Friday, February 27, 2015

The Teachers of the New York City Public Schools Need Your Help | Cora Sangree

The Teachers of the New York City Public Schools Need Your Help | Cora Sangree:



The Teachers of the New York City Public Schools Need Your Help


Governor Cuomo has proposed major changes to teacher evaluations in New York State. We want to let you know, from a teacher's perspective, the changes this law could bring to public schools -- and to our profession -- if it passes.
  • 50% of a teacher's rating will be based on state test scores. (Currently it is 20%).
  • 35% of a teacher's rating will be based on the findings of an outside "independent observer" who will conduct a one time visit to the classroom. (This has never been done before. Currently our principal's and assistant principal's observations count for 60%).
  • 15% of a teacher's rating will be based on observations by the principal or assistant principal. The very people who know our work best will have the least input into our evaluation.
  • 50% + 35% = 85% of our evaluations will be removed from the hands of our community and placed in the hands of the state.
And then, using these numbers, any teacher who is rated ineffective two years in a row can be fired. Principals may have no say in this.
So what might this mean for our schools?
Realistically, many of us could be fired.
Every year.
And many more of us may be pushed away from the profession we love.
Here's something that's not being made clear to the public. Even in schools where children do well on the standardized tests, many teachers do not. Teachers' ratings are not based on their students' raw scores for the year, but whether their studentsimproved from one year to the next. If a student with a '3' gets one fewer question correct in 4th grade than she did in 3rd, that student might not have demonstrated the "added value" their teacher is expected to have instilled. Even though the student has mastered that grade's content. Even though it's just one question.
That is why so many schools in NYC spend so much time prepping for the tests. One or two wrong answers can make or break a teacher's rating. It has already happened.
If Governor Cuomo's evaluation proposals come to pass, it may start to happen more and more. And if we are rated ineffective as a result of Cuomo's proposal two years in a row, we may be fired.
That is what forces teachers to do test prep. Even though we don't believe in the standardized tests. Even though we know that the tests do not give an accurate picture of student learning, or of the effectiveness of teachers. Even though we know that teaching to the test is bad teaching. Faced with the reality of loss of a paycheck (and the loss of the careers we are building, have built, or want to build), these proposals may push us to teach in ways we know to be counterproductive. The schools that we all love with active, engaged learners, inquiry, questioning, creativity, and joy in The Teachers of the New York City Public Schools Need Your Help | Cora Sangree:

Everyone hates No Child Left Behind, and Congress is never going to change it - Vox

Everyone hates No Child Left Behind, and Congress is never going to change it - Vox:



Everyone hates No Child Left Behind, and Congress is never going to change it


This week, House Republicans tried to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the federal education law that's years overdue for renewal, with a very conservative bill. But at the last minute Friday, they decided not to vote — in part because the bill wasn't conservative enough.
The setback for the House bill tells us two big things about education policy. First, it signals that House Republicans aren't just far to the right of where they were when No Child Left Behind was passed — they could be to the right of where they were just two years ago. At the very least, they don't see reauthorizing No Child Left Behind as a goal significant enough to be worth compromising on their conservative principles.
Second, the whole saga suggests that Congress is unlikely to get anything done on education anytime soon. It's getting harder to find any bipartisan agreement on the issue. Which is why No Child Left Behind is almost certain to survive Obama's presidency untouched.

