October 2007 Archives

After reading a Washington Post article about a failing school in Mississippi, The Daily Grind reacts to some particularly vexing excerpts. In noting NCLB’s failure to secure quality teachers, as well as teacher difficulties in managing the classroom, he insists a crucial factor has been omitted from the discussion: …My first thought was not about how NCLB has failed to get high quality teachers into low performing schools. Instead, my thought was, whose kids are these? He expresses frustration with how critics are quick to blame teachers and schools for low student achievement, but seem reluctant to hold parents ...


Veteran educator Nancy Flanagan reacts to the Associated Press' recent investigative series on teacher sexual misconduct. While she is mortified by the examples of school systems attempting to shield predator teachers, she also thinks the AP overreaches in its conclusions and is ultimately unfair to the teaching profession: It’s dangerous to gleefully advance the idea that we need to be suspicious of teachers, especially male teachers. Teachers, like all human beings—including doctors, priests and national policy-makers—are subject to weakness and moral turpitude, to violating the public trust. When we suggest that teachers are more likely to exhibit ...


All the headaches that accompany teaching are nothing compared to the real tragedies people face, says CaliforniaTeacherGuy. Reflecting on the devastation of the California wildfires, he puts his classroom aggravations in perspective: As I meditate on the firestorms sweeping across my land, I think I can put up with a few minor irritants in my classroom tomorrow. Irritants are normal. Firestorms are not. Give me the normal, not the aberration. Now, the chatty students and neglected homework assignments don’t seem so bad....


Frumteacher struggles with a spiraling, race-tinged bullying situation in her class. Back when she was a student teacher, she recalls, she had vowed she would take a stand against student bullying and "make it stop." But now she realizes that's not so easy: Yet I feel hopeless. Hopeless for witnessing senseless hatred in my classroom, hopeless because apparently the system did not provide the bullied student with enough care and support, leading him to think that he needed to solve the problem with his fists. How can teachers protect the bullied student, and combat bullying, without setting the student even ...


NYC Educator responds skeptically (to put it mildly) to New York's new merit pay plan, under which teachers in high-needs schools can earn up to $3,000 in extra pay, depending on test scores: Let's say I move to a high needs school and actually receive the top bonus one year. After taxes and union dues, I'm looking at $1500 extra bucks. Divide that by 24 pay cycles and you're looking at $62.50 a pay cycle - and that's the most you can receive! Does anybody at the DOE, in the press, at the education think tanks and at ...


Always on the cutting edge, Hobo Teacher's high school implements a "dress code cart." You don't want to know...


In a recent article on Teacher, science educator Anthony Cody argued that, because of its emphasis on basic-skills testing, NCLB is lowering the value of "deeper learning" in schools. TMAO, in his blog, responds that Cody presents a false either-or dichotomy, but that, in any case, basic-skills must come first: An enriched curriculum filled with electives, school 2.0 technologies, and 21st century skills ought to be set-up as pay-off for demonstrating mastery of all those basic skills so many folks work so long and hard to instill. We should establish basic skills as the necessary pre-requisites for the further ...


Last week Illinois became the 12th state to mandate a moment of silence for public school students at the start of their day. Chicago school teacher and self-described secularist Will Okun guest blogs his reaction for the New York Times in Disguised Silence. He can't understand why the teachers and staff at his school support a bill that even the governor vetoed. They argue religion in the school will improve behavior and increase academic performance, while I do not understand why people feel the tyrannous need to force their particular religion on the public sector. When it comes to explaining ...


The parents of a “regular kid” with anger issues are trying to coax a Minn. school district to foot the bill for a $60,000 per year private education, wrote IB a Math Teacher, who works in the school, in his blog, Three Standard Deviations to the Left. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), school districts must pay for special-needs children’s private education if they cannot provide appropriate education. IB a Math Teacher, however, says the student has no learning disabilities and that he and other faculty are “certainly doing all [they] can for this kid by ...


Polski3, of Polski3's View from Here, says he was just diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, but with a minor adjustment to his diet and medications he is surviving. What he cannot seem to shake, however, is the suffering he and his colleagues endure from teaching in a school that he says is a "long-term" failure by NCLB standards: Suffering from the threats or promises of what can/will happen to teachers of consistently failing schools. Suffering through late afternoon "how to teach" inservice presented to us by people who have not taught real children (not counting how some teachers behave ...


Q6 of Assistive Principles was recently denied the chance to teach an AP Lit class at his high school because it would take time away from his administrative duties as an assistant principal. This is ironic, he says, for a number of reasons: One, the term "principal" in education has its roots in the schoolhouses of old. There may have been more than one teacher, but one was considered the top dog—or, more accurately, the principal teacher, which is where we get the term. Whatever idiot eventually decided to move this position out of the classroom altogether clearly wanted ...


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