In what might be the quote of the day (if not year), Geoffrey Canada tells Anna Phillips of the New York Times that,
Folks are genuinely looking for opportunities to make peace and not war…. And I think that’s terrific. But someone has to make war.
A triumvirate of kumbaya they are not.
Who better to lead the troops than Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and Eva Moskowitz, three of the most aggressive education reformers of the last decade, or, if you prefer, as Phillips has it, “some of the most well-known and polarizing figures in public education.”
A triumvirate of kumbaya they are not.
And what they have now done is form a group that intends to raise $10 million annually for the next five years to lobby the New York State legislature to protect the reform initiatives launched by Klein and his mayoral boss Michael Bloomberg in New York City, promote reform throughout the state, and, as Phillips writes,
…neutralize the might of the teachers’ unions, whose money, endorsements and get-out-the-vote efforts have swung many close elections.
Bloomberg’s third (and this time final) term expires at the end of next year. Says Phillips,
[T]he campaign is beginning while advocates of reform have an ally in the mayor. But their eyes are focused on 2014, when a new mayor—most likely one who is more sympathetic to the teachers’ union than Mr. Bloomberg has been—enters office.
In fact, the law to renew
Mark Anderson is a special education teacher in the Bronx. He is originally from California and still trying to convince himself that skyscrapers are equivalent to mountains. Follow Mark on Twitter @mandercorn or on his blog Schools as Ecosystems.
From where I sit—as a special education teacher in East Tremont in the Bronx—it looks to me like the same issues that plague my public school and district plague the school system at large.
It's rare that content knowledge, pedagogical wisdom, or other experiential knowledge is transferred between classrooms, let alone between schools or between districts. It does happen, when those few teachers that establish meaningful relationships with one another talk about a lesson, or ask to borrow something, or ask for help when they are struggling with a concept. But it doesn’t happen often enough.
One would think that this sort of meaningful transfer of information would occur as a result of professional development or prep period time, but professional development largely seems to stand for "paying some institution lots of money so it can come and tell us how to teach." It's rare that anything that is developed through those sessions comes directly from the teachers themselves, and it's rarer still that anything is implemented in an ongoing manner as a result of that PD.
The 20-30 minutes of actual prep period time, after students have been shuttled down stairs and into
Guest blogger John White is Louisiana superintendent of education. This post originally appeared as a letter to the editor in the Baton Rouge Advocate.
The Advocate has recently published several letters to the editor on public education. I have to say as an educator, I'm disappointed with the prevailing tone and content of those letters opposing change.
Here are some passages that illustrate a common thread:
"We, the public school teachers of East Baton Rouge schools, can't educate children who don't want to be educated. We can't educate children whose parents don't care and are not involved."
"…the state is going to require that very poor students take the ACT… The weaker of these students are not college-bound students who have no intention to attend college, yet he has to be compared and compete."
And one writer simply stated, "Poverty is a significant factor affecting academic scores," leaving it at that—as if that absolves us of any responsibility to educate the child.
I'm so disappointed in these comments for two reasons. First, they betray a mindset that forsakes the American dream. They show a sad belief among some that poverty is destiny in America, defying our core value that any child, no matter race, class, or creed, can be the adult he or she dreams of being. Yes, poverty matters. Yes, it impacts learning. And that fact should only embolden us to do everything we can to break the cycle of poverty so another generation
The big news last week was the release of data by the U.S. Department of Education showing that, as the press release stated,
Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
The report, part of the annual Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) survey, included data from 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the nation’s students and found, among other things, that black male students “are far more likely to be suspended than their peers.” In fact, it reported, though black students make up 18 percent of the students in the sample, they accounted for 35 percent of the students suspended once and 39 percent of the students expelled.
When I read this, I yawned. It matches perfectly the statistics in my school district.
When I read this, I yawned. It matches perfectly the statistics in my school district. But just as my district pays little attention to the academic environment that these “bad” kids swim in, so too the ensuing national melee over OCR data didn’t mention curricula and teachers. Everyone wanted to talk about “discipline” practices, school “safety” and “racism.”
Wrote Jason Riley in the Wall Street Journal,
The Obama administration's sympathies are with the knuckleheads who are disrupting class, not with the kids who are trying to get an education. But is racial parity in disciplinary outcomes more important than school safety?
No mention of the knuckleheads inflicting
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About the Editor
Peter Meyer is an adjunct fellow with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Since 1991, Meyer has focused his attentions on education reform in the United States, an interest joined while writing a profile of education reformer E.D. Hirsch for Life. Meyer subsequently helped found a charter school, served on his local Board of Education (twice) and, for the last eight years, has been an editor at Education Next.
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