The latest developments in No Child Left Behind

When Republicans took Congress last November, rewriting No Child Left Behind was singled out as an area where they could find common ground with President Obama.
No Child Left Behind is years overdue for renewal. The law's deadline for making all students proficient in reading and math has come and gone, and the Obama administration has created a complicated system for waiving the laws' consequences for states that take other steps to reform K-12 education.
Granted, expecting a bipartisan compromise on its renewal was always a little optimistic. (One warning sign: Republican leadership never seemed to put No Child Left Behind on their priority lists.) But Sen. Lamar Alexander, the new chair of the Senate committee that handles education, is a former US Education Secretary and a moderate Republican who's known for working across the aisle, and policy wonks could lay out a plausible path to a compromise.
But that analysis didn't figure in House Republicans. The bill the House was about to vote on today was very similar to a bill the House passed in 2013 — it drastically reduced the role of the federal government in holding schools accountable for students' test scores and capped federal education spending. The Obama administration was opposed and threatened to veto it.
But, on the other side, Heritage Action and the Club for Growth argued that the bill didn't go nearly far enough — because it maintained some federal role in education. And in a week when House Republicans were also fighting over spending on the Department of Homeland Security and the Conservative Political Action Conference was holding its massive annual meeting, that conservative message resonated. House leaders struggled Thursday night to get enough votes for the bill, according to Politico, and postponed the Friday vote.
Even if the House bill eventually passes, this is bad news for overhauling No Child Left Behind. The window for a bill that was conservative enough for Congressional Republicans but able to get Obama's signature or enough help from Democrats to withstand a presidential veto was always very small. Now it's looking nonexistent.Everyone hates No Child Left Behind, and Congress is never going to change it - Vox:

Call and Tweet your House Rep and ask him/her to vote ‪#‎NOonHR5‬ http://bit.ly/17s6O1b

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Refuse PARCC - Check it OUT and Refuse PARCC

Refuse PARCC:



Refuse PARCC
no-parccing1


Welcome!

Click Here to Go to the Refuse PARCC: Website 
no-parccing1
Parents across the State and the Country are fed up with incessant testing and the high stress our children are being subjected to with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
Many parents have tried talking to their Boards of Education, elected representatives, and State Education officials, only to find their concerns falling on deaf ears.
In an effort to demand the attention of these officials, parents have begun to take direct action. They have demanded to opt out! They have refused the test! They have refused the Common Core Standards! They have refused to have their children’s data subjected to the State Longitudinal Data Systems!
Want to see No PARCCing! billboards in NJ? Please donate to our fund! click the gofundme pic below
Please take a moment to complete the survey.
Click Here to Go to the Refuse PARCC: Website 

Heavy emphasis on “hard skills” leaves children unprepared for the real “tests” in life. | WagTheDog

Heavy emphasis on “hard skills” leaves children unprepared for the real “tests” in life. | WagTheDog:



Heavy emphasis on “hard skills” leaves children unprepared for the real “tests” in life.



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 The appropriate and skillful application of hard skills is soft skills dependent.

~ Corporate Learning World Blog
Working with grade 7-12 students for more than two decades, and as a summer youth employment counselor for 10 years, it has been my experience that a lack of soft skillsand virtues (perseverance, ambition, self-confidence, self-discipline, patience, initiative, integrity, empathy, courage, resilience…) has directly contributed to declining student achievement and performance in the classroom and on the job.
While mastery of content and literacy skills are important for career and college readiness, these performance standards are too often trumped or canceled out when a student or employee lacks a work ethic, emotional intelligence, and has not developed a personal code of conduct.
One of the underlying premises of CCSS appears to be that students who cannot read and write on an advanced college level are destined to be unsuccessful in life. Not everyone can be an advanced reader, no matter how hard they try. Do proponents of CCSS really believe that the 15 to 20% (NICHD) of our population with language-based disabilities are doomed to failure in life?
The “power” and critical importance of soft skills is evidenced by the highly successful careers of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Tom Cruise, Erin Brockovich, Magic Johnson, Anderson Cooper, Winston Churchill and other dyslexics.
These individuals and many others like them did not allow limited reading and literacy skills or a low score on a standardized test to define them and curtail their goals and Heavy emphasis on “hard skills” leaves children unprepared for the real “tests” in life. | WagTheDog:

Scott Minnick - Parent, Teacher and Board of Ed member says opt out! - Wait What?

Scott Minnick - Parent, Teacher and Board of Ed member says opt out! - Wait What?:



Scott Minnick – Parent, Teacher and Board of Ed member says opt out!



