"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

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Medley #23

Indiana, RttT, Finland, Charters*,
Professional Educators, Evaluations, Politics.

INDIANA EDUCATION- REPA2

‘The de-professionalization of teaching’

This is an older posting, however, with the vote of REPA2 coming up early in December it's time for a review.
...among the new proposals is the creation of an “adjunct” teacher permit that would be awarded to anyone holding a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 grade point average who passes a content test – even though that person may have no preparation to be a teacher.

REPA2 also makes it possible for teachers licensed in any subject at any level to add other licenses, including special education, fine arts, early childhood and elementary licenses, by simply passing a standardized test.

And it drops the requirement that special education teachers, who under REPA2 would be licensed to teach special education from pre-school through high school, also be licensed in a content area.

REPA2 also lowers the bar for principals and other school administrators in the state.
INDIANA RESIDENTS: It's time to contact your State Board of Education (SBOE) member. Urge them to table the vote on REPA2 so as not to saddle the newly elected state superintendent  with policies which are not needed or supported by voters.

Click here to contact your SBOE member

Here are some talking points you may want to use when contacting your SBE members.
  • Do not act in December. In the strictest sense, you may have the authority but in the broadest sense, you do not have the support.
  • The election results have warranted a moratorium on unilateral changes to policy without taking into consideration the public’s concerns. If they weren’t before, the public is “tuned in” now.
  • No consensus on these changes has been demonstrated.
  • In fact, no bona fide need has been proven for these proposed licensure changes.
  • Let REPA 1 become effective first. You are making changes before REPA 1 (which was developed within the last 2 years and with broad-based input) takes hold.
  • REPA 2 would allow individuals who have never spent one moment studying pedagogy (teaching methods) to become fully licensed with all of the powers and responsibilities of those who have been fully trained. (under Adjunct Faculty).
  • REPA 2 would allow the DOE to approve virtually any organization as a teacher training institution. While the make-up and attitudes within the DOE will now likely change, this is still not advisable policy.

ENDING RACE TO THE TOP

Call the White House. A national campaign to stop Race to the Top

Click the link to find your state's designated day to contact the White House. Indiana is Tuesday!
Contact the White House weekly at 202-456-1111 on your state’s designated day.

Message: Give all students the same education your girls are getting! Abandon Race to the Top and stop privatizing public schools.

FINLAND

Finland's Secret Sauce: Its Teachers

The "reformer's" love affair with Finland has faded somewhat of late, however, those who are really interested in improving America's public education system (as opposed to those interested in profiting from it) can learn something.
...Finnish teachers are not highly paid. But they are highly respected and treated far more like professionals than American teachers. Finnish teachers are on their feet in front of students for fewer hours every week, teaching only three to four hours per day. The rest of their work time is spent in preparation, working with colleagues, marking papers, and doing other duties assigned by their heads. Unless they have to teach a class, they are not required to be at the school.

Just as Americans had lessons to learn from Germany and Japan, now it's time to consider Finland's success and determine what we could learn from that tiny nation. In the words of Leo Pahkin, "Money is not the secret of good results. The secret lies somewhere else."

CHARTERS*

Researcher: Florida District Schools Outperform Charter Schools On Average

What a surprise...charter schools have the same problems that regular public schools have. They can do better than regular public schools if they skim off the best students from the public school system, however, once the playing field is equalized, the results show that charters are no better. Here is yet another study showing that charters do no better than regular public schools.
The average charter school is doing about the same as the non-charter school when no adjustments are made for poverty and minority statuses. When the adjusted scores are considered, the average charter school performs significantly worse than the average non-charter school.

TEACHING AS A CAREER

Is it worse to be called a "bitch" or to be treated like one?

[NOTE: The language used in this posting may be offensive to some people. It's my opinion, however, that the way America treats its children is even more offensive.]

There's plenty of money to bail out those who brought the world to its economic knees, however, for public schools...not so much. Our priorities are crystal clear. American children just aren't that important to us.
...lest society as a whole think they are without sin, let us hold a mirror up to America's face. Hi America, here is what your stewardship of our economic and education system has wrought. In a recent Daily News article Juan Gonzalez revealed how employees at AIG enjoy many free perks. Perks such as free Snapple, Starbucks, soda, Tylenol and Advil. The company also buys breakfast and lunch several times a week for its employees. The insurance bastards, who were saved from bankruptcy by sucking $182 billion from the public teat, have funds for this nonsense but at Intermediate School Who Gives A Fuck, teachers have to buy their own paper. What the hell, America? Get your priorities straight. Teachers who want to take their students on a trip to the theatre, ballet or Statue of Liberty must beg at the altar of Donors Choose because there is no money for such unholy "extras" but inept corporations (of which we still own 52%) get no oversight. Bitch.

EVALUATIONS

The newest rhetoric on teacher evaluation — and why it is nonsense

Carol Burris takes on three fallacies perpetrated in the Kappan magazine.
...perhaps we all could back off and allow teachers to enjoy the same humanity we seem to graciously grant to others. Teachers aren’t perfect, but I must tell you that nearly all of the teachers that I have met over the years are darn good at what they do. And the variation in their skill is no wider than the variation that I have observed in other professions whose evaluations we never seem to discuss. Let’s look to improve evaluation systems as well as other parts of our schools. But could we stay within reasonable bounds of critique based on fact and research? If we do not stop this constant drumbeat of criticism there will be no one left to evaluate with our new excellent-every-hour-every-day evaluation systems.

POLITICS

Phony school “reform” agenda takes a beating

Glenda Ritz wasn't the only one to "beat the 'reformers'" in the last election.
That these results have been largely ignored by the same media and political establishment demonizing teachers, promoting technology as a panacea, and championing privately run charter schools only underscores their importance. Simply put, the election outcomes are ignored because they so powerfully expose the lies behind all the “reform” propaganda coursing through the media and treated as unquestioned fact in our politics. Indeed, just as the larger national election results exposed conservative news outlets as prioritizing ideologically driven wishful thinking over reporting on what was actually happening on the ground, so too do these results expose the “reform” coalition for what it really is: not a popular mass movement, but another profit-driven elite-crafted scheme, one with little proof of educational success and even less mass support throughout America.
President Obama Re-Elected, and Now…

Diane Ravitch gets the last word today.
Now that President Obama has been re-elected, supporters of public education must redouble our efforts to end educational malpractice and rejuvenate American education.

It’s time to stop the privatization of public education.

It’s time to stop using invalid methods to judge teacher quality.

It’s time to stop high-stakes testing.

It’s time to stop closing schools.

It’s time to stop teaching to the tests.

It’s time to end the obsession with data and test-based metrics.

It’s time to support students and teachers and public schools.

It’s time to enrich the curriculum with the arts, history, civics and foreign languages for all children.

It’s time to think about what’s good for children, what will really improve education, and what will truly encourage creativity and ingenuity.

It’s time to think about reviving the spirits of educators and the joy of teaching and learning.

The election is over. The struggle for the heart and soul of American education continues.

*References to charters generally imply corporate, for-profit charter schools. Quotes from other writers reflect their opinions only. See It's Important to Look in a Mirror Now and Then.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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