Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays from the Big Education Ape 2015



Happy Holidays from the Big Education Ape 2015

From My Family to Yours


Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 12/25/15



CORPORATE ED REFORM



Happy Holidays from the Big Education Ape 2015

From My Family to Yours





Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list - The Washington Post
Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list - The Washington Post: Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list Here is veteran teacher Larry Ferlazzo’s annual list of education predictions for the coming year. Ferlazzo teaches English and Social Studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.  He has w
Merry Christmas 2015 | deutsch29
Merry Christmas 2015 | deutsch29: Merry Christmas 2015For my Christmas 2015 post, I offer an excerpt from the hour-long televised Christmas special, The Sights and Sounds of Christmas on Broadway with David Jeremiah (see archived program televised on 12/20/15 here.)  David JeremiahThe program was mostly a celebration of Christmas music; however, Jeremiah spoke for about 15 minutes (33:55 to 49:00)
Reforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School District - The New York Times
Reforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School District - The New York Times: Reforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School DistrictA packed Board of Education meeting this month at Grover Middle School in West Windsor, N.J., where a districtwide debate that often splits along racial lines is underway about the pressure put on students there to succeed. CreditMark Makela
NYC Educator: A Christmas Wish
NYC Educator: A Christmas Wish: A Christmas WishI ask Santa to stop closing schools for Christmas. It's among the worst policies ever. Sure I have selfish reasons. I don't want any of my colleagues to become ATRs, and I don't want to be one myself. Despite all the noise and nonsense that swirls around this job, I still love it. While politicians talk smack about what needs to be done, I know what
A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! | Diane Ravitch's blog
A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! | Diane Ravitch's blog: A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! A Christmas message to reformers: Fund what works. Hello, Bill Gates. Hello, Eli Broad. Hello, Walton Family. Hello, John Arnold. Hello, John Paulson. Hello, hedge fund managers. Fund what works.I read this story by Emma Brown in the Washington Post 
Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you. - The Washington Post
Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you. - The Washington Post: Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you.I published this last year, but, given that it’s Christmas, it seems like a good day to do it again:The scene at Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus’s birth, in the biblical West Bank town
School board wants to throw out CTU strike vote - Chicago Tribune
School board wants to throw out CTU strike vote - Chicago Tribune:School board wants to throw out CTU strike votee Chicago Board of Education is asking the state's educational labor relations board to invalidate the recent strike authorization vote by teachers, arguing that the three-day process was "inherently flawed."The Chicago Teachers Union said last week that 88 percent of eligible
Happy Holidays from the Big Education Ape 2015From My Family to Yours
Happy Holidays from the Big Education Ape 2015From My Family to Yours

YESTERDAY

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 12/24/15
CORPORATE ED REFORMThe Spirit of Christmas Present: Children versus Corporate Greed | Reclaim ReformThe Spirit of Christmas Present: Children versus Corporate Greed | Reclaim Reform: The Spirit of Christmas Present: Children versus Corporate Greed“One major theme in A Christmas Carol was rooted in Charles Dickens’ observations of the plight of the children of London’s poor. In 1839 it was estimate








Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list - The Washington Post

Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list - The Washington Post:

Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list





 Here is veteran teacher Larry Ferlazzo’s annual list of education predictions for the coming year. Ferlazzo teaches English and Social Studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.  He has written eight bookson education, writes a teacher advice blog for Education Week Teacher and has his own popular resource-sharing blog. Read the 2016 predictions and see what might be wishful thinking. Tell him in the comments what you think he got right or wrong.