Parents Can Opt Out - United Opt Out National

Click Here to go to United Opt Out National



Click Here to go to the WebsiteUnited Opt Out Team


 Westport, Connecticut joins the Wall of Shame by lying to parents telling them,

THERE IS NO PROCESS FOR OPTING OUT OF THE TESTING,
Meanwhile, Scott Minnick, a public school teacher in Glastonbury and resident and Board of Ed member of East Hampton, Connecticut explains why parents should join him in opting their children out of the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC Test.
Scott Minnick and Martin Walsh are challenging the incumbent officers of the Connecticut Education Association in this spring’s CEA election.  Walsh is running for President and Minnick is running for Vice President.
Minnick’s MUST READ piece, “Alert! We are Under Attack! This is Not a Test,” can be found in its entirety at CTNewsjunkie. Scott Minnick writes,
Our society accepts the sad fact that in our free-market democracy, money influences politicians.
Money-hungry corporations, which have recently discovered the untapped and unending resource called public education, know this. They have worked the political system to get what they want – Education Reform – with little concern for the collateral damage to our children and our country’s future. This “fracking” of our educational system for profit is criminal!
In Connecticut, education reform started in 2010 with the acceptance of the Common Core State Standards. As a stand-alone concept, the CCSS, which aims to help standardize national K-12 benchmarks in math and English, has some merit, but, tragically, it masks a much darker purpose, which is to systematically destabilize, dehumanize, and vilify public education. The Common Core is the equivalent of a Trojan horse packed with SBAC cyber attack testing, accountability bombs for teachers and public schools. The coup de grace is the continuing privatization of education by the expansion of charter schools predestined to “rebuild” in the wake of the destruction.
Fortunately, we can counter this surprise attack because parents are free from legislative education reform mandates and can write a simple letter to opt out their children, knowing very well that the U.S. Constitution also backs them. I see education from several lenses and so my reasons to opt out our children are many.
Minnick then lays out the issues clear and concisely from the point of view as (1) The Scott Minnick - Parent, Teacher and Board of Ed member says opt out! - Wait What?:

The Brightest Students: What risks do they suffer from PARCC and other high stakes tests? | Reclaim Reform

The Brightest Students: What risks do they suffer from PARCC and other high stakes tests? | Reclaim Reform:



The Brightest Students: What risks do they suffer from PARCC and other high stakes tests?

Childhood suicide is to be feared most.
The brightest children of all ages are often the ones who suffer from crash-and-burn behavior. They can be publicly shamed and lose their place in their world.
Since there can be no definite proof that high stakes testing alone is responsible for childhood suicides, we must simply use our own observations.
Childhood suicide rates have increased tremendously during the same years that No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top with their high stakes testing have existed.
Actual and perceived pressures by children often cause extreme behaviors, but the destruction of their own persona, the “smart” one or the “top” one, can be destroyed with one bad grade on an easy test, a high stakes mandated test, that “everyone” else passed.
Freeze on one day during one high stakes test? Be publicly shamed. Peer shamed. Be re-labeled for life. Crash-and burn.
This is a taboo subject. No adult wants to read about or experience this horrific reality. As parents, we must face it and do all we can to prevent it.
High stakes tests and childhood suicides
Why risk it? Take the pressures off by refusing or opting out for your child. Go to United Opt Out National for state-by-state sample letters and directions. You and your child have basic parental and civil rights. This is no time to be overly polite or timid because some The Brightest Students: What risks do they suffer from PARCC and other high stakes tests? | Reclaim Reform:

NEA - Educators urge U.S. House to continue to work on federal education law rewrite

NEA - Educators urge U.S. House to continue to work on federal education law rewrite:



Educators urge U.S. House to continue to work on federal education law rewrite

All eyes turn to the U.S. Senate to get ESEA right




Call and Tweet your House Rep and ask him/her to vote ‪#‎NOonHR5‬ http://bit.ly/17s6O1b



