Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” « Failing Schools

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” « Failing Schools

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”

MAY 11, 2011
by Sabrina

EdWeek is continuing to monitor the outpouring of negative feedback received by the federal Department of Education after Secretary Duncan’s letter to teachers last week. (For more explanation, less question, check out Diane Ravitch’s take on the matter.)

A few people have used various means to try to undermine the critiques that have been leveled at Duncan and Co., including the idea that most teachers basically don’t know what’s going on, and the majority of those people have no problem with Duncan’s letter*. To which the always astute Anthony Cody replies:

I am sure the vast majority of the three million plus teachers in America did not read Duncan’s letter and many of them are not following the ins and outs of education

Arne Duncan's Open Letter Makes Teachers Furious - The Daily Beast

Arne Duncan's Open Letter Makes Teachers Furious - The Daily Beast

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hoped to gain the goodwill of the nation’s educators with an “Open Letter” to teachers. But as Diane Ravitch explains, many reacted with fury.

The first week in May was Teacher Appreciation Week. On May 2, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released an “open letter” to America’s teachers, thanking them for their service and saying, in essence, “I hear you, I respect you, I understand your problems, I want to work with you.” It should have been about as controversial as the president’s annual Thanksgiving message, but in this case the letter backfired. Teachers reacted to the letter with outrage, as if it were addressed to the turkey community on Thanksgiving Day.

No one should be surprised. Behind the teachers’ rage and skepticism is the fact that Duncan has time and again said that “bad” teachers cause low test scores, refusing to recognize (as he did, belatedly, in his letter) that low test scores are primarily caused by poverty and lack of family support. Teachers remember that he cheered when the entire staff of Central Falls High School was fired (albeit temporarily). They recall that he was one of the few to applaud when the Los Angeles Times published teacher effectiveness ratings online, based on flawed test score data. They know that his Race to the Top program has encouraged state legislatures to pass laws mandating that

This Week In Education: Media: More Skepticism Needed -- But Not More Paranoia

This Week In Education: Media: More Skepticism Needed -- But Not More Paranoia

Media: More Skepticism Needed -- But Not More Paranoia

image from www.voiceseducation.orgJournalists and others will be gathered at Columbia's Journalism School this weekend to discuss the role of foundations both in shaping school reform and in shaping media coverage of education issues. Stories about philanthropic influence are turning into something of a cottage industry what with the Dissent story (Got Dough?), the Newsweek/Center on Public Integrity takedown (Back to School for the Billionaires ) and the Charlotte Observer story (Who's the power behind CMS?). Having written about these topics frequently over the years, I've found them all interesting -- it's important for reporters and others to understand how the media and the reform movement

The Entitlement Hoax | Dailycensored.com

The Entitlement Hoax | Dailycensored.com

The Entitlement Hoax

social sec The Entitlement HoaxSocial Security has nothing to do with the federal deficit. Nothing. It is, has and will be in the black, self-financed and not dependent upon tax revenues. With no congressional action whatsoever, Social Security can pay all benefits on time and in full until 2037 and at least three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2084.
Social Security is a defined benefit pension plan sponsored by the federal government, funded primarily with dedicated contributions of workers matched by their employers. Social Security has no borrowing authority and so does not and cannot contribute to the federal deficit. It will be in balance for the next 26 years, even if current policy continues unchanged.
The dedicated contributions are part of the payroll taxes that are taken from the paychecks of every working person. The “FICA” people see on their pay stubs stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a law that requires both employees and employers to fund Social Security and Medicare. Federal social insurance taxes are imposed equally on employers and employees, consisting of a tax of 6.2% of wages up to an annual wage maximum of $106,800, plus a tax of 1.45% of total wages. The employee’s

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Will liberals finally jump the Rhee ship?

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Will liberals finally jump the Rhee ship?

Will liberals finally jump the Rhee ship?

Arne Duncan stumps for Fenty/Rhee in D.C.
This must be embarrassing for liberal Democrats who lauded Michelle Rhee when she was D.C.'s schools chief or who were moved by her anti-public-school demagogy in the film, Waiting For Superman. Now Rhee has planted herself squarely in the camp of the extreme right-wing where she has become a T-Party favorite and the darling of ultra-conservatives like the DeVos family. She recently joined the team of Florida's right-wing governor,Rick Scott, as a high-paid consultant.