By Larry Ferlazzo
A new year is approaching, and most of us always optimistic educators will approach it with gobs of hope, along with some realistic trepidation. Here are some predictions for the coming year – not listed in any particular order.
  1. Public employee unions, including teachers associations (and the students, families and communities we support), will dodge a bullet that would eviscerate them when the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to support plaintiffs in the Freidrichs case. Unions will win on a deciding vote by – of all people – Justice Scalia.
  2. Hillary Clinton will win the U.S. presidential election and begin pushing a very different education agenda from the one pushed by President Obama. She will act on her stated opposition to the use of test scores in teacher evaluations and on her reservations about charter schools. And her first step in that direction will be appointing a secretary of education with similar beliefs. That person will be….I have no idea, and it doesn’t sound like many others have a clue, either. Many of the names I’ve heard so far sound great, but seem to fall into the category of “wishful thinking” – Deborah Meier, Linda Darling-Hammond, Pedro Noguera. However, perhaps some of those educators have a better shot than I might think. Martin O’Malley has also been mentioned, though I would think his attacks on Clinton rule him out as a potential appointee.. Who do you think would be on Clinton’s short list?
  3. The new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will surprise many of us educators by making initial grant-making that actually supports efforts that agrees with many of our positions. This will be helped by the fact their new chief of Eight education predictions (and some wishful thinking) for 2016 — a teacher’s list - The Washington Post:

Merry Christmas 2015 | deutsch29

Merry Christmas 2015 | deutsch29:

Merry Christmas 2015



For my Christmas 2015 post, I offer an excerpt from the hour-long televised Christmas special, The Sights and Sounds of Christmas on Broadway with David Jeremiah (see archived program televised on 12/20/15 here.)
david jeremiah  
David Jeremiah
The program was mostly a celebration of Christmas music; however, Jeremiah spoke for about 15 minutes (33:55 to 49:00). I draw my Christmas post from Jeremiah’s words, which begin with the image of snow-silenced New York City:
I was reading recently something this year written by one of my favorite authors, whose name is Frederick Buechner, and he was writing about the great snow that happened in New York City in the winter of 1947.  He described what had happened here, and it almost seems impossible that it could have happened this way.
He said it seemed no different from any other snowstorm; the flakes gently floated down without any wind to drive them, and all day, the snow fell.
Gradually, the sidewalks and parked cars and the buildings were covered with a blanket of white. Shopkeepers were out with their shovels, trying to keep a clear path to their doorway, and the snow just kept on falling.
The plows couldn’t keep ahead of it. Consequently, the traffic nearly came to a standstill; businesses closed early, and people did their best to get home before nightfall.
By the next morning, bustling New York was a totally different city. Abandoned cars were buried. Nothing on wheels could move. Skiers glided down Park Avenue, and the most striking transformation of all was the absolutely incredible silence. The only sounds were muffled voices and ringing church bells. People listened because they couldn’t help themselves.
Our world today rarely listens anymore unless there’s a crisis of some sort. But every year, my friend Buechner said, there is an annual illustration of this same, deafening silence at Christmastime.
You see, during the Christmas season, businesses increase to frenzied pace; canned carols blast over all the din of traffic; bells jingle; red-robed Santas freeze in Chicago, and then suddenly, night falls on Christmas Eve. The last shop closes. All of the hullabaloo is over, and everything is silent for one brief day.
It’s unlike anything else in all of culture.
For 24 hours, our world shuts down to celebrate something so magnificently 
Merry Christmas 2015 | deutsch29:

Reforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School District - The New York Times

Reforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School District - The New York Times:

Reforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School District



A packed Board of Education meeting this month at Grover Middle School in West Windsor, N.J., where a districtwide debate that often splits along racial lines is underway about the pressure put on students there to succeed. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

