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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Peter Greene: The Very Best Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts

The Very Best Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts

The Very Best Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts

Since 1984, the PTA has designated the first week in May as Teacher Appreciation Week. The week is marked by lots of discounts from various vendors, suggestions for pretty decorations, and even social media ideas. There's actually a theme: Teachers are out of this world. Pinterest is loaded with ideas. Some of it is pretty cheesy, and some of it is pretty ephemeral. If you really want to show appreciation to a teacher, what is your best option?
When I was in elementary school, I was an awkward mess of flailing limbs. But our gym teacher was great at crafting activities that helped build confidence and inclusiveness instead of sparking Darwinian playground struggles. I appreciated it, but maybe not as much as my parents did. They wrote him a lovely note, thanking him for helping me grow and become more confident. I know this, because decades later when I was back working with him as a teacher in the same district, he still had that letter. When he retired from public education and started teaching in a college teaching program and traveling as a motivational speaker, he still had the letter, saved in a file with other letters like it.
I have a file like that. So do many other teachers. You can give a teacher flowers, but they die. Food is great, but short-lived. Tchotchkes gather dust, though they do look cute on a desk. I taught CONTINUE READING: The Very Best Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts

REDUX: Teacher Appreciation Week is a Pathetic Joke! | gadflyonthewallblog

Teacher Appreciation Week is a Pathetic Joke! | gadflyonthewallblog

Teacher Appreciation Week is a Pathetic Joke!

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, America!
All over the country, millions of educators can look forward to a free burrito. Or maybe an Arby’s sandwich. Or a complimentary donut.
Because we REALLY appreciate teachers here.
What a pathetic joke!
I don’t mean to seem ungrateful.
I’ll redeem my coupon at Chipotle. I’ll take that Roast Beef Classic. I’ll grab that Dunkin’ Cruller.
But let’s be honest. These cheesy buy-one-get-one coupons don’t demonstrate appreciation. They’re guilt.
They’re a manifestation of the feeling that we SHOULD appreciate teachers, but don’t. Not really.
Not for one week, not for one day!
Why else would we begrudge them a middle class income? Why else would we provide them with so few resources and so much responsibility? Why else would we bar them from making any meaningful decisions about how their students should be taught yet hold them accountable for everything their students do?
Appreciate teachers? We don’t LISTEN to them. We don’t RESPECT them. Many of us don’t even LIKE them.
The only time we value teachers is when a maniac enters a school with a gun. Then – when they protect our children with their very lives – then we praise them as heroes!
On that day and that day only. But every other day – not so much.
We won’t do anything to keep guns out of the hands of school shooters. At most we want to arm teachers – Great! Something else to be responsible for on top of education, counseling and children’s all around well-being. But otherwise, we won’t do anything to help teachers do their jobs. And we certainly won’t listen to their professional opinions on anything!
That would be living in a culture of life. But we live in a culture of death.
We do the barest minimum for children – especially poor and minority kids. Instead we invest in parasitic business interests that provide zero value for students and parents.
We’ve got nothing for teachers or proven educational practices but we throw public CONTINUE READING: Teacher Appreciation Week is a Pathetic Joke! | gadflyonthewallblog

The Best Teacher Appreciation Gift - Teacher Habits

The Best Teacher Appreciation Gift - Teacher Habits

The Best Teacher Appreciation Gift

It’s teacher appreciation week and all across the country, appreciative parents are looking for ways to express their gratitude (at least, that’s what I tell myself). The best teacher appreciation gift I ever received cost the giver nothing but 10 minutes of her time. If you want to make a teacher’s day this week, do what she did:
1. Sit down with your children and ask them who their favorite teachers are. 
2. Ask them, “What are three things you like about this teacher?” 
3. Write an email to those teachers and tell them what your child told you.
4. Click the little CC button and enter the email addresses of the CONTINUE READING: The Best Teacher Appreciation Gift - Teacher Habits

Note to the Kappan: Illinois state school underfunding undermines equity, not teacher pensions. – Fred Klonsky

Note to the Kappan: Illinois state school underfunding undermines equity, not teacher pensions. – Fred Klonsky


The latest issue of the education magazine, The Kappan, addresses education funding inequality.
One article blames teacher pensions.
Why not blame teachers and our pensions for public school underfunding?
The authors , James V. Shuls, Collin Hitt and Robert M. Costrell, try to make the case that Illinois’ teacher pensions are responsible for the funding inequality in our state.
Their footnotes suggest they rely heavily on the Illinois Policy Institute and Bellweather Education Partners as sources.
Both outfits are known for the contempt with which they consider our contractual retirement benefits.
Illinois is at the bottom of most lists of states ranked on the the basis of state funding for education. It is also at the bottom of the list of states ranked on the basis of state funding of our teacher pension.
How then is it possible that state pension funding is responsible for inequitable school funding when both are underfunded?
The answer is that it is not.
The central issue for inequality in Illinois school funding is the racism inherent in a school funding system based on local taxes. Poor districts have less money for schools. A recent Illinois school funding bill did little to fundamentally change the lack of CONTINUE READING: Note to the Kappan: Illinois state school underfunding undermines equity, not teacher pensions. – Fred Klonsky


CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: May Day Edition (5/5)

May Day Edition

Read, read, read. Share, share, share.

It's Not Like You Weren't Warned 

Dad Gone Wild gives us a look on the ground at the messes in Tennessee and Memphis

Betsy DeVos Has No Idea Who Alexander Hamilton Is 

A lesson for DeVos on Hamilton's place in US history and why he is not her BFF

The F-Bomb in Texas    

A new problem on the STAAR test.

Charter School Controversy in Rural Alabama

So many of the problems with the charter biz are right here in this tale of an Alabama charter.

