Friday, January 22, 2016

What makes a good teacher? | Johnathan Chase | LinkedIn

What makes a good teacher? | Johnathan Chase | LinkedIn:

What makes a good teacher?

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." 
John Keating (Robin Williams) "Dead Poets Society", 1989
"What makes a great teacher is someone who teaches you more than just that subject. They teach you how to be a better person, how to act everyday, and live your life to the fullest. Teachers teach, but great teachers help us learn and live."
~ Brooklyn, 12th grader, Fairfax R-3 – “A Great Teacher is…”
Rather than interview students, parents, or educators to learn about the qualities and characteristics of a good teacher, ed reformers have relied on the wisdom of What makes a good teacher? | Johnathan Chase | LinkedIn:



Success Academy Founder Defends Schools Against Charges of Bias - The New York Times

Success Academy Founder Defends Schools Against Charges of Bias - The New York Times:

Success Academy Founder Defends Schools Against Charges of Bias


Eva S. Moskowitz defended her Success Academy charter schools on Friday, two days after a group of parents filed a federal complaint accusing the network of discriminating against students with disabilities.
The complaint, which was filed on Wednesday with the Office of Civil Rights at the federal Education Department, claimed that Success Academy repeatedly suspended and, in some cases, pushed out students with disabilities from its schools. It asserted that Success had repeatedly violated the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act by not offering alternative instruction to students with disabilities who were suspended, and by not holding hearings to determine whether the students’ behavior stemmed from their disabilities, and whether the schools needed to provide them with additional services.
On Friday, speaking at a public policy breakfast at New York Law School, Ms. Moskowitz, the network’s founder, offered a vigorous defense of her schools. She said that while Success had room to improve how it served students with disabilities, she had a “fundamental disagreement” with her critics about student discipline.


Photo

Eva S. Moskowitz, who founded Success Academy.CreditNew York Law School

“Safety is the No. 1 reason parents want out of the district schools,” she said. She said the network’s discipline policies, including suspension for violent behavior, were necessary to ensure a safe and orderly environment in which children could learn.
She also rejected the criticism that students who are repeatedly suspended at Success suffer because of missed instructional time. She said that, with longer days and a longer school year, Success offered the equivalent of 55 more days of instruction than regular public schools. Therefore, she said, it was “simply not the case” that students who were suspended missed a problematic amount of instruction.
Ms. Moskowitz also sought to cast doubt on the credibility of parents who Success Academy Founder Defends Schools Against Charges of Bias - The New York Times:

State to reimburse costs related to Common Core tests | EdSource

State to reimburse costs related to Common Core tests | EdSource:

State to reimburse costs related to Common Core tests



School districts in California may get a new influx of money to reimburse as much as $600 million in estimated costs related to the administration of mandated tests, based on a state commission’s decision Friday.
The Commission on State Mandates found that required Internet access, training and technology necessary to administer new computer­-based tests under the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, program, are reimbursable state mandates. This is because districts were required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars beginning in 2013­-14 on upgrading technology and related costs to comply with the state’s mandate to administer the tests.
“Today’s decision recognizes the constitutional obligation of the state to ensure that the state provides school districts and county offices of education with resources necessary to implement new state programs,” said Chris Ungar, president of the California School Boards Association and a San Luis Coastal Unified district trustee, in a prepared statement.
The decision comes just over a year after the association’s Education Legal Alliance and five local education agencies filed a claim requesting the reimbursement on behalf of districts and county offices of education throughout the state. The five agencies involved in the claim were Santa Ana Unified, Porterville Unified, Plumas Unified, Vallejo City Unified and the Plumas County Office of Education.State to reimburse costs related to Common Core tests | EdSource:


Seattle Schools Community Forum: Talking about Race

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Talking about Race:

Talking about Race



A number of events /reports have crossed my path in the last couple of weeks and I thought it worth a thread.

Next Saturday, January 30th,  there will be an Education Roundtable to discuss the impacts of student discipline on communities of color.   Among the groups involed there are The Washington State Commission on African American AffairsWashington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, along with theWhite House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and El Centro de la Raza.  The event will be held at El Centro's headquarters at 2524 16th Avenue S. from 1-3:30 pm. 

Attend this event and share your experiences and feedback with our expert panel:

-Wanda Billingsly, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Tukwila School District
-Sukien Luu, Supervising Attorney, U.S. Department of Education
-Jennifer Harris, Education Ombuds and Policy Analyst, Office of the Education Ombuds
-Calandra Sechrist, Director, Equity and Civil Rights, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction


As well, the City has a survey out - Race and Social Justice Community Survey.  It includes five questions about SPS and I wish I had taken a 
Seattle Schools Community Forum: Talking about Race:

Activism Is Good Teaching • Reclaiming the profession

Activism Is Good Teaching • Reclaiming the profession:

Activism Is Good Teaching

Reclaiming the profession





 It was a sunny afternoon in May 2015. Several dozen Albuquerque Public School (APS) teachers gathered around a metal garbage can outside district headquarters just a few minutes before the final school board meeting of the year. As local news cameras rolled, the teachers came forward one by one to burn their end-of-year evaluations. Like many states across the United States, New Mexico has adopted a value-added model of teacher evaluations, basing 50 percent of the overall score on student test scores. Whether rated as “minimally effective” or “exemplary,” the teachers individually and collectively made a powerful case for why their evaluations were arbitrary, unreliable, and deeply damaging to the profession of teaching.

