Sunday, October 11, 2015

With A Brooklyn Accent: My Eight Years of Education Activism

With A Brooklyn Accent: My Eight Years of Education Activism:

My Eight Years of Education Activism






I am not, by training, an historian of education, or a teacher educator. My degree is in American History, and most of my research has been on African American history, labor history and the history of popular culture. I only began writing about education issues when the community history projects I was working on in nearly 20 Bronx schools were pushed out by a testing mania that swept through the Bloomberg Department of Education in 2007/2008, and when the wonderful teachers I worked with became the subject of a campaign of demonization in the media. These teachers, mostly women, many Black and Latino, quite a few of whom grew up in Bronx neighborhoods, found themselves blamed for every ill that beset the public schools of the Bronx, and by implication, growing inequality in the entire society. I was so enraged by these attacks on Bronx teachers, which were coming from politicians of both parties- with Mayor Bloomberg leading the charge- and a startling array of pundits, that i began speaking out in their defense.
Nothing I have seen in the last eight years suggests that I was wrong in speaking out. It is convenient to blame teachers and public schools for inequality in educational performance, and the failure of our society to overcome vast gaps in income and wealth along racial lines. It is also morally wrong- as is any attempt to find scapegoats for complex problems- and profoundly counterproductive. When you ramp up the stress on teachers by making them a convenient target for public attacks while taking away their autonomy and on the job protections, you remove a precious source of inspiration, guidance and comfort for children. And ironically, the children you hurt the most are those growing up in poverty, who need that guidance and inspiration the most.
It is hard to think of a major leader in American public life who has not, in some manner, contributed to the toxic atmosphere in which the nation's teachers work.
So as much as I would like to return to the research I have devoted my life to, I cannot do so, in good conscience, any time soon.With A Brooklyn Accent: My Eight Years of Education Activism:

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Parents Rising - Dear Directors

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Parents Rising - Dear Directors:

Parents Rising - Dear Directors






Dear Directors,

I write to you with both a heavy and joyful heart.  Heavy because there is so much frustration and sadness in our district this early in the school year.  Not because of the teachers strike but because of the staff cuts at a large number of schools.  

I am joyful because enough parents are now ready and willing.  I am joyful because, unbidden by me or anyone else, they have risen up to act.  I am joyful because they have decided that being nice, playing along and raising money for this district is no longer going to be the status quo for them.  
They feel insulted that they are expected to pay for basic education for their child when they are already paying into the system.  Now before you say McCleary, let me point out a couple of things to you.

1) It is absolutely true that this state has been starving (to use a parent phrase I heard today) our public education system.  One meal will not resuscitate nor sustain someone who is starving.

2) BUT our district is very cagey with how much money it has AND how it is spent.  There is NOT transparency in the dollars.  It does not seem to matter a whit to senior management. It is hurting the relationship that this district has 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Parents Rising - Dear Directors:




Where Have All The Teachers of Color Gone? (With Answers) | The Jose Vilson

Where Have All The Teachers of Color Gone? (With Answers) | The Jose Vilson:

Where Have All The Teachers of Color Gone? (With Answers)



kanyeanswerssway


You should know that, at last week’s panel for the conference I attended, I went to a panel entitled “Where Have All The Teachers of Color Gone?” and never got our main question answered. Instead of coming for the moderator for not “doing the education,” I’ll ask you to consider a few things:
  • I’ve done some of the research for New York City, and similar patterns arise across the country.
  • Before we can even answer the “teachers of color” question, we have to differentiate what types of leaving we have.
  • Before that, we have to consider the mindset of the folks asking questions about it, and whether they’ve read any of the tangible research.

BATs TIME TO SUPPORT HEALTHY WORKPLACE LEGISLATION- TAKE ACTION! - Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:
BATs TIME TO SUPPORT HEALTHY WORKPLACE LEGISLATION- TAKE ACTION!



 BATS!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP! THIS PAST SUMMER BATS TESTIFIED TO THE MASSACHUSETTS LABOR COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF HEALTHY WORK PLACE LEGISLATION!!! OUR EMAILS WORKED THIS IS GOING TO THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 14th!!!!!! PLEASE CUT AND PASTE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES ALONG WITH THE LETTER BELOW and HIT SEND!!!


Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov
James.Welch@masenate.gov
James.Timilty@masenate.gov
Bruce.Tarr@masenate.gov
Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov
Mike.Rush@masenate.gov
Richard.Ross@masenate.gov
Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov
Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov
Anthony.Petruccelli@masenate.gov
Marc.Pacheco@masenate.gov
Kathleen.OConnorIves@masenate.gov
Michael.Moore@masenate.gov
Mark.Montigny@masenate.gov
Thomas.McGee@masenate.gov
Joan.Lovely@masenate.gov
Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov
barbara.l'italien@masenate.gov
John.Keenan@masenate.gov
eric.lesser@masenate.gov
Brian.Joyce@masenate.gov
Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov
Donald.Humason@masenate.gov
anne.gobi@masenate.gov
Robert.Hedlund@masenate.gov
Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov
Linda.DorcenaForry@masenate.gov
Ryan.Fattman@masenate.gov
James.Eldridge@masenate.gov
Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov
Eileen.Donoghue@masenate.gov
Kenneth.Donnelly@masenate.gov
Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov
Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov
Cynthia.Creem@masenate.gov
Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov
Harriette.Chandler@masenate.gov
William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov
Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov

Dear Senators:
I am writing to ask you to support the Healthy Workplace Bill, House Bill 1771. The purpose of this bill is to provide workers with a legal claim for malicious bullying behavior that has caused physical or psychological harm without regard to protected class status. It imposes liability on both individual aggressors and employers while encouraging employers to prevent bullying from occurring. (This bill also discourages weak and frivolous claims from clogging our courts.) This bill is considered a job-killing bill by some pro-business groups, when in reality the current gap in the law severely hurts the bottom line for businesses. The amount of money businesses spend on bullies can fund several other positions.
The workplace bullying problem
According to a 2014 national survey by Zogby International and the Workplace Bullying Institute, 27 percent of workers have experienced workplace bullying, and almost half of these workers were eventually pushed out of their jobs. More than 72 percent of employers who received complaints about workplace bullying either ignored the problem or made it worse.
More than half of workplace bullies are supervisors. They make false accusations of errors and mistakes, yell, shout, and scream, exclude their victims, withhold resources and information necessary to the job, sabotage and defame behind-the-back, use put-downs, insults, and excessively harsh criticism, and make unreasonably heavy work demands.
The costs for businesses
Workplace bullying costs add up and hurt bottom lines. Costs incurred by a company holding onto a bully include:
• High turnover. Surveys estimate that 20-30 percent of targets and witnesses quit as a direct result of workplace bullying (Financial Week, 2007). According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, businesses spend at least 1.5 times a worker’s salary to replace him, including costs in recruiting, interviewing, and training. So a position earning $100,000 annually results in $400,000 in costs to a company if the position is vacated twice in five years because of a workplace bully.
• Lost productivity. Targets lose motivation, spend time looking for other work, and talk about bullying behavior instead of work. Bullies withhold information targets need to perform their jobs sufficiently, witnesses calm targets, and managers reorganize groups. According to Yahoo Finance, productivity declines as much as 40 percent in workplaces with bullies.
• Increased healthcare. Mental and physical illness from stress (heart disease and clinical depression, for example) result in higher health insurance and workers compensation costs.
• Absenteeism and short-term disability. According to Yahoo Finance, employees who work for bullies call out sick more often. In fact, 12-18 percent of short-term disability claims are psychological claims related to bullying, with each absent employee out of work 60-80 days on average. One large employer spent more than $1 million in a two-year period to cover short-term disability costs related to bullying.
The cost breakdown. Businesses can calculate costs of keeping a bully on board. Civility Partners LLC calculates these potential costs:
• Bully’s direct manager counseling bully: 80 hours, $8,000
• Witnesses talking with target about the bullying experience: 100 hours, $6,000
• HR talking with managers, bully, and target: 10 hours, $1,500
• HR talking with Executives about the problem: 5 hours, $1,500
• HR recruiting and training target’s replacement: $40,000
• Team and department members training new employee: 160 hours, $10,000
Estimated total cost of bully: $67,000
How the Healthy Workplace Bill will solve the problem
Managers who get rid of bullies benefit financially. One study shows that “companies who focus on effective internal functioning and communication enjoy a 57 percent higher total return, are more than 4.5 times more likely to have highly engaged employees, and are 20 percent more likely to report reduced turnover when compared to competitors who demonstrate ineffective communication practices” (Civility Partners LLC, 2009).
Passage of the bill will help businesses by reducing absenteeism and turnover, increasing work productivity and morale, and reducing employee benefit costs. This bill will encourage employers to prevent behaviors that destroy productivity and morale and will support public health by reducing mistreatment that harms workers and their families and adds costs to our health care system.
Holding employers accountable for creating healthy workplaces creates more jobs and is simply better for our economy.
Sincerely,


[Your Name]

New times demand new ways to support students and schools | EdSource

New times demand new ways to support students and schools | EdSource:

New times demand new ways to support students and schools




California’s education system is transforming in positive ways. Replacing the high school exit exam with more modern and meaningful measures is a critical part of that work.
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill 172 into law, eliminating the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a requirement for high school graduation. I was proud to sponsor this bill, and I deeply appreciate state Senator Carol Liu, D-Pasadena, for bringing forward this urgently needed legislation.
The state Legislature created the exit exam requirement in 1999, and schools began using the test a few years later. Since then, however, the world – and California’s education system – have changed dramatically.
We have instituted new, more rigorous state academic standards. We have launched a more sophisticated assessment of student progress using online, computer-adaptive tests. And, we are moving toward a more comprehensive evaluation of schools that uses multiple measures instead of a single test score.
The current version of the exit exam was always meant to be temporary, according to the author of the legislation establishing it. Eliminating the old high school exit exam provides a great opportunity to develop a more effective approach to supporting our students. We must make sure that our high school graduates are ready for college and careers in the 21st century.
Students need a variety of skills to succeed in today’s economy. Our methods of gauging their progress should incorporate multiple measures. SB 172 requires me to convene a task force of teachers, parents, students, administrators and others to report back on new high school graduation requirements.
I look forward to exploring the options. One possibility is a senior or “capstone” project, in which students demonstrate what they have learned in an oral report, a paper or an exhibition. Another option is integrating community service into this work, so that our students learn “civics in action.”
In addition, a student could demonstrate career readiness by completing an internship at a local company, government agency, or nonprofit, and then producing a report about a potential career pathway. And a district may choose some combination of these approaches, customized to local conditions.
The search for a new high school graduation requirement is similar to our work developing a new accountability New times demand new ways to support students and schools | EdSource:

Will the Obama administration now focus on desegregating schools? - The Washington Post

Will the Obama administration now focus on desegregating schools? - The Washington Post:

Will the Obama administration now focus on desegregating schools?








When Arne Duncan steps down as education secretary in December and John King takes over, nothing much is expected to change in the world of federal education policy.
Except for maybe one thing.
King will perhaps take steps to focus the department’s energy — and money — on encouraging states and school districts to create integrated schools. That’s what a number of activists, lawyers and researchers are hoping, based on King’s past actions and recent statements.
In one of his last acts as New York’s education commissioner, King used federal money to encourage schools to create more diverse student populations.
This was a novel use of federal school improvement grants, which were aimed at a handful of tactics, such as turning troubled schools over to charter operators or replacing school staff members. But none of those programs acknowledged that most struggling schools are segregated, and filled with poor minority children.
“Clearly, Duncan, to his credit, put turning around failing schools at the very top of his agenda. And yet his primary method for doing so was to fire teachers, or bring in charter school operators,” said Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.
“The idea that you would actually tackle the underlying cause of the problem — segregation — didn’t enter into the equation.”
Kahlenberg has written frequently about the power of socioeconomic integration; research has shown that poor children do better in mixed-income classrooms than in segregated ones, and middle-class children are no worse off.
He said he met with King privately and was convinced that the next education secretary is serious about trying to encourage school integration.
“President Obama has been taking on issues toward the end of his term that he wouldn’t touch in earlier years. So to me, the moment is ripe for the administration to take some important steps on integration,” Kahlenberg said.
“You have a new secretary of education who is deeply committed to the issue. You have a president who appears willing to expend some political capital toward the end of his term to address issues that are important to him. And you have the backdrop of unrest in a number of segregated urban areas. Will the Obama administration now focus on desegregating schools? - The Washington Post:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 10/11/15




CORPORATE ED REFORM





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Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 1010/15
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