I Don’t Know How Republicans Sleep Good At Night

 The Republicans Propose Bill to Take $3 Billion from Black and Hispanic School Kids

A proposed legislation by the House of Republicans to cut back on budgets could hit hard at school districts serving black and Hispanic students. New data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows that the effort to re-authorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could withdraw over $3 billion in federal funding that goes to 33 of the largest school districts which have large numbers of black and Hispanic students.

The bill will allow states to curtail spending on education at sequestration levels and let them transfer the money from schools that really need it to those that are located in wealthier districts.

Should the bill go through, school districts with a high percentage of black students could be out of $1.3 billion while those with a Hispanic majority could lose more than $1.9 billion; Philadelphia with its 55% black population, for example, could lose $412 million while L.A.’s with a 74% Hispanic population could lose $782 million.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a news release, “The partisan proposal in the House flies in the face of what ESEA was created to do – give every child an equal opportunity to be successful. This bill is bad for children and would turn back the clock on progress. At exactly the time we should be expanding opportunity for America’s students and helping schools recover from the recession this bill would allow unconscionable funding cuts. Our teachers and students deserve better.”Read on…

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Posted by on March 7, 2015 in Education News


Teachers Watch The Film BEFORE You Let Your Students Watch

Teacher Shows Raunchy Film, Gets Jail Time

Sheila Kearns will appeal conviction of disseminating matter harmful to kids

Sheila Kearns, right, listens to testimony in Judge Schneider's courtroom with attorney Geoffrey Oglesby on Jan. 13, 2015.
Sheila Kearns, right, listens to testimony in Judge Schneider’s courtroom with attorney Geoffrey Oglesby on Jan. 13, 2015.   (AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Chris Russell)
                                                                     A tip for teachers: Be sure to watch the movie before you show it to students. As a former Ohio substitute teacher at Columbus’ East High School has learned, not doing so could land you in jail. Yesterday, a judge sentenced long-term temp Sheila Kearns to three years of probation, plus 90 days in jail as a condition, after Kearns showed the unrated movie The ABCs of Death to five classes of students when she was asked to fill in for a Spanish teacher in April 2013, the Columbus Dispatch reports. She was fired two months later. Kearns, 58, who doesn’t speak Spanish, said she didn’t watch the movie beforehand and had her back to the TV all day. What she reportedly missed: grisly deaths, full-frontal nudity, and graphic sex in movie chapters titled “E is for Exterminate” and “O is for Orgasm,” reports the AP.

Kearns, who apologized in court, was convicted of four counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles (the students were 14 to 18) in January. A jury cleared her of one count, believing Kearns didn’t know the movie’s content during the first showing. But a student testified that Kearns did watch the movie, and the jury appeared to side with Judge Charles A. Schneider, who said…..

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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Education News


Teacher Speaks Out Against Teach For America Teachers

Some public school teachers are speaking out against Teach For America, alleging that the organization’s training is insufficient and that it threatens existing jobs. In Chicago earlier this month, critics gathered at the Free Minds, Free People conference to discuss the organization’s role in the local school system.

Katie Osgood, a special education teacher in Chicago, told HuffPost Live Monday that she feels Teach For America educators and leaders have done “extremely damaging reform” to the education system, placing inexperienced teachers with the neediest students and putting other teachers’ jobs at risk.

Justin Fong, Teach For America’s Vice President of Internal Communications, responded during the segment. He acknowledged that the organization has room to grow, but said that overall a lot of good comes out of it and that he hopes the critics can partner with them to build a better education system overall.

Watch the video…

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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Education News


Newark Public School Student’s Takeover

Newark student sit-in lasted through the night at district headquarters

  New Jersey Communities United organizer and NSU co-founder Thais Marques said the school district is preventing food from coming up to the students during their sit-in; The students have not eaten for 12 hours, Marques said.

But Newark Public Schools spokeswoman Brittany Chord Parmley said the district is not withholding food and that it will be available for them when they come downstairs where there is a bus waiting to take them to school.

“We encourage the kids to go to school,” she said.

NEWARK — The youths who staged a sit-in at Newark Public Schools’ headquarters Tuesday night in protest of superintendent Cami Anderson’s leadership stayed the night.

“We are staying until Cami comes in to her office and faces us or until her resignation,” New Jersey Communities United organizer and NSU co-founder Thais Marques said in a phone interview this morning

More on this story here…

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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Education News


US Education Is Still Separate AndUnequal

Take a look…

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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Education News


Parents Have The Right To Opt Out

From:  Wilhelmina Holder ( This sender is in your contact list.
Sent: Wed 1/28/15 12:51 PM

State’s Largest Teachers Union: Families Have Right to Opt Out of New Testing

| January 27, 2015

NJEA releases results of polls that a large majority of parents believe preparation wastes valuable classroom time

NJEA testing

The New Jersey Education Association — representing the vast majority of the state’s 200,000 teachers — yesterday ramped up its opposition to the coming PARCC tests, even promoting what it called parents’ rights to have their children refuse to take the state tests altogether.

But in an online press conference the union’s leadership stopped short of saying it would encourage teachers to offer or discuss the opt-out option to students and parents — saying only that such a decision rests with individual families.

“NJEA supports the parents rights to make the decision for their children about the test and get the best education for their children,” said Wendell Steinhauer, president of the NJEA.

When asked specifically whether the union would support children opting out, he repeated: “At the end of the day, it is the parents prerogative to choose what is best for their child.”

The morning webinar was ostensibly to announce new polling by the NJEA of New Jersey voters and parents that found vast majorities opposed to new standardized testing — or old standardized testing for that matter.

The polling was conducted in December of 800 voters, including 200 parents, and then another 200 parents by the Mellman Group in Washington D.C., and it found staggering majorities against the testing in general and specifically to a host of questions.

  • Are teachers forced to teach to the test? More than 80 percent said they were.
  • Does it take away valuable instructional time? Almost 80 percent said “yes.”
  • Do you favor or oppose reducing the use of standardized test? More than 70 percent said “favor.”

The numbers were not terribly different from some national polls that have found support for new testing to be as low as 25 percent. But as with any polling, the responses can also depend on how the questions are asked, and some of the starkest responses were to questions focusing on the criticisms of testing rather than the purported benefits.

Either way, the NJEA’s poll also found large numbers of respondents still not terribly cognizant of the new testing or the Common Core State Standards that are driving it. Almost 60 percent of respondents in the parent polling knew little or none at all about PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

On the eve of the Christie administration’s public hearings on the state’s assessment system — the first of was postponed by today’s blizzard — the NJEA announcement was a notable show of force that the union’s membership and its lobbyists would not go down quietly on the issue. The issue has been an especially barbed one for the union, since its members will start to be evaluated in the next year based on student progress on the PARCC tests.

It was also notable for the clear allies in the cause, led by the Save Our Schools NJ group that has spearheaded most of the anti-testing criticism so far, along with the Education Law Center and the national FairTest organization.

The NJEA’s stance comes as other large education associations in the state have banded together to help districts move to the new tests, under the name “We Raise NJ.” The group includes New Jersey associations representing school boards, principals, superintendents, and local PTAs.

NJEA officials said they have a “bill of rights” ready to be filed as a legislative bill, once they nail down a sponsor. In that measure, state testing would be scaled back considerably, limited to no more than once in each of elementary, middle, and high school, with this year’s PARCC serving as only a pilot, with no consequences attached, they said.

But most contentious may be the union’s proposal for explicit agreements that students refusing to take the tests not only be free of any discipline but also offered alternative programs during the testing period.

It’s still unclear how big the opt-out movement is, but SOSNJ leaders said nearly 5,000 people have joined as members of the Facebook page promoting the option. It clearly has state officials worried enough that they have put out their own guidance to districts.

“We have never seen such a groundswell from parents coming from all over the state and political persuasions,” said Susan Cauldwell, executive director of SOSNJ Community Organizing, the group’s nonprofit. “Parents feel this tests is taking them to a place they have not been before. It is not necessary, it is too expensive, and it diverts time.”

Still, the NJEA said it was not leading this charge, and SOSNJ leaders were happy to take the mantle.

“It is very important that parents take the lead on this,” said Cauldwell.

The Christie administration yesterday took a low profile on the topic, since it was forced to postpone at least one of the three upcoming hearings due to the weather.

Still, it put out talking points intended to address the criticisms, including arguments that the testing is aimed to better guide instruction and bring more accountability to schools and teachers.

At the same time, the administration released some of the first information on the costs of the new testing and the state’s contract with Pearson PLC, the New jersey-based company that will administer the test in a dozen states nationwide.

Under the four-year contract, the state will pay Pearson up to a “base amount” of $108 million for testing of Grades 3 through 11. But state officials said the final amount has yet to be settled, and could either go below that total or above.

“The NJDOE chose only the options that worked for New Jersey in the first year, and conservatively set the pricing tiers,” said David Saenze, a spokesman for the state DOE. “Consequently, the costs for PARCC are expected to be less than the overall base amount, but they could fluctuate based on the ultimate decisions we choose and the corresponding pricing.”

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Education News


Here’s Why So Many Teachers Feel Bad

Why so many teachers feel so bad so much of the time

It’s no secret that most teachers today feel demoralized — poll after survey tells us so, and it’s no wonder, given that they feel school reformers have put targets on their backs with teacher evaluation systems they feel are unfair and support for programs that they believe belittle their profession. In this post an educator explains why she thinks so many teachers feel so awful so much of the time. The author is Ellie Herman, who took a rather unorthodox path to the world of education.

For two decades she was a writer/producer for television shows including “The Riches,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Chicago Hope” and “Newhart.” She wrote fiction that appeared in literary journals, among them The Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review and the O.Henry Awards Collection. Then, in 2007, she decided “on an impulse” to become an English teacher. She got a job at a South Los Angeles charter school that was 97 percent Latino and where 96 percent of the students lived below the poverty line. She taught drama, creative writing, English 11 and ninth-grade Composition until 2013, when she decided to stop teaching and spend a year visiting classrooms and learning from other teachers.

Herman chronicled the lessons she learned on her blog, Gatsby in L.A., where a version of the following post appeared. Herman, who gave me permission to publish this piece, was awarded first and third place prizes in the 2014 SoCal Journalist Awards given by the Los Angeles Press Club for pieces on her blog. Now she teaches reading and writing at an after-school enrichment program for students from low-income families, visits the classrooms of great teachers, and works with writers, artists and other creative people. Read more…

Comments: I believe teachers feel bad most of the time because they feel they are not respected and appreciated by the school system. There are many can’t dos they have to adhere to when all they want to do is teach. Teachers are dedicated to their students and want to see them excel. Many go beyond what they are suppose to do to make sure their students have the toolsnecessary to learn. What needs to happen so that teachers don’t feel bad most of the time is for the powers that be in the school system need to honor teachers, respect them, be there for them, pay them well and allow them to do what they do best and that is to teach. Leave the politics out of the classroom.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Education News