Thursday, March 7, 2013

Special Late Nite Cap UPDATE 3-7-13 #SOSCHAT #EDCHAT #P2




Chicago Students Boycott the NAEP to Demand Safety

Guest post by Leslie Leon with Yoseling Cueto.
Hello my name is Leslie Leon. I am an 18 year old senior at Gage Park High School on Chicago Southwest side. I was born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in Imlay city, Michigan. My parents only wanted the best for my family, therefore we moved to Michigan for a safer life. My parents decided to move back to my hometown in 2010. My life took a whole "U" turn. Everything was different, I couldn't adjust to it. Before Gage Park I used to love going to school eager to learn and make the most out of my high school life. Coming to Gage Park I slowly started to feel fear to go to school because of the surroundings.
It wasn't until this year that I began to feel alarmed being inside the school. I don't like this feeling. When I walk through the halls I have to constantly watch my back. This is something I shouldn't be feeling and this problem 

Diane Ravitch Joins Group to Monitor Public Schools

The Network for Public Education will call for curriculums that include arts and foreign languages, as well as better financing for schools and more respect for teachers.

The Dilemma of the Language Teacher

A Spanish teacher I know just got observed by her principal, who told her she used too much target language--in this case Spanish. Her AP, who is monolingual as the principal, sat there and nodded dutifully. These are tough times for language teachers, with requirements getting lower as students prepare for the do or die tests in math and English. I kind of understand why a principal, with his job depending on it, might focus more on the tests that will determine whether or not he'll spend next year pushing cell phones at Best Buy for 9 bucks an hour.

It may not be the principal's fault that he neglects foreign language, hurtful to students though it is. It may not be our fault next year when we drill students for the tests that will determine whether or not we'll be joining the principal at Best Buy. Satisfying though it may be to jump up to assistant manager, make two extra bucks an hour and order the 

NJ Teacher Evaluation: Operation Hindenberg

And so, after a three year war on teachers, it has finally come to this: Chris Christie's administration - through his Commissioner of Education, Chris Cerf - has released their proposed changes to New Jersey's administrative code, rewriting the rules for teacher evaluation throughout the state.

I've now had some time to review these proposals. My assessment?

Folks, it's going to take a series of posts over several days to fully unpack how spectacularly bad this proposal is. The failure of policy here is so vast, so varied, and so destructive that a single post just can't do justice to a fiasco of this magnitude.

But allow me, as an introduction, to outline the fundamental problems with this nightmare of hubris and ignorance:

- The proposed evaluation system relies on Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs), based on standardized tests, to evaluate teachers. Yet the very man who is the "inventor" of SGPs has said that they cannot be used to determine a teacher's effect on student learning!

In other words - and it seems incredible to say this, but it is absolutely true - the NJ Department of Education 

This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”

I have a huge backlog of resources that I’ve been planning to post about in this blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description. It forces me to look through these older links, and help me organize them for my own use. I hope others will find them helpful, too. These are resources that I didn’t include 

“Short Bouts of Exercise Boost Self Control” — Is That Your Experience With Students?

Short Bouts of Exercise Boost Self Control is the title of an article about a new study.
Here’s an excerpt:
Short bouts of moderately intense exercise seem to boost self control, indicates an analysis of the published evidence in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The resulting increased blood and oxygen flow to the pre-frontal cortex may explain the effects, suggest the researchers.
They trawled medical research databases for studies looking at the impact of physical exercise on higher brain 

Students Initiate Inquiry Into Harassment Reports

An investigation into whether the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill routinely botched sexual assault and harassment complaints is the latest in a series of such allegations against other schools.

Philadelphia Officials Vote to Close 23 Schools

The closings are part of a plan by the school district to erase a huge budget deficit and reduce the number of underused schools.

Joseph Kelner, 98, Dies; Led Kent State Lawsuit

Besides Kent State, other high-profile cases included those of Bernhard Goetz, the subway vigilante, and a pair of fired baseball umpires.

City Apologizes for Not Informing Parents of School PCB Leak

A mother of a child at an Upper West Side elementary school learned of the December episode while perusing a Department of Education report about PCBs posted online.

