Friday, January 14, 2011

The No Confidence Vote « Failing Schools

The No Confidence Vote « Failing Schools

The No Confidence Vote

JANUARY 14, 2011
by markfriedman1

In the last month, the teacher’s union in Rochester, New York, the Rochester Teacher’s Association (RTA) has built up to and started the process for a vote of no confidence in the Rochester City School District Superintendent, Jean-Claude Brizard.

Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard

The build up to this has been a long time coming, as rank-and-file teachers within schools have long expressed frustration with the none too subtle hostility and disregard received from Brizard’s administration, policies, andoverall agenda. As a Broad Superintendent’s Academy alumniBrizard has brought the Broad-agenda into Rochester wholesale.

Having been within schools and reached out to the community locally I have communicated extensively with teachers, parents, and

School Tech Connect: Miguel del Valle: The Real Deal in Chicago

School Tech Connect: Miguel del Valle: The Real Deal in Chicago

Miguel del Valle: The Real Deal in Chicago

Miguel del Valle
Miguel del Valle dropped by Cafe Ballou in Ukrainian Village last night for a short talk with some of Chicago's bloggers, and I have to tell you, this guy is the real deal. America's war on teachers and unions is playing out right here in Chicago, and there's only one guy in the race who's talking about democratic education, and that guy is Miguel del Valle. The differences between the candidates are actually quite stark--- and it couldn't be any clearer than it is in the way they talk about schools, race, and neighborhoods.



Here's a guy that's doing this thing by the grass roots. From what I can tell, he doesn't owe anybody anything, and he's not even trying to raise the kind of money required to win an election through advertising. He's going to social media andgoing to neighborhood events, which to someone like Rahm must seem like just so many poor people in one room. Anybody who won't participate in a vigorous public

Modern School: California Plans to Gut Higher Education

Modern School: California Plans to Gut Higher Education

California Plans to Gut Higher Education


March 4, 2010 Higher Ed Demonstration by SpotReporting
Jerry Brown’s plan to slash $1.4 billion from higher education in California will have dire consequences for students, teachers and staff at the UC, CSU and community college systems. The three systems will have to lay off thousands of employees, cut classes, and gut services. And this is assuming voters approve a tax increase for themselves in June. Otherwise, the cuts could far surpass the initial estimate of $1.4 billion.

Social Promotion vs. Retention: What do you think? « Failing Schools

Social Promotion vs. Retention: What do you think? « Failing Schools

Social Promotion vs. Retention: What do you think?

JANUARY 14, 2011
by Sabrina

This question came up in the comments on our last post, on Twitter, and elsewhere. It’s a tough one, and the research appears mixed (though I’m not as well-versed on this as I’d like to be– if you have a better handle on it, please weigh in!).

On the one hand, there is a strong relationship between retention and poor student outcomes (persistent low performance, dropping out, etc.). On the other hand, the idea of moving students forward when they haven’t mastered the skills we’ve decided they need in the next grade seems counterintuitive. Aren’t we just setting them up for failure?

On some other crazy third hand (or foot? Can we use our feet

Afternoon Update: New Posts on Parents 4 democratic Schools 1-14-11

New Posts on Parents 4 democratic Schools 1-14-11 Get Involved- Read Education News

New Posts on Parents 4 democratic Schools
Get Involved- Read Education News



Pawlenty on tour, touting Rhee - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com

Pawlenty on tour, touting Rhee - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com

Pawlenty on tour, touting Rhee

Yesterday, at the National Press Club, Tim Pawlenty delivered a stirring tribute to ex-DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

"As we were Waiting for Superman, as the movie unfolded in front of the nation, we had superwoman. She was in this district," said Pawlenty "In the most troubled, high spending district in the nation, she was essentially dismissed because of her views. While we were waiting for superman, superwoman was pushed aside. Her name was Michelle Rhee. She was a Democrat and told the truth. She was bold. She was courageous. She spoke truth to power. And they kicked her out."

Today, on the stump, Pawlenty repeated his praise for Rhee in Florida, where Rhee is serving as an educational advisor to Gov. Rick Scott. All this follows

Mike DeBonis on Local Politics - Is Michelle Rhee becoming a Republican darling?

Mike DeBonis on Local Politics - Is Michelle Rhee becoming a Republican darling?

Is Michelle Rhee becoming a Republican darling?

