Why Tenure?


In the aftermath of the initial Vergara decision, there are lots of questions about effects. Having taught in a public school under a turn-around model, where hiring and being retained, was based solely on the discretion of the site administrator, I think I already have a pretty good idea of what that will look like, and it’s not good for kids or the communities they live in. Read the rest of this entry »

On Teaching “Other People’s Children”


A post from Jose Luis Vilson recently popped up on my Facebook feed, featuring this quote from  First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, in a commencement address at Dillard University:

So my mother volunteered at my school — helping out every day in the front office, making sure our teachers were doing their jobs, holding their feet to the fire if she thought they were falling short. I’d walk by the office and there she’d be. (Laughter.) I’d leave class to go to the bathroom, there she’d be again, roaming the halls, looking in the classrooms. And of course, as a kid, I have to say, that was a bit mortifying, having your mother at school all the time.

But looking back, I have no doubt that my classmates and I got a better education because she was looking over those teachers’ shoulders. (Applause.) You see, my mom was not a teacher or a principal or a school board member. But when it came to education, she had that hunger. So she believed that our education was very much her business.

…which Jose prefaces with the following, “Every time someone says something, anything, about teachers, without fail, a naysayer always nags how it’s a conspiracy against teachers as a whole.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Dawkins loses the argument, while Neil deGrasse Tyson persuades…


One of the questions that comes up with CCSS-ELA writing is,  ”What the heck is ‘argumentative’ writing, and is that just a new buzz-word for persuasive writing?” We’re assured that NO, it is not the same thing, and as with reading, will require that one sticks to the facts because (according to some) no one cares what students think. A perfect examplar of this can be found in this succint piece comparing the two styles of writing that was posted on Twitter, Persuasive vs. Argumentative Writing (via Caitlin Tucker), and reminded me of everything that makes these new standards so annoying. The piece perfectly captures the patronizing tone of CCSS, and the attitude that we know best, and the best is…well crap. It just reeks of all the psuedo-objectivity that abounds in CCSS-ELA. This was one of my favorite parts:

Audience of argumentative writing:
Doesn’t need an audience to convince. The writer is
content with simply putting it out there

Because it echoes something Neil deGrasse Tyson says here:

Which leads to my conclusion/title…

The Downside of Grit


This should be subtitled, why social media will never replace a good bookmarking program/site. I came across this intriguing article listing some of the long-term health problems that increase in people who experience upward mobility due to their personal effort. Read the rest of this entry »

A rose by another name…


Name Calling Has Gotten To Be A Nasty Habit
Sherman Dorn, unlike some of us, is a classy blogger. He had a recent post on the overuse of certain terms and created an Education Noise index. I was on the road at the time, but shot off a comment asking given the egregious excesses, what would you use to describe the behavior of Michelle Rhee.

Dr. Dorn challenged me to think of a new term, so I’ve decided that for folks who are clearly sucking at the teat of public and private philanthropic dollars (I’m looking at you Michelle Rhee and Wendy Kopp) deserve the term edu-kleptocrats. For those spreading their largess and influence (Bill Gates, Rep. George Miller, New Venture Funds, the Walton Family — the ones in Arkansas) the term edu-oligarchs fits, since they have undo influence and are in no way creating a “free” or “open” market for ideas, students, or anyone but themselves and their favored kleptocratic allies. I think this fits well with the political zeitgeist of the time with the when folks will cry victim at the same time they impose Soviet-style strong-arm tactics (I’ll leave it to you to decide if that refers to Eva Moskowitz or Putin in the Ukraine).

Obviously these terms are too strong a term for folks who are just in love with the idea and “promise” of so-called “reform” in public education. For them, I’ll reserve the term edu-weenie because, it just fits.

Image credit: Name Calling Has Gotten To Be A Nasty Habit by outtacontext, on Flickr

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