"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Questions for the Candidates...#3

Jim Horn, the author of the Schools Matter has a third question for candidates...

Question 3: Competing in the global economy or cooperating in the global ecology?

Gist: A lot has been said about preparing children to "compete in the global economy." Given that the global economy is in jeopardy due to the impending ecological disaster what is the candidate's view of preparing students to cooperate in healing the global ecology?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Questions for the Candidates...

Ok..I know I said that I wasn't going to do any more NCLB/political stuff...but I can't help it...

Jim Horn, the author of the Schools Matter blog has begun a series of question for candidates. So far he has two:

Question 1: Poverty and Performance

Gist: Since poverty has the highest correlation to test scores of any variable, what are you (the candidate) going to do about it?

Question 2: Charter School Privatization

Gist: Charter schools cost less than public schools, but do not do a better job of teaching (and sometimes worse, according to studies). They have little or no oversight by school boards or the public. What are you going to do to make sure that public schools are not replaced by corporate schools and would you send your children or grandchildren to one of these schools?

Jim Horn, Ph.D., teaches graduate Foundations of Education and Education for Democracy at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey.


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Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing


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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Jim Trelease is Retiring

Jim Trelease is retiring.

Jim,

In 1979 I was relatively new to education teaching third grade in Monroeville Indiana. During my first two years of teaching I had read aloud to my students every day. One of my professors at Indiana University had emphasized to us that one of the most important parts of our reading curriculum was exposing children to good books and the best way to do that was by reading to them. Each year I would read a dozen or so novels to my students and at the end of the year we would vote to see which ones were the most popular. Reading aloud to my students has always been my favorite part of the teaching day, and having the vote at the end of the year was one of the most enjoyable parts of my teaching year.

In this particular year, 1979, I ordered a book as part of the Weekly Reader Book Club titled "Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook for Parents and Teachers." Thus began my relationship with your books and your research which is now approaching 3 decades.

This book in its several editions has been one of the most important influences on my 31 year (and counting) career as an elementary school teacher. I've taught every grade from Kindergarten through 6th Grade (except 5th...not sure how I missed that) and am now a Reading Specialist (former Reading Recovery teacher) working primarily with first and second grade students. In every position I've held I have made it a point to read to my students and The Read-Aloud Handbook has always been my number one source for materials.

When my daughter had her first baby I made sure she had a copy of the Read-Aloud Handbook. When my son started teaching I made sure he had a copy on his first day of school. When colleagues celebrated births of their own children your book was the gift that I chose for them. When I had the opportunity to join a team of teachers in our school system who were trained to present talks to our colleagues on various educational topics I chose "Reading Aloud to Students" as my topic and The Read-Aloud Handbook was my main resource.

I visit your web page and have used it to read your comments on a variety of topics from censorship to No Child Left Behind. Today, as I was looking through your web site I noticed that you had retired from your lecture circuit to spend more time with your family and, I assume, read to your grandchildren. When I read of your retirement I realized it was time to write a fan letter.

So, as I wind down the last few years of my career, I just wanted to let you know that your influence has been felt...by the hundreds of children who have spent time in my classrooms, by the colleagues to whom I have presented the book as a gift and the content as a presentation topic, and by my own three children and grandchildren.

Thank you for helping to shape the career of this teacher of young children. Thank you for providing me with a nearly endless supply of books to choose to read to my students. Thank you for inspiring me to keep read-aloud as the most important part of my teaching day. And thank you most of all for your help and advice in raising my own children to be competent, experienced, and fulfilled readers.

Congratulations on your retirement. May you have many years to continue to enjoy and inspire the future generations of your own family.


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Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing


-----
No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
Dismantle NCLB!
Sign the petition by clicking HERE.
More than 32,000 signatures so far...