This fall, David Aderhold, the superintendent of a high-achieving school district near Princeton, N.J., sent parents an alarming 16-page letter.
The school district, he said, was facing a crisis. Its students were overburdened and stressed out, juggling too much work and too many demands. In the previous school year, 120 middle and high school students were recommended for mental health assessments; 40 were hospitalized. And on a survey administered by the district, students wrote things like, “I hate going to school,” and “Coming out of 12 years in this district, I have learned one thing: that a grade, a percentage or even a point is to be valued over anything else.”
With his letter, Dr. Aderhold inserted West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District into a national discussion about the intense focus on achievement at elite schools, and whether it has gone too far. At follow-up meetings, he urged parents to join him in advocating a holistic, “whole child” approach to schooling that respects “social-emotional development” and “deep and meaningful learning” over academics alone.
The alternative, he suggested, was to face the prospect of becoming another Palo Alto, Calif., where outsize stress on teenage students is believed to have contributed totwo clusters of suicides in the last six years.
But instead of bringing families together, Dr. Aderhold’s letter revealed a fissure in the district, which has 9,700 students, and one that broke down roughly along racial lines. On one side are white parents like Catherine Foley, a former president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at her daughter’s middle school, who has come to see the district’s increasingly pressured atmosphere as antithetical to learning.
“My son was in fourth grade and told me, ‘I’m not going to amount to anything because I have nothing to put on my résumé,’ ” Ms. Foley said.
On the other side are parents like Mike Jia, one of the thousands of Asian-American professionals who have moved to the district in the past decade, who said Dr. Aderhold’s reforms would amount to a “dumbing down” of his children’s education.
Photo
Outside Grover Middle School, part of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.CreditMark Makela for The New York Times
”What is happening here reflects a national anti-intellectual trend that will not prepare our children for the future,” Mr. Jia said.
About 10 minutes from Princeton and an hour and a half from New York City, West Windsor and Plainsboro have become popular bedroom communities for technology entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical researchers and engineers, drawn in large part by the public schools. From the last three graduating classes, 16 seniors were admitted to M.I.T. It churns out Science Olympiad winners, classically trained musicians and students with perfect SAT scores.
The district has become increasingly popular with immigrant families from China, India and Korea. This year, 65 percent of its students are Asian-American, compared with 44 percent in 2007. Many of them are the first in their families born in the United States.
They have had a growing influence on the district. Asian-American parentsReforms to Ease Students’ Stress Divide a New Jersey School District - The New York Times: 

NYC Educator: A Christmas Wish

NYC Educator: A Christmas Wish:

A Christmas Wish

I ask Santa to stop closing schools for Christmas. It's among the worst policies ever. Sure I have selfish reasons. I don't want any of my colleagues to become ATRs, and I don't want to be one myself. Despite all the noise and nonsense that swirls around this job, I still love it. While politicians talk smack about what needs to be done, I know what I do is very important. I know a smile from a kid is a more hopeful sign than a good grade on a standardized test, or rigor and grit, or whatever it is the reformies are selling.

A kid's smile shows an openness, a willingness to be there, and a willingness to learn. It's something you treasure, something you can't force, and something you don't tamper with. A kid will follow a teacher who elicits a smile. Wouldn't you? And for all I know, that teacher who makes the kid smile could be in a so-called failing school. What if we have a whole community with low test scores? Does that mean we take the public school, the heart of the community, and replace it with a Moskowitz test-prep factory where kids pee their pants rather than stop filling in bubbles?

Should we trust a politician who says with one breath she wants to help struggling schools, and with the next that she will close them? That's a hard sell, for me at least, because I cannot determine which side of her mouth is credible. Is it a slip when she says she will close all schools that aren't above average? Probably yes. If average is a midpoint, that would mean closing half of all schools, and as Mercedes Schneider pointed out, it would necessitate perpetually recalculating to close even more.

So yes, Hillary misspoke. But that doesn't mean she won't be closing schools. And for those who say the feds can't close schools, I point you to President Barack Obama's Race to the Top, which mandated all 
NYC Educator: A Christmas Wish:


A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! | Diane Ravitch's blog

A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! | Diane Ravitch's blog:

A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! 

