Why teachers should be running things

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Why teachers should be running things


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I Will Derive

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I Will Derive


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Place Blame For School Cuts Where It’s Due

    We have not been covering the budget cuts in NYC because there's been so much coverage elsewhere, especially on the NYC Parent blog and listserve.
    Leonie Haimson writes (note her comment on the NY Times as MIA).

    I want everyone to read the excellent editorial in the Queens Chronicle – far more on target than the NY Post or the Daily news– both of which have written intemperate, inaccurate and biased editorials about the budget cuts to schools, blaming the City council and the State Legislature respectively, instead of where the true responsibility clearly lies – on the shoulders of the mayor and the chancellor.

    The Chronicle editorial is also far better than anything that the NY Times is likely to write on the subject. The Times editorial page, as usual, continues to be missing in action on this and nearly every other important issue that relates our schools in this city.

    Place Blame For School Cuts Where It’s Due


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Place Blame For School Cuts Where It’s Due


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Key to Success in "Raising" the NYC Grad Rate Discovered

    "I was sitting in an Assistant Principal’s office the other day when a guidance counselor walked in. The Assistant Principal smiled. “There she is! The queen of credit recovery!”

    I just couldn’t help myself. “I’m sorry. Did you just say credit recovery? Wasn’t that due about a month ago?”

    The AP nodded. ‘We’re having a hard time getting the kids to hand in their papers. But not Ms. Counselor, here. She tracks them down and makes them give the work to her!”

    The young guidance counselor smiled proudly and handed him the paper."

    Read on http://avoicecriesout.com/?p=158

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Key to Success in "Raising" the NYC Grad Rate Discovered


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Where is Leo Casey and Edwize on Test Boycott? UPDATED

    Fred Klonsky at PreaPrez wants to know how the UFT has responded in supporting the teacher in the student testing boycott case? He writes:
    One of their leaders, Leo Casey, seems to have no problem finding time to writing on EdWize, the UFT blog, long, very long theoretical critiques of G. William Domhoff’s analysis of the power elite. This is something I’m sure his rank-and-file members have been salivating to read. Yet not a word about Doug Avella and the students of I.S. 318.


    We're sure the UFT is doing what it always does in cases like these: provide a rep and inform the teacher of his rights, which as a probationary teacher are few. They will claim they are negotiating behind the scenes and therefore must remain quiet.


    Students need support too

    WHAT DID MR. AVELLA SAY AND WHEN DID HE SAY IT?

    Coming soon: Waterboarding as a staple of DOE investigations

    What about the public aspect of the situation? That a teacher discusses an issue with his classes, the kids take some action, and the teacher is immediately blamed and sent to the rubber room. Remember. The kids have supposedly taken 22 standardized tests this year and this was one of those practice types that ARIS, which is not working effectively, is supposed to deal with.

    It seems the UFT should use its pulpit to shout about this case loud and clear. They may very well argue that publicity would hurt the teacher. I disagree. His best chances would seem to come from embarassing the DOE to the extreme over the use of Gestapo tactics against the kids and teacher.

    “We’ve had a whole bunch of these diagnostic tests all year,” Tatiana Nelson, 13, one of the protest leaders, said Tuesday outside the school. “They don’t even count toward our grades. The school system’s just treating us like test dummies for the companies that make the exams.”

    Sounds like no harm, no foul.

    Sources tell us the children were threatened with No GRADUATION or PROM if they didn't comply and rat the teacher out and Avella's program is being covered by a substitute. Is it a good thing for the kids to lose a popular teacher at this point in the year? And what of the bigger lesson of threats and intimidation? Where's the outrage at the violation of these children by the system? Anyone out there in the regressive reform movement who are so concerned about achievment gaps in the abstract?

    BRING AVELLA BACK TO HIS KIDS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR FOR THE SAKE OF THE KIDS!

    Where's the NY press which is always talking about how much money is being wasted by the rubber room? Do you get a clue why teachers need tenure? If Avella had tenure he would be in a much stronger position. In fact, when Joel Klein and the regressive ed reformers try to make the case for the elimination of tenure, respond with these two words: Doug Avella.

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Where is Leo Casey and Edwize on Test Boycott? UPDATED


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Dissidents in the UFT are divisive...

    ...or so goes the UFT/Unity line. But they undoubtedly support a Clinton protest in Washington to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations because that is democracy.

    Hmmm. As the lead in the article says:
    The cracks in the divided Democratic Party just got a little deeper.


    So what if it divides the Party? Maybe the Democratic Party needs division.
    I don't object to a protest. More democracy, I say.

    It is the hypocrisy of the UFT leadership I object too. When ICE and TJC ran campaigns against Randi and the 2005 contract: DIVIDERS, AGENTS OF BLOOMKLEIN were hurled at us. Remember when Randi tried to run unopposed in 2004 by buying off the then opposition, New Action? That was why ICE got started and worked with TJC to try to rebuild an opposition practically from scratch.

    Then when we won 6 out of 89 on the Executive Board they went crazy over having to deal with them and came up with a strategy to get even these 6 off the Board by co-endorsing 8 useless New Action people who sit there mute.

    But when it comes to Hillary, they will give you the holier than thou "Let the democratic process play itself out."

    Coming soon: Randi and Leo Casey attack me - on a blog in Chicago.

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Dissidents in the UFT are divisive...


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Thank a Teacher - Better Than Any Praise by Any Supervisor

    Fourth graders Maria, Daphne and Diane, 1981, most likely on one of our (numerous) trips.

    Wednesday night's News Hour had a decent report on teachers, focusing on the NY State teacher of the year. She said some very good things.

    The report ended with the observation that when polled as to the thing they wanted most – no, they did not mention merit pay – teachers said they want to be thanked. At least once in a while.

    The Highest Form of Accountability:
    Praise from a former student

    For me, it's been a long time since I was in a position to be thanked. I was a very confident teacher but over time I have forgotten what it was that made me so confident. Doubts have arisen as to just how good a teacher I was.

    So when the email below (and picture) came about 3 weeks ago I was quite surprised. And needless to say, pleased. That it was from a 4th grade student from 1981 who now has 2 children of her own, made this very special. And even though she was around 10 years old at the time, she seemed to get me as a teacher. Ironically, the other teacher she mentions was so totally opposite to me in almost every way (also the principal's favorite just as I was the principal's least favorite.)

    Maria, in one of the 2 top classes I ever had, was among my 3-5 most proficient students. And probably the best math student ever. She doubted I remembered who she was. I told her when we spoke that I wouldn't forget one of the few students I had who went to Stuyvesant HS. Maria (and her friends) left a lasting impression on me. Her dad, who was an older gentleman (in a very embarrassing moment I asked him if he was her grandfather) was always there to bring her to school in the morning and pick her up in the afternoon – a wonderful gentleman, and in spite of Maria's giving me credit for stimulating her interest in math, the true source of that interest. I really think he knew more than me. She told me he died 4 years ago in his 90's.

    You hear the word "accountability," sure, like no one was ever accountable until the regressive ed movement came along. I always felt accountable – to the people that mattered most – the students and the parents. I couldn't care less what supervisors thought (unless I respected them.) A student opinion, especially after a generation, means more than any award or merit pay one can get. I bet most teachers agree.

    The last time I saw Maria I took her and some other students to a college prep class in Manhattan. She was about 17 and on the way to college. We're hoping to get together soon.


    Good Afternoon Norman,

    In my search to find a good school for my 6 and 3 year old daughters, I started to recall my own elementary school experience.

