Saturday, November 13, 2010

Teachers take charge to save ailing public schools - Boston.com

Teachers take charge to save ailing public schools - Boston.com

Teachers take charge to save ailing public schools

By Christina Hoag
Associated Press / November 13, 2010
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LOS ANGELES—Four years ago, Francis Parkman Middle School was spiraling downward with plummeting enrollment, abysmal test scores and notoriety for unruliness. Then teachers stepped out of the classroom and took charge of the school.

Today, the rechristened Woodland Hills Academy, named for the school's suburban location north of Los Angeles, is run by a teacher-controlled committee where the principal carries the same weight as a teacher and the district has minimal say in operations.

Test scores are up 18 percent and enrollment has spiked more than 30 percent. The model works, teachers say, because everyone from the principal to the janitor is vested in the outcome. "Everybody has a stake," said teacher Bruce Newborn. "We all suffer and we all win."

Fed up with being blamed for failing students, classroom teachers from Boston to Los Angeles are taking over their schools in a small but growing trend in the

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NYC Public School Parents: Like Sarah Palin, Cathie Black Never Blinked

NYC Public School Parents: Like Sarah Palin, Cathie Black Never Blinked

Like Sarah Palin, Cathie Black Never Blinked


Of all the mind-boggling events surrounding Sarah Palin in the 2008 Presidential election was her early-on assertion that she never hesitated in her belief that she was the right candidate for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. A college student who attended six different schools before finally graduating, a hockey mom and small-town mayor, a governor for just a year or two in a small-population state whose oil royalties made its economics look more like Saudi Arabia’s than a part of America, Ms. Palin quickly demonstrated just how extraordinarily inflated her self-assessment and sense of self-esteem actually were for someone who was agreeing to put herself a heartbeat away from the Presidency

Saturday coffee. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Saturday coffee. « Fred Klonsky's blog

Saturday coffee.

Photo credit: Goose42

We’re midway through the stress weeks: Report cards and three evenings of parent conferences.

And then there’s all the nonsense that is coming out of last weekends IEA Board of Directors meeting.

Yesterday I reported on rumors circulating through the IEA of a proposal in which the Association would support taxing teacher retiree pension benefits. The fact that the discussion took place at last weekend’s IEA Board of Directors meeting has now been confirmed.

Monday I’m going to begin reporting on what Ken Swanson presented to the Board as a “challenging issues discussion.”

The list constituted all the possible give-aways our IEA could come up with. It was a white flag of surrender of

Old school.

Boz Scaggs.

Popout

Turning Around a Failing High School: Again and Again « Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Turning Around a Failing High School: Again and Again « Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Turning Around a Failing High School: Again and Again

John H. Reagan High School

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Failing urban high schools have been called “blackboard jungles,” “social dynamite,” and now “dropout factories.” For nearly 15 years I taught history in such high schools in Cleveland and Washington, D.C. I have seen the successes that occur in such schools and, yes, the pathologies too. In late 2007, I visited Reagan High School in Austin, Texas, a school declared “Academically Unacceptable,” or failing in TEA-speak (Texas Education Authority).

In 2003, a male student had stabbed to death his ex-girlfriend, during the school day. The murder sent waves of fear and anger through the community and led to the swift appointment of a Community Safety Task Force. Neither the Task Force report, added school security, and “Academically Unacceptable” ratings, however, made Reagan attractive to new students or teachers.

In 2007, over 900 students were enrolled (67 percent were Mexican American of whom one out of three were

Oregon special education funding drops; state may face federal sanctions | OregonLive.com

Oregon special education funding drops; state may face federal sanctions | OregonLive.com

Oregon special education funding drops; state may face federal sanctions

Published: Saturday, November 13, 2010, 10:00 AM
Oregon wants to seek a waiver from the federal government to avoid cuts to special education in the 2011-12 school year.

Federal special education law requires states to fund special education at the same level or higher from year to year or face penalties. But Oregon’s 2010-11 special education funding is about down $19 million compared to 2009-10.

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Oregon Department of Education officials say recent statewide budget cuts are to blame and hope that a clause in the federal law - which makes an exception for “uncontrollable circumstances” and “unforeseen decline in the financial resources of a state” - will prevent sanctions.

If the waiver request is denied, the federal government will reduce its contribution to the state by $19 million for the 2011-12 school year - a 15 percent reduction in federal money that would directly impact local schools statewide.

“A sanction at the state level would put an additional hardship on our school districts that are already struggling,” said Nancy Latini, Oregon Department of Education’s assistant

DFER Updates « DFER Watch

DFER Updates « DFER Watch

DFER UPDATES

The DOE press secretary confirmed that Scott Pearson is still working in the DOE. Pearson donated $5,025 in July of 2010, but his occupation and employer are listed as “retired” on DFER’s report to the FEC. Puzzling.

From the NY Times:

As part of his drive to open charter schools, Mr. Klein courted an important ally: New York’s wealthy hedge fund community, which has backed them with tens of millions of dollars.

Charter schools, explained Whitney Tilson, the founder of T2 Partners and one of their most ardent supporters, are the perfect philanthropy for results-oriented business executives. For one thing, they can change lives permanently, not just help people get by from day to day. For another, he said, “hedge funds are always looking for ways to turn a small amount of capital into a large amount of capital.”

A wealthy hedge fund manager can spend more than $1 million financing a charter school start-up. But once it is up and running, it qualifies for state funding, just like a public school. Except that in most cases,

NYC Public School Parents: letter from civil rights leaders Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers re the Cathie Black appointment

NYC Public School Parents: letter from civil rights leaders Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers re the Cathie Black appointment

letter from civil rights leaders Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers re the Cathie Black appointment

The appointment of Cathie Black as chancellor, a magazine executive who sent her children to private schools and has no education background, is an important turning point in the history of the Bloomberg administration. Why?

It has provoked a firestorm of controversy, with the rest of the city waking up to the way in which the mayor's uses his money, power and influence to disregard the normal rules of civil conduct. Aneditorial in El Diario is good example of the widespread disgust. This citywide moment of clarity has occurred only two times before: when Bloomberg fired three members of the PEP who disagreed with him immediately before a critical vote, and when he announced his intention to overturn term limits.

Parents and education advocates have long known and their kids have long suffered from the way in which the mayor behaves as though the public schools are his personal fiefdom, to do with whatever

No Waiver for Bloomberg/Black – Sign 2 Petitions « JD2718

No Waiver for Bloomberg/Black – Sign 2 Petitions « JD2718

No Waiver for Bloomberg/Black – Sign 2 Petitions

Any check on the mayor’s authority is positive. And so the horrendous mayoral control law says that to appoint a commissioner without a supe’s license Bloomberg needs to get a waiver from the State, and that waiver should be for exceptional qualifications. And Black doesn’t have them. And so the waiver should be denied. Will we get someone better? I doubt it. We could end up with the “shame of PS8″ – although Bloomberg mangled his name at the press conference, makes it seem he’s nowhere in contention. But the check on the mayor, it is worth exercising.

Sign both big petitions:

  • This one is public, and is near 5500 signatures. Very easy to sign. I figure 10,000 early next week.
  • This one generates e-mails to Steiner and New York State officials, including your state senator and assemblyperson. It’s pushing 2000 and growing more slowly, but because it contacts State officials for you, it may be more important to sign. You can hide your signature.

There are 2.3 million people who are unemployed in California

Media Quick Links

Dear America,

T
he time to digest the election has ended. It’s time for action.

America, when Congress returns Monday, critical votes will be happening fast. By the time you read our urgent e-mail action alerts, it could be too late for your voice to be heard.

So we’re launching a program to keep AFL-CIO activists up to date on critical legislation by text message. It starts with you signing an urgent petition on your mobile phone, urging Congress to renew unemployment benefits for jobless workers.

Please pull out your mobile phone right now and send a text message with the word RENEW to 225568. We’ll add your name to our petition urging Congress to renew emergency unemployment benefits—and keep you up to date by text message as the fight continues. (Data and text message rates may apply.)

In California, and across the nation, jobs just aren’t there. There are 2.3 million people who are unemployed in California,(1) and 14.8 million people who are unemployed nationally.(2) Many of them are in the job search of their lives.

But get this: Some lawmakers—many of the same ones who want to pass tax cuts for people who make more than $250,000 per year—want to cut off emergency unemployment benefits.

Tell your lawmakers this is unacceptable: Please pull out your cell phone right now and text RENEW to 225568—we’ll add your name to our petition urging Congress to renew emergency unemployment benefits and keep you updated by text message. (Data and text message rates may apply.)

In solidarity,

Manny Herrmann
Online Mobilization Coordinator, AFL-CIO

(1) Number as of August 2010. See: www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.t03.htm.
(2) See: www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.

Get Involved- Read Education News « Parents 4 democratic Schools

Get Involved- Read Education News « Parents 4 democratic Schools

Get Involved- Read Education News


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A great way to stay on top of all that is shared by the people you follow – even if you are not connected 24/7!

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Queens Teacher: Press Conference and Protest Against The New Education Chancellor in NYC

Queens Teacher: Press Conference and Protest Against The New Education Chancellor in NYC

Press Conference and Protest Against The New Education Chancellor in NYC

Monday, November 15 · 10:00am - 11:00am

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Location: Brooklyn Borough Hall (Steps)
Court Street & Joralemon Street
Downtown Brooklyn, NY

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Created By Chris Owens

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More Info: Please join me on Monday morning, November 15th, to speak out FOR a new Education Chancellor who knows education and AGAINST the secret and rushed "corporate model" appointment by Mayor Bloomberg.

The message is simple: We want the New York State Board of Regents to deny nominee Cathleen Black the waiver of education credentials that she needs to formally fill the position of Chancellor.

The state of New York City's education sys...tem requires that an educator be at the helm. New York City has talented and experienced people who can do the job ... and better than Chancellor Klein did. (The fact that thousands of parents have their children on waiting lists for charter schools after eight years of Klein's work is NOT a vote of confidence in his legacy!)

I will serve as the MC for the Press Conference and I am inviting parent representatives, in particular, to come and speak out. All others are welcome as well. Please keep your remarks short and, preferably, bring some printed copies for the press.

If you need to speak with me about the event, please leave a message at 646-450-3552 or through chris@owensforchange.com.

I hope you will be there! We need your voice!

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