Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Gulen Movement’s connection to the largest US charter network « Parents Across America

The Gulen Movement’s connection to the largest US charter network « Parents Across America:


The Gulen Movement’s connection to the largest US charter network

Coping with asthma leaves schools gasping | EdNewsColorado

Coping with asthma leaves schools gasping | EdNewsColorado:

Coping with asthma leaves schools gasping

Castle Rock mom Heather Clark was so concerned that her 13-year-old daughter, Sami, would have an asthma attack at school and that no one would know what to do, she took to sneaking an inhaler into her daughter’s backpack, just in case. She calls it her “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
She didn’t realize that there was no need to treat the inhaler as if it were contraband. In fact, since 2005, Colorado law has given students with asthma the right to carry their inhalers with them and to self-administer their asthma medication, as long as they have a care plan on file with the school.
Last year, the legislature amended that law to remove the requirement for the care plan. But students and their parents are required to sign a contract with the school stating that the student knows how to properly administer the medication.
Douglas County schools, where Sami is a student, have adopted a policy in line with state law.
“I didn’t know that, but I’m excited to know it now,” said Clark, who also had asthma as a child. But she’s pretty '

Education’s Hungry Hearts - NYTimes.com

Education’s Hungry Hearts - NYTimes.com:


Education’s Hungry Hearts

Batesville, Va.

Readers’ Comments

“EVERYBODY’S got a hungry heart,” Bruce Springsteen sings. Really? Is that so? At the risk of offending the Boss, I want to register some doubts.
Granted my human sample is not large — but it’s not so small either. I’ve been teaching now for 35 years and in that time have had about 4,000 students pass my desk. I’m willing to testify: Not all students have hungry hearts. Some do, some don’t, and having a hungry heart (or not) is what makes all the difference for a young person seeking an education.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about who should go to college and who should not. And the terms that have guided this talk have mainly been economic. Is college a good investment? Does it pay for a guy who is probably going to become a car mechanic to spend $20,000 to $30,000 going to a junior college for a couple of years? (I’m including the cost of room and board here.) He’s probably going to leave with a pile of debt that will take him years to work off. What’s more, the current thinking goes, he didn’t need that 

TRS’s Dick Ingram scares the shit out of people. « Fred Klonsky

TRS’s Dick Ingram scares the shit out of people. « Fred Klonsky:


TRS’s Dick Ingram scares the shit out of people.


A leaked memo by TRS Executive Director Richard Ingram has caused a flood of concerned emails into my inbox this weekend.
Ingram is predicting insolvency for the teacher pension by 2009.
And what is scaring retirees is his threat that reduced benefits to retirees was a likely solution.
First of all, Ingram seems to view things a little too much as a benefit problem and not a funding problem.
When he spoke to the IEA RA a few weeks back, I believe he was

A Dictator Unwilling to Step Down « Cooperative Catalyst

A Dictator Unwilling to Step Down « Cooperative Catalyst:


A Dictator Unwilling to Step Down

I speak about education from an unflattering point of view, maybe because it is destroying our fascinating, curious minds.
I don’t claim to be an expert in education, I am still a student and I speak for myself. I believe that students should have a voice in the education system today, because mainly they are the ones who are being educated. The control of education should be in the hands of students. They should be centered first and foremost.
Many people have wrote about ways to change education, but what good has it done if we are leaving out the voice of the students?
Years continue to pass, some students graduate, some fail out, some drop out and nothing really changes. Th

Sen. Sanders' open letter: Charter Schools - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Sen. Sanders' open letter: Charter Schools - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.:


Sen. Sanders' open letter: Charter Schools

Posted: Mar 30, 2012 5:21 PM PDTUpdated: Mar 31, 2012 10:14 AM PDT
Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders (D-Selma) penned the following open letter to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley regarding charter schools. An open letter invites comment, so share your views on the matter in the commenting section.
Sen. Sander's letter reads: 

An Open Letter to Governor Robert Bentley
From Senator Hank Sanders (D-Selma) 
Governor Bentley, I heard you talking about the charter school bill last week.  I sensed your sincere desire to improve public education in Alabama.  Therefore, I am urging you to reconsider your support of the charter school bill.  The following are reasons for this earnest and urgent request.
First, by most rating systems, Alabama Public Education is ranked very low among the 50 states.  Alabama's goal must be to become number one not only among states but among nations because our students compete globally, not just locally.  The charter school bill not only does not address this larger issue but diverts focus from it.
Second, the charter school bill fails to address the broad issue of excellence in education.  It focuses on so called "failing schools."  Even if the charter school bill was perfectly applied in practice, it would only impact some of the 1,499 schools in Alabama.  We need an initiative that impacts all our schools.  Even in perfection, and perfection is extremely unlikely, the positive impact of charter schools will be limited.  However, the negative impact of the bill will be far reaching.
Third, I know that every child we fail to educate is a terrible travesty.  I also know 

NYC Public School Parents: DOE to spend millions of dollars on new local assessments, starting in preK?

