit another waiver, better highlighting Black's education experience and plans for the school system, or he would have to appoint a Chief Academic Officer to serve under her. Steiner also reportedly told panel members that he had a preference for a vote of "not at this time," but said, "I will weigh their advice and insight as I consider the decision before me."

Though the door is still wide open for Black to become Chancellor, critics are pouncing on Bloomberg for what they're calling a failed appointment. "People have interpreted mayoral control to mean that Bloomberg gets his

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: Editorial: AUDIT BOND USE - "Something is rotten in facilities" + ●●smf's 2¢

4LAKids - some of the news that doesn't fit: Editorial: AUDIT BOND USE - "Something is rotten in facilities" + ●●smf's 2¢

Editorial: AUDIT BOND USE - "Something is rotten in facilities" + ●●smf's 2¢

Daily Breeze Editorial | http://bit.ly/f7GYHV

24 November 2010 - Something is rotten in facilities. With apologies to William Shakespeare, it's the perfect way to sum up the concerns about the LAUSD department charged with spending more than $20 billion of our tax dollars to build new schools and upgrade the old ones.

And it's time that the Inspector General's Office stepped in to undertake an official audit to either confirm those suspicions, or to put them to rest before the Los Angeles Unified School District starts ramping up to spend the next bond.

There's evidence enough that contracts in the massive building department have been mishandled, both historically and currently. But whether it's a deep systemic problem or simply a few bad apples in a crate of good ones is not clear.

Last week, the school district canceled the second contract to a subcontractor in two weeks because of concerns over how the contract was awarded. In this case, the contract, for a former LAUSD executive, was for $90,000 over two months to work on a detailed plan for the district's next round of school construction funded by the $7 billion bond voters approved in 2008. The contract amount wasn't at issue. Superintendent Ramon Cortines canceled it because the district has banned subcontractors.

The week before, Cortines cancelled another contract for the same reason, this one for $3.7 million to Consilia LLC, owned by four longtime, high-paid LAUSD

Zinn Education Project – Teaching Outside the Textbook Across the Country

Zinn Education Project – Teaching Outside the Textbook Across the Country

Teaching Outside the Textbook Across the Country

We are pleased to announce that 20 teachers from across the country are receiving class sets of A People’s History of the United States. These teachers’ names were selected from the 88 who responded when we asked for stories about teaching a people’s history or “teaching outside the textbook.” The essays were full of inspiring examples of how a people’s history is being taught in middle and high school classrooms, how teachers were introduced to Howard Zinn’s work, and how students respond to learning a more complete version of U.S. history. The list of teachers who took the time to share their story is posted here.

Students and their teacher, Chris Lewis, in El Monte, California with their copies of A People's History of the United States from the Teaching Outside the Textbook class set.

El Monte, California students and their teacher, Chris Lewis (4th from right) with their copies of A People's History of the United States from the Teaching Outside the Textbook class set.

Below are a few excerpts from the essays. Periodically we will share more.

American history teacher Esmeralda Tello (Mastic Beach, NY) said that teaching a people’s history helps her students step into history. In fact, when she recently did a role play on the Trail of Tears, her “students wouldn’t stop speaking about their roles and were still debating even when they went to their next class.” (The role play is posted at the Zinn Education Project site: http://www.zinnedproject.org/posts/1142.)

Middle school social studies teacher, Sarah Treworgy (Lynnwood, WA), used a lesson on the U.S.-Mexican War that brings in the voices of Frederick Douglass; Henry David Thoreau; U.S, Mexican, and Apache combatants; and many others. She writes that, “It was so wonderful to see a group of usually unmotivated students engaged, that I called in another teacher to see this group of students actively involved.” (http://www.zinnedproject.org/posts/1503.)

As American history teacher Michael Swogger (Gettysburg, PA) explained, “I changed the focus of my teaching from a traditional government and hero-centered focus to the very place where change ultimately originates: with the people. After all, my students are, by and large, the ordinary people of today. If societ

Education Research Report: #Parents' Effort Key to Child's Educational Performance

Education Research Report: Parents' Effort Key to Child's Educational Performance

Parents' Effort Key to Child's Educational Performance

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A new study by researchers at the University of Leicester and University of Leeds has concluded that parents' efforts towards their child's educational achievement is crucial -- playing a more significant role than that of the school or child.

This research by Professor Gianni De Fraja and Tania Oliveira, both in the Economics Department at the University of Leicester and Luisa Zanchi, at the Leeds University Business School, has been published in the latest issue of the MIT based Review of Economics and Statistics.

The researchers found that parents' effort is more important for a child's educational attainment than the school's effort, which in turn is more important than the child's own effort.

The study found that the socio-economic background of a family not only affected the child's educational attainment -- it also affected the school's effort.

Researcher Professor De Fraja, who is Head of Economics at the University of Leicester, said: "The main

Pioneer Institute Blog » Questioning the Convergence on National Standards

Pioneer Institute Blog » Questioning the Convergence on National Standards

Questioning the Convergence on National Standards

Jim StergiosBy Jim Stergios
November 23rd, 2010


everything that rises.jpg

The Southern writer Flannery O’Connor’s Everything that Rises Must Converge is a collection of tragicomic pulp fiction stories about dangerous human flaws and the “blind wills and low dodges of the heart” found in everyday life.

People have failings. That’s the way we’re built and that’s the way of the world. But there are “game days” when a lot is riding on decisions and you have to muster the courage of your convictions for the benefit of all. This summer, that game day came on a scorcher in late July and concerned whether Massachusetts should or should not adopt national standards. In exchange for $250 million in federal support over four years (about 1/144 of overall school spending over that period), the Patrick Administration’s handpicked Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted to replace the Commonwealth’s best-in-the-nation academic standards with inferior quality national standards and assessments.

Since 2001, the Commonwealth’s English Language standards and MCAS testing

Gov. David Paterson says schools head pick Cathie Black is no Joel Klein; needs an academic aide

Gov. David Paterson says schools head pick Cathie Black is no Joel Klein; needs an academic aide

Gov. David Paterson says schools head pick Cathie Black is no Joel Klein; needs an academic aide

Wednesday, November 24th 2010, 10:28 AM

Paterson, making his most expansive comments to date on Mayor Bloomberg's choice of Black, said Black lacks the educational background that the city's departing Chancellor Joel Klein had.
Wenig/AP;Wintrow/Getty
Paterson, making his most expansive comments to date on Mayor Bloomberg's choice of Black, said Black lacks the educational background that the city's departing Chancellor Joel Klein had.

ALBANY - Gov. Paterson says Cathie Black is no Joel Klein.

Paterson on Wednesday said Mayor Bloomberg should follow the recommendations of a the state's education commissioner and hire a chief academic officer to serve under Cathie Black.

Paterson, making his most expansive comments to date on Mayor Bloomberg's choice of Black, said Black lacks the educational background that the city's departing Chancellor Joel Klein had when he took office.

"Joel Klein, though his basic career was not in education, was on a lot of education boards, he took time off one semester to teach the sixth grade," Paterson said on WOR's "The John Gambling Show.

"And so, he had compiled a threshold of education credentials," Paterson said. "So in addition to making the decision they made, what they did, which I thought was fair, they



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/11/24/2010-11-24_paterson.html#ixzz16DTeKMtu

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