On Tuesday, Rhee keynoted the DeVos-sponsored national school voucher summit. Rhee told the audience of

Supporting Schools: Legislator Tells Educators SOE is Making a Difference « State of Emergency

Supporting Schools: Legislator Tells Educators SOE is Making a Difference « State of Emergency

Supporting Schools: Legislator Tells Educators SOE is Making a Difference

During a Tuesday afternoon visit to CTA’s Camp Inspiration, the Sacramento staging location for Capitol State of Emergency activities, Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-SF) tells CTA Board Member Curtis Washington and other Capitol Insiders that the week’s activities are having an impact on lawmakers.

The legislator is one of a number of elected officials who have come to Camp Inspiration to talk with educators.

Ironically, Camp Inspiration is sited in an abandoned bank building, and a key meeting room is in the bank’s

The History of "LIFO" - Dana Goldstein

The History of "LIFO" - Dana Goldstein

The History of "LIFO"

Mike Bloomberg's plan to lay off 4,100 New York City public school teachers is really about his fight to abolish teacher seniority protections. The mayor hopes that by forcing the first widespread job cuts on the school system since the 1970s, he will build political support around his proposal to lay off teachers according to merit, without regard to how many years they've spent in the system.

I believe a fair layoff system would evaluate teachers based on multiple, clearly-defined measures of effectiveness (classroom observations, lesson plans, student portfolios, student achievement data) and then use seniority as a tiebreaker. Such a system would protect excellent, experienced educators who have demonstrated a longterm commitment to the classroom, while also saving the jobs of the most talented newcomers. That said, I see two major problems with Bloomberg's plan: First, New York's current teacher evaluation system is sub-par and the new system does not take effect until September. The new fiscal year begins July 1, and layoffs would need to get done before then. Second, we're talking about such a massive loss of teachers--a cut of more than 7 percent of the jobs in the system--that every school community in the city will feel the pain, with larger class sizes, fewer electives, and fewer staff to supervise extracurricular activities. At this scale, cuts shouldn't be seen as an "opportunity" (Arne Duncan's term) to cut dead wood from the system; they

solidaridad: Echo Park Moms leading the way. Demand your right to vote! No more LAUSD privatization without representation!

solidaridad: Echo Park Moms leading the way. Demand your right to vote! No more LAUSD privatization without representation!

Echo Park Moms leading the way. Demand your right to vote! No more LAUSD privatization without representation!

First published in EchoParkPatch on 2001-05-10

"Supporters of the controversial [PSC] plan say it is part of a much-needed reform effort that takes decision-making out of the hands of bureaucrats and special interests and puts it in the hands of parents and the community." — Connie Llanos

Charter Voucher Charlatans Now Advocating AIG Style Derivatives
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and Tamar Galatzan — one of Philip Anschutz's preferred LAUSD Board Members — want to remove the last vestiges of democracy from an already undemocratic process that gives public schools away to private charter corporations.

There is now an online petition to sign if you think that removing the public advisory vote from the deceptively named Public School Choice resolution (PSC) is a move that disenfranchises and disempowers communities.

KEEP the Parent Advisory Vote, The Only Voice parents have in the CHOICE process

The first resistance to the removal of the community advisory vote was by non other than Echo Parque's very

Good morning! Today, May 11, is California’s Day of the Teacher. State of Emergency

State of Emergency
Good morning! Today, May 11, is California’s Day of the Teacher.


Articles

Over 20,000 educators received pink slips this year, and school districts are being forced to plan for the worst as they prepare for the next school year. The Legislature must act NOW to prevent the all-cuts scenario from becoming reality.
This report shows the potential impact of an all-cuts budget on each district in the state, as well as the number of jobs that are currently on the line.
Post

CTA members from several locals in Orange and San Diego Counties graded papers, planned projects, analyzed data and planned lessons using their lap tops and teacher’s editions, at area malls Tuesday afternoon, May 10, in “grade ins” designed to help the public understand that a teacher’s job does not end with the closing school bell rings.

CTA members from several Orange County chapters participated in the "grade in" at the Westminster Mall.
More than 100 K-12 CTA members from the Garden Grove Unified, Anaheim Union, Huntington Beach Union, Irvine, Cypress, Fountain Valley, and Saddleback Valley school districts in Orange County participated in a “grade in” at the Westminster Mall, joined by Garden Grove Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Laura Schwalm and GGUSD School Board member Dr. George West. Passersby who stopped were interested and positive. Members from OC chapters including the Fullerton Elementary TA, Fullerton Secondary TO, La Habra EA, Association of Placentia-Yorba Linda and Anaheim Secondary TA conducted their “grade in” at the Brea Mall. It was covered by the Orange County Register.
At the Escondido Mall, more than 130 Escondido Elementary EA members were joined by the district superintendent, two board members, almost all district principals and a PTA leader. Several mall businesses displayed “We Are One for Public Education” signs and the event was covered by the North County Times and KUSI and CW TV stations. EEEA members report a positive reception from mall customers and businesses.
Post