    With that, it brought me to remember two teachers who brought something unique to the classroom and sparked my interest in learning.

    You were one of those teachers and Ms. DeMarinas was the other.

    I am sure that you do not recall the names and faces of all the children you taught over the years, but I am quite sure that you left your impression on each of them, as I am one of them.

    I was enrolled in your class as a 4th Grader in PS 147 in Brooklyn in 1981.

    Academically, I recall a wonderful multiplication table that sparked my love of math. I also remember that on Mondays you would assign us ten random words that we would need to incorporate into a storyline by Friday…that was my favorite!

    But it was your spirit and love of life that I remember best. In the mornings, you would select a few kids off the line to come help set up the classroom before school began. Getting called up to your classroom was something of the equivalent of getting waved over to Johnny Carson's couch…for that is when the magic happened!

    It was during this time that you introduced me to John Lennon, Randy Newman and everytime I hear Wherewolves of London I still think of you!

    You strived to inspire inner city children to a world outside of their own…and for some of us, it stuck.

    So here I am, researching schools and decided to google your name…and there you were!

    My name in 1981 was Maria A-. I was best friends with Diane and Daphne. We remain close friends to this day.

    I have attached a picture of the three of us in elementary school…and who knows, our faces might look slightly familiar to you.

    (From left to right: me, Daphne and Diane)

    I am now a mother of two beautiful daughters and today I have come full circle as I begin to chart their academic lives!

    Hope things are well for you and it has made me very happy to be able to reach out to you today.

    Sincerely,

    Maria

    THANK YOU, MARIA

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Thank a Teacher - Better Than Any Praise by Any Supervisor


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That RFK Thing: Piling on Hillary -Updated


    This blog has been pretty rough on Hillary Clinton, but this flack over her RFK assassination issue is a case of piling on. How can any of us who lived through 1968 forget any of it, especially since we were so young at the time? That it's exactly 40 years later with so many similarities is so freaky. I don't think she was making a bad point.

    I am not an outright Obama supporter and think some of his stuff is pretty conservative, but I will probably vote for him, as opposed to some more left Green party or even Nader.

    Let's not forget that Hillary has about 50% of the Democratic Party support. And, no, I do not think she should drop out. Why not take it to the convention? Lincoln won on the 4th ballot and I don't think he led on any of the first three, running 4th initially.
    Will all this help McCain? Maybe, maybe not. I'm for the most democracy we can have.
    Now, if only the Hillary support network led by the UFT would allow a bit of democracy to shine so Obama supporters get to say their piece.

    Oh, and let's not neglect to mention the shameful performance of Unity Caucus lapdogs New Action Caucus, where some of their members furtively pass around anti-Hillary literature but remain silent at Executive Board and Delegate Assembly meetings.

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That RFK Thing: Piling on Hillary -Updated


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I went up to Teachers College for an interview ...

    ... last week where Simon Doolittle asked me many of the same questions Charlie Rose asked Randi Weingarten (her video here). I think I did a better job than she did (which was not hard.) And future journalist Simon did a better job than Rose in framing the questions and we engaged in a very stimulating dialogue. I don't know when (or if) the interview will be posted, but check out the work they do over at After Ed: http://aftered.tv/.

    Check out Simon's "The Education of John Deerdon" in the featured video section.

    I asked Simon my own questions.
    Did he believe Deerdon's difficulties were due to lack of literacy or the achievement gap in general? In other words, would John Deerdon have gone to college right out of high school if he had been in, say, a KIPP school? Or would the streets have gotten him anyway?

    I asked Simon these questions because of the number of my former students who were not behind academically at the elementary school level and certainly had the tools to succeed in school, but ended up not doing so for so many reasons beyond school and why the closing achievement gap focus is so narrow a way of attacking the problem. I mean, how many former students who you had great hopes for have to end up in jail or become pregnant at 14 for you to say, "Houston, we've got a problem. And it ain't soley due to the achievement (gag) gap.

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I went up to Teachers College for an interview ...


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Support for Doug Avella Builds

    PLEASE WRITE TO CHANCELLOR KLEIN IN SUPPORT OF A TEACHER WHO TEACHES CRITICAL THINKING

    To all those in favor of critical thought,


    You have most likely heard about the situation in the Bronx at IS 318. On May 13 six classes of 8th graders staged a boycott in protest to being forced to take another standardized test, one of over two dozen this year. They boycotted one of the practice tests. An 8th grade social studies teacher, Douglas Avella, was falsely accused of instigating the students to boycott, and he is already in the rubber room and likely to lose his job entirely. Over the past week, a number of news articles and editorials have come out, including coverage from Juan Gonzalez and on WBAI's Democracy Now, and there has been a huge outpouring of concern and support for the teacher and the students. Recently, there have been a few other cases of testing boycotts in other U.S. cities, but this is the first one that we have heard about that was initiated by students. The students of I.S. 318 thought critically about their education, organized with each other, and then decided to take action. Their actions should be celebrated. The students and their teacher should be applauded and their message of urgency about the current state of high-stakes testing in our schools taken seriously.


    We need to let the DOE know that we need more teachers like Douglas Avella. We need more educators who listen to their students, take their ideas and experiences seriously, and make it possible for them to respond thoughtfully and critically to their world.

    The students of I.S. 318 stood up for what they thought was right. They have been taught by a beloved teacher whose job is now in jeopardy. It is critical that we stand up right now and show our support for Doug Avella and his students. Please send an email to Chancellor Joel Klein at

    jklein@schools.nyc.gov.

    Let him know that we demand the immediate re-instatement of Douglas Avella to his teaching position at IS 318 and the removal of any negative letters or ratings in his file in connection with the test boycott.

    also, please cc your letter to UFT President Randi Weingarten at rweingarten@uft.org

    Thank-you!

    Sam Coleman and Geoffrey Enriquez,
    on behalf of NYCORE
    Priscilla Gonzalez and Donna Nevel, on behalf of Center for Immigrant Families
    Jane Hirschmann, on behalf of Time Out From Testing
    Sally Lee, on behalf of Teachers Unite


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Support for Doug Avella Builds


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My Own Despot

    I worked for what I would call a semi-despot in that she wanted everything her own way - contract be damned. Not an educator in the sense of ever having taught much at all, but a political appointee - yes we had them in the 70's – she also never letters in the file or looked to cost someone their job. If you were sick she went all the way to support you (she would be vilified by Kleinites today for things like that.) Her dad was a fireman and she believed in unions - as long as they didn't interfere with her.

    There were also lots of abuses - like favors for those who "cooperated" the unfairness of which used to drive people wild.

    Really, a complex person who had a lot of good to go with the bad. It was her way or the highway and she was relentless in getting her way. Most of us had to stand by and watch the dumbest educational decisions being made and enormous sums of money wasted. We even had those practice high stakes tests Klein is pushing backin the 90's (without Aris).

    When I became chapter leader, I saw it as my job to make the school a more democratic place to work, with a lot more transparency and the enforcement of teachers' rights. I was not a grievance nut and in fact filed maybe one of two in my 3 active years on the job. That was mostly due to teachers not wanting to deal with the relentless retaliation that would result. I bore a bunch of it but used my chapter leader newspaper (the predecessor to Ed Notes) very effectively to provide information to the members about what was going on. The paper (including jokes) was read by everyone, including parents. She would go to principal meetings and say she had the chapter leader from hell. I tell people all the time - publish, publish, publish. It is the most effective way to fight them. Even say good things sometimes. And keep them confused and on the defensive.

