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June 16, 2