Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who needs school boards?

Who needs school boards?

Who needs school boards?

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 16, 2011; 6:15 PM

The Washington area has many school districts. Each district has a school board, more or less. (The District's board is going through a neutered phase.) Each school board has many members. Each member is being reminded this month, as meetings resume after the holidays, that their job is to endure boredom and verbal blows from citizens.

They are also chided by the school superintendents they hire, though usually not to their faces. Superintendents save their criticisms for off-the-record conversations with journalists like me, toward the end of a nice lunch. They feel better questioning the values and habits of the elected amateurs who could fire them immediately, if they wished.

The 21st century so far has not been good to school boards. Their political squabbles are often blamed for disorganized schools and low student achievement. In

Modern School: Real Choice For the Really Rich & Connected

Modern School: Real Choice For the Really Rich & Connected

ELECTION FOR DETROIT FEDERATION OF TEACHERS PRESIDENT RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL | Dailycensored.com

ELECTION FOR DETROIT FEDERATION OF TEACHERS PRESIDENT RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL | Dailycensored.com

ELECTION FOR DETROIT FEDERATION OF TEACHERS PRESIDENT RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL

Picture of a Detroit School The Election Committee of the Detroit Federation of Teachers announced today that on Wednesday, January 20, 2011, it will recount the votes in the runoff election for executive offices. The initial count showed Keith Johnson winning for President by 41 votes of out of over 4000 cast. But [...]

The Latin American Revolution (A Your World News Exclusive)

This is a four part audio documentary written by Asad Ismi and produced by Kristin Schwartz. This four-part audio documentary is about the remarkable process of progressive social change taking place in Latin America. Written in 2009 and produced in 2010. Most of the interviews were recorded at the 2009 World Social Forum held in [...]

Relationships and Uncertainty Matter Most: David Brooks in the New Yorker on Educational Excellence | Connected Principals

Relationships and Uncertainty Matter Most: David Brooks in the New Yorker on Educational Excellence | Connected Principals

Relationships and Uncertainty Matter Most: David Brooks in the New Yorker on Educational Excellence



David Brooks is an old faithful for me, an inspiration for his ability to bring wisdom and broader understanding to the daily events of our time, and to draw from our society trends of larger sociological or even philosophical significance. I don’t always agree with him, often I don’t, but I am nearly always intrigued by what he has to say. If you haven’t read his recent piece in the New Yorker, Social Animal, How the New Science of Human Nature Can Help Make Sense of a Life, stop reading this post and go read it now!

In the piece, there is a small subsection of particular interest to educators; Brooks draws upon his wide reading of recently published research in social psychology, happiness pyschology, and human development to articulate a vision of effective secondary education, and in doing so, he offers two strong assertions about

Struggling SF schools ousting half their teachers

Struggling SF schools ousting half their teachers

Struggling SF schools ousting half their teachers

Maribel Duran-Mejia, whose son is a fourth-grader at Bryant Elementary, speaks to school officials about the pending loss of half of the faculty at a parents meeting on Wednesday.

Three San Francisco schools have begun the unsavory task of replacing half their teachers to fulfill a bargain that got them $5 million each in federal grants aimed at boosting test scores.

Bryant Elementary, Carver Elementary and Everett Middle are among 10 San Francisco schools that landed on the state's list of the 188 lowest-performing schools and are now required to take drastic steps to turn themselves around.

All told, the three schools must replace 26 teachers. Those teachers will get first choice to occupy vacancies left by retiring teachers at other schools. Those who transfer will remain at their current jobs through this school year.

A fourth school, John Muir Elementary, was also required to swap out half its staff, which it accomplished through attrition before this school year began.

Seven other San Francisco schools on the list are also making drastic changes, following one of four reform options under the federal program that allows schools to choose to



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/13/MNKS1H7V1U.DTL#ixzz1BEyIAzc6

THE PERIMETER PRIMATE: Jim Horn: “Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say?”

THE PERIMETER PRIMATE: Jim Horn: “Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say?”

Jim Horn: “Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say?”

Jim Horn is one of my favorite education issue writers. He is associate professor of educational leadership at Cambridge College in Cambridge, Mass., and is founder and contributor to Schools Matter.

“Charter Schools: What Would Dr. King Say?”
It is unfortunate that the charter school industry now finds itself on the wrong side of educational progress and civil rights history, even as industry spokesmen like Nelson Smith engage in a public relations campaign aimed to minimize awareness of the segregated conditions that exist in the majority of American charter schools today. Whether located in the poorest, brownest neighborhoods of the Twin Cities or in the leafiest, whitest suburbs of North Carolina, charter schools often engage in a form of intensely-segregated schooling that either contains and isolates minorities in urban centers, while offering middle class parents escape routes from traditional schools that are increasingly tainted by the burgeoning poor, which now comprise 20 percent of American children

In system-wide comparisons, the charters were 20 percent more segregated than the public schools, and in the more localized comparisons, the charters were 18 percent more segregated

Modern School: Authentic School Choice for Virtually No One

Modern School: Authentic School Choice for Virtually No One

Authentic School Choice for Virtually No One

The school choice and voucher movement is heating up again, with the new Republican majority in congress and pressure from their Tea Party supporters. They want less “Big Government” intervention (read: less support for publicly funded and publicly controlled local schools that serve the vast majority of American children) and more “parental choice” (read: less of their own money going to public schools for the rabble and more tax breaks, incentives and vouchers to subsidize their kids’ elite private schools). At the vanguard of this movement are Wisconsin, New Jersey and Florida, where Governor Rick Scott is calling for universal vouchers that would provide families with money for private schools, taking a portion of those funds from the pool of tax dollars that would have gone to public schools.