NYC Public School Parents: DOE to spend millions of dollars on new local assessments, starting in preK?:


DOE to spend millions of dollars on new local assessments, starting in preK?


The DOE released a new set of RFP’s totesting companies to develop yet another set of “local assessments” to be given starting next year. [Apparentlythe 408assessments bid out in July did not result in any contracts.] The bids aredue April 23.  The announcement says that24 contracts could result, for God knows how many millions of dollars.   
It is unclear how many local assessments willresult from all these new contracts, but probably hundreds over three years. Thereare 23 testing “components” in all; with each component involving a "gradespan" and a content area, and 40 items in each test, probably to be taken on computers, which will involve yet more millions to provide.    
The DOE is pitching this new set of RFP’s as for new sets of  “diagnostic” and “interim”assessments, but the only required part of the RFP is “end of course” exams,which is very difficult to argue is “diagnostic” since there 

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Note to SPS: Ask Amazon And Vulcan to be Good Civic Partners

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Note to SPS: Ask Amazon And Vulcan to be Good Civic Partners:


Note to SPS: Ask Amazon And Vulcan to be Good Civic Partners

Today's front page headline story in the Times is about Amazon, "a virtual no-show in hometown philanthropy." 

The story points out that while it even took the Gates Foundation awhile to start opening its vast pockets, Amazon still hasn't.  Their model?

"Our core business activities are probably the most important thing we do to contribute, as well as our employment in the area," Bezos told The Times.

In a 2010 interview with PBS' Charlie Rose, Bezos expressed doubt that philanthropy was the best way to solve social problems.

"I'm convinced that in many cases, for-profit models improve the world more than philanthropy models, if they can be made to work."

For example, he thinks inventing the Kindle brings more reading opportunities to people worldwide.  Discuss that 

Missouri Education Watchdog: Let's Make a Common Core Video featuring Herrings and Doves! The Sunday Education Weekly Reader 04.01.12

Missouri Education Watchdog: Let's Make a Common Core Video featuring Herrings and Doves! The Sunday Education Weekly Reader 04.01.12:


Let's Make a Common Core Video featuring Herrings and Doves! The Sunday Education Weekly Reader 04.01.12

Welcome to the Sunday Education Weekly Reader for April Fool's Day 2012!  We're really not doing a video for Common Core standards as so many teachers have, but if we did do a video, we'd probably sing about how they are:
  • unproven
  • untested
  • underfunded
  • unconstitutional
Today is April Fool's Day and two explanations of this minor holiday are appropriate when thinking about the "reforms" trotted out by Arne Duncan.  Think of the DOEd as the agency playing sinister April fool jokes on the American public.  We have been the fools kicked hard by expensive and overreaching mandates and regulations, resulting in a centralized agency controlling all educational decisions and programs:

Daily Kos: "Us" versus "Them"

Daily Kos: "Us" versus "Them":


"Us" versus "Them"

Perhaps it is my age, or perhaps it is my experience, but I have a visceral and negative reaction towards anyone who seeks to divide us up.  I see such framings as that I used for the title of this post as seeking to designate some as "other" and thus not worthy of respect nor or recognition of rights.
On the one hand, in some ways I might qualify for many examples of "Us" -  I was born into an upper middle class family, both parents having degrees from an Ivy League college, both being professionals.  I am myself the graduate of a prestigious liberal arts college, with several advanced degrees.  My spouse is a Mayflower descendant, and a descendant of a Revolutionary War general.
Yet I easily qualify for status as "Them" - my family is of Eastern European Jewish descent, I am an active union member, I participated actively in the civil rights movement as a late adolescent and young adult, and - oh my god - I am a public school teacher.  I am a liberal and a progressive.  I am a Democrat. Members of our extended families (including by marriage) are gay -Native American - Black - Hispanic.
I am willing to label words and actions, but not people.  That is, someone who discriminates or acts or speaks in a racist manner needs to have that appropriately labeled, yet does that irrevocably place that person beyond redemption?  I wonder.  If we do so, are we not as guilty as are those we consider racists in reading out some of 

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