November 2011 Archives

I always love the holiday season. You get to go to lighthearted movies like Tower Heist or Happy Feet Two. You also get a chance to see dramas like J. Edgar, a sure bet for an Oscar. This holiday season, I want to recommend that you consider another potential Academy Award winner, this one in the documentary category. So get your popcorn, super size Diet Coke, and possibly some Raisinettes, and go see a new documentary called Mitchell 20. This is a movie that exposes the passion and commitment that teachers have for their students and their profession. It is ...


Have you ever lost something and discovered that it was right in front of you? That's the way I feel about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Everyone is running around chasing after teacher quality when the National Board discovered it 25 years ago. Millions of dollars of research completed by some of the best minds in the country formed the foundation for this certification process. That foundation for accomplished teaching includes a commitment to students and their learning, deep and broad knowledge of subject matter and how to teach it to students, demonstrated ability to manage students and ...


Everyone remembers a favorite teacher. And just as important, everyone also remembers a favorite education support professional. Do you remember that wonderful bus driver who greeted you every morning with a smile and made sure that you got to school safely? Do you remember the lunchroom worker who served you a nutritious meal? Do you remember the school secretary who called your parents if you were ill or provided you with kind words if you were sent to the principal's office? Do you remember the school custodian who cleaned up after you and made sure the school was sanitary and ...


To my union friends, I have one message, "Wake up and smell the coffee!" The latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll is the proverbial "canary in the coal mine." When 47 percent of the general public says unions hurt public education, something is not working. It could be public relations or systemic. I vote for the latter, and I suggest the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) transform the heart of unionism--collective bargaining. Yes, the world has changed and collective bargaining needs to change as well. Using an industrial age tactic in a knowledge-based economy is ...


I woke up at my usual 5:00 A.M. on September 1st and realized that my life had changed. No longer did I have to drive that mile down 16th Street to the National Education Association (NEA) headquarters for my usual 10-12 hour day. No longer did I have to be available 24/7 to deal with the latest attack on my profession. No longer did I have to manage the stress of being responsible for 555 of the greatest employees or 3.2 million of the best members in the world who, on any given day, could turn ...


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