Jere Hochman, superintendent of the Bedford Central School District in New York, has some excellent ideas for President Obama. Ten of them, to be exact.
He believes in putting first things first, in thinking clearly about what the federal role is and doing that role well. He believes in career professionals. He believes that the corporate types who think they know how to run the schools need a reminder that the factory model of the 1950s doesn’t work for them and doesn’t work for schools either.
Read and enjoy some good sense and good advice for the President.
Tim Slekar is a tireless advocate for public education and teachers.
He was upset that Michelle Rhee got a chance to sell her book on the Jon Stewart show, because Jon is one of the best friends of public schools and teachers on national television.
Tim knew that Rhee would use the opportunity to say how much she loves teachers, and that she loves them so much, that she wants to fire more of them.
He was even more upset that she went unchallenged when she repeated her usual claim that teachers are the most important factor in schools that affect test scores.
This is progress, in that she used to say that teachers were the most important factor inside or outside the school.
Tim quite rightly points out that the research says that non-school factors like home and family income have a far greater impact on student test scores than teachers.
This is not to take away from teachers, but to acknowledge that there are problems that even the best teachers can’t overcome.
As Anthony Cody recently noted in one of his columns, many of the students in his Oakland classes suffered PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) because they had witnessed a murder or suffered other horrible experiences. Very few teachers can induce a student to get a high test score when she saw someone murder her brother, sister, or parent the day before.
Read Tim here:
Paul Thomas, our collective voice of conscience, explains the way that zombies take control. When your leaders are zombies, do not follow them. They will make you a zombie too.
How can you recognize a zombie? They talk about data, not individuals. They always say they put “kids first” or “children first,” but they don’t mean it. That’s meant to persuade you they are not zombies. People who truly put children first don’t boast about it.
Don’t be fooled by zombie rhetoric.
To understand the tentacles of corporate reform, you must read this post
Here Mercedes Schneider continues her review of the board of the National Council on Teacher Quality. As her research deepens, she uncovers the links among the big-money investors and their plans to privatize education, turn teachers and children into assets, and monetize public education.
On Wednesday, a large group of high school students staged a zombie protest in front of he Rhode Island Department of Education. They said that the state’s high-stakes testing would turn them into the undead.
New York has zombies too. They are running the State Education Department and they fervently believe that testing is the very essence of education. They think that testing will help poor kids. The zombies think that testing will close the achievement gap. No one ever explained to them that standardized tests are based on a bell curve and the achievement gap is designed into the curve: IT NEVER CLOSES.
There are some brave humans on the New York Board of Regents who are among the living. They are Dr. Kathleen Cashin, an experienced educator who represents Brooklyn; Dr. Betty Rosa, an experienced educator who represents the Bronx; Roger Tilles, a lawyer and businessman who represents Long Island; and Harry Phillips, a business executive who represents The suburban counties north of New York City.
Phillips belatedly realized that New York State made a terrible mistake in accepting Race to the Top funding and accepting its mandate to tie teacher evaluation to test scores. It’s hard to admit that you made an error. He had the courage and wisdom to do so.
Now that there is a solid bloc of four Regents who understand the damage that Race to the Top is inflicting on the schools of the state, perhaps other Regents will shed their zombie status and return to the land of the living, where people and children matter more than data and formulae.
Here is a chance to make your voice heard.
Crain’s New York is running an opinion poll, asking which of Bloomberg’s policies the next mayor should get rid of. Bloomberg has promoted high-stakes testing, charter schools, school closings, co-locations of charters, and evaluation of teachers by test scores. Class sizes are at their highest in fourteen years.