What’s new for NEA?

July9

At last week’s NEA Representative Assembly, a new leadership team was elected that included Lily Eskelsen Garcia as president, Becky Pringle as Vice President, and Princess Moss as Treasurer. They are not the first women or women of color in these positions, but having all three positions filled by women of color is precedent setting. Lily is certainly a change in personality from outgoing President, Dennis van Roekel, but the question on a lot of members’ minds is, “will this lead to changes in how NEA does business?” This article from Politico is a  nice introduction to Ms. Eskelsen Garcia as any, and shows both things that concern, and things that could point the way to a better direction for NEA. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the glass half full?

June27

Gratification Paradox
Student: My school district hires too many white teachers – The Washington Post is a really thoughtful first-person piece from a student in the New Orleans school system that was posted in a private teacher discussion group which I’m part of. Since it’s a private group, I’m going to talk pretty generally about that aspect of it. When I first looked at the discussion I thought it looked pretty good. Lot’s of folks talking pretty seriously about the subject. The glass looked half-full, to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Tenure?

June27

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”

June5

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…

May12

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…

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