Latest News and Comment from Education

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rant: Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”

Rant: Water, water, everywhere, Nor(quist) any drop to drink.”

From Flint to Houston, the Right Wing Reforms are Killing Americans. They stole our Jobs, They are Stealing our Schools and Now they are Drowning Americans in their Reform Bath Tub. This Has Got to STOP. 

Houston’s ‘Wild West’ growth
How the city's development may have contributed to devastating flooding

Houston calls itself “the city with no limits” to convey the promise of boundless opportunity. But it also is the largest U.S. city to have no zoning laws, part of a hands-off approach to urban planning that may have contributed to catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey and left thousands of residents in harm’s way.
Growth that is virtually unchecked, including in flood-prone areas, has diminished the land’s already-limited natural ability to absorb water, according to environmentalists and experts in land use and natural disasters. And the city’s drainage system — a network of reservoirs, bayous and, as a last resort, roads that hold and drain water — was not designed to handle the massive storms that are increasingly common.
Certainly, the record-shattering rainfall on Houston and its surrounding area this week would have wreaked havoc even if stricter building limits and better runoff systems were in place. And local officials have defended the city’s approach to development.
But the unfolding disaster — at least 22 people are dead and 30 percent of Harris County, which includes Houston, is underwater — is drawing renewed scrutiny to Houston’s approach to city planning and its unique system for managing floodwater.
“You would have seen widespread damage with Harvey no matter what, but I have no doubt it could have been substantially reduced,” said Jim Blackburn, co-director of Rice University’s research center on severe storm prediction and disaster evacuation.
Over many years, officials in Houston and Harris County have resisted calls for more stringent building codes. Proposals for large-scale flood-control projects envisioned in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008 stalled. City residents have voted three times not to enact a zoning code, most recently in 1993.
Rather than impose restrictions on what property owners can do with their land, Houston has attempted to engineer a solution to drainage. The region depends on a network of bayous — slow-moving streams that run east into Galveston Bay — and concrete channels as the main drainage system. Streets and detention ponds are designed to carry and hold the overflow.Houston’s ‘Wild West’ growth
Big Education Ape: A timeline of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan - The Washington Post -

Big Education Ape: 'A Failed and Damaging Experiment:' NEA Takes on Unaccountable Charter Schools -

Monday, August 21, 2017

BACK TO SCHOOL: A parent’s guide to K-12 school success

A parent’s guide to K-12 school success

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What Schools Can Do To Support Parents

  • Recognize that all parents, regardless of income, education or cultural background, are involved in their children's learning and want their children to do well.
  • Design programs that will support families to guide their children's learning,from preschool through high school.
  • Develop the capacity of school staff and families to work together.
  • Link activities and programs for families to improving student learning.
  • Focus on developing trusting and respectful relationships among staff and families.
  • Build families' social and political connections.
  • Embrace a philosophy of partnership and be willing to share power.
  • Make sure that parents, school staff, and community members understand that the responsibility for children's educational development is a collaborative enterprise.
  • Build strong connections between schools and community organizations.
  • Include families in all strategies to reduce the achievement gap between white, middle-class students and low-income students and students of color.

Everyone Loves Lists
Below you will find a couple of lists of things parents can do to "help" at school. Not all schools offer some of the things on the list, you can ask your child's teacher or principal if your school offers these opportunities to support your child at school. 

• Read to students
• Serve as a guest speaker
• Donate newspapers for instructional programs
• Provide feedback on writing projects
• Assist in literacy programs
• Share science demonstrations
• Provide computer workshops
• Judge science fairs
• Share math in the workplace and the connection to school work
• Teach music
• Guide instrumental music practice sessions
• Provide choral music support
• Share dance skills and techniques
• Assist with choreography
• Design and coordinate murals
• Assist with set design
• Assist with costume design and production
• Provide apprentice programs
• Share photography expertise
• Support art and music appreciation
• Provide physical education coaching
• Assist with curriculum development to relate to life after high school
• Support student service learning and community service projects

• Share industry and personal expertise
• Provide computer support
• Sponsor school retreats
• Sponsor health/CPR certification classes and clinics
• Provide venues and food for professional development meetings

• Conduct job seeker workshops – from resume writing to mock interviews
• Offer work place problem-solving skills
• Serve as consultants to students operating school-based enterprises
• Provide educational fieldtrips to your facility for students and staff
• Provide on the job training, mentorships and job training for students
• Create and support job shadow days
• Provide “job skills” workshops and seminars
• Provide entrepreneurial seminars and workshops

• Display student art work in offices and lobbies
• Provide gift certificates, complimentary tickets, etc for academic success and improvement
• Establish attendance incentives
• Provide scholarships

• Volunteer as tutors in all areas of the curriculum
• Provide assembly programs stressing good health, safety and character-building
• Provide mentors and tutors for specific students
• Provide personnel to facilitate “dialogue” for various student groups
• Develop apprentice programs
• Serve as a mentor in physical education
• Support study skill development
• Provide supportive services and personalization of the educational experience for students and parents
• Serve as model for life-long recreation, health and wellness

