Monday, January 14, 2013

Should We Arm School Custodians? - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher

Should We Arm School Custodians? - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:

Should We Arm School Custodians?

A story from early in my first year of teaching, in the 1970s:
A few minutes before the end of last hour, a 7th grader asked if he could use the bathroom. I already knew enough about this kid to know he would leave and not return--so I told him that he could wait, and use the restroom on his way to the bus. After the bell rang, as I was tidying up the room, I noticed an odor reminiscent of the Greyhound station men's room wafting out of the second practice cubicle.
Next to the boy's instrument case was his trumpet mute, filled with urine; there were traces of liquid on the walls. I called the custodian to help with cleanup. Snapping on his rubber gloves, he asked: Who did this? When I told 

Special Late Nite Cap UPDATE 1-14-13 #SOSCHAT #EDCHAT #P2



One benefit of my musical training

just became apparent in a conversation with my brilliant spouse, who told me she could only handle two channels of information at a time.
I know I can handle at least four.
But then, I grew up playing in string quartets.
I have listened to orchestral recordings with a full score since before I was ten.
I have conducted a cappella choruses.
In short, I am used to handling multiple streams of information simultaneously.
I can listen to multiple conversations at one time.
I definitely can multi-task.
Given the demands of modern living I wonder if

Arne Duncan Stays, Scientology Almost Made It Into No Child Left Behind? Ed Tonight

And You Thought Creationism Was Bad? According to a new book, No Child Left Behind could have been a heck of a lot, well, weirder. Reporters Vulture: Tom Cruise "tried to convince President George W. Bush's Secretary of Education Rod Paige to include Hubbard's 'study tech' educational methods into No Child Left Behind." Ya here that? NCLB could have included things like scientology. It makes Rick Santorum's creationismamendment look tame by comparison! (h/t GothamSchools)

No Buses In New York? It's official. Starting Wednesday, bus drivers in the nation's largest school district will go on strike, report the Wall Street Journal's Rachel Cromidas and Lisa Fleisher. Why? "Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, which represents drivers and matrons, wants the city to force private bus companies to hire 

TO LOCK CLASSROOM DOORS OR NOT: After the Newtown and Taft shootings, educators in L.A. debate whether teacher transparency or school security is paramount.

●●smf: School security is paramount …but the question poses a false dichotomy. By Stephen Ceasar and Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times | Students at Taft Union High School near Bakersfield after a campus shooting last week. (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / January 10, 2013) January 13, 2013, 10:08 p.m.  ::  Behind a locked classroom door, a Los Angeles third-grade

ORCA K-8 Joins the MAP Boycott

So says the Times.

Eleven teachers and instructional assistants at ORCA K-8 have decided that they, too, will boycott district-required tests known as the MAP, according to ORCA teacher Matt Carter.

In the letter to district administrators, the Garfield staff members listed nine reasons why they oppose the test, which range from how few students take it seriously to how much time it takes away from class instruction and whether it measures what teachers are supposed to be teaching. 

The middle school teachers at ORCA will not refuse to give the tests because they hope to get a grant from the 

Remainders: If Scientologists ran the U.S. education department

  • No Child Left Behind came close to reflecting Scientology teaching methods, a new book says. (Vulture)
  • An Ohio teacher is suing after she was pushed to retire due to “pedophobia,” or fear of children. (Gawker)
  • Columbia University professors are criticizing the state’s new teacher certification exam. (Teacher Beat)
  • A star of the television show “Breaking Bad” is running for school board in his New Mexico town. (CNN)
  • The Department of Education has published the hearing schedule for 26 schools it wants to close. (DOE)
  • Guidelines from educators and parents on how to make the most of teacher-parent talk. (Sara Mosle)
  • A meeting for high school teachers offered hints about what could come in an evaluation deal. (ICE-UFT)
  • An active union member compares critics of an evaluation deal to Tea Party members. (Ed in the Apple)
  • Some N.J. teachers say having student surveys count in their ratings has been helpful. (Hechinger)
  • The mother of a student with special needs says a school bus strike is a new indignity. (Insideschools)
  • More analysis of the Gates Foundation’s MET Study report finds more shortcomings. (Gary Rubinstein)

State officials are ready to fast-track New York City’s eval plan

Commissioner John King and Chancellor Merryl Tisch discussed the remaining school districts without approved evaluation systems during a Board of Regents meetin today.
ALBANY — State education officials cleared their schedule in anticipation of a busy week as dozens of school districts, including New York City, scramble to meet a Thursday teacher evaluation deadline.
Over the weekend, they finished assessing the last of the evaluation plans that districts had proposed, 

Teen newspaper L.A. Youth to cease printing after 25-year run

The issue of L.A. Youth intended to mark 25 years of the newspaper produced for teens by teens will also be the end of its run.
The newspaper -- printed six times a year and distributed in schools across Los Angeles County -- was centered on first-person accounts of young people writing about themselves, their culture and their community. The students explored such subjects as life as an undocumented immigrant, drug abuse, teen pregnancy and budget 

No shortage of flu vaccine in California, health officials say

Public health officials said Monday there is no shortage of the flu vaccine anywhere in California, despite anecdotal reports of people having a difficult time finding a place to get the shot.