Click on picture to Listen to Diane Ravitch


A Christmas message to reformers: Fund what works. Hello, Bill Gates. Hello, Eli Broad. Hello, Walton Family. Hello, John Arnold. Hello, John Paulson. Hello, hedge fund managers. Fund what works.
I read this story by Emma Brown in the Washington Post a few days ago. It is such a beautiful story that I decided it should be posted on Christmas Day.
Brown reports on the remarkable success of Superintendent Tiffany Anderson in Jennings, Missouri, a town that borders Ferguson and that like Ferguson, is mainly African American and poor. The district has only 3,000 students. What it provides is an exemplar of wrap-around services. Anderson even helps the graduates of her high school find jobs.
School districts don’t usually operate homeless shelters for their students. Nor do they often run food banks or have a system in place to provide whatever clothes kids need. Few offer regular access to pediatricians and mental health counselors, or make washers and dryers available to families desperate to get clean.
But the Jennings School District — serving about 3,000 students in a low-income, predominantly African American jurisdiction just north of St. Louis — does all of these things and more. When Superintendent Tiffany Anderson arrived here 3 1/2 years ago, she was determined to clear the barriers that so often keep poor kids from learning. And her approach has helped fuel a dramatic turnaround in Jennings, which has long been among the lowest-performing school districts in Missouri.
“Schools can do so much to really impact poverty,” Anderson said. “Some people think if you do all this other stuff, it takes away from focusing on instruction, when really it ensures that you can take kids further academically.”
Public education has long felt like a small and fruitless weapon against this town’s generational poverty. But that’s starting to change. Academic achievement, attendance and high school graduation rates have improved since Anderson’s arrival, and, this month, state officials announced that as a result of the improvements, Jennings had reached full accreditation for the first time in more than a decade.
Gwen McDile, a homeless 17-year-old in Jennings, missed so much school this fall — nearly one day in three — that it seemed she would be unlikely to graduate in June. But then she was invited to move into Hope House, a shelter the school system recently opened to give students like her a stable place to live.
She arrived a few days after Thanksgiving. The 3,000-square-foot house A Christmas Message for Reformers: A School That Really Works! | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you. - The Washington Post

Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you. - The Washington Post:

Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you.

I published this last year, but, given that it’s Christmas, it seems like a good day to do it again:

The scene at Manger Square near the Church of the Nativity, revered as the site of Jesus’s birth, in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem on Wednesday. (Musa al-Shaer/AFP via Getty Images)


Christmas is on Dec. 25, but it wasn’t always.
Dec. 25 is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus’s birth; the Bible is actually silent on the day or the time of year when Mary was said to have given birth to him in Bethlehem. The earliest Christians did not celebrate his birth.
As a result, there are a number of different accounts as to how and when Dec. 25 became known as Jesus’s birthday.
By most accounts, the birth was first thought — in around 200 A.D. — to have taken place on Jan. 6. Why? Nobody knows, but it may have been the result of “a calculation based on an assumed date of crucifixion of April 6 coupled with the ancient belief that prophets died on the same day as their conception,”according to religionfacts.com. By the mid-fourth century, the birthday celebration had been moved to Dec. 25. Who made the decision? Some accounts say it was the pope; others say it wasn’t.
One of the prevalent theories on why Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25 was spelled out in “The Golden Bough,” a highly influential 19th-century comparative study of religion and mythology written by the anthropologist James George Frazer and originally published in 1890. (The first edition was titled “The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion”; the second edition was called “The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion.” By the third printing, in the early 20th century, it was published in 12 volumes, though there are abridged one-volume versions.)
Frazer approached the topic of religion from a cultural — not theological — perspective, and he linked the dating of Christmas to earlier pagan rituals. Here’s what the 1922 edition of the “The Golden Bough” says about the origins of Christmas, as published on Bartleby.com:
An instructive relic of the long struggle is preserved in our festival of Christmas, which the Church seems to have borrowed directly from its heathen rival. In the Julian calendar the twenty-fifth of December was reckoned the winter solstice, and it was regarded as the Nativity of the Sun, because the day begins to lengthen and the power of the sun to increase from that turning-point of the year. The ritual of the nativity, as it appears to have been celebrated in Syria and Egypt, was remarkable. The celebrants retired into certain inner shrines, from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry, “The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!” The Egyptians even represented the new-born sun by the image of an infant which on his birthday, the winter solstice, they brought forth and exhibited to his worshippers. No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of Astarte. Now Mithra was regularly identified by his worshippers with the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, as they called him; hence his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of December. The Gospels say nothing as to the day of Christ’s birth, and accordingly the early Church did not celebrate it. In time, however, the Christians of Egypt came to regard the sixth of January as the date of the Nativity, and the custom of commemorating the birth of the Saviour on that day gradually spread until by the fourth century it was universally established in the East. But at the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century the Western Church, which had never recognised the sixth of January as the day of the Nativity, adopted the twenty-fifth of December as the true date, and in time 
Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? A brief history lesson that may surprise you. - The Washington Post:

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