The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School Part VI: The Doody Has Hit the Fan

With what metaphor do I use to describe the state of The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School? The proverbial shit has hit the proverbial fan? The wheels of The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School are coming off? Turn off the lights, The Happy Good Time Emotion Response Place and School is over, all good things must end?

The first sign on the poop hitting the fan came several months ago when students were kept away from the room in which they can hit and kick the Bobo doll so they can feel better about themselves instead of owning 

Common Core Math Taught to an 8 Year Old.

House Bill 616 was heard early today in Jefferson City and pro CCSS folks testified how wonderful and clear and concise the new standards are.  Missouri is beginning to implement them in classrooms so the results of using the new standards are difficult to measure.  Since a big attraction for some teachers and administrators is that the standards/assessments are all the same across state lines, maybe those proponents might just want to read the story below about an actual CCSS math problem encountered by a third grader in New York and think if this wonderful and clear and concise set of standards will actually raise student achievement.  Such standards 

Gotham Schools Covers Insightful Social Studies

City teachers are waging a campaign against the state’s proposed high school social studies standards, before a Friday deadline to give feedback.
On Tuesday, Harvest Collegiate High School history teacher Stephen Lazar argued in the GothamSchools Community section that the standards undermine their own goals by overwhelming focuses on skills and historical thinking with an immense amount of content.

Educators, You Might Be A Good, Racist Person Too | The Jose Vilson

Educators, You Might Be A Good, Racist Person Too | The Jose Vilson:

Educators, You Might Be A Good, Racist Person Too

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a message for good, honest folk. Read:
But much worse, it haunts black people with a kind of invisible violence that is given tell only when the victim happens to be an Oscar winner. The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story. Forest Whitaker fits that bill, and he was addressed as such.
I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank. I am trying to a imagine a prominent white Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home, and coming up with nothing. I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli, and I find myself laughing in the dark. It is worth considering the messaging here. It says to black kids: “Don’t leave home. They don’t want you around.” It is messaging propagated by moral people.
So maybe we need to rethink how we talk about The American Dream in this country, especially when it’s not 

School Tech Connect: School Board Meeting Tomorrow

School Tech Connect: School Board Meeting Tomorrow:

School Board Meeting Tomorrow

No, it's not CPS. It's a citywide People's School Board Meeting. Here in the city we have no democratic access to school policy, so it looks like we're just going to have to start having our own meetings.  See you there!

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: It's hitting the fan in Philly

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: It's hitting the fan in Philly:

It's hitting the fan in Philly

Protesters gather before start of meeting of the School Reform Commission March 7, 2013 before vote to order the largest mass school closing in history. ( TOM GRALISH / Inquirer ) 
Well the shit has hit the fan in Philly as the gaggle of corporate school reforms who call themselves the School Reform Committee, are moving to close 27 neighborhood schools. 19 protesters including AFT Prez Randi Weingarten, have been arrested so far today with hundreds more protesting outside and inside the SRC meeting.

Randi arrested
Take note Mayor Rahm. I haven't seen such anger among Chicago parents and community folk since the days leading up to Harold Washington's election.  If you think you and Chicago pols can close 80 schools this year and walk away unscathed, you're mistaken. Last week's poll ratings have you at 2% strongly favoring your policies. Don't even look at the polls after that next school is closed.

Local aldermen are already feeling the pressure and are turning up at these community hearings lining up behind the Progressive Caucus for the first time, assuring their base that they oppose the closings -- at ;least in their 

AFT leader Randi Weingarten arrested for protesting school closings hearing in Phillie

AFT leader Randi Weingarten arrested for protesting school closings hearing in Phillie:

AFT leader Randi Weingarten arrested for protesting school closings hearing in Phillie