• Sponsor uniforms and costumes, (Sports, Cheerleading, Drill Team, Theater, etc.)
• Donate audiovisual equipment and sound systems
• Donate books to the library
• Donate math, science, and language materials to laboratories
• Donate new curtains for school auditoriums
• Donate office supplies and surplus equipment
• Provide technical support to students and school staff
• Provide bus transportation or donate entrance fees for educational field trips
• Provide eyeglasses and doctor’s care for identified students
• Provide financial support to the PTSA or Booster Club
• Provide holiday enhancements including educational toys, books, or gift baskets
• Provide printing services for school newspapers, yearbooks, parent handbooks, and programs for special events
• Assist with organizing special school events
• Assist with organization/management  of  mandatory health exams
• Assist with Back-to-School programs
• Assist with year-end projects
• Provide shop tools
• Provide sewing machines
• Donate fabrics
• Serve  on a school Advisory Board
• Sponsor student “clubs” to develop leadership skills and promote interest in your industry
• Provide ongoing support for existing programs including Advancement Via Individual Determination –AVID, Math Engineering Science Achievement-MESA, College Ready
• Assist with field trips
• Commit to at least one hour per week for your employees to assist at schools

• Paint identified areas of the school
• Plant and maintain school gardens
• Assist in setting up family school work days
• Design and paint school murals
• Commission artists for school beautification designs

• Provide busses for family field trips
• Sponsor museum memberships
• Provide support to school site parent centers
• Provide tickets to museums, games, special events
• Provide leadership workshops
• Support English as a Second Language classes on the school site
• Provide parenting workshops
• Provide event planning workshops and professional development
• Fund parent newsletters
• Supply parent centers with desks, copiers, and supplies
• Donate food for parent meetings
• Provide direct event planning support
• Present at parent nights, speaking about the importance of education and the specific skills required in your industry

• Purchase new books or computers for school libraries
• Purchase shelving
• Volunteer as a librarian
• Assist students with research
• Provide support for or  matching funds for Wonder of Reading Libraries
• Sponsor school reading/literacy events

1. Share information with a student or class about a hobby.
2. Share information with a student or a class about a career.
3. Share information with students about a country you visited or lived in.
4. Tutor one or a small group of students in reading, math, or other area.
5. Help coach an athletic team.
6. Help check a student's written work.
7. Help put out a school or classroom newsletter (can also be done at home).
8. Help sew or paint a display.
9. Help build something (such as a loft in a classroom or new playground).
10. Help students work on a finalexhibition or project (can also be done at home or workplace).
11. Help answer the schools' phone.
12. Help plan a new playground for the school.*
13. Help plan a theme-based presentation for students.*
14. Help present a theme-based program for students.*
15. Demonstrate cooking from a particular country or culture to students.*
16. Share a particular expertise with faculty (such as use of computers, dealing with disruptive students).
17. Help students plan and build an outdoor garden or other project to beautify the outside of the school.
18. Help coach students competing in an academic competition (such as Odyssey of the Mind, Future Problem Solving, Math Masters).
19. Help bring senior citizens to school to watch a student production.
Help arrange learning opportunities in the community.

1. Help set up an internship or apprenticeship for a student at your business, organization, or agency.*
2. Host a one-day 'shadow study' for one or a small group of students about your career in business or some other organization.
3. Go on a local field trip with a teacher and a group of students.
4. Go on an extended (3-5 day) cross-country field trip with a teacher & students.*
5. Contact a particular local business or organization regarding possible cooperation.*
6. Help to create a natural area outside the building where students can learn.
Serve on an advisory or decision-making committee.
7. Serve on the school-wide site council.
8. Serve on a school committee that reports to the site council.
9. Serve on a district committee representing the school.
10. Serve as an officer in the school's PTA.
11. Help organize a parent organization for the school.
12. Help design a parent and or student survey for the school.
13. Help conduct and or tabulate results of a parent survey regarding the school.
Share information or advocate for the school.
14. Serve as a member of a 'telephone tree' to distribute information quickly.
15. Write a letter to legislators about the school.
16. Write a letter to school board members about the school.
17. Go to a school board meeting to advocate for the school.
18. Go to another school to provide information about this school.
19. Help design a brochure or booklet about the school.
20. Help translate information from the school into a language other than English.
21. Help translate at a parent-teacher conference for people who don't speak English well.
22. Provide transportation to a parent-teacher conference for a parent who needs a ride.
23. Write an article for publication in a magazine about the school's activities.
24. Help arrange for a political leader (mayor, city council, state representative, member of Congress) to visit the school.
Increase financial resources available to the school.
25. Help write a proposal that would bring new resources to the school.
26. Donate materials to the school.
27. Arrange for a business or other organization to donate materials to the school.
28. Help with a fundraiser for the school.
Help other parents develop their parenting skills.
29. Help teach a class for parents on ways they can be stronger parents.
30. Help produce a videotape for parents on ways they can be more effective parents.
31. Help write, publish, and distribute a list of parenting tips."

These lists are not copyrighted; readers may reproduce them for their own use.

On The Web a Wonderful Resource: 
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Engaging Parents In School… | Going Beyond Parent "Involvement" -