Students pass a sign outside a Rite Aid pharmacy in Oakland. Health officials say there's no shortage of flu vaccine in California. Some local pharmacies may have temporarily run out of the vaccine, but there is ample supply in Los Angeles County, according to a spokesman for the county Public Health Department.
To find out where to get a flu shot, residents are urged to check the Public Health Department website.
California public health officials are preparing for an increase in flu patients and are carefully watching other states, where the influenza outbreak has been much more severe. The flu tends to peak in the state in February or March.

L.A. schools chief says test cuts could hurt at-risk students

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has raised concerns to the state's top education official about his recent proposal that would reduce the number of standardized tests that students must take next year.
In a letter to state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Deasy wrote that he was disappointed that neither L.A. Unified nor any other large, urban school district was consulted in the development of the proposal.
Under the plan, put forward last week by Torlakson, second-graders would not be tested in math and English 

“Parents Often Draft Better Plans Than Bureaucrats”

Parents Often Draft Better Plans Than Bureaucrats is a nice post by John Thompson over at This Week In Education. Here’s how it begins:
The Washington Post’s Emma Brown, in “D.C. Parents Develop Alternatives to Chancellor’s School-Closure Plan,” writes that Kaya Henderson challenged parents to produce more than “heartfelt pleas” as an alternative to her plan to close 20 schools. Sure enough, parents pulled together concrete alternatives.  The parents’ plans include anti-truancy programs, early-childhood education, after-school tutoring and crime prevention.

Seattle's Garfiled High School Opts Out of MAP Test

The following was cross-posted @ the chalk face.

There are occasions when I think that if standardized tests were allowed to make up only a very small component of a teacher's evaluation, they wouldn't be so bad. Usually those occasions last only briefly. On the surface, incorporating current standardized tests into teacher and school evaluation may seem rational (depending on your perspective). But the further you wade into what we know about the limited efficacy of these tests to measure student achievement, and the unique problems associated with unique tests, the more this notion becomes unstable, and eventually collapses.

Enter Garfield High School in Seattle. Its teaching staff has gained international attention for unanimously voting 

January 15, 2013

U.S. Education Secretary to Attend National Action Network’s Event to Honor Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will join civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton for an annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, D.C. Duncan will give brief remarks during the luncheon, honoring King’s legacy and describing the Department’s continued efforts to promote educational equity.

This Week’s #PTchat On Twitter

Guest post by Joe Mazza
Image credit:
This Wednesday on #ptchat we’ll be discussing apps across all devices to support the best teaching, learning and home support for today’s students. To help with our conversation, we’ve invited several education technology gurus including Steven Anderson. Steven, (@web20classroom) on Twitter, has been a constant resources for instructional technology on so many levels. 

Steven is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom. Steven has been a presenter at several educational technology conferences, including ISTE, ASCD and NCTIES, as well as served as a panelist at the #140 Conference in Los Angeles, New York and was a featured speaker at the first ever #140Edu Conference, focusing on the real-time web in education. He is also responsible in helping create #edchat, a weekly education discussion on Twitter that boasts over 500 weekly participants. Steven has been recognized with the NOW Award, highlighting the Movers And Shakers in the world of social media and the 2009 and 2011 Edublogs, Twitterer of The Year Award. In 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader, recognizing young, talented educational leaders in their field. Follow his blog here
Please join #ptchat this Wednesday, January 16th at 9PM EDT for a lively Parent-Teacher Appy Hour! 

Here’s One Relatively Useless Report On Using Tech With English Language Learners

Technology-Driven Innovations for Teaching English Learners” is a relatively useless report from what is described as a “conservative think tank” — and it shows.
It highlights a handful of for-profit software companies, the Rocketship Charter School Network’s use of daily two-

A Letter to Progressive Democrats

Progressive Democrats need a five-year perspective to span an agenda for the Obama era, and because that is the likely time needed to get five rational votes on the Supreme Court.