According to a 2003 Heritage Foundation survey on school choice, 41% of U.S. representatives and 46% of U.S.

Greeley school board member blasts MLK Day - Boston.com

Greeley school board member blasts MLK Day - Boston.com

Greeley school board member blasts MLK Day

By P. Solomon Banda
Associated Press / January 16, 2011
Text size +

GREELEY, Colo.—A local school board member and radio station owner has come under fire for airing an editorial denouncing the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The broadcaster remains unrepentant and defiant in the wake of community outcry.

Brett Reese is airing the editorial four times daily -- up from two -- on his station KELS-FM 104.7. He is unapologetic that portions of the editorial that call King a "plastic god," a "sexual degenerate," and "an America hating communist" appear verbatim on a website with links to a white supremacist group.

"Facts are facts, truth is truth," he said, adding that he might pre-empt other programing to air the editorial round the clock. The 40-year-old former carpenter claims he helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity in the

keep your eyes on the road ahead | Connected Principals

keep your eyes on the road ahead | Connected Principals

keep your eyes on the road ahead



"Long Road Ahead" cc by Matt MacGilliveray on Flickr

It’s January. Around here that means short days with little sunshine. Report cards are due in a couple of weeks. Flu season is in full swing. People are tired and worn down. At times like these, it becomes even more imperative that I stay on top of my game and maintain focus and perspective.

When I was learning how to ride my motorbike, the instructor reminded us over and over to keep our eyes on the road where we want to go. Allowing our gaze to stray and linger on oncoming traffic or the ditch will lead to

Reverse Outsourcing: How Master Lock is Bringing Jobs Home | Poverty in America | Change.org

Reverse Outsourcing: How Master Lock is Bringing Jobs Home | Poverty in America | Change.org

Reverse Outsourcing: How Master Lock is Bringing Jobs Home

While labor conditions in America are far from perfect, there is no doubt that they are significantly better than the sweatshop conditions faced by low wage earners in many other countries.

That is why, since the 1990s, many companies have been "outsourcing" American jobs to other countries like Mexico, China, India, Vietnam and more. It has been a race to the bottom with corporations looking for the place with the lowest labor costs possible, which usually means the worst treatment of workers they can get away with. This trend was one of the major reasons for the loss of so many manufacturing jobs in the US, which tended to be decent jobs one could support a family on. The loss of manufacturing jobs was made worse because the service industry jobs that have increasingly replaced them pay much less and offer precious little in terms of benefits.

In a surprising and hopeful reversal of this trend, Master Lock, based in Milwaukee, has started bringing some manufacturing jobs from China back to the United States. Master Lock never completely shut down their manufacturing facility in Milwaukee (which has been operating since 1921) when they moved

NYC Educator: Where Would Martin Luther King Jr. Stand?

NYC Educator: Where Would Martin Luther King Jr. Stand?

Where Would Martin Luther King Jr. Stand?

My blogging buddy Reality-Based Educator has a post about MLK and economic justice. He mentions that the charter school moguls would have you believe he'd support all their nonsense about privatization and union-busting. "For the children," supposedly, MLK would have them not only abandon the concept of union, but also support billionaires like Bloomberg and Gates as they attack the pensions, salaries and working conditions of the middle class. Supposedly, he'd support them in their efforts to destroy the teaching profession, one avenue for many to said middle class.

Actually, MLK was quite opposed to such measures. Here's an early quote from him on what union-busters label "right to work,"--actually the right to enjoy benefits the union negotiated without paying the union--thus weakening it and imperiling its very existence:

"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being

Modern School: March = National Month of Actions to Defend Public Education

Modern School: March = National Month of Actions to Defend Public Education

March = National Month of Actions to Defend Public Education


In March, education activists are challenging each other throughout the country to take part in a month of actions to defend public education. 2011 will see record massive budget cuts as the priorities of this country continue to protect the wealth of the rich on the backs of working people and students. We are being forced to pay more for a lower quality education while the rich complain tell us raising their taxes will kill jo...bs while

Edu Conferences and the Twitter Effect « My Island View

Edu Conferences and the Twitter Effect « My Island View

Edu Conferences and the Twitter Effect

As a blogger for only a year now, I have tried not to revisit topics and be repetitive. There are some things however, that need to be revisited at certain times of the year. Just as: Thanksgiving brings on articles of thankfulness, Christmas brings on articles of Peace and Love, and New Years brings on articles of recent loss and future resolutions, this time of year brings on articles about Education Conferences. I guess that is because plans are being made to attend the largest conferences of the year. There does seem to be a change in the approach to connections, as well as anticipation and expectations of these conferences much of which may be attributed to Social Media.

As a classroom teacher I was very fortunate to serve for many years on the Board of Directors of NYSCATE, the Educational Technology group for New York educators. For the most part many Professional Education Organizations are run by administrators. I find nothing wrong with that, because running these organizations requires a certain skill set, as well as time commitment that fits the abilities of administrators better than those of classroom teachers. I understand that. I also understand that as much as any of these groups will deny it, there is a perspective or a focus of these conferences that leans more toward administrators than classroom

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