Category Archives: HClinton

A Reading List for Hilary Candidates

Despite the fact that NEA and AFT “endorsed” Hillary Clinton, she is not, IMHO, a strong supporter of public education.

Her math mistake in Iowa (misunderstanding the meaning of average) notwithstanding, she believes that closing schools will help…well…somehow. She said,

Now, I wouldn’t keep any school open that wasn’t doing a better than average job. If a school’s not doing a good job, then, you know, that may not be good for the kids.”

Like other politicians, she believes that closing a school solves problems which result in low achievement. For the most part those problems are based on high levels of poverty. Schools with large numbers of high poverty students need more support. More support equals more tax money. Closing public schools to open charters, or diverting money to private schools through vouchers won’t solve the problems. Shifting students from one school to another won’t solve the problems. Blaming teachers and parents for the low income of families in a school neighborhood won’t solve the problems. What Mrs. Clinton should have said was, “Instead of closing schools we need to bring people out of poverty and provide more support for schools with students who struggle.”

Arne Duncan, when he was CEO of Chicago Public Schools, closed “failing” schools. He then diverted public funds to charter schools. Some of those newly opened, “Duncan” schools were, in turn, closed by Rahm Emanuel, when he closed “failing schools.”

The problem is not that Hillary Clinton made a math mistake or doesn’t understand the meaning of average. The problem is that she wants to attack low achievement through closing schools.

Here’s a short reading list for her…for all candidates, actually.

The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve

Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success

Because we’re in the middle of an election cycle there is lots of discussion about Hilary’s comments. Here are a couple of other articles to read.

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Filed under HClinton, Politics, poverty

NEA: Acting Against Its Own Interest

I’ve never been particularly easy on NEA on this blog…and once again I find myself shaking my head because NEA seems to be acting against its own best interest.

NO ENDORSEMENT

In 2011 I came out against an NEA endorsement of President Obama.

I urge the NEA not to endorse anyone…unless someone comes along who supports public education. As an individual, I will vote for the candidate who, on other issues, most closely fits my beliefs about where the United States should go as a nation, but as an educator I can’t, and won’t, support any of them.

They didn’t listen to me, of course. After the endorsement they came out against Arne Duncan seemingly unaware that Duncan’s work was either directed or approved by the same President Obama they just endorsed for reelection.

The NEA Representative Assembly directs the NEA President to communicate aggressively, forcefully, and immediately to President Barack Obama and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that NEA is appalled with Secretary Duncan’s practice of:

…insert a list of things Arne has done such as supporting local decisions to fire all school staff indiscriminately, focusing too heavily on competitive grants that by design leave most students behind, and focusing so heavily on charter schools…

NO TO TFA

Then, a few months later, I objected to then NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s op-ed written jointly with TFA’s Wendy Kopp which called for the “best preparation possible” for America’s teachers. Did Van Roekel think that TFA’s 5 week training qualified as “best preparation” for teachers?

The presence of Kopp’s name on the editorial implies acceptance of TFA as one of those “best preparation possible” routes.

NO TO GATES MONEY

In June of this year I was pleased to hear NEA President Lily Eskelsen-Garcia say, at the NPE conference, that NEA would not accept money from the Gates Foundation. The cheers from the NPE attendees was loud and long. A few days later she walked back that affirmation. Mercedes Schneider wrote…

But Lily Eskelsen Garcia is willing to defend NEA’s continued receiving of Gates funding on a technicality:

NEA doesn’t directly receive the Gates funding. The NEA Foundation does.

And she completely glosses over her verbal agreement at the NPE conference to no longer even collaborate with Gates.

ANOTHER ENDORSEMENT

Where does Hillary Clinton stand on public education issues? NEA has, with Lily’s approval, already endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination despite her ties to corporate “reformers.” We have learned that she is all for reducing testing…

Reducing the role of testing is something I would like to see, but what about teachers being evaluated by test scores, loss of due process, and loss of collective bargaining rights? What about the connection between poverty and low achievement?

What about Charters? What about Race to the Top, Vouchers, and inequity in funding?

NEA shouldn’t endorse anyone until their positions on public education issues are clear. NEA shouldn’t endorse anyone until the NEA-RA approves. I know that the NEA rules allows the Board to endorse a candidate for a primary…and it’s time to change that. Last election cycle, we endorsed someone whose education policy, Race to the Top, was as destructive to public schools and student learning as was NCLB. Haven’t we learned anything from that?

NOW WHAT?

NEA has joined with other groups to “launch a joint campaign to Elevate Educators.” The fact that Campbell Brown loves it makes me nervous!

I’m also concerned because, aside from NEA and AFT, and a few other groups, the “Partners” in TeachStrong are a collection of “reformers” like

  • Groups such as CCSSO, Deans for Impact, Education Post, TNTP, and others discussed by Peter Greene, in Teach Strong: Real Wrong

It concerns me that NEA has joined with these other groups whose goals include the destruction of public education and the teaching profession.

The Badass Teachers Association had this to say,

A Challenge To The TeachStrong Campaign By: Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director, The Badass Teachers Association

To sum it up the #TeachStrong Campaign is just another corporate education reform coalition that ignores

  • Child poverty
  • Institutional racism
  • Destruction of the local school board
  • Destruction of the teaching profession (specifically targeted at Teachers of Color and Veteran Teachers)
  • Destruction of public education

On its surface, the “campaign” might be something which NEA could, or should support, but when you look who is actually participating it becomes just another group of “reformers” trying to increase their bottom line.

For more on #TeachStrong…

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The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

~~~
Stop the Testing Insanity!
~~~
A Manifesto for a Revolution in Public Education
Click here to sign the petition.

For over a decade…“reformers” have proclaimed that the solution to the purported crisis in education lies in more high stakes testing, more surveillance, more number crunching, more school closings, more charter schools, and more cutbacks in school resources and academic and extra-curricular opportunities for students, particularly students of color. As our public schools become skeletons of what they once were, they are forced to spend their last dollars on the data systems, test guides, and tests meant to help implement the “reforms” but that do little more than line the coffers of corporations, like Pearson, Inc. and Microsoft, Inc.

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Filed under BAT, CampbellBrown, Gates, HClinton, NEA, TFA

I Get a Response From NEA

CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS

Earlier this month I posted about the NEA’s Primary Election endorsement of Hillary Clinton for U.S. President. I included a comment I had written in response to a special ed teacher’s guest blog on Lily Eskelsen-Garcia’s blog.

You can read the guest blog, Proud to Be an Educator for Hillary. Scroll down and you can see a comment. As of this writing, my comment has not been included, however the one comment that is there expresses similar objections to the endorsement. Perhaps mine wasn’t written well enough…or I was too emotional…or confrontational…or impolite. It doesn’t matter. I only mention this to indicate that, apparently, the NEA is willing to read opposing views: something positive.

You can read my comment in my post, Finally, I Rant About NEA’s Endorsement of Hillary.

I submitted an abridged version of my comment a second time. I thought perhaps that it hadn’t been published because it was too long. After that submission, I received a response from NEA which you can read in its entirety at the end of this post.

My point in arguing against the endorsement of Secretary Clinton is not because I disagree with many of her positions on public education, it’s because I don’t know many of her positions on public education. I would argue against the endorsement of any of the three candidates who responded to the NEA’s questionnaire for the same reason.

In her letter to me, Lily provided a link to the interviews she did with the three candidates (all Democrats) who responded to the NEA questionnaire: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders (you can see all the interviews here. Scroll to the bottom section for the complete interviews).

Some of my objections have been answered. Lily asked all three candidates about their views on equality of opportunity, testing, college debt, collective bargaining, and their vision for rescuing the middle class. All three candidates gave essentially the same answers with minimal differences.

  • All children need equality of opportunity and we need to fully fund public education.
  • Too much testing is horrible and we need to fix that.
  • College should be available to all. Debt is bad.
  • Collective bargaining is important for all workers. Unions are important.
  • America’s middle class is shrinking. We need to dump Trickle Down economics and provide health care, a higher minimum wage, and better jobs.

There is nothing about the record of the three candidates on the interview page. There’s a link in the letter from NEA to a summary of Secretary Clinton’s record, but that doesn’t highlight the differences between the candidates. It only tells me, vaguely, what Clinton has done. During the interviews the candidates tooted their own horns freely, so that’s something.

The problem, as I see it, is not that Secretary Clinton is not deserving of NEA’s endorsement. It’s that there is still too much about the candidates that we don’t know. We did this before, with Barack Obama, and for our no-strings-attached support we got Arne Duncan and Race to the Top.

The fault is partially with the candidates. Clinton’s campaign site has a section on K-12 education, but it’s vague and unspecific. Sanders’ and O’Malley’s sites don’t say “boo” about K-12 education. All three discuss universal preschool and affordable college. To earn NEA’s support we ought to get some assurances that we won’t get a DFER, someone who wants to privatize public education, or another Arne Duncan in the office of Secretary of Education.

DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS: WHERE ARE THE DETAILS?

But the lion’s share of the fault is with NEA’s leadership. Where were the questions (or if you asked them, where were the answers) about…

  • Charter schools? I know that Clinton and Sanders are “in favor” of charter schools and that they support charter school accountability, but where are the details?
  • Vouchers? Democrats are generally against vouchers, but in the last few years they have made fewer and fewer comments about vouchers. Where do the candidates stand? Will they work to stop our tax dollars going to religious institutions?
  • No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the reauthorization of ESEA? Where are the questions about the failure of No Child Left Behind, the cost and damaging competition of Race to the Top, and the fact that there is still no renewal of ESEA? Where do they stand on providing support for schools that need more help or are they willing to close schools with high poverty and blame the victims for “failing?”
  • VAM? How do the candidates feel about teacher evaluations being based on student test scores? How about teachers of non-tested areas, such as music and art teachers, being evaluated using reading and math test scores of their students?
  • School letter grades? Should schools be judged by how well their students do on test scores? Is an A school simply one in which the children score high on the state standardized test?
  • Due process? Where do the candidates stand on due process (aka tenure) for K-12 teachers?
  • National Teacher shortage? How will the candidates relieve the national teacher shortage? How will they encourage more students to go into education?
  • Common Core? We know Lily loves her some Common Core, but not all of us do. I find many of the early childhood standards to be developmentally inappropriate. Where do the candidates stand on this issue?
  • The U.S. Education Department? Do they want to save the USED? Right now it’s filled with privatizers, DFERs, and “reformers.” How will a Clinton (or Sanders, or O’Malley) administration differ?

Lily, your questions about equality of opportunity, testing, college debt, collective bargaining, and the middle class were good; The candidates’ desire for universal preschool and affordable college is admirable. But it’s not enough. In the last two presidential elections the NEA supported President Obama because he said the right things. That’s not enough any more. I want more details. We still don’t know if any of these candidates support the corporate privatization of public education. I could make an educated guess, but it would have been nice if my professional association asked more detailed questions, or provided us with the answers to more detailed questions.

The candidates need to earn our endorsement. We need details, not vague references. We need assurances, not campaign sites that don’t even acknowledge the major issues facing today’s public schools, public school teachers, and public school students.

NEA’S RESPONSE TO MY COMMENT

Replying to your message about NEA’s presidential primary recommendation
from 2016presidential@nea.org

…Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts surrounding NEA’s recent primary recommendation of Hillary Clinton for president. I want to spend a few moments highlighting our process since February and, ultimately, our decision to move forward with the Clinton recommendation.
NEA members and leaders have engaged in our primary presidential recommendation process since last February, identifying and reaching out to nearly 25 candidates from both major political parties. Throughout this process, we asked for input from candidates and, equally important, did our best to highlight candidates’ positions on education issues for members like you. Throughout the last few months, we distributed a candidate comparison highlighting each candidate’s positions, hosted a tele-town hall with members to discuss the presidential field, and provided updated candidate positions via social media.

Just three candidates – Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders – met with me to discuss their positions on the issues. Afterward, I made it a priority to ensure all three taped interviews were distributed to NEA members and leaders throughout the country, which you can view right now.

These interviews remind all of us that each candidate is a dear friend of strong public schools and the students and children we work with, and Hillary Clinton’s proven track record, coupled with her comments throughout the recommendation process, is why I brought a recommendation for Secretary Clinton to the NEA PAC Council and Board of Directors for their consideration. Their discussions were thoughtful and robust, and our Board was able to spend time with Secretary Clinton on Saturday to discuss our issues.

Throughout this process, I am proud that NEA’s members and its leaders have had the opportunity to speak on this recommendation, and today I believe there is too much at stake to remain on the sidelines. Please continue to share your views, and go to Strong Public Schools for updates.

Only together can we work to ensure the next president ensures every child has a quality public education regardless of zip code.

Gracias,
Lily

*******************************************************************
Only the individual sender is responsible for the content of the
message, and the message does not necessarily reflect the position
or policy of the National Education Association or its affiliates.

~~~

The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

~~~
Stop the Testing Insanity!
~~~
A Manifesto for a Revolution in Public Education
Click here to sign the petition.

For over a decade…“reformers” have proclaimed that the solution to the purported crisis in education lies in more high stakes testing, more surveillance, more number crunching, more school closings, more charter schools, and more cutbacks in school resources and academic and extra-curricular opportunities for students, particularly students of color. As our public schools become skeletons of what they once were, they are forced to spend their last dollars on the data systems, test guides, and tests meant to help implement the “reforms” but that do little more than line the coffers of corporations, like Pearson, Inc. and Microsoft, Inc.

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Filed under Election, EskelsenGarcia, HClinton, NEA, O'Malley, Obama, Sanders

Finally, I Rant about NEA’s Endorsement of Hillary

Ok…so it took a while and everyone else has probably already said everything there is to say about the NEA supporting Hillary for President in the primaries, but I was looking around at blogs and I read one that triggered a rant.

The stimulus that finally got me going was a guest blogger on Lily’s blog who was Proud to Be an Educator for Hillary.

I have nothing against the teacher who wrote the blog and I did follow her link to Hillary’s Education platform on NEA’s server which said all the right things…well not all of the right things, but some of the right things. Missing, however, was detail about how those things would be accomplished and what they would be replaced with…for example,

Hillary Clinton supports reducing the role of standardized tests in public education, and she supports NEA’s push to create an opportunity dashboard, understanding the multiple measures that we must address and monitor to truly close the opportunity achievement gaps between students. She has committed to fighting to provide equal opportunity to have access to arts education, school nurses, librarians, and counselors, and funding so all students can succeed, regardless of their ZIP code.

Sounds great, right? Reducing the role of testing is something I would like to see, but what about teachers being evaluated by test scores, loss of due process, and loss of collective bargaining rights? What about the connection between poverty and low achievement?

Furthermore, how does her policy differ from that of Bernie Sanders? Martin O’Malley? Lawrence Lessig (did you even know he was running? Read Republic, Lost)? or other candidates?

Mrs. Clinton may indeed be the candidate we ought to support, however, I think we need to have more information before we endorse someone.

Here’s what I wrote as a response to An Educator for Hillary (I’ve fixed a couple of typos, added a link, and made one sentence bold).

The NEA board has decided for the rest of us that there is no need to get any assurances that our endorsement for a candidate will bring support for public education other than some vague references to “every child and teacher will get support.”

What is Hillary’s stand on Charter schools and the massive amounts of corruption which privatization has brought to so many states and school districts? More accountability? What does accountability mean for charter schools? More tests? Publicly elected school boards? Open enrollment or will Charters still be allowed to skim the cream? Will charters still be allowed to hire “teachers” with no credentials?

What is Hillary’s stand on the Common Core? We know Lily loves it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not developmentally inappropriate. What about the cut scores manipulated by state houses and governors in order to “prove that public education is failing?” What about the overuse and misuse of standardized testing — both Common Core related and otherwise?

What is Hillary’s stand on vouchers? Will there be any attempt to do away with public tax money going to religious schools?

What about due process for K-12 teachers (aka tenure)? Collective bargaining? Where are the details to Hillary’s education platform? What about test based evaluations? What about Teacher for America?

Why didn’t we get (or get to see) the details BEFORE we endorsed someone?

In 2008 we endorsed President Obama who “sincerely” told us that we didn’t devote our lives to testing…we devoted our lives to teaching and teaching is what we ought to be allowed to do. That, and a “seat at the table” was enough for us…endorsement done. Look what we got…Arne Duncan — who never set foot in a public school as either a student or a teacher — and Race to the Top which doubled down on No Child Left Behind’s labeling of low test takers as losers. Arne Duncan, who cheered when an entire school full of teachers in Rhode Island were fired because the school was “low achieving” (aka filled with high poverty students). Arne Duncan, who manipulated federal dollars meant for low income students so that it became a contest to see which states could raise the caps on Charters fast enough and evaluate teachers based on test scores.

A seat at the table? Haven’t we learned anything?

~~~

The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

~~~
Stop the Testing Insanity!
~~~
A Manifesto for a Revolution in Public Education
Click here to sign the petition.

For over a decade…“reformers” have proclaimed that the solution to the purported crisis in education lies in more high stakes testing, more surveillance, more number crunching, more school closings, more charter schools, and more cutbacks in school resources and academic and extra-curricular opportunities for students, particularly students of color. As our public schools become skeletons of what they once were, they are forced to spend their last dollars on the data systems, test guides, and tests meant to help implement the “reforms” but that do little more than line the coffers of corporations, like Pearson, Inc. and Microsoft, Inc.

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Filed under Duncan, Election, EskelsenGarcia, HClinton, NCLB, NEA, Obama, Race to the Top

2015 Medley #12

Limiting Teachers’ Free Speech, Hillary Clinton, Poverty, Sagan,
Teacher Crisis, Reading

 

IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE DEPARTMENT

Politicians tell educators, “Shut up! You have no freedom of speech.”

In Indiana, teachers and other government employees are prohibited from using their work emails for political messaging (See Indiana Code 3-14-1-17), but free speech for educators in Arizona and New Mexico is limited even more. The amendment referred to below effectively prohibits Arizona teachers from saying anything about any legislation…

In the 2015 legislative session, the AZ House passed an amendment to Senate Bill 1172 that places a gag order on any school employee who publicly protests legislative action. The bill “prohibits an employee of a school district or charter school, acting on the district’s or charter school’s behalf, from distributing electronic materials to influence the outcome of an election or to advocate support for or opposition to pending or proposed legislation.”

And the New Mexico Administrative Code prohibits school staff members from saying anything which disparages standardized tests!

6.10.7.11 STAFF RESPONSIBILITY:
C. It shall be a prohibitive practice for anyone to:
(8) disparage or diminish the significance, importance or use of the standardized tests.

FOOL ME ONCE…

Am I Ready for Hillary?

Blogger Peter Greene (Curmudgucation) remembers how we were fooled into thinking that Democrats support public education…and how Andrew Cuomo and Barack Obama have proven that assumption completely wrong.

Is there any reason to expect Hillary Clinton to denounce the Gates/Broad plan for public education? Probably not, since the Gates Foundation is a major supporter of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Eli Broad was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2008 and probably will be again.

Is there any candidate or political party who will speak out against the privatization and corporatization of public education?

I have never been a single-issue voter, but my profession has never been so attacked, besieged and crushed under policymakers’ boots. So I will not, not under any circumstances, vote for any candidate who gives me the slightest inkling that she (or he) is planning to give me four more years like the last fifteen. I don’t care if you’re promising me a pony and your opponent is threatening to send locusts to my home town– if you aren’t going to change the destructive, educationally abusive, mandatory malpractice policies of the previous two administrations, I will not vote for you, period, full stop.

See also: Hillary Clinton Feels Common Core Pain

POVERTY MATTERS

What Can We Agree On, After Atlanta?

Those who claim “poverty isn’t destiny” and “poverty is no excuse” are often those who have failed in their responsibility to reduce societal poverty. John Merrow calls out the hypocrisy of deflecting all the responsibility to teachers and schools.

To me, the biggest hypocrites are those who preach, “Poverty can never be offered as an excuse” (for poor student performance) but then do nothing to alleviate poverty and its attendant conditions. What they are saying, bottom line, is “It’s the teachers’ fault” when kids in poverty-ridden schools do poorly on tests or fail to graduate.

These preachers disguise their mendacity with words of praise for teachers, calling them ‘heroes whose brave work changes the lives of their fortunate students blah blah blah.’ Sounds great, but when it comes from those who discount all the other factors that affect outcomes, it’s hypocrisy. They’re setting up teachers and schools to be blamed.

How satisfying and convenient to have a simple, easy-to-grasp analysis. And how hypocritical.

Study links brain anatomy, academic achievement, and family income

Just in case there are any doubts…poverty matters.

“Just as you would expect, there’s a real cost to not living in a supportive environment. We can see it not only in test scores, in educational attainment, but within the brains of these children,” says MIT’s John Gabrieli, the Grover M. Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, and one of the study’s authors. “To me, it’s a call to action. You want to boost the opportunities for those for whom it doesn’t come easily in their environment.”

ON BEING BAMBOOZLED BY “REFORMERS”

THE COMING TEACHER CRISIS

Fewer education majors, and worries about where tomorrow’s teachers will come from

The current hatred that the media, policy makers, and pundits have for professional educators is going to backfire on Americans. The real teacher crisis isn’t “bad teachers.” It’s the deprofessionalizing of the teaching profession by “reformers.”

In Indiana, for example, rather than create an incentive for high achieving students to go into education using competitive wages, professional autonomy (i.e. self-direction, which legislators nationwide seem to be actively discouraging), and self-directed, meaningful professional development, we have lowered the standards for becoming a teacher.

Why would legislators, members of state boards of education, and even the most devout “reformers” want to lower the qualifications for teaching when “bad teachers” is one of the main rallying cries of GERM, the Global Education “Reform” Movement? Why are untrained teachers such as those now allowed by Indiana, or new recruits coming from Teach for America preferred when we know that training and experience matter for student achievement?

Perhaps it’s because privately run schools such as charter schools don’t pay teachers as much as public schools. Since those schools are receiving more and more taxpayer dollars they find themselves in a quandary; Follow the rules for public schools or lose the money. Legislatures, state boards of education, and governors, all of whom want to support school privatization, are lowering the requirements for teachers so private corporations can lower personnel costs and maximize profits.

Rather than increasing the quality of America’s educators, we’re diluting it. The “reformers” demonize teachers and by doing so chase good teachers out of the profession and disincentivize prospective teachers from seeking careers in education. We’re doing the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

Nor have the full effects of the enrollment slowdown been realized. The real struggle is expected to crest in several years when school districts search for new teachers from a shrinking pool of qualified educators.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” says Alisa Chapman, a UNC system vice-president for academic and university programs who is closely tracking the enrollment declines in UNC system education programs. “It’s going to be more challenging for our public schools to find teachers that they need for their classrooms.”

American teachers, more demoralized than ever, are quitting in droves

…there is little evidence to show that any of this has worked, even by the reformers’ criteria for success in testing and evaluation methods such as, “valued added measures” and standardized tests scores. In fact, years of these “disruptive innovations” have resulted in a situation today of poor job satisfaction for teachers….

…the turnover rate in the teaching profession is on the rise. The report for the Alliance for Excellent Education estimated that “over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.”

HOW TO ENCOURAGE A LOVE OF READING

Don’t read because you should

If you want students to learn that reading is a rewarding experience then you ought to let them read whatever they want to read. P.Z. Myers, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota (Morris), writes about learning to enjoy reading by reading Edgar Rice Burroughs and comic books.

If you’re only interested in students learning to read because they have to pass a test, then ignore this…

…beware the attitude that you should tell people what they should read: what you’re doing isn’t ennobling their mind, it’s teaching them that reading is a chore and an obligation, and that it isn’t fun at all…

My philosophy is always to encourage a passion — if you are devoted enough to start devouring books on any topic, eventually you’ll find enjoyable and educational stuff on your own. But the key step is to foster pleasure in reading anything.

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The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

~~~
Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Filed under Arizona, Article Medleys, Election, HClinton, NewMexico, poverty, reading, Sagan, Teaching Career, WhyTeachersQuit