Archive | November 2014

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The Simplest and Most Obvious Incontrovertible Reason to Oppose Common Core

educationalchemy

chiimageiflag

Spoiler alert: Its money. And ownership …of our children, our schools, and our democracy.

There’s a lot of critical critiques of Common Core pertaining to the content itself. Examples of ridiculous math samples and interpretations of social studies hidden curriculum abound on Facebook and blogs. I have no intention to dispute the opinions of people who find the content questionable, even if I don’t always agree. I am not offended by words like “equity” and “diversity” in the new standards, nor are my children personally struggling with the new math methods. But I oppose CCSS vehemently nevertheless. Liking or disliking particular standards, language, or strategies is not a solid ground on which we can create a unified front to fight Common Core. I know many highly qualified good teachers and parents who like some of the standards. I know other highly qualified good teachers and parents who hate them. These…

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Albuquerque: Parent Speaks Out Against Testing Despite Efforts to Silence Her (and Teachers)

I think it’s critical that parents become informed and empowered about this issue. I’m sure the majority of parents appreciated what was said and many likely left with a raised awareness. School boards could be holding parent meetings to share the pros and cons of standardized testing. PTA’s certainly should be. And if they don’t, we should act alone like the woman in New Mexico. Enduring a little social awkwardness is well worth the ultimate result- if we do the work, positive change will win out.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This letter arrived in my email from a professor at the University of New Mexico who is deeply disturbed by the over-testing of her children. The president of the local PTA did not want her to speak, she said. Even more shocking was her statement that teachers had to sign a pledge promising not to say anything negative to parents about the PARCC test or to disparage testing in general. I don’t know why, but I was reminded of the loyalty oaths that many teachers were compelled to sign during the McCarthy era in the late 1940s and early 1950s, to “prove” that they were not Communists.

 

 

 

 

Albuquerque PTA Smackdown

 

 

 

 

This is a redacted version of the talk I attempted to deliver at my children’s Elementary School PTA meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

 

The former PTA…

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The Educational Delusional Scheme

Heartbreaking

educationalchemy

Here lies public education

A guest post by Dr. Denise Gordon                                  November 22, 2014

I write this short essay to disclose what is happening within my own science classroom, I write to expose the demeaning work environment that I and my fellow colleagues must endure, and I write to give purpose to my years of acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge in teaching science for the secondary student. I am not a failure; however, by the Texas STAAR standard assessment test, I am since this past year I had a 32% failure rate from my 8th grade students in April, 2014. The year before, my students had an 82% passing rate.

What happened in one school year? It does not matter that 2/3 of the student population speaks Spanish in their home. It does not matter their reading capability could be on a 4th grade level. It does not matter homework never…

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A Science teacher speaks out against standardized testing

Devastating

Seattle Education

here lies

The Educational Delusional Scheme

Written by Dr. Denise Gordon and first published at Educational Alchemy

I write this short essay to disclose what is happening within my own science classroom, I write to expose the demeaning work environment that I and my fellow colleagues must endure, and I write to give purpose to my years of acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge in teaching science for the secondary student. I am not a failure; however, by the Texas STAAR standard assessment test, I am since this past year I had a 32% failure rate from my 8th grade students in April, 2014. The year before, my students had an 82% passing rate.

What happened in one school year? It does not matter that 2/3 of the student population speaks Spanish in their home. It does not matter their reading capability could be on a 4th grade level. It…

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Peter Greene: Everything You Need to Know about Reform

These two implications are insightfully explained by Peter Greene.

Complete government and corporate partnership control

Completion of de-professionalization of teaching

Based on the other comments, I’m not the only one that had a flashing neon side in their head, saying, FASCISM, when reading this piece. Well, maybe others don’t have neon sides in their head, but Fascism, by its definition, is clearly infiltrating the American public education system, which is the heart and soul of a democratic society.

We have been on life support for so long, though. The recent reform movement is trying to take to a whole new Dystopian level, but we need to be honest. How long have textbook companies and the testing industry been dictating what kids learn and what teachers teach?
We have ourselves to blame, as educators, that we have been too complacent until now.

The same goes for the de-professionalization of teaching. How long have teacher education programs been graduating teachers who want to be told what to teach and when to teach it? I cringe every time a new set of teachers come to our rural school, which is underfunded with inadequate resources, I will grant you that- but I cringe when their biggest complaint is, What am I supposed to teach? Where is the curriculum? Where are the lesson plans? I love helping and mentoring new teachers, but we, as educators, need to see ourselves as professionals. The way I see it, the less they tell me to do, the more autonomy I have. Granted, being a new teacher is the most overwhelming feeling in the world, but that can be remedied in two ways; radically improve teacher education and allow the teachers who have 20 years under their belt to be mentors instead of being sent out to pasture and marginalized for having something to say besides, “How high would you like me to jump, sir?’

Diane Ravitch's blog

Peter Greene, high school English teacher in Pennsylvania, prolific blogger and humorist, decided to create “the big picture” of education reform. What’s it all about?

Peter writes:

“Why do we have these policies that don’t make sense? Why does it seem like this system is set up to make schools fail? Why do states pass these laws that discourage people from becoming teachers?

“My friends, colleagues and family ask these kinds of questions all the time. So my goal today is to step back and try to fit the pieces into the larger picture. If you have been paying attention, you already know this stuff, but perhaps this post will help someone you know who’s trying to make sense of reformsterdom. Here, then, is my attempt to show the big picture.”

Peter sees a convergence of two big ideas: one, the longing for centralized efficiency, with everyone from…

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