    Since they couldn't go after me on my teaching, they went after my computer program, which I had built from scratch. Finding that most of my colleagues did not have the stomach for a prolonged struggle, I took a district tech job offer when it came, to which my principal celebrated with this statement to my new boss, "My car was stolen today, but this makes up for it."

    Funny thing is, I was assigned to cover the school for tech support and once I was no longer teaching there, she greeted me with a kiss and a hug when I came around. And even gave me money for Ed Notes (which began life as a weekly school chapter report focused on her leadership. When I see her I call her the mother of Ed Notes.

    Believe me, most teachers who worked for her would take her over 80% of the principals we hear about today (her Leadership Academy replacement is despised). She wanted her way but backed teachers (even me when I had an incident with a kid) 100%.

    After what I hear today, if I saw her I would give her a big hug. And so would most of my former colleagues.

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My Own Despot


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Teacher Advocacy Group NYC (TAGNYC): TAGNYC Statement at P.E.P. Meeting of May 19, 2008

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Teacher Advocacy Group NYC (TAGNYC): TAGNYC Statement at P.E.P. Meeting of May 19, 2008


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Still Quacking at Bronx High - Updated


    NYC Educator reports today on the ongoing situation at Bronx High School of Science, one of the elite schools in New York where the administration has called in child welfare services to charge a child of dissident parents with educational neglect, as described fully in the Riverdale review article. The full pdfs of the articles on the right are available on request (and they are worth reading - does anyone know how I can post the pdf's?)

    While known for attacks on teachers (which seems ok to the anti-teacher world out there) the Bronx High administration under Reidy has also engaged in attacks on students and parents.

    I became personally involved with a Bronx High student not long ago when he contacted me through this blog for assistance and advice. Charged with the horrendous crime of bringing up the cartoon you see below on a school library computer (which the student denies doing), he was threatened with suspension and even expulsion. He was in the midst of studying for an AP exam (and he's only a sophomore) and was very concerned about the distraction over the incident. I called Advocates for Children, who did not have someone available to go with him to a hearing at the school where he had to bring up his parents (imagine, his parents had to take a day off from work over this nonsense.) He asked me to go with him but we felt that might prove to be provocative. I had him talk to some teachers and admins I know at the school to get more advice.

    I can't tell you how impressed I was with this student, as we had many email and phone conversations. He even contacted the chancellor's office and they punted it right back to the school. But his idea to not take it lying down was what kids should be learning, though he ended up with a one day in school suspension and no entry on his permanent record, which he felt ok about – maybe it was fairly light because the story had gotten out of the box. We talked about the bigger lessons: you don't always have to take the crap, but when you think you are getting a good deal, take it. I think we may be hearing some great things about him in the future.

    We've been following the Bronx High Quacking story here and here since we were contacted by Dr. Bob Drake*, a chemistry teacher who was U-rated and fired for starting the "Reidy is a Quack" campaign when she started calling herself "Dr." after receiving an honorary PhD.

    There were always principals who abused their power - from the days I entered the school system and before. Empowered principals under BloomKlein and the eviscerating of the UFT Contract have made things much worse for teachers, students and principals, but expect the Klein apologists to attack the victims.

    To the Regressive Ed reformers, whatever a principal says and does, even if he/she rolls steel balls around and talks about stolen strawberries, is ok. The teacher is always wrong. If you are the best teacher but show disrespect to the monarch, it's your head and sadly, there are actually totalitarian-like people out there who think teachers should lose their job for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance. The rubber rooms are loaded with them.

    When a Bronx High teacher resigned last fall, he started his letter to Reidy this way:

    " I am writing to inform you of my resignation effective today, November 10, 2006. Although most of the staff, particularly the young and untenured, are in mortal fear of even having a conversation with you to discuss issues pertaining to their professional lives because of your infamous reputation for “dismissing” staff members that question; I am confident that this drastic step has earned me the right to a fearless, legitimate opinion which will shed light on the severity of how teachers are treated under your administration.

    The entire letter is here.

    So do you check your first amendment rights at the school door?
    If a principal behaves in ways that are outrageous, what is the recourse?
    In a so-called democratic society, the actions of despotic principals is not acceptable.

    Look for my follow-up post (to come) on my own experiences as a teacher and chapter leader with a semi-despotic principal. After hearing the stories today, the next time I see her I will give her a big hug.

    * We went with Bob to a PEP meeting where he presented his case to Joel Klein's deaf ears who ignores the fact that there are U-rated teachers for political reasons. After Bob left, he found that many school districts outside NYC were very happy to have him teach, and at a much higher rate of pay.

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Still Quacking at Bronx High - Updated


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Find Out More about The Education Trust and...


    Amy Wilkins at the Education Policy Blog.
    Oh, did I tell you it is funded by Bill and Melinda?

    An excerpt:
    To varying degrees, THE TRUST engages in one or more... activities in their efforts to influence “the opinions or behavior of people.”

    For example, “leave no child behind” and “closing the achievement gap” are “appealing, simple slogans” that few people can disagree with. At the same time the “achievement gap,” as I have shown elsewhere, is an “oversimplification of a complex issue.”

    Wilkins is becoming a celebrity (funded by Gates, another celebrity), traveling the country encouraging people to “jump on the bandwagon” that America’s public schools are failing and must be saved via standards-based reforms.

    While THE TRUST claims to be “independent,” and “not for profit,” (and therefore above propaganda...) THE TRUST deliberately misleads voters and their representatives with narratives that are “sometimes convincing,” but “not necessarily valid.”

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Find Out More about The Education Trust and...


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Racial Policies at Tweed: Disappearing Black Teachers

    UPDATED
    Joel Klein calls the achievement gap "The Shame of the Nation" as he races to black churches to sell his program of change in the NYC schools. But the real shame just may be the drastic drop in the number of black teacher hires in the BloomKlein years from 27.2% in 2001/02 to 14.1% in 2006/7 according to a report from the
    black educator blog.

    From 1990 - 2002 it rose steadily from 16% - 27%.
    Also the % of Hispanic teachers has dropped from a high of 18% in the mid-90's to 11% today, though the numbers are fairly consistent under BloomKlein and the drop began before they took over. At the height, Hispanic an African Americans mader up over 40% of new recruits and that has dropped to 25%.
    And the % of white teacher recruits has risen from 49% - 65%.

    I'm not quick to charge racism and would love to get some analysis to explain the drop.
    Teach for America - what % of the recruits are black?
    Teaching Fellows? I thought Tweed was claiming a higher % than 14%.
    Cuts in college programs? Less kids going to college from the very community BloomKlein was supposedly targetting? Maybe we just have to wait for all those KIPP kids to go through college.
    Another explanation is the loss of paras who were in the career ladder program to become teachers.
    Any more ideas out there?

    Check the original Sam Anderson post at this Teachers Unite site.

    Leonie' Haimson's comment:
    DOE data shows sharp drop in % of black and Hispanic teachers hired since 1994. Studies show that the students of a different race than their teachers have worse outcomes – except in smaller classes, when racial disparities no longer appear to have an effect.
    ----------------------------------------------

    Veteran Black educator, activist and native Brooklynite, Sam Anderson, was recently asked by "Teachers Unite" five questions dealing with New York City's crisis of diminishing numbers of Black and Latino teachers as the student population becomes increasingly more Black and Latino. See: http://teachersunite.net/article/December2006

    Black Educator: NYC's Disappearing Black/Latino Public School Teachers.