By Mike DeBonis

rhee_scott.JPG

In her post-D.C. Public Schools career, former Chancellor Michelle Rhee has had no trouble whatsoever attracting attention to her new education reform ventures. And she's been getting the most attention from prominent elected Republicans.

Since leaving DCPS, Rhee has joined the transition team of new Florida Gov. Rick Scott (pictured) and has since agreed to continue on as an "informal adviser" to his administration. On Tuesday, she appeared at

This Week in Education Books: The Liquor in Me | theteachingwhore

This Week in Education Books: The Liquor in Me | theteachingwhore

This Week in Education Books: The Liquor in Me

(TWP) Retired high school psychology teacher Bourbon Lovesme is following up the success of his blockbusterThe 7 Cocktails of Lightly-Soused Teachers with The Liquor in Me, an inebriating blueprint for “spirit”ual success in schools for teachers everywhere.

Lovesme’s 413-page tome details how the 7 cocktails mentioned in his earlier New York Times bestselling self-help book can bring courage and fortitude to the faculty lounge, every teacher’s launching pad into the world of student life.

Cocktail 1: Proactipodium is a gentle blend of mild sherry and muscle relaxants that unclench the fingers from the curled up edge of the podium of any teacher slowly becoming hunchbacked in the presence of a room full of unmedicated children who did not have breakfast and stayed up til 2 a.m. playing Call of Duty Black Ops.

Cocktail 2: Absinthe Unexcused combines the popular powerful spirit diluted with tap water from the faculty

Schools Matter: Arne Duncan Has Been to the Mountaintop--to See Which Way the Political Winds Are Blowing

Schools Matter: Arne Duncan Has Been to the Mountaintop--to See Which Way the Political Winds Are Blowing

Arne Duncan Has Been to the Mountaintop--to See Which Way the Political Winds Are Blowing

With the Washington Post story finally blowing the lid off the racist scheming that is going on in Wake County to turn the social clock back by 50 years to the era of Jim Crow, Arne Duncan has finally come out of his spider hole to make a statement on how much he supports diversity in schools:
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 7:16 PM
America's strength has always been a function of its diversity, so it is troubling to see North Carolina's Wake County School Board taking steps to reverse a long-standing policy to promote racial diversity in its schools ["In N.C., a new battle on school integration," front page, Jan. 12]. The board's action has led to a complaint that has prompted an investigation by our Office for Civil Rights, but it should also prompt a conversation among educators, parents and students across America about our core values.
Those core values, embodied in our founding documents, subsequent amendments and court rulings, include equity and diversity in education and opportunity. In fact, on Monday we

Rachel's Rants, Raves, and Recollections: Publish or Perish

Rachel's Rants, Raves, and Recollections: Publish or Perish

Publish or Perish


I got an essay accepted at truthout. Yay! I wrote about the Obamas' decisions regarding the education of their children and President Obama's statements about that decision in the context of his administration's education policies. (A recent excellent and comprehensive review of Obama's promises on education in contrast to his actual policies can be found here.)

"Mr. President, We Want Your Children's Education, Too" went through many, many drafts and I was very pleased when it was accepted by the first place I sent it. (An aside about the writing/publishing process: Almost all of my publications had been submitted to targeted publications I know well.) I submitted the piece back in November 2010, but the editor I corresponded with warned me it would be probably a while. It happened to come out on January 9, 2010. At first, I was ashamed of its publication date, given it was the day after the shootings in

Modern School: SF Schools Rogues Gallery

Modern School: SF Schools Rogues Gallery

SF Schools Rogues Gallery


Superintendent of San Francisco Schools, Carlos Garcia, has vowed to reform his administration and make accounting more transparent, in an attempt to clean up the image of SFUSD in the wake of the Trish Bascom embezzlement scandal. (Didn’t Arlene Ackerman do this already?) Garcia plans to tighten district accounting practices, hire an internal auditor and require competitive bids for future contracts with organizations running after school programs.

Bascom and four others in the Student Support Services Department are accused of diverting tens of thousands of dollars to their own personal bank accounts. Garcia continues to play dumb and to deflect all blame onto rogue elements in the district. “We were pretty shocked…” he said. “Our systems were good, but they could never ensure that our system could control someone doing something stupid.”