As I watched from sidelines, I recognized Michelle Perez and Amanda Short, two teachers from High Desert Elementary, a high-poverty school rated “F” by the state of New Mexico. The event, which Michelle helped organize, occurred at the end of a tumultuous school year, characterized by drastic decreases in teacher autonomy and a growing culture of surveillance and fear. Michelle worked on the event because “these evaluations are not a reflection of a teacher’s abilities and should not determine our worth as professionals.” She wanted to create a way teachers could share their frustration with the public as well as with the local school board, who, for the most part, have been complicit in the policies mandated by the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED).
High Desert Elementary School is a Title I school with 100 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch. The diversity of the school’s population is representative of the state: 5 percent African American, 30 percent white, 55 percent Latina/o and 10 percent Native American; 33 percent are English language learners and 29 percent qualify for special education. Students live in Section 8 housing, in motels along the interstate, and in homes close to the local university. Throughout their teaching careers at the school, Michelle and Amanda have noticed a decline in diversity due to decreasing enrollment among middle-class families, a demographic shift that can be attributed to the poor grades the school has received.
Michelle and Amanda, who teach 2nd and 4th grade respectively, are veteran teachers with an impressive array of credentials. Michelle has a master’s and endorsement in reading instruction and helped write the district’s 2nd-grade math curriculum. Amanda is National Board certified. Both teachers have spent their careers at High Desert Elementary in part because of a desire to serve children from historically marginalized backgrounds. Last spring, both received overall evaluations of “minimally effective” on the state’s evaluation rubric. Their principal gave them failing grades in the category of “professionalism” due to their ongoing activism against high-stakes accountability policies.
For example, on Amanda’s evaluation, the principal wrote: “Because she is respected by the adults that she works with, her dissatisfaction with requirements has been shared with others resulting in similar actions. . . . I feel that she has had a negative impact on the culture of [High Desert] this year” and “Ms. Short has been very vocal in speaking out against mandates from the district level, which has led to discord in the building and which has even moved to the district level.”

A School-University Collaboration

My colleagues from the university, Rebecca Sánchez and Kersti Tyson, and I met Michelle and Amanda through a school-university partnership that originated with plans for a curriculum project on Japanese lesson study. Soon, however, the restrictive policy environment at every level of education compelled us to join forces to resist. Over the past two years, we have worked collaboratively to oppose key mandates, march on the state capitol in support of teacher autonomy, and design classroom initiatives based on authentic inquiry and critical engagement with elementary students.
As educators who work at various points across the P–20 spectrum, we have all noticed a decline in teacher autonomy and a notable absence of teachers’ voices in shaping policy. As this phenomenon has intensified, there is a growing need for teachers to reclaim our profession though activism. Although schools, administrators, districts, and the state increasingly define professionalism as a willingness to comply with mandates, no matter how problematic, we offer a different definition: professionalism as activism.
Professionalism as activism recognizes that we enter our role as teachers in a democratic society with a set of commitments and responsibilities to advocate for children and for ourselves as educators. That means we must speak against policies and leadership decisions that undermine our work and devalue our expertise about children and learning. As one popular protest sign states, “You cannot test your way to a great education, you teach your way there.” Amanda and Michelle were marked down for speaking up, but we see their acts of opposition and resistance as a necessary means of preserving intellectual integrity and democratic principles.
Professionalism as activism, then, is characterized by action to defend and promote meaningful instruction and collaboration among teachers, action to inform families about current reform initiatives and their rights, and action as protesters against unsound policies that compromise the integrity of teaching and learning in our public schools.
Professionalism can be used as a class marker—a way to divide teachers from teaching assistants, cafeteria workers, and others whose work is integral to creating schools that serve all students’ needs. We recognize this as Activism Is Good Teaching • Reclaiming the profession:

Supreme Court’s motive in Friedrichs revealed | pro public ed

Supreme Court’s motive in Friedrichs revealed | pro public ed:

Supreme Court’s motive in Friedrichs revealed

“State’s rights” Court begins dismantling of state laws

 Teachers rally as the Supreme Court hears Friedrichs oral arguments





 IN his vitriolic dissent last June from the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, Justice Antonin Scalia accused the majority of having carried out a “judicial putsch.” Justice Scalia should know. He and his four conservative colleagues were then in the process of executing one them.

June 30, four days after handing down the marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, the court announced that it would hear a major challenge to the future of public-employee labor unions. That case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, was argued last week. As was widely reported, the outcome appears foreordained: the court will vote 5 to 4 to overturn a precedent that for 39 years has permitted public-employee unions to charge nonmembers a “fair-share” fee representing the portion of union dues that go to representing all employees in collective bargaining and grievance proceedings. As the exclusive bargaining agent, a union has a legal duty to represent everyone in the unit, whether members or not; the fee addresses the problem of “free riders” and the resentment engendered by those who accept the union’s help while letting their fellow workers foot the bill.
The stakes are obviously high for the millions of workers and thousands of contracts covered by these arrangements in the 23 states that now permit them. If the court accepts the argument that the mandatory fees amount to compelled speech in violation of the objecting employees’ First Amendment rights, public-employee unions would forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in dues revenue. New York and 20 other states filed a brief in support of California, which is defending its fair-share system, to argue that these provisions “are important to ensuring a stable collective-bargaining partner with the wherewithal to help devise workplace arrangements that promote labor peace.”
I want to focus here, however, not on the implications the Friedrichs case holds for the public workplace, but on what it means for the Supreme Court. Actually, I couldn’t express my concern better than Justice Stephen G. Breyer did last week when he questioned Michael A. Carvin, the lawyer for the 10 California teachers who are challenging the state’s labor law. Justice Breyer was referring to the compromise at the heart of the 1977 precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, that Mr. Carvin was asking the court to overrule. The court in that case upheld the constitutionality of the fair-share fee as long as Supreme Court’s motive in Friedrichs revealed | pro public ed:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 1/22/15



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Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 1/21/15
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