December 2011 Archives

I am going to take a break from my blog to spend time with family and friends for the holidays. I will be back on January 3rd. Please scroll down to read past blogs that you might have missed. I hope your holidays are filled with joy, new adventures, and special memories....


Education Secretary Arne Duncan said teachers should be paid six figures. That's visionary. Marc Tucker said that teachers in only three countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were paid less than teachers in the United States. That's embarrassing. A recent controversial study said teachers were overpaid. That's ridiculous. The National Education Association (NEA) has proposed a new system of different career paths of Novice Teacher, Professional Teacher, and Master Teacher. That's promising. The NEA plan begins with creating a new organization that will be called the National Council for the Teaching Profession (NCTP). This new group ...


Tis the season for gift giving, and the National Education Association has given America's teachers a beautiful present wrapped, tied with a bow, and perfect for use in 2012. The gift was a guide to a substantially elevated teaching profession and, best of all, the responsibility for that profession. About a year ago, Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association (NEA), created a commission to look at effective teaching and effective teachers. He did something that was unprecedented at NEA. He selected some of the best teachers in America, gave them complete autonomy, and invited some of the ...


I bet you never thought you would see the words collective bargaining and charter schools in the same headline, but a new study came out this week from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) located at the University of Washington. The study is titled, "Are Charter School Unions Worth the Bargain?" Mitch Price, legal analyst for CRPE, is the author with a forward from Robin J. Lake. It is worth the read. The study looked at collective bargaining agreements from 10 charter schools. Yes, there is collective bargaining at some charter schools. The study indicated that as of 2009-10, ...


Have you ever tried to bake a cake but had it flop because you took it out of the oven too early? Underbaked cake is mushy and gooey, difficult to correct, and hard to swallow. That is my mental model of Presidential hopeful and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrinch's idea on teaching poor children a work ethic. But it's even worse than half-baked; it's outrageous, and offensive. First, who determined that poor children as a group lack a work ethic? Some might argue that rich children, who often have their every whim catered to, might be a group ...


I always cringe when I hear so-called reformers say poverty is "no excuse" for lack of student achievement. It is not because I don't subscribe to that belief, but because I know politicians will use that message as an excuse for not "leveling the playing field" for poor children. To believe that you can treat and fund all schools in the same way meets what many call the definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. From collective bargaining contracts to federal law, poverty has to be a factor in every decision that affects the ...


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