    Ethnicity of New Hires* by School Year: 1990-91 through 2005-06

    School Year: Ethnicity
    Amer. Indian Asian Black Hisp White Unknown
    1990-91 0.3% 3.2% 16.0% 11.9% 49.5% 19.1%
    1991-92 0.1% 3.2% 16.0% 15.3% 58.4% 6.9%
    1992-93 0.3% 2.9% 17.9% 15.1% 59.6% 4.2%
    1993-94 0.4% 3.1% 18.4% 13.9% 59.6% 4.5%
    1994-95 0.3% 3.2% 23.4% 18.4% 53.9% 0.8%
    1995-96 0.3% 3.1% 22.9% 18.4% 54.1% 1.3%
    1996-97 0.3% 3.4% 19.0% 14.4% 60.3% 2.6%
    1997-98 0.4% 3.8% 20.1% 15.3% 56.7% 3.7%
    1998-99 0.2% 3.8% 22.1% 15.2% 57.5% 1.1%
    1999-00 0.2% 4.4% 24.8% 16.4% 53.8% 0.5%
    2000-01 0.2% 4.2% 25.5% 16.3% 53.3% 0.4%
    2001-02 0.2% 4.9% 27.2% 14.3% 53.3% 0.2%

    Bloomberg Klein Years

    2002-03 0.2% 5.6% 20.1% 12.7% 61.1% 0.3%


    2003-04 0.2% 7.2% 16.7% 10.6% 65.0% 0.3%


    2004-05 0.2% 8.3% 16.0% 11.1% 63.3% 1.2%


    2005-06 0.3% 7.2% 14.5% 11.7% 65.0% 1.3%


    2006-07* 0.3% 6.1%
    14.1% 11.7% 65.5% 2.3%

    *New Hires includes teachers who were hired between 8/25 through 10/31 of
    each year. ** Data on the 2006-07 New Hires is current as of 8.22.2006

    Teachers Unite: How have the demographics of New York City's public school population, among teachers and students, changed since you've been involved in education?

    Sam Anderson: Over the past 40 years New York City's public schools have gone from being comprised of predominantly white students to one that is now predominantly Black, Latino and Asian students. However, when we look at the racial breakdown of the teaching and administrative staff, they are still overwhelmingly white to the point that nearly 80% of the teachers are white. All we have to do is look at the Department of Education's own data. More specifically, when we look at the sixteen year record of the racial breakdown of new hires, we see the re-enforcement of white teacher dominance clearly built into the DOE's personnel structure. Below are the data from the DOE about new hires (this was not easy to come by. But thanks to the persistent work of an Amsterdam News journalist, it is now in the public light).

    Today's DOE new hires are more skewed towards white teachers than 10 years ago! This is clearly a reflection of the mindset of the top DOE officials who surround themselves in Tweed with white professionals and Black & Latino supportive staff (from security to low-mid level administrative staff). In addition, this high level staff is dominated by non-educators... from Klein on down to the mid-level corporate-like structures overseeing the actual nuts and bolts of the schooling process.

    http://blackeducator.blogspot.com/2006/12/nycs-disappearing-blacklatino-public.html

Post Title

Racial Policies at Tweed: Disappearing Black Teachers


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Study Shows 97% UFT'ers Are From Appalachia


    EDN News reports that a recent study of demographics in the UFT show that 97% of the members of the UFT hail from Appalachia, thus explaining the total lack of Obama supporters in the NYC union.

    Typical birthplace of most UFT'ers

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Study Shows 97% UFT'ers Are From Appalachia


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Teaching: Trade or Profession

    A Voice Cries Out blog on teaching as a profession got me thinking (I wish she'd stop being so stimulating so I can go out in the garden and get some work done.)

    I started attending some workshops on Friday as part of an introduction to engineering at Polytechnic U in B'klyn as part of a DOE grant - it was a small group but most were elementary school people. The prof who is a major guy at Poly was defining the profession of engineering and contrasting it to what people think engineers are - like building maintenance people -- in other words, trades, which he said people can learn in less than a year at a trade school rather than paying $100,000 or more for a degree in engineering.

    Examining the criteria for a profession: design tools and know what tools to use. Knowledge is applied with experience, study and practice and judgements are made based on these factors.

    I raised my hand and said that by these criteria, teaching in public schools today is a trade, not a profession. He disagreed, saying teachers should control their curriculum, etc. Not in today's world of deskilling teachers where major newspapers and ELA exams extol the benefits of having little experience or real training. TFA is one of the major instruments in this process - making teaching a true trade where you can go to TFA trade school for a short time - like learning data entry.

    Ultimately, when the merit pay schemes are in place where a small percentage of teachers will earn bigger bucks with the rest at much lower pay - the idea of a trade will be complete - except people like plumbers will always make more. My advice to potential teachers - try plumbing instead and enjoy a trade that will pay.

    When I hear that we need to close the achievment gap to keep up with the global economy my response is train plumbers instead. Plumbing is impossible to outsource.

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Teaching: Trade or Profession


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Diane Ravitch on Andy Wolf Piece in NY Sun

    Wolf should have spoken of state scores in this context. The gains under Crew and Levy from 1999-2002 were larger on the state tests in both reading and math, than under Klein from 2003-2007. On the NAEP, there was a large gain from 2002-2003 in fourth grade reading. From 2003-2007, the reading scores in fourth grade and eighth grade have been flat.
    Bear in mind that the NAEP tests of 2002 were administered prior to Bloomberg takeover, and NAEP tests of 2003 were administered in January-March 2003, before implementation of Klein program. --- Diane Ravitch

    I'm not going to jump on board in elaborate praise for Crew and Levy as their "reforms" so lauded by the UFT, were no more than bandaids.

    The Wolf piece is posted at Norms Notes.
    Wolf's negative comments on City Council Ed Committee chair Robert Jackson as compared to a favorable view of his predecessor, Eva Moskowitz, resulted in much comment on Leonie Haimson's listserve:

    Robert Jackson is the opposite of somnolent – he is the most active, energetic and committed critic of the DOE and has held countless hearings to point out the flaws of their policies. Moreover, he also provides tremendous support to parents and advocates. On the other hand, Eva was and remains brilliant at getting publicity.

    Leonie Haimson


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Diane Ravitch on Andy Wolf Piece in NY Sun


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Educational Rheeform

    UPDATE: Finding Your Entrepreneurial Core: 24 maxims for becoming an entrepreneurial teacher.
    The Eggplant follow-up to a recent Rhee's speech.

    NEW BLOG:
    Dedicated to Providing Important Information About Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, Before She Destroys Public Education
    http://rheeform.wordpress.com/

    It is interesting that Randi Weingarten actually talked about Rhee, though not exactly critically or in a mild form, at the last Delegate Assembly - clearly in response to some of the blogging going on, unusual in that Randi likes to make it seem the battle is between Klein and her, not nationally. But with her move to that stage she will have to deal with it.

    The recent contract demands by Rhee to give her total control over moving people around should be loudly condemned by Randi as an extremely dangerous precedent. But she won't.
    It is important to connect the Rhee stuff so teachers in NYC see a connection and don't allow Unity to keep the debate to "oh, when we elect the new mayor all will be well" -- they way they will try to extort more COPE money.

    Note how Rhee appears at so many conferences (as does Klein) - they could be in schools really seeing whats' going on but the political agenda is what counts.

    Read Ednotes' last posting on Rhee, "Rhee, the Monster of DC, Soon to Follow, the UFT."

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Educational Rheeform


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Teach for America on NY ELA Exam...

    ... the debate begun by A Voice in the Wilderness continues at Eduwonkette. where Skoolboy digs out the rubric and even includes Wendy Kopp's speech. Are test makers using product placement to push their agenda?

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Teach for America on NY ELA Exam...


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Progressive Ed Reform of the Day...

    ...provide health services to students at each large high school. A doctor, dentist, some full-time nurses. That would be as important in closing the achievement gap as any other lame brained idea the Regressive Ed reformers are pushing.

    Another in a series of true reforms that would have a long-term impact brought to you by PER.

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Progressive Ed Reform of the Day...


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Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins Agrees With Us (almost- I think)

    I got this link from Russo's TWIE.

    Blogger Maureen Trantham in her "Great Moments in the Teacher Quality Debate!" reports on how Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins practically assaults former Teaching Fellow Dan Brown at the Ed in '08 conference. See the video and come right back.

    But you know something? Amy is right when she is critical of Brown's being thrown as a first year teacher with the poorest, neediest kids. She doesn't go after Brown per se but the policy makers that allow this. Hmmm! Are we talking about Teach For America, here? Wilkins and the Ed Trust are part of the reform crowd that believes we close the - and do I hate these words - achievement gap without investing resources. So does she mean let's give TFA and Teaching Fellows an internship in schools so they can really learn the ropes. But that costs money. So the "reformers" want to do it this way: kill union contracts to the extent that veteran teachers can be moved around like chess pieces. Supposedly that was what Klein claimed he wanted to do - to put the best senior teachers where they are needed,which turned out to be bogus when he launched air strikes on senior expensive teachers.

    Dan Brown's defense on the video is not strong enough, offering no alternatives to a system shaped by the powers for their own needs, which is to plug a poorly trained (and cheap), de-skilled (so they can interchange parts) teacher into a slot in a poor neighborhood.

    Oh what to do when schools in poor neighborhoods are a short staffed? Use TF and TFA's but really get them ready to teach. Stop taking short cuts.

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Ed Trust's Amy Wilkins Agrees With Us (almost- I think)


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Zero Obama Supporters in the UFT

    UPDATE: Fred Klonsky slaps Leo Casey.

    One of the most remarkable, almost a miracle one might say, undercurrents in this Hillary-Barack battle where the entire Democratic Party has split down the middle, has taken place in the United Federation of Teachers where 200,000 members support Hillary Clinton – unanimously.

    Even more remarkable has been the reversal of what is happening nationally: 90% of black voters support Obama, yet not one single black Obama supporter has emerged in the UFT.
    Nationally, Clinton gets the older, blue collar and less educated vote while Obama gets the younger, white collar, college educated vote.

    Not in the UFT, which everyone would agree is not only white collar and college educated, but has had a massive influx of young teachers. Again, not one Obama supporter amongst these demographics has been spotted.

    Likened to the way Hasidim vote en masse in elections, the membership has followed the lead of Randi Weingarten in one of the most remarkable operations in political history.

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Zero Obama Supporters in the UFT


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Hillary in 2012 Commercial

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Hillary in 2012 Commercial


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If they start behind...

    ...they are going to stay behind.

    Does Obama "get it" that closing the achievement gap will take a lot more than threats and punishments of schools, teachers and children.

    Obama video on education at the Educator Roundtable.

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If they start behind...


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Bronx Teacher Under Gun Due to Student Boycott of Test

    Updated Thurs, May 22, 10 PM

    The Resistance to the Standardistas grows

    Teacher Doug Avella from IS 318 in the Bronx is in the Rubber Room (let's hear it from the peanut gallery in the press and the national teacher bashers about only incompetents being in the RR) for doing exactly what? Talking about testing to his kids? And 160 kids in 6 classes just pick themselves up and boycott the 22nd standardized test they took this year?

    You mean a teacher in middle school in the Bronx actually got 160 kids to do what he wanted them to do? Someone has got to be kidding if they think it is that easy to move THAT mountain.

    Question on ICE-mail: Will the UFT back up this teacher?

    Jeff Kaufman responds:
    You're kidding, right? The UFT will backup this teacher right into the unemployment line. Sure, they will provide an advocate to represent him at the discontinuance and U rating appeals but do you think they will file an Article 78 in Court challenging his dismissal? Not a prayer.

    Joining teachers from North Carolina (video) and Washington State.

    Maybe it's a trend.

    Hey, TFA people! If you are going to leave after 2 years anyway, why not go out in style?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2008/05/21/2008-05-21_bronx_8thgraders_boycott_practice_exam_b-1.html


    Dan Brown's take at the Huffington Post.


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Bronx Teacher Under Gun Due to Student Boycott of Test


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Rhee, the Monster of DC: Soon to Follow, the UFT

    "We've come to realize we're going to have to give in to her." - anon. union member is D.C.

    Washington D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who spends a hell of a lot of time racing around from ed conference to ed conference pushing the national regressive "teachers and their contracts are the problem," seems about to claim a major union scalp that goes beyond what her former boss Joel Klein has exacted in NYC.

    The Washington Post reports (full story at Norms Notes) that a total end to seniority and tenure is afoot which will allow Rhee to fire anyone at will and place teachers in whatever school she wants. This is the nirvana the ed reformers wanted all along. The next step for Rhee, a former Teach for America, will be to replace most of the teacher corps with 2 or 3 year wonders.

    The acceptance of these provisions in exchange for a big raise should be familiar to UFT'ers in NYC who saw significant parts of the contract get sold off. We know some form of this will be coming soon to NYC. The D.C. union, being an AFT local (which had serious corruption issues a few years ago that severely weakened the union) should be of concern to upcoming AFT President Randi Weingarten who one would wish would loudly condemn such a provision but we know won't do so.

    Weingarten, who mentioned Rhee and the national attacks going on (we have been hammering away with this theme for 7 years) at the May Delegate Assembly, will no doubt say the doesn't want to interfere with local contract negotiations. That the AFT local doesn't really exist in New Orleans should be a warning to her that her membership may be stripped away piece by piece.

    But no worries. As an appeaser of the highest order, as pointed out by NYC Educator, she will make enough concessions to convince the powers that be that she is a player on their side. This is the so-called cooperative, rather than militant New Union movement, which Weingarten and ideologue Leo Casey have been pushing. "We want to cooperate in the reforms because we are professionals, not common workers. Contracts are passe anyway."

    I'm at the point now where I am almost hoping Rhee gets whatever she wants. In 5 years or more when nothing has changed in terms of real educational gains (oh, they'll do the same phony stat manipulation they do here in NYC) they'll have to look for new scapegoats as a way to escape doing truly progressive reforms like lowering class size, improving the health of poor kids, etc. – things that cost money that must be reserved for wars and bailouts.

    I know. Aliens have captured the minds of the children and we must invest in a defensive shields. A future quote from Rhee, Klein, Rotherham: "Before we can lower class size, we need a quality shield to protect children from alien mind control over every school."

    An excerpt from the Post story:

    Without seniority, Rhee could place teachers based on qualifications or performance rather than years of service, said the union member, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. The union member said Rhee sought the provision as a recruiting tool so she could offer talented candidates the position of their choice. She would be able to fill positions with less experienced teachers.

    Under the proposed contract, teachers would give up seniority in exchange for annual raises of about 6 percent, more personal-leave days and more money for supplies, the union member said. In the last contract, which expired in the fall, teachers received a 10 percent raise over two years.

    Rhee "does want to infuse some new blood [into the schools]. She wants to make it attractive for young people coming in to advance," said the union member, adding that the union's negotiating team will meet with her tomorrow or Friday. "We've come to realize we're going to have to give in to her."

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Rhee, the Monster of DC: Soon to Follow, the UFT


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On Good and Bad Teachers

    As the "put a quality teacher in every pot" debate rages, some more thoughts:

    Many good teachers - if not more - leave the system or are promoted out of the classroom each year. But poor teachers leave too, an awful lot of them becoming supervisors. The replacements will fall into the same bell curve, especially first year teachers. So focusing all the reforms on removing them from the system is a losing game and the right wing and Dems 08 and Ed Sector types are using the quality teacher issue as a diversion.

    On good teachers, we are not saying they are not important - but the witch hunts and the use of barely trained newbies does nothing to improve the overall teaching core while we think lower class sizes and some kind of internship for newbies would lift all boats.

    Teachers should take a good look at their school and all the schools they have been in and make a list: great, good, average, poor, horrible and I just can't tell.

    When it comes to bad teachers, In fact fellow teachers don't really know all that much. You know who does? The kids and their parents probably have the best feel for a good teacher than anyone else.

    Think back to the teachers you had and rate as many as you can remember on a scale from 1-5 in terms of overall quality. Would you give the highest ratings to the teachers of classes where you scored very high on regents? Maybe. If you do well in school, you feel better about the teacher.

    But are there other factors?

    Thinking of yourself as a student might give a much better insight into quality teaching than viewing it as a colleague. Or a supervisor. A supervisor's list of who are good and bad teachers might look very different.

    If you are a parent, think about the teachers your children had and rate them? Based on what? How happy your child was? Grades? How they related to you?

    We might get the better insights into teachers from students and parents than almost any other method. Yet they are totally left out of the equation.

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On Good and Bad Teachers


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UFT Resolution Opposes Dictatorship

    Finally, I thought at last night's UFT Executive Board meeting when I spotted the words "authoritarian regime... denies its peoples fundamental rights" in a proposed resolution.
    And Leo Casey was actually going to be the one to motivate it.
    WOW! Unity Caucus is actually going to pass a resolution to democratize the UFT by allowing:

    UFT members to have free and unfettered access to the membership so a free exchange of ideas can occur.
    To allow free and open discussion at UFT delegate assemblies – maybe even allow Obama supporters to make their case.
    To allow people in high schools and middle schools and elementary schools to elect their own Vice Presidents.

    Then I read on. It was China they are talking about, not the UFT's Unity Caucus.

    Unity Caucus tanks confront protester before recent Delegate Assembly

    Reports out of Beijing are that the ruling party recently passed a similar resolution:

    Whereas the Unity Caucus regime has suppressed efforts to move the UFT toward democratic rule and respect for the rights of free exchange of ideas,

    Whereas the ruling junta in the UFT recently rejected attempts to collect funds for the 17 Puerto Rican teachers who were fired for striking and defying the PR version of the Taylor Law.

    Whereas that same ruling junta of the UFT has continued to shunt aside any attempt to raise a resolution at the Delegate Assembly calling for opposition to the GHI/HIP privatization plan.

    Whereas the Unity Caucus rejected attempts by members of the opposition caucus ICE to hire independent investigators for teachers assigned to the DOE's gulag rubber rooms.
    etc. etc. etc. (the list is too numerous to fit.)

    Resolved that the government of the People's Republic of China will support all efforts to force the Unity Caucus ruling junta to establish glimmers of democracy.

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UFT Resolution Opposes Dictatorship


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Would College Educated People Send Their Kids to KIPP?

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Would College Educated People Send Their Kids to KIPP?


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Audio of Ed Sector Teacher Quality Event

    I spoke to someone today who insisted that teacher quality is a separate entity from conditions. I argued that TQ is very variable and dependent on things like class size, the type of students, the general conditions in the school. Even time of day - like most any teacher will agree that under equal conditions, they are more effective in the AM than in the PM. It makes sense since everyone is more tired. This is not to say that if you get your best class at the end of the day you won't be energized.

    Almost every teacher I talk to signs on to the quality teacher debate as if it's a digital concept: 0 if not a quality teacher, 1 if you are a quality teacher. I look at TQ as analog - it fluctuates on let's say a scale of 1-10. Now there may be some teachers who are in a range of say 5-7 generally and others might be a 3-5.
    What we would hope for is some consistency. Would you want a 10 20% of the time who can float down to a 3 when he is depressed? (It does happen). Or a consistent 7?

    Of course the big bugaboo in all this: what determines the quality of a teacher? The ed reformers have only one response: results on high stakes tests with the added bonus of value-added which tracks the growth of a child over time and attempts to find what part in that growth an individual teacher had.

    They might as well rate teachers on the real growth of the child - how many inches taller they get the year you have them. "My class grew an aggregate total of 5 feet." BONUS!

    Can't you just see schools slipping human growth hormone into the milk and cookies?

    But let's go back to the TQ debate as if these factors didn't exist and we really had an effective ratign system that went beyond the test. The 5% that many people agree that are at the low end of TQ - say 1 or 2 all the time are the main focus of the so-called reform movement that includes assaults on seniority and the union contract. Call it the "put a Quality Teacher in every classroom" concept.

    Like a chicken in every pot. (But it is a quality chicken?)

    All this reform aimed at 5%. Like they are the ones responsible for an entire nation falling behind in the global economy. Give me a break. If principals could remove whoever they wanted tomorrow, these people would be replaced with a similar percentage of low quality teachers.

    Start off with the idea that first year teachers are lower quality than they will be in their 2nd year and 2nd year teachers are lower quality than in their 3rd -- oops! (Half the TFA people are gone before they get to the 3rd year.) Also assume a % of new teachers no matter how hard they are trying are just not all that competent in their first year. Given the numbers that don't finish the year, I bet it is higher than 5%.

    Thus, my theory that 5% of the entire teaching corps will fall into the lower end no matter what is done. As would a similar percentage of cops, doctors, lawyers, plumbers - you name it. I find it interesting that there's a witch hunt for teachers but not for bad doctors who have better than tenure - the AMA.

    Check out the ednotes analysis of the biased
    Education Sector teacher survey which didn't ask about the impact of class size because the Ed Sector is totally on board with the usual suspects on this issue. Read the Ed Notes post exposing some of the biased questions here.

    David B has broken the Ed Sector audio of the presentation of the survey on May 7 into 3 parts so you can listen to them in segments – if you can stand it. There were some teachers present, including one from a NYC middle school and the president of the Providence TU.

    Part 1:
    Part 2:
    Part 3


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Audio of Ed Sector Teacher Quality Event


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If We hadn't Talked to Vietnam....


    ....John McCain would still be at the Hanoi Hilton.

    Also read Thomas Friedman in today's NY Times on Obama and the Jews. An excerpt:

    "Pssst. Have you heard? I have. I heard that Barack Obama once said there has to be “an end” to the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank “that began in 1967.” Yikes!

    Pssst. Have you heard? I have. I heard that Barack Obama said that not only must Israel be secure, but that any peace agreement “must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people.” Yikes!

    Pssst. Have you heard? I have. I heard that Barack Obama once said “the establishment of the state of Palestine is long overdue. The Palestinian people deserve it.” Yikes! Yikes! Yikes!

    Those are the kind of rumors one can hear circulating among American Jews these days about whether Barack Obama harbors secret pro-Palestinian leanings. I confess: All of the above phrases are accurate. I did not make them up.

    There’s just one thing: None of them were uttered by Barack Obama. They are all direct quotes from President George W. Bush in the last two years. Mr. Bush, long hailed as a true friend of Israel, said all those things.

    ...Personally, as an American Jew, I don’t vote for president on the basis of who will be the strongest supporter of Israel. I vote for who will make America strongest.

    Also, David Brooks' nuanced interview with Obama on Lebanon after the Bush appeasement attack.

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If We hadn't Talked to Vietnam....


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NY State State Test ELA Used for Teach For America Propaganda

    WOW! Wendy makes the ELA exam. This one by A Voice in the Wilderness at The Chancellor's New Clothes even surprised Susan Ohanian, the expert on outrages.

    Here's a question for the next ELA:
    TFA is a tool:
    A. to bust teacher unions
    B. to create divisions between newer and senior teachers
    C. to promote the coporate agenda in schools
    D. all of the above

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NY State State Test ELA Used for Teach For America Propaganda


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Jamaica High School: Sabotage and Shock Doctrine

    The ICE blog prints James Eterno's letter published by the NY Teacher over their error in publishing that Jamaica HS, where James is the chapter leader, will be closing. Let's see now. The UFT makes "simple" mistake on Jamaica HS closing - one of the centers of the opposition and a place where many votes came from in the election for high school executive board in recent elections. Do you think they are not planning ahead to the next election where they will try to maintain the New Action phony opposition members on the Exec Bd and keep ICE/TJC out again? And if Jamaica closed - no more James to deal with at chapter leader meetings, delegate assemblies, etc. And it will be less likely they will have to read honest reports on the DA written by James.

    And on Charlie Rose, Randi said "after getting help" - what exactly is "help", like maybe cutting class size in a struggling school which apparently is not part of the UFT formula - schools should be closed (Shanker used to say the same thing). No matter how many resolutions the UFT passes, they are not opposed to closing schools and Peter Goodman (Ed in the Apple and Edwize) has made some nice bucks working on committees that lead to closing schools.

    Call the article in the NY Teacher wishful thinking.

    Below, George Schmidt gives a broader perspective.

    After reading the information provided by James Eterno on the destabilization of Jamaica High, it all sounded too familiar.

    The privatization formula is simple. First the public school is destabilized, then they come in with a "solution" off the privatization and public school replacement script.

    I wish we had had enough staff and will in Chicago to track every instance of this, since Chicago provided many of the templates. But I was glad to read that you are documenting these realities in real time. Thanks.

    Let's get together in Chicago during AFT and figure out how to maintain our tracking of these things in the big cities.

    Next on your agenda, if the pattern is followed:

    Complete privatization via charter schools is the next wave they implemented in Chicago -- with the "failing" high schools as the primary targets.

    You're already in trouble in NYC because your local union (thanks, Leo) has cocked up support for the "charter ideal" with those silly samples.

    Starting this year, Chicago has been replacing its "failing" small schools with "turnarounds" and charters. You're next. And with the help of your own union leaders, you've already given a green light to the privatization via charters.

    George Schmidt
    Editor, Substance


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Jamaica High School: Sabotage and Shock Doctrine


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Notes on a visit to a school in New York City

    See how schools have improved under BloomKlein? Susan Ohanian reprints a letter from teacher Bill Schechter.

    I grew up in New York City and graduated from its (non-exam) public schools. For 35-years, I worked as a history teacher at a progressive, upper middle-class high school in a Boston suburb. These two poles anchor my educational history.

    Last Tuesday, I traveled down to the city to watch one of my former students teach at Chelsea High School (formerly Chelsea Vocational High School) in SOHO. The visit was a shock that managed to deepen my already very deep sense of the folly of punitive high stakes testing.

    The school is in a state of advanced physical dilapidation. I felt like I was walking through the pages of Kozol’s Death At An Early Age –the 50-year old school building that my school district demolished was a palace by comparison)– or had gotten dropped into the Third World. Chelsea High received an “F” from the NYC Board of Ed, and the teachers there have been given the message that these kids have to drilled to pass those tests so the powers-that-be will finally be
    appeased.

    Read more of Bill's letter at Susan's place.
    Bill adds a P. S. to this very distressing account:
    To those who deal with these realities very day, I send my admiration.

    On a less depressing note, Susan reports some of the great satire from
    The Eggplant
    (Index is here):

    4th grader Completes Last of High Stakes Exams, First in Nation To Take Tests in All 50 States.


    Washington D. C.--
    Greeted by a standing ovation from members of Congress, meeting in joint session with the Business Roundtable and National Education Association president Reg Weaver, nine-year-old Bingo Benny arrived to celebrate his feat of taking state assessments required by NCLB in all 50 states.

    "From the October NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) in Jericho, Vermont, to the May WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) in Seattle, Washington, Benny proved that he is indeed standardized," exclaimed Sen. Edward Kennedy, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.

    "Benny refuses to be left behind," chimed in George Miller, Chair of House Education and Labor Committee, and, like Kennedy, determined to reauthorize the contentious NCLB law.

    Benny agreed that it was exciting for Mayor Bloomberg to be on hand to wish him well when he took the CTB/McGraw-Hill tests in January. "I didn't have time to use the key to the city he gave me," Benny said. "I was in a rush to catch a plane for the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) in Las Vegas and the PAWS (Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students).

    Bill Gates was on hand in Washington to congratulate Benny on his rigor, and in Long Beach, California, Eli Broad presented him with a special award of merit for competition in the global economy.

    Read the rest here.


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Notes on a visit to a school in New York City


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Rubber Room News: David Pakter's 3020a Hearing (Number 2)

    Make sure to read David Pakter's essay over at Norm's Notes on his upcoming 3020a hearing - this is the hearing that can lead to a tenured teacher's firing. The kind of hearing being attacked by anti-tenure people who want to be able to fire people for things like not brushing their teeth.

    3020-a trials always begin with a pre trial conference between the opposing lawyers and the Hearing Officer where technical matters are argued over such as the Demands for Discovery. Both sides state reasons for what they will and will not surrender into evidence etc. Lots of technical arguing over the specifics of the charges.

    One of the charges is he brought in a large plant to decorate outside the auditorium without permission. Was it a Venus flytrap that ate kids? Or named Audrey?

    David said in an email:

    ...the hearing officer was fairly amazed the DOE would pull something so insane as to make it a charge that the NEW YORK TEACHER ran a story on my case which the DOE claims embarrassed them if you can believe such insanity.

    The story is at http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/top/axed/

    In any case because the Hearing officer realized this case contains major Constitutional issues involving the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment, he said this case could last a very long time involving countless witnesses and therefore he does not want to even start the actual calling of sworn witnesses without holding several more private Pre-Hearing Conferences.

    I believe it is the first 3020-a in the history of New York in which the DOE had the chutzpah and the unbounded Hubris to think they could defecate on a teacher's Constitutional Rights so openly and brazenly. It really is an amazing situation.The other charges are equally ludicrous of course.

    David has asked for an open 3020a, which all people have a right to do, and we'll be posting the dates in case anyone wants to see the show. I hope to make a few of them myself and will report back.