Randi Weingarten being put under arrest. (Photo By Helen Gym)
Randi Weingarten being put under arrest. (Photo By Helen Gym)
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was arrested along with 18 other activists in Philadelphia today as they were protesting a hearing by the School Reform Commission on a plan to close nearly 30 public schools in the city.
Weingarten, who runs the second largest teachers union in the country, and the other activists were protesting and blocking the entrance to the room where the hearing was going to take place. Weingarten sent text messages to colleagues saying she was placed in handcuffs and arrested.
The School Reform Commission was set to vote on a highly controversial proposal to close nearly 30 poorly performing public schools as part of an effort that officials say will save money and help students achieve better at other schools. Researchers, however, told city officials at earlier meetings that  school closings often don’t save money — in fact, one wave of school closings in Washington, D.C., by former chancellor Michelle Rhee, wound 

VIDEO: Randi Weingarten Arrested For Protesting Philadelphia School Closure Hearing

Randi Weingarten Arrested For Protesting Philadelphia School Closure Hearing:

Randi Weingarten Arrested For Protesting Philadelphia School Closure Hearing

NEW YORK -- Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, was arrested Thursday afternoon for blocking a school reform hearing in Philadelphia, an AFT spokesperson told The Huffington Post.

Weingarten reportedly stood outside the meeting of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, in which the group was supposed to decide which Philadelphia Public Schools would close. Weingarten, whose AFT is the second-largest teachers' union in the country, made a surprise visit to fight school closures.

AFT spokesman Marcus Mrowka told The Huffington Post that Weingarten was arrested with 18 other community activists for blocking the entrance to the meeting. He added that Weingarten was in handcuffs.

The Philadelphia police department would not confirm the arrest, because the protest was ongoing. "I don't have any information at this point and probably won't until it's all dispersed," Lieutenant John Stanford said when reached by phone.

"There was a rally outside the building and they were probably blocking the entrance for about 20 minutes until

BREAKING NEWS: AFT president Randi Weingarten was among a group of protesters arrested in Philadelphia

Tell Mayor Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.:

BREAKING NEWS: AFT president Randi Weingarten was among a group of protesters arrested in Philadelphia this evening for engaging in civil disobedience to protest the city’s proposed public school closures.

Show your support for this courageous action. Tell Mayor Michael Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.

Mayor Nutter and the School Reform Commission want to close 29 of the city’s public schools, a reckless strategy that won’t help kids and won’t save money. These harmful closures will only destabilize neighborhoods and destroy schools. Local teachers, parents and community members are standing together to demand a moratorium on harmful closures.
Sign the petition—Tell Mayor Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.

Tell Mayor Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.

Philadelphia has become ground zero in the debate over school closings versus investment in neighborhood public schools. Local teachers, parents and community members are standing together to demand a moratorium on harmful school closures.

Stand with them. Tell Mayor Nutter to fix, not close, Philadelphia’s public schools.
I stand with Philadelphia educators, parents and community members in support of a moratorium on school closings. We need real investment in our public schools and children, and we need an end to the relentless push by austerity mongers and privatizers to cripple and destabilize our public schools and strip teachers and students of their basic needs.

By Dan Stamm
|  Thursday, Mar 7, 2013  |  Updated 7:22 PM EST
View Comments (
19 Arrests in School Closings Protest
March 7, 2013: Police arrested 19 people during a protest against school closings in Philadelphia.
Parents, families and students upset over the proposed closing dozens of Philadelphia schools marched on the school district headquarters on North Broad Street tonight.
SkyForce10 hovered overhead as hundreds of protesters shut down the street for hours ahead of the School Reform Commission's meeting where a final decision will be made on closing schools.
Outside the protest remained peaceful, while inside Philadelphia Police said that 19 people, mostly adults, were arrested for blocking the doors of the auditorium where the vote was set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Most of the people were arrested for disorderly conduct, police said.
One of those arrested was Randi Weingarten, preisdent of the American Federation of Teachersnational union, NBC10's Chris Cato reported. Weingarten was set to speak during the meeting.
This is the School Distirct of Philadelphia's livestream from inside the meeting:
Originally 37 schools were set to be closed or consolidated. Eight were saved and the fate of 27 of the 29 remaining schools will be voted on at the meeting.
Many of the buildings have too many empty seats, and some are in poor condition. Officials say consolidating schools will save the cash-strapped district about $24 million per year.