SFUSD has a long history of corruption and scandal reaching up to its highest echelons. Garcia should not only have been aware of this history, but actively working to destroy its remaining vestiges. Bascom, for example, had been an administrator since the Bill Rojas days. Considering how corrupt Rojas was, it would not be surprising to find out that Bascom picked up a few of her tricks from the expert himself. At the very least, Garcia had a

Classroom Management Tip: Call The House, Not The Dean — The Jose Vilson

Classroom Management Tip: Call The House, Not The Dean — The Jose Vilson

Classroom Management Tip: Call The House, Not The Dean

by JOSE on JANUARY 14, 2011 · 0 COMMENTS

in LIFE

Fire Extinguisher

Yesterday, something occurred to me as the dean walked past my class and our school had a change of period, I hadn’t once called the dean for anything this whole year. The students I’ve had this year are on average the same as most of the other classes I’ve had, behaviorally and academically. They’re still precarious about studying and homework (something else I’ll have to discuss next week), and they’re still learning about the limits I’ve created, a “social” learning environment that sometimes becomes too gossipy. Yet, for some reason, I’ve decided that I wasn’t going to take any grievances

I’m not the only one who thinks the IEA leadership opened the door to Accountabilty Counts. « Fred Klonsky's blog

I’m not the only one who thinks the IEA leadership opened the door to Accountabilty Counts. « Fred Klonsky's blog

I’m not the only one who thinks the IEA leadership opened the door to Accountabilty Counts.

Stand for Children CEO, Jonah Edelman

Have I been too harsh in making the claim that the willingness of IEA leadership to concede on our local collective bargaining rights last year opened the door to Stand For Children’s assault on collective bargaining now?

When the committee that Governor Quinn created to write the proposals for legislative action in support of the state’s Race to the Top application proposed making every district link individual student performance to teacher

Schools Matter: Behaving like children

Schools Matter: Behaving like children

Behaving like children

Children should not be allowed to behave like children

Sent to the Buffalo News, January 14

It's wonderful to know that kindergarten children in New York schools will be required to attain higher standards in math and know how to "interpret literature from a wide variety of genres and a spectrum of American and world cultures" ("More math required for students in

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: That old gang of mine

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: That old gang of mine

That old gang of mine

Ed Burke and Gery Chico are back together again at long last. Ald. Edward "Slow Eddie" Burke, powerful chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee announced his support for Chico, his longtime friend and protege, in the race for mayor.

Back in the day, Burke and Chico were both part of the infamousVrdolyak 29, the all-white Chicago City Council's majority bloc that tried to thwart the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington. The 29 were led by Alderman Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak of the 10th Ward and "Slow Eddie" from the 14th. Chico served as a staffer on Burke's committee and learned politics from his mentor, Burke. He later served as Mayor Daley's hand-picked school-board president.

According to today's Sun-Times:
In 1989, Burke dropped out of the mayor’s race and threw his support to Daley. The deal restored Burke to the role of Finance Committee chairman he had held during Council Wars...Chico served

Frustrated Los Angeles teachers now have a progressive voice, NewTLA | Thoughts on Public Education

Frustrated Los Angeles teachers now have a progressive voice, NewTLA | Thoughts on Public Education

Frustrated Los Angeles teachers now have a progressive voice, NewTLA

By Mike Stryer

Like parents and our community, teachers in Los Angeles are frustrated with the current state of education. Frustrated by budget cuts, furloughs, large class sizes, excessive standardized testing, shifting priorities of Los Angeles Unified, and large numbers of layoffs/displacements at virtually every school site. We are also frustrated by something well within our control: our union, UTLA. The positive side of this frustration has been the birth of a fresh, clear voice of Los Angeles teachers both committed to quality education and open to desperately needed reform.

Despite the paramount importance of having a strong teachers’ union committed to excellence in education, most teachers in Los Angeles remain uninvolved in the union and broader educational issues, choosing to focus on their classrooms. Perhaps this is because much of the UTLA leadership appears stuck in a narrowly-focused, oppositional type o

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Racism & resegregation take hold in Wake County, N.C.

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: Racism & resegregation take hold in Wake County, N.C.

Racism & resegregation take hold in Wake County, N.C.

Gen Tata & Palin
"I'm talking about diversity sir," ABC11 I-Team reporter Jon Camp said.
"I'm talking about achievement," Tata replied. -- ABC News

According to the Washington Post, the Wake County School Board is turning back the clock on desegregation. Wake County's new T-Party superintendent, Gen. Tony Tata (Sarah Palin's buddy) looks to continue the school board's emphasis on "neighborhood schools." Tata told WRAL that he believes progress and diversity are two

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