WASHINGTON - February 27, 2015 -
Citing a legislative logjam involving funding for the federal Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. House of Representatives today temporarily pulled from the floor a final vote on a bill, H.R. 5, to reauthorize the federal education law No Child Left Behind.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:
“We urge the House of Representatives to continue to work hard to capitalize on the opportunity to get ESEA right.
“During the robust debate on amendments yesterday, we saw positive signs that lawmakers were willing to put students ahead of politics. For example, they adopted a number of important amendments on testing, adding: flexibility for locally-designed assessments to be used; audits to eliminate unnecessary state and local tests; and requiring districts inform parents of ‘opt out’ policies.
“We welcome that bipartisan spirit and cooperation and we applaud lawmakers for acknowledging the growing problem with too much federally-mandated testing and approving commonsense amendments that would again allow educators to inspire students’ natural curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn.
“Now, all eyes turn to the U.S. Senate, where they will have an opportunity to usher a new vision for our nation’s public schools, a vision that promotes opportunity, equity and excellence for all students regardless of the zip code in which they live.
“Getting ESEA right means creating a new generation accountability system that includes an “opportunity dashboard”—indicators of school quality to identify opportunity and resource gaps that must be addressed to support learning; less testing and more flexibility on the types of tests given so students have more time to learn; and ensuring qualified educators for students and empowering them to lead. These core principles will allow educators to focus on what is most important: installing a love of learning in their students.
“We urge Congress to get ESEA right. We stand ready to work with members of both parties to fix this badly broken law.”
Follow us @NEAMedia #ESEA #GetESEAright
###
The National Education Association (www.nea.org) is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

The Student Heroes of Newark | Daniel Katz

The Student Heroes of Newark | Daniel Katz:



The Student Heroes of Newark

NEWARK CAMI


 Sometimes, in the midst of powerful interests steamrolling communities, we are reminded that silence is a choice. One example was last November in the small city of Richmond, California where oil and gas giant Chevron put down $3 million to buy the city council election but were beaten back by a slate of candidates with only $50,000 to spend. Another example has been unfolding in Newark, New Jersey where state appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson has wreaked havoc upon the school system with her "One Newark" plan that was put into full implementation this school year. One Newark, the fruition of a partnership between Governor Chris Christie and the former mayor of Newark, Senator Cory Booker, and backed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, throws open the entire school district to school choice and expanded charter school options. In practice, the implementation has spawned chaos and situations that would be intolerable to parents and students anywhere, but which have been forced upon the district with no recourse due to state control of the schools.

Bob Braun, the former education reporter for the New Jersey Star Ledger, has relentlessly documented Anderson's tenure as superintendent and the series of rolling disasters One Newark has spawned. Braun has documented schools that were slated to close under Anderson even though they were succeeding and beloved. He has documented Anderson's abrupt decision to stop attending board of education meetings from which she has been absent a full year. He was there to cover the insensitive and incompetent summer enrollment where parents who had taken time away from work just to get put into the school selection pool waited for hours and were sent away with nothing. He was a main source of information on Barringer High School where parents and students marched out to protest the deplorable conditions that persisted well past the opening of the school year.
Anderson, for her part, has remained an elusive figure in the city but has traveled widely to talk about education. However, even outside of Newark, she has refused to face the people whose school system she runs, canceling a public talk at the American Enterprise Institute in November when Newark students and parents arrive in Washington, D.C. to demand answers from her. Even state legislators have had to make repeated requests and wait nearly a year for Anderson to appear at the joint committee on education to answer questions about her performance in Newark.
In the face of this superintendency characterized by arrogance, silence, and disregard for community, few adults have managed to bring adequate attention to the situation. And then there is the Newark Students Union, a collection of young activists acting as the conscience of Brick City. The students, who have staged a number of direct action protests this school year, made national and international headlines on February 17 when they walked out of another board meeting where Anderson was absent and occupied the Superintendent's office suite, refusing to leave until Anderson met with The Student Heroes of Newark | Daniel Katz:

ATTENTION ALL READERS – I saw the web film that is going to bring down the PARCC test! | Poetic Justice

ATTENTION ALL READERS – I saw the web film that is going to bring down the PARCC test! | Poetic Justice:



ATTENTION ALL READERS – I saw the web film that is going to bring down the PARCC test!

I just previewed a short (about four minutes) but very powerful and moving web film that I truly believe is going to bring down the PARCC test. The video is on the continuous test preparation and the deleterious effects on our students and how parents are crying out for the abuse to be stopped now. It is full of parents voicing the truth about how their precious children are being damaged and how the love of learning is being destroyed before it has a chance to bud and blossom.
When I watched the film, it brought tears to my eyes and it also made me extremely angry. I felt really angry because just stopping the PARCC/SBAC tests is not going to stop the abuse. We have to stop the test – the evaluations – and the intrusion of profiteers into our classrooms. This film is one huge step in this war against the dehumanization of education.
So set your clocks and start the countdown now. The PARCC is going to come down with the premiere of this web film this Sunday March 1, 2015 at 5 PM EST, 4 PM CST and 2 PM PST. I will be posting it and will be asking all of you to post it far and wide.
So please get the word out that this web film is on the way.
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solidaridad: The Network for Public Education Endorses Bennett Kayser for LAUSD District 5

solidaridad: The Network for Public Education Endorses Bennett Kayser for LAUSD District 5:



The Network for Public Education Endorses Bennett Kayser for LAUSD District 5

Dear Robert D.,
NPE Board President, Diane Ravitch says, “Bennett Kayser has been a strong advocate for public education, for class size reduction, and for careful oversight of the LAUSD budget. As an experienced teacher, he understands the schools' needs.”
Network for Public Education endorses Bennet Kayser's re-election for LAUSD School Board District 5 and asks you to support him in any way you can -- voting for him, volunteering in the next five days or donating to his campaign.
Bennett Kayser is a champion for our students:
He says, "My top priority is to continue to grow the district and lower-class size so that teachers and students are provided with every opportunity to achieve."
  • Kayser understands the importance of early childhood education. He directed $34 million dollars to education of our earliest learners for the next four years.
  • Kayser supported the growth of the District’s Supper program expanding this service to an additional 80,000 students—many of whom would go home hungry without it.
Bennet Kayser says,  "We should not close schools because that is a clear sign to our students, teachers, communities that we have abandoned them. We must focus on improving schools, not closing them." He will vote to protect STUDENT PRIVACY and fight school closures.
HIs opponent is running a smear campaign against him. Corporate money and pro-privatization money is flowing into his opponent's race because of his support of charter schools.   Bennett needs a quick infusion of cash to help get him elected and protect PUBLIC EDUCATION. 
According to Martha Infante, teacher at Los Angeles Academy Middle School, “It is those who have been closest to the classroom who have the confidence of teachers, students, and parents. Only they seem to understand the negative impact of class sizes in the 40’s and 50’s on students learning. Only former teachers like Kayser realize the damage the misspending of iPad funds has had on public confidence."
Public education activist, Robert Skeels says, “Bennett Kayser has been a staunch advocate for Students with Disabilities (SWD), as well as an important ally for programs serving the community, including Adult Education. His first term will be best remembered for his drafting and sponsoring the historic Ethnic Studies resolution, which makes research proven, culturally relevant curricula a requirement for graduation.”
Kayser has been both a public school teacher and an administrator. The first health teacher on the LAUSD Board, Kayser taught 7th Grade Science and Health at King and Irving Middle Schools and was Director of Information Technology for the Pasadena Unified School District. Later he worked with at-risk youth as the Technology Coordinator for LAUSD’s Independent Studies Program through the City of Angels School.
When NPE decided to endorse candidates we promised we would support candidates who support public education. We don't have the money to compete with the billionaires. But as Diane says, there is power in our numbers! We hope our support will persuade parents, students and teachers to get out and vote. This election will be a low turnout and your vote will really make a difference.
PLEASE vote for Kayser Bennet on March 3rd.
For more information or to volunteer check out Kayser Bennett's website.
or donate online here.

WE ARE MANY. THERE IS POWER IN OUR NUMBERS. TOGETHER WE WILL SAVE OUR SCHOOLS. 


 solidaridad: The Network for Public Education Endorses Bennett Kayser for LAUSD District 5:

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