    More rubber room news:
    Sorry, I can't say without getting some people in trouble. But I hear at least one bizarre story a week. Like the one about a teacher recognized as being excellent who is in the rubber roo
    m for having an altercation with a child - her own. Can a parent complain about the actions of a teacher when she herself is the teacher?

    or - a child charges an extremely competent teacher (the entire staff has been horrified that this could happen to this long-time senior teacher with a great rep) with saying "you're an idiot" when the teacher really said "you didn't get it." So far, 4 months in the rubber room, the entire class that the teacher taught in total chaos as subs come and go. Why did the principal do it when it would have been so easy to believe the teacher's version? Senior teacher with a higher salary? Or just Another Leadership Academy Loon? (A-LAL?)

    Oh, and has anyone seen that UFT Rubber Room SWAT (right) team around lately? If you spot them let us know.


Post Title

Rubber Room News: David Pakter's 3020a Hearing (Number 2)


Post URL

http://kingsavenuetattoo.blogspot.com/2008/05/rubber-room-news-david-pakter-3020a.html


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Russo Thoughts on Ed Blogger Summit

    Here.
    Russo says teacher bloggers were a big hit, as opposed I guess, to ed policy wonk types and quasi reform politicos.
    Does anyone get the message that teachers are the keys in this whole ed reform thing?
    Those that can or those that can't do whatever or something like that. Roy Romer? Jeez.

    Like how about some real power for teachers as part of ed reform? Like let them choose the principal. Yikes! How radical an ed reform idea! But they do it in Europe. Way too radical for our namby pamby teacher unions, who might even ask for a trial - I bet our teacher-run schools kick the corporate reform model schools' asses.

    Wait 'til the NYC Ed Blogger Masked Summit which will be held at a top secret location to protect all the people who must remain anonymous due to witch hunts by Tweed and Ed Sector wonks.

    I'm making my Eduwonkette mask as we speak.

    Anyone know where I can get a good buy on that dress?

Post Title

Russo Thoughts on Ed Blogger Summit


Post URL

http://kingsavenuetattoo.blogspot.com/2008/05/russo-thoughts-on-ed-blogger-summit.html


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NY Times Drinking the Kool Aid on Teach for America

    Today's NY Times had an editorial praising TFA. They will grasp at any straw.
    Some excerpts:

    To maintain its standing as an economic power, the United States must encourage programs that help students achieve the highest levels in math and science, especially in poor communities where the teacher corps is typically weak.
    ... a new study from a federal research center based at the Urban Institute in Washington suggests that the country might raise student performance through programs like Teach for America, a nonprofit group that places high-achieving college graduates in schools that are hard to staff.

    Critics have challenged the program’s usefulness, pointing out that the teachers it places are neophytes and that a majority leave the classroom after two years. But the new study suggests that talented young people can have a lasting effect even if they do not make a career of teaching. According to the study, Teach for America participants who worked in North Carolina between 2000 and 2006 had more impact on student performance than traditional teachers did, as measured by end-of-course tests. The difference was observed in several areas of science and was strongest in math.

    Two years is by anyone's estimate a minimum amount of time to learn even the basic ropes of teaching. Traditionally trained first year teachers for all the critiques of these programs do get a lot of teacher training than can prove useful. I was also an instant wonder in a special program to attract men avoiding Vietnam to elementary schools in the late 60's and was very deficient compared to the teachers who came through education programs. It took me about 2 years to make up the gap.

    Make sure to check out the Debunking TFA blog for counter research.

    And Eduwonkette is right on the case today with this:
    A special shoutout goes to the New York Times editorial board for making national policy recommendations based on the Urban Institute's study of Teach for America in North Carolina, which included a whopping 69 Teach for America teachers - a .5% sample of all TFA teachers placed during those years.
    Set policy based on 69?
    Does it remind you of the big deal TNTP's Tim Daly made of those 14 U-rated teachers who were ATR's, also debunked by wonkette.

    While the instant teacher concept of TFA people who do not stay as opposed to traditionally trained teachers needs debunking, I know TFA people who do stay are many are fabulous teachers. Some even have gotten over the training they receive that older, traditional teachers are to be shunned. I resent the 2 year wonders (some numbers I've seen are that over 70% leave) who become instant experts on education. Believe me, when you to this as a career, you get insights, often from returning students and their children and even grandchildren, that make it clear the emphasis of the ed reform, union busting movement (TFA is a prime component of that strategy which is the real reason the business community so loves them) will not work until they invest in kids and schools to the same extent they do in wars and bailouts.

    Eduwonkette did more extensive do not miss analysis of the study in a previous post here.
    A short excerpt:

    the authors presuppose that teacher turnover has no effect on the school as an organization, and that teacher quality is solely an individual attribute, rather than the joint product of individuals and organizations. (And what do we make of the tiny effects of experience? Is it possible that the most talented math and science teachers left to pursue more lucrative opportunities?)

    It’s nearly impossible to build a stable school community and an ethos of sustained change in the face of regular turnover. Herein we have the classic chicken and egg problem in education: how do we create places where good teachers want to work - a key component of which is a stable professional community – if we can’t get strong teachers to stay? Programs like TFA are a fine band-aid, but they are hardly a solution.

    Suggestion to NY Times: DO NOT PASS GO BUT GO RIGHT TO THIS POST AND THEN RETRACT OR MODIFY YOUR EDITORIAL OR AT LEAST PUT UP WONKETTE"S POST AS AN OP ED.

Post Title

NY Times Drinking the Kool Aid on Teach for America


Post URL

http://kingsavenuetattoo.blogspot.com/2008/05/ny-times-drinking-kool-aid-on-teach-for.html


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Teachers Who Say NO to Testing

    I've been working with the NYCORE Justice Not Just Tests group this year (coming soon: a blog). We've talked about teachers boycott or subvert the testing mania but that means instant death - if people do it individually. Imagine if people did it en masse? Imagine if there was a union that led such a movement instead of making mealy mouth complaints of how high stakes testing subverts education, while at the same time pushing for merit pay for entire schools based on these tests? Not in our lifetimes (but then I don't have all that long to go, so maybe there's hope for some of you young 'uns.) Send Doug and Carl messages of support.

    From Susan Ohanian: http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_atrocities.html?id=3404


    Doug Ward, ethical North Carolina teacher of exceptional children, explains on YouTube his refusal to give the state test to his students. He speaks of his exceptional children's deep spirituality. He also speaks of being inspired by a fifth grader who reflected on doing what is right.

    Doug's school is
    Cullowhee Valley School
    240 Wisdom Drive
    Cullowhee, NC 28723

    Here is a parent's comment:

    Doug is a dedicated teacher who works hard to create inclusion experiences for his students. My son with autism is not in Doug's class, but will take the Extend1 EOG and fail. He has made amazing progress this year thanks to his teachers at CVS. No standardized test measures the value of my son's inclusion in his regular classroom,the friendships he's made or the compassion his classmates have learned. I want my child LEFT BEHIND to learn and progress at his own pace. You Go, Doug!!

    — Doug Ward
    YouTube.com
    2008-05-15
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Tj_bJkGTC8U

    The May Substance just arrived. It contains Yvonne Siu-Runyan's excellent interview with test resister [from Washington State] Carl Chew.

    I refrain from posing this interview because we need to support the only newspaper of the resistance.

    Subscriptions are only $16.00 a year. You can contact Substance by phone - 773-725-7502, or by email, Csubstance@aol.com. http://www.substancenews.net.

    Order Susan's book:
    When Childhood Confronts NCLB
    $8.95
    Box 26
    Charlotte, VT 05445

Post Title

Teachers Who Say NO to Testing


Post URL

http://kingsavenuetattoo.blogspot.com/2008/05/teachers-who-say-no-to-testing.html


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