Zuck turned American Classrooms into Nonconsensual Laboratories

Cory Doctorrow's brutal take on Summit Learning

Lawmaker's Role in Unusual Charter Arrangement  

One more wretched story from Florida, where apparently nothing qualifies as conflict of interest.

The Best School Innovation Would Be More People 

Steven Singer has some thoughts about what would actually help.

Newark Charter Schools Complaint     

The complaint is that the system didn't send them as many students as they asked for. Who does the choosing in school choice?

Why Teens Don't Talk To Us

Good insights and practical advice about how to connect personally a bit better with the teens in your classroom.

Florida's Charter Sector Is a Real Mess 

Carol Burris takes a look a just how much of a mess (spoiler alert: a huge one).

CURMUDGUCATION: ICYMI: May Day Edition (5/5)

PersonAOLized Learning
If you are of a Certain Age, you have fond memories of America OnLine . You grabbed one of those magical discs that arrived in the mail like Harry Potter's unthwartable Hogwarts invitations. You stuck it in your computer, listened to the modem beep and boop and finally hissssss like R2D2 had just fatally assaulted a snake. Then a portal opened up, promising a variety of channels with a dizzying as

MAY 02

Is Your School Year Over Already?
Depending on which state you live in, your schools are now, or are about to be, entering testing season. It's the magical time of year when your schools must subject students to the annual Big Standardized Test, a narrow slice of testing aimed at reading and math skills. In most states, the stakes are high, including the rating of the school itself as well as the professional ratings for the teac

MAY 01

Florida Really Is The Worst
There are plenty of states in the country that are not very friendly to public education, but Florida under its new governor has established itself as the very worst state for public education. The worst. Its hatred of public school teachers and its absolute determination to dismantle public education so that it can sell off the pieces to privatizers and profiteers puts the sunshine state in the

APR 30

Why It's Important To Say There Is No Teacher Shortage
I've been saying it . Tim Slekar has been saying it . Other people who aren't even directly tied to teaching have been saying it . There is no teacher shortage. There's a slow-motion walkout, a one-by-one exodus, a piecemeal rejection of the terms of employment for educators in 2019. Why is it important to keep saying this? Why keep harping on this point? Because if you don't correctly identify t

APR 29

OH: The Ongoing Fight To End School Takeovers
I have been watching events unfold in Lorain, Ohio, site of both my first job and an absolute clusterfrick of epic proportions It's time for an update. You can find the complete story so far starting here , but the short form is that Ohio has a bone stupid law known as HB 70, passed using underhanded legislative shenanigans in order to get it run through quickly and without public discussion. The

APR 28

Have We Stolen a Generation's Independent Thought?
"Kids these days," the complaint begins. "They cannot think for themselves." The complaint has come across my desk three times this week, voiced by someone in the higher education world complaining about the quality of student arriving in their ivy-covered halls. It's worth noting that the observation itself has no particular objective, evidence-based support. There's no college student independe
ICYMI: Post-Easter Chill Edition (4/28)
In my neck of the woods, we figure that spring can't arrive until there has been a post-Easter snow. We appear to be working on tht today. So while we sip our hot chocolate of shivery bitterness, here are some current readings to absorb and-- please-- share! Choice As A Substitute For Adequacy Did states deal with the Great Recession by expanding choice to cover their cuts to public education? Sch

APR 27

Charter Lessons From Democracy Prep
I was as unimpressed as anyone when education privatization fan Campbell Brown launched the 74 site as a platform for the same old "Charters schools rule, public schools drool" song and dance. But since that launch, and particularly since Brown stepped away from the site, the straight journalism side of the operation has done some commendable work (though the propaganda side is still frying up its

APR 26

Another Free Market Lesson
Even as Florida continues its race to become the first state to completely do away with public education and replace it with a free market free for all, lessons abound in why that's a lousy idea. This frickin ' guy. At Tarbell, Simon Davis-Cohen takes us on a trip to I owa where an ALEC governor privatized Medicaid. Former governor Terry Branstad was a founding member of the American Legislative E

APR 25

Is AI A Game-Changer For Education (International Edition)?
Sometimes it's informative to see how some of this stuff is playing out in other settings. A post on Entrepreneur India makes the claim that " Artificial Intelligence Can be a Game-Changer for Education, Here are 5 Reasons Why " and its five arguments are, well, intriguing. The post is from Vishal Meena from the start-up MadGuy Labs , an Indian on-line test prep company that promises to prep you f

APR 24

Using Cultural Competency To Sell Personalized [sic] Learning
Over at EdTechTimes, a site that for a consulting group that clearly is interested in pushing personalized [sic] learning, I found a podcast by Mariel Cariker entitled " Cultural Competency: Finding Ways To Bring Equity Through Personalized Learning. " (It is accompanied by a transcript.) The podcast is sponsored by TeachPlus. Like many of the arguments being used to push PL, it's an odd little mi

APR 22

Guest Post: The True Cost of College
I've known Beth Pfohl for years. She was a top student in my Honors English class, and years before that I cast her as Annie in our community theater production. When she was a senior, I installed her as editor of the yearbook. She's an exceptional human being. Beth is currently finishing up her college education at Miami of Ohio, and it is from that vantage point that she wrote the following pos

APR 21

ICYMI: Easter Edition (4/21)
One of my favorite holidays is today, but whether you celebrate or not, here's some reading from the past week to feed your brain. Against Metrics: How measuring performance by numbers backfires . Not directly tied to education (though the subject comes up), this piece takes a look at the problems of people who think numbers are magical. If we don't work on pedagogy, nothing else matters . One of

APR 20

When Local Control Turns Toxic
I am a fan of local control for school districts, but I'm not going to pretend that under the wrong circumstances it won't produce some terrible results. EdBuild has just issued a report on a troubling phenomenon-- the secession of wealthy