Thousands of Teachers in Mexico Protest Pending Education Reform Initiatives

Thousands of Teachers in Mexico Protest Pending Education Reform InitiativesThousands of Mexican teachers took part in protests Monday against an overhaul of labor law and a pending education initiative that would substantially change the terms of their employment.
Around 2,000 members of the CNTE education workers association gathered in Mexico City for a march to the Supreme Court, where they delivered some 140,000 legal motions challenging the labor legislation approved last November in the final days of conservative President Felipe Calderon’s government.
The new law allows temporary employment and probation periods for new hires, among other changes.
The CNTE militants also denounced “the false education reform” being pushed by new President Enrique Peña 

Pres. Obama Receives Letter with Over 50,000 Signatures from Mexicans Asking to Stop Flow of Guns

Pres. Obama Receives Letter with Over 50,000 Signatures from Mexicans Asking to Stop Flow of GunsMexican activists Javier Sicilia and Sergio Aguayo on Monday delivered to the U.S. Embassy in this capital a letter signed by more than 50,000 people in which they ask Washington for concrete measures to halt the “illegal and immoral” flow of weapons to Mexico.
In the letter, addressed to President Barack Obama, they expressed their condolences for “the frequent murders of innocents in your country” and said they are “deeply” moved by the recent massacre of children at an elementary 

SI&A Cabinet Report – Governor’s top school aid named to state board

SI&A Cabinet Report – News & Resources:

Governor’s top school aid named to state board
By Kimberly Beltran

Less than a month after she retired as executive director of the State Board of Education, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday tapped his former top education advisor Sue Burr to fill a vacant seat on the panel that sets state-wide K-12 education policy.
It was also expected that Brown would name Burr’s replacement sometime today. Burr retired at the end of December, and just last week, the state board appointed its chief counsel, Judy Cias, to serve as Acting Executive Director in her absence.
Brown also on Monday named Lompoc resident Nicolasa Sandoval, 42, to fill a second vacancy on the SBE, and reappointed member Ilene Straus to another term on the board.
“We’re figuring out how to use [Burr’s] broad and deep background in the most effective ways,” said board president Michael Kirst, a Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University who was appointed to his post by Brown in January 2011, along with current members Carl Cohn, Patricia Rucker, Aida Molina, Trish Williams and Straus.
“Gov. Brown has relied a lot on her advice, and I expect he will continue to seek it in the future,” Kirst added. “She has 

ACLU blasts proposals to militarize schools with armed police guards | The Raw Story

ACLU blasts proposals to militarize schools with armed police guards | The Raw Story:

ACLU blasts proposals to militarize schools with armed police guards

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, January 14, 2013 19:25 EST
Kid in handcuffs (Shutterstock)
The American Civil Liberties Union has urged Vice President Joe Biden to reject proposals to avert gun violence by placing armed police guards in schools.
“Past experience demonstrates that increasing police presence in schools after a tragedy, while well-intentioned, is misguided,” ACLU senior legislative counsel Deborah J. Vagins said in a letter (PDF) to the vice president. “The cost to the health and wellbeing of our children is just too great. Any proposals that would bring more police, school resource officers (SROs), or even the National Guard, as some current legislative proposals suggest, must be rejected. Militarizing our schools is not the answer to improving school climate.”
Biden plans to deliver the results of his national taskforce on gun violence to Obama on Tuesday. At least one of the participants in that taskforce, the National Rifle Association, has called for

Raw Story (

Pass / Fail : Parents plan protest of Deasy's plans for Crenshaw High School | 89.3 KPCC

Pass / Fail : Parents plan protest of Deasy's plans for Crenshaw High School | 89.3 KPCC:

Parents plan protest of Deasy's plans for Crenshaw High School

School ShootingCredit: Nick Ut/AP
After months of uncertainty, the future of Crenshaw High School will likely be decided at Tuesday's  monthly L.A. Unified school board meeting.

The board will vote on whether to approve Superintendent John Deasy’s plan to convert the high school into three separate magnet schools or allow it to continue operating under the Extended Learning Cultural Model. If it passes, it also means all current staff has to reapply for jobs at the South Los Angeles school.

Parents, students and teachers say they were excluded from the decision making process, and have so far been 

Oregon Save Our Schools: The Lost Children of the 21st Century

Oregon Save Our Schools: The Lost Children of the 21st Century:

The Lost Children of the 21st Century

by Kris Alman

Oregon SOS

In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable and help to change it. Ernst Fischer

Portland is a haven for artists who express themselves through the tools of their trade. Sue Mach is a rare breed.An award-winning playwright, Mach translates the narrative of our time into two theatrical premiers, "A Noble Failure" and "The Lost Boy." 
That the playwright (who’s also a teacher) takes the side of the traditional education establishment doesn’t diminish the play’s value as a springboard for discussion.  -- Marty Hughley in his review of "A Noble Failure" for the Oregonian.
The teaser for Mach's other play“The Lost Boy” asks, “In a culture of fear and exhibitionism, who preys upon