Posts tagged education

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"When we undervalue a profession, we also tell the next generation of bright educators they shouldn’t bother teaching—or that if they do, they must take a vow of poverty. And students pay a price: Teachers who spend nights and weekends working other jobs cannot possibly devote the necessary attention to their students or lesson plans. Even worse, talented college students who are passionate about teaching, but seeking a stable future, opt out before they even begin. No teacher should have a second job and teachers should struggle less financially so they can focus on their critical work in the classroom." 

"Why Teachers Salaries Should Be Doubled - Now" by Valarie Strauss at The Washington Post

"When we undervalue a profession, we also tell the next generation of bright educators they shouldn’t bother teaching—or that if they do, they must take a vow of poverty. And students pay a price: Teachers who spend nights and weekends working other jobs cannot possibly devote the necessary attention to their students or lesson plans. Even worse, talented college students who are passionate about teaching, but seeking a stable future, opt out before they even begin. No teacher should have a second job and teachers should struggle less financially so they can focus on their critical work in the classroom." 

"Why Teachers Salaries Should Be Doubled - Now" by Valarie Strauss at The Washington Post

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This is a troubling trend to an experienced educator like Gerzon, who knows how much a child can soak up in the right environment. After years of study and practice, she’ll tell you that 5-year-olds don’t learn by listening to a rote lesson, their bottoms on their chairs. They learn through experience. They learn through play. Yet there is a growing disconnect between what the research says is best for children — a classroom free of pressure — and what’s actually going on in schools.
from Pressure-cooker kindergarten by Patti Hartigan at Boston.com

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The so-called school reform movement declares that public education has failed American students. But in reality, it is the policies of brutal austerity, relentless standardized testing, and teacher bashing that ensure failure – and promote privatization as the only solution. And so the beast is starved: fewer resources, fewer teachers, fewer aides to make schools safe and a worse education. Better yet, the more teachers employed in typically non-union charters, the weaker the political movement to defend public schools.

Federal and state cuts have also redistributed the burden of funding education from the state to local governments, a sharply regressive move that forces the poorest school districts to raise taxes on poor residents who can least afford to pay.

Meanwhile, Wall Street profits are up, in some part thanks to millions in transfers from broke school districts and local governments. In Philadelphia, the school district has lost $161m to interest-rate swap deals signed with Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. They went sour after the very same banks pushed the economy into oblivion. As a result, the cash-strapped schools must borrow more money from, well, the banks.

From “The solution to US public schools is not corporate America" by Dan Denvir at The Guardian 

 

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With regard to my profession, I have truly attempted to live John Dewey’s famous quotation (now likely cliché with me, I’ve used it so very often) that “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” This type of total immersion is what I have always referred to as teaching “heavy,” working hard, spending time, researching, attending to details and never feeling satisfied that I knew enough on any topic. I now find that this approach to my professio n is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised.

-letter of resignation from Jerry Conti, veteran teacher, to the Westhill School District in Syracuse New York

Syracuse.com reports:

In what he calls a “ sad long letter,” Conti, 62, notified the Westhill School District last month that he will retire when the school year ends. Conti said he’s leaving two years before he is eligible for a full 30-year pension, because he can no longer stomach what’s going on with the educational system.

“This whole thing is being driven by people who know nothing about education,” Conti said today.”It’s sad.”

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Helen Keller worked throughout her long life to achieve social justice; she was an integral part of many social movements in the 20th century. Yet today, she is remembered chiefly as a child who overcame the obstacles of being deaf and blind largely through the efforts of her teacher, Annie Sullivan. While she may be hailed as a “hero” in lesson plans for today’s children, the books recount only a fraction of what makes Helen Keller heroic.
from Who Stole Helen Keller By Ruth Shagoury

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Great segment from the Melissa Harris-Perry show about education reform and segregation.

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Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the corporate reform movement is the way it has attached its agenda to the urgent needs of poor communities of color who have been badly served by the current system. The corporate reformers have successfully used deeply rooted inequalities in our society and a misleading narrative of failure to introduce market reform into public education.
But because they’ve also promised results and choices they cannot deliver, we can turn their accountability rhetoric back on them. We need to demand evidence that their market reform policies produce better outcomes for the majority of kids. And when they can’t, we need to use that absence of evidence to press for the reversal of the disruptive reforms they seek. And when their policies fail in one place, we need to share those results in their next target.

from “Challenging Corporate Ed Reform" by Stan Karp at Rethinking Schools


It’s a great article about the problems with the corporate education reform movement and some new directions to go from here.

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True dat.

True dat.

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Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage

"Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage is a parody music video paying homage to Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920." (made by Soomo Publishing)

This is basically my favorite thing that has ever happened.  It totally and completely exceeded my expectations.  I cannot WAIT to use it in a classroom.  Seriously. I’m going to like, bust down the doors of a high school history class and do some guerilla educating with this video.