Monday, March 28, 2011

What a novel idea!!

Let Us Teach!

What we, as teachers, need to do is take back our profession. Most teachers will take to the streets and protest over salaries, pensions and working conditions, but how many teachers would do the same if someone who has never taught their grade level or subject, imposed a new curriculum or demanded that certain pedagogy be followed?

As you know by now, I personally would not "take to the streets" over salary, but this article really expresses the frustration I feel when so much of my time is wasted jumping through hoops! 

Just let us teach!

(And stop interrupting our classes!)

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Critical Common Core Concerns (C^4)

There are several things that must be considered and

addressed very soon about Common Core (CC) Standards. 

Please share these concerns with YOUR State Representatives!

(1) CC violates our Constitution and blatantly usurps state's rights in the control of course of education. 
(2) CC framework development violates NCLB law that prevents federal officials from activities that “mandate, direct, or control” a state’s, district’s or school’s “specific instructional content, academic achievement standards and assessments, curriculum or program of instruction.” 

(3) CC state standards adoption and framework development in the majority of examples is in violation of open meetings laws and common practices in public, civic procedures that must allow time for public input, feedback, and revision. 
(4) CC will inevitably be expensive for states to implement, especially those that did not receive RttT federal (coercive) funding.  Each state's legislative representatives must demand a cost-benefit analysis from CC, as well as one from an independent firm, for their state.  (The comparison is sure to be enlightening.)
(5) CC standards adoption and framework development disenfranchises state education policy boards, authorized under the our state laws, to make decisions in educational matters.  Which begs the question: "Why would members of the National Governor's Association (NGA) wish to relinquish that control?"
It's a good thing that Texas has NOT signed-on!  TX and CA standards often drive textbook content because of their sizable markets.  With the Texas hold-out, teachers in other state can have some hope that high quality math content will be available post CC. (That is, IF they have the option to teach it!). 

Informational Reading:
Can the Federal Government Fund Curriculum Materials?
Christopher T. Cross, who is a partner in the Washington-based education consulting firm Cross & Joftus, noted that the 1979 law that created the most recent iteration of the U.S. Department of Education prohibits the federal funding of curriculum. Cross helped write that law when he was the Republican staff director of the House committee on education and labor in 1978.

 'Curriculum' Definition Raises Red Flags
"It’s impossible to make a plausible argument that decisions about even “big ideas” in curriculum won’t prescribe what happens in classrooms"
Neal P. McCluskey, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Teacher Evaluations

I was reading this March 13 article by Doug Lasken and Bill Evers in the SFGate. 

They ask, "Who is the effective teacher?  Is it the teacher whose students pay attention during the principal's visit, or make nice posters for the hallway, or line up quietly on the playground?  Or is it the teacher whose students are learning what they need to know?"

These are great questions!  Here are a few observations I'd like to point out:

1)  Most school administrators don't have a math/science background.  (Typically teachers in those areas don't have the time or inclination to pursue administrative posts.) 

2)  Available assessments are for core subject areas only, however districts across the country employ a multitude of non-core teachers.

3)  School administrators perform "fly-by" evaluations of teachers in every area because they cannot possibly know every subject.  They are "looking for" the latest fad in pedagogy, not the quality of the content taught.  Subject matter evaluations should be performed by the department chair in that subject, otherwise there is only testing data of core subjects for administrators to consider.

4)  Teachers who teach stand alone courses that are not reliant on prior learning are at a distinct advantage in every proposed teacher evaluation plan which is tied to learning outcomes that I've read. Yet, the US wants to encourage more students to go into math/science teaching.  Hmm...

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Good Morning!

I was trying to link to an older post for Laurie Rogers over at

Betrayed but the link didn't work, so here's another one!

Great song to crank up for inspiration!

(Turn your speakers up!)

Triumph - Allied Forces - Fight the Good Fight!

(That says IT ALL!!)

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poor Legislation Is Not The Answer

I believe that school districts should have the power to employ the very best available teachers with their limited resources.  They should have the ability to dismiss unfit teachers quickly so that students are able to learn.  Tax-payers have a right to expect the absolute best for their hard-earned dollars.   

MO's HB 628 is poorly written and I don't believe it will lead to overall improvement, assuming that is the goal.

A teacher's rank-order, as defined in the bill, is too heavily based on student performance.  So when they write "No more than forty percent of a building's teachers shall receive a standards-based score in the top thirty-three percent," they are not using a "standard" for measurement which every teacher could measure up to if they worked hard enough.  Would parents allow this sort of ranking for their students' grades? 

And if I'm reading the bill correctly, nothing about our state funding formula would change, however, the state would be directing local districts how to allocate their limited resources within each building for teacher salaries.  Should local school boards relinquish this level of control over such a large portion of their operating budgets?

I do like this part of the bill below - it's too bad it wasn't part of a more reasonable proposal.  I believe this issue should have been addressed years ago. 

No teacher shall take part in the management of a campaign for the election or defeat of members of a board of education by which he or she is employed. Any teacher who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to termination of his or her employment by the district with the right of a hearing as heretofore provided.

Dunce cap: Teacher pay, tenure bill is a provocation -- not a proposal

A telling aspect of HB 628 is that the Missouri School Boards Association has endorsed it. That shows that Missouri’s troubles with public education are as much a product of weak stewardship as poor teachers.

Low-performing teachers are hired and retained by supervisors who have failed to properly vet, evaluate, supervise and manage their personnel.

By advancing such profoundly flawed legislation, the School Boards Association, with help from state lawmakers, demonstrates that its members are unwilling to do the hard work of recruiting and developing good teachers.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Friday, March 4, 2011

Taxpayers aren't even in the room.

Public Unions Get Too 'Friendly'

Peggy Noonan, WSJ

When union leaders negotiate with a politician, they're negotiating with someone they can hire and fire. Public unions have numbers and money, and politicians need both. And politicians fear strikes because the public hates them. When governors negotiate with unions, it's not collective bargaining, it's more like collusion. Someone said last week the taxpayers aren't at the table. The taxpayers aren't even in the room.

As for unions looking out for the little guy, that's not how it's looking right now. Right now the little guy is the public school pupil whose daily rounds take him from a neglectful family to an indifferent teacher who can't be removed. The little guy is the beleaguered administrator whose attempts at improvement are thwarted by unions. The little guy is the private-sector worker who doesn't have a good health-care plan, who barely has a pension, who lacks job security, and who is paying everyone else's bills.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous