Thursday, October 8, 2015

For one week, some Philly teachers do just their jobs

For one week, some Philly teachers do just their jobs:

For one week, some Philly teachers do just their jobs




Across the city, some public-school teachers are making a point: for one week, doing exactly what their contract requires, and nothing more.

That means no before-school playground duty, tutoring on lunch breaks, nor waiting with students whose parents are late to pick them up. No buying copier paper or textbooks.

"For too long, we've been disrespected by not receiving the proper compensation for the work we do," said Jackie Monaghan, a sixth-grade teacher at Kearny Elementary in Northern Liberties. She and others are also furious with Philadelphia School District officials for moves to close some schools and give others to charter companies.

The work-to-rule actions, happening this week, dovetail with a protest Wednesday at Cooke Elementary, one of the struggling schools that the district plans to give to a charter operator. That announcement was made last week by Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., who said he had to act to get more city children into strong schools.

Many members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said they saw another motive in Hite's announcement - further privatizing public education.

"We don't have teachers in classrooms some years, and then they tell us that we failed," Cooke teacher Christine Kolenut



Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20151008_For_one_week__some_Philly_teachers_do_just_their_jobs.html#ypI6heDvl2chx0Rd.99






With millions on the line, schools and city make data deal

With millions on the line, schools and city make data deal:

With millions on the line, schools and city make data deal



City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)


In a move to reduce tensions over school funding, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, the district, and City Council signed an agreement Wednesday intended to ensure timely information-sharing and give Council a voice in the district's financial planning.

Patterned after a state law that established the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) to oversee finances in 1991 - when the city was on the brink of insolvency - this new, less formal arrangement gives Council influence in the district's budgeting process.

The district has agreed to give Council quarterly school management reports, allow Council to give input on the district's five-year financial plans, and provide intensive briefings each quarter on the district's finances.

To demonstrate the new era of greater openness, a podium was replaced by a table large enough to accommodate Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., SRC Chair Marjorie Neff, Council President Darrell L. Clarke, and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who chairs the Council's education committee.

"We really appreciate the fact that we are here [Wednesday] sitting at the same table, clearly feeling the love, so to speak," Clarke said.

Neff, who signed the two-page document along with Hite, Clarke, and Blackwell, said the agreement would increase communication among the district, the SRC, and City Council.

Hite said the agreement "provides for a level of transparency, in my opinion, that does not exist at the moment." He said all of the reports submitted to Council would be publicly available.

The news is timely. Next Wednesday, Council is to hold a hearing on a bill that would transfer $25 million to the district.

Council has agreed to give $70 million in new money to the schools but has attached strings to the final portion of it, the $25 million.

The district badly needs Council's approval - the long-delayed state budget means it's already starting to have cash-flow problems and without intervention could be out of money by November.

On Wednesday, Clarke said that the agreement "sets us on a path so that we can come to the conclusion to put that much-needed $25 million into the School District."

After blasting school officials for a lack of information in the spring, Clarke renewed the charge in the summer, firing off a sharply worded letter to Hite.

The Council president questioned Hite's administrative hires and reminded the superintendent that Council still held the $25 million.

Clarke, at the time, said Hite's responses to Council's request "tell me nothing." He has made it clear that he believes Council ought to have a more formal fiscal oversight role over the schools, and that he does not like the SRC as a governance structure.

Under terms of the 2001 law that led to the state takeover of city schools, three members of the SRC are appointed by the governor; two are named by the mayor.

Clarke said Council hearings on the district's budget in the past sometimes were "testy" because the Council was required to raise taxes to make up for the reductions in state funds.

"Today we can solve this issue and what people believe is the contentious nature between Council and the School District,

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20151008_With_millions_on_the_line__schools_and_city_make_data_deal.html#ql5g1httcGTooUYP.99


In switch, California school nutrition group opposes healthy lunch rules | EdSource

In switch, California school nutrition group opposes healthy lunch rules | EdSource:

In switch, California school nutrition group opposes healthy lunch rules


Three girls eating lunch
CREDIT: JANE MEREDITH ADAMS/EDSOURCE TODAY
Students in Alameda eating school lunch at Henry Haight Elementary School.
A half a cup of a fruit or vegetable is required in every school lunch served in America, under federal regulations now up for review in Congress, and as far as the California School Nutrition Association is concerned, that requirement needs to go.
In a turn of events that belies California’s position as a national leader in mandating healthier school lunches – as well as the state’s role in growing nearly half of the nation’s fruits and vegetables – the California School Nutrition Association is pressing Congress to weaken the requirement that school lunches include fruits and vegetables, reduced amounts of sodium and more whole grains.
The association is lobbying to make a half cup serving of a fruit or vegetable optional, rather than required. It is also lobbying to stop any further reduction in sodium levels and to halt the increase in “whole grain rich” products, which would require that all breads, tortillas and rice be made with 50 percent whole grain. “We’re looking for flexibility,” said Dena England, president of the California School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit association of 2,000 members from school food service departments and additional food industry members.
“I am really surprised that they would take that position,” said Shirley Watkins, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “California has always been a leader.”
Despite pushing for optional servings of fruits and vegetables, England said getting students to eat produce at lunch has not been an issue in the San Marcos Unified School District, where she is executive director of Child Nutrition Services. “If you have some type of education program, children will tend to select fruits and vegetables and try them,” she said. “In my district, we have a farmer’s market.”
Years before the U.S. Department of Agriculture took up the task of improving school nutrition, California banned In switch, California school nutrition group opposes healthy lunch rules | EdSource:

Pearson President Responds to My WP Common Core Dilemma Excerpt | deutsch29

Pearson President Responds to My WP Common Core Dilemma Excerpt | deutsch29:

Pearson President Responds to My WP Common Core Dilemma Excerpt





In my book, Common Core Dilemma–Who Owns Schools?, I have a chapter on London-based mega-company, Pearson. On September 23, 2015, Washington Post education writer Valerie Strauss featured an excerpt from that chapter. Readers are able to view Strauss’ post on her blog, “The Answer Sheet,” by clicking here.
On October 08, 2015, the president of Pearson North America, Don Kilburn, responded to Strauss’ post. Here is what he wrote:
The Answer Sheet blog recently shared an excerpt from a book that claimed to understand Pearson’s motivations for being involved in education. We weren’t given the opportunity to respond directly to the points raised in that piece, many of which are rather presumptuous. [Note: Actually, I did invite Pearson to write as long a response as desired but the offer was declined.] So without responding to every point we believe is inaccurate, I’d like to take an opportunity to explain what Pearson is, and what we stand for.
Yes, we are a for-profit company. We currently do about $5 billion worth of business annually in the U.S., out of an estimated $1 trillion that is spent on education each year. Pearson is just one of many companies (for-profit and non-profit) serving public K-12 and higher education institutions across the country. Hundreds of education technology start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Facebook and Google compete for a share of this business as well.
In  this competitive environment, Pearson is held accountable for how we perform as a company by educators, students, schools and higher education institutions, as well as our shareholders and our employees. We are a company of nearly 40,000 – 15,000 of whom are former teachers, and many more, like me, are U.S. parents. All of us are focused on making a difference in the lives of learners.
At Pearson, because we are parents and community members, we welcome scrutiny. We’re seeking to be transparent in our work. This means engaging with students, parents, teachers, and professors to learn more from them.
We don’t shy away from public debate around education policy, which we agree is necessary. Earlier in the year, we posted the full transcript of our 
Pearson President Responds to My WP Common Core Dilemma Excerpt | deutsch29:

Recess in Seattle: How We Won the Right to Play | I AM AN EDUCATOR

Recess in Seattle: How We Won the Right to Play | I AM AN EDUCATOR:

Recess in Seattle: How We Won the Right to Play

R
By Jesse Hagopian — Originally Published by The Progressive
Photos by Sarah Lang
It was May of 2014. I had just picked up my son from his wonderful play-based preschool, and, as we headed home, I turned on the radio. Usually, my son would demand that I “turn off the boring news” and put on his favorite break beats for the ride home—and usually he’d get his way. But this time, a story in a series called “No Time for Play” by public radio education reporter Anne Dornfeld grabbed my son’s attention when he heard her start talking about a study showing recess times in Seattle Public Schools were shrinking.
We learned that when the study began four years earlier, only one Seattle school reported an average recess time of 20 minutes or less per day. During the 2013-2014 school year, some 11 schools offered such paltry recess (and it’s only gotten worse since then). Anne’s story pointed out that the schools with the least amount of recess had high concentrations of students of color and low-income students.
Because my son’s preschool educated me about the incredible value of play in childhood development, this news distressed me in the same way a kid feels when he is held in from recess on a sunny day. Also, with my son entering kindergarten in the Seattle Public Schools the next fall, I knew I had to do something about it.
I began by doing a survey of the research on the benefits of recess for childhood development, and it was definitive. Among many benefits, free play is critical to children developing skills I believe are the most important for young children to develop: cooperating, sharing, and solving problems.
Then I looked at trends in recess time around the country. What I discovered was similar to the experience of watching a kid pull back an Elmo Band-aid to reveal a festering skinned knee from falling on the asphalt. Seattle was following a national trend in reducing recess time in primary grades as school districts bend to federal mandates to raise test scores.
I had been organizing for some time against destructive high-stakes standardized testing and the policies of the No Child Left Behind act, Race to the Top, and the Common Core standards that have been used to promote test-and-punish schooling. But my activism took on new meaning when I discovered that, according to the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play, as many as 40 percent of school districts in the United States have reduced recess since the implementation of No Child Left Behind act.
I used this research to inform a resolution I brought to my union, the Seattle Education Recess in Seattle: How We Won the Right to Play | I AM AN EDUCATOR:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 10/8/15





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Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 10/7/15
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