Debbie Look, president of the California PTA (Parent Teacher Association), spoke in support of CTA's weeklong protest at the Capitol.
On Day 2 of the protest, CTA held a press conference in conjunction with parent group representatives to emphasize the importance of schools and that classrooms can’t take any more cuts.
“Budget cuts hurt kids,” she said. “We are losing critical programs and services and hurting the most vulnerable students, who are not getting what they need to achieve their full potential. We need to take a balanced approach to the budget and also look at new revenues. We need a budget that invests in our children and also the future of the state. Now, more than ever, the time for action is now.” She added that today PTA members are delivering thousands of postcards to legislators that were written during a recent conference held in Southern California.

Barbara Jackson, a grandmother of an incarcerated youth, representing the organization Books Not Bars.
“What is wrong with us that we can’t pay teachers what they are worth and we imprison children,” she told the crowd. “If you don’t get educated, you will be prison-bound.” She and other members pointed out that the state will spend more than $200,000 per year for a youth in prison and under $8,000 a year for youths attending public schools. With her is parent Lucianna Beltran, a parent in Sacramento whose child attends Harkness Elementary. Her child recently told her that class sizes have gotten bigger, and it’s more difficult for her to focus. She encouraged other parents to protest school cuts and get their child’s point of view about why cuts hurt.
Post


Redondo Beach educators march for tax extensions in front of Redondo Union High School
Over two hundred teachers, administrators, support professionals, parents, and concerned community members marched in front of Redondo Union High School Tuesday, holding up signs reminding drivers along busy Pacific Coast Highway “Cuts Hurt Kids” and “California Schools are in a State of Emergency.” The school’s marquee flashed messages urging people to go to the castateofemergency.com website, while a pickup truck carrying a huge sign with the same message drove back in forth in front of the school.

Education supporters write postcards to lawmakers at Redondo Beach State of Emergency rally.
Tables were set up on the grass in front of the school where supporters filled out postcards to lawmakers who represent the South Bay area. “We have everyone out here today, ” said Janet Barker, a middle school teacher staffing the postcard table. “It’s a real show of solidarity and it’s truly democracy in action.”
Many protestors indicated they were looking forward to attending Friday’s massive Los Angeles rally in Pershing Square.
Articles

More than 100 Kern County educators brought their red pencils and student work to The Marketplace shopping mall in Bakersfield Tuesday to show what teachers to in their unpaid hours: grade papers. The Bakersfield “Grade-in” was one of several taking place today in shopping centers throughout the state. Among the crowd were teachers from Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association, Kern High School Teachers Association as well as several retired teachers who turned out.
“I’m here to support the educators of this state as we try to convince the legislature to fund our schools,” said Elaine White, a first-grade teacher at Frank West Elementary School. White said that in her own school, classes are larger, field trips have been eliminated, school yard supervisors have been cut, and classified staff has been laid off. “We have books and pencils, but it’s people who make the school.”
The “Grade-In” was one of several activities Kern County educators are engaged in this week as part of CTA’s State of Emergency Week. On Wednesday, about 5,000 educators will observe Day of the Teacher at a solidarity barbecue in Yokuts Park; on Thursday they will don black clothing and stage a “funeral for education” after school; and on Friday, they will take to major intersections to wave to rally with signs and fliers.
Articles

The pressure on lawmakers continued on Tuesday as CTA members and parents visited Legislators in the Capitol. In this photo Lily Walker, a member of the Merced unified High School District Teachers Association, tells a legislative aide for Sen. Cannella, R-12th District, about the budget cuts that have decimated her district. Walker, a French teacher, said there are now only two French teachers for the district split between four high schools. In addition, she said that six teacher have received pink slips and that last year nine were laid off. Walker told legislative aide Chris odneal to tell Sen. Cannella, a moderate Republican, that she is also deeply offended that on tommorrow, the Day of the Teacher, the Senate will consider legislation intended to cut teacher pay, eliminate teacher due process and prohibit teacher raises.
Articles

David Eldridge, a member of the Marysville Unified Teachers Association and fellow educators talk with Todd Miffitt, a legislative aide to Sen. Jean Fuller, R-18th District, asking him to inform the senator that cuts to education are an unacceptable way of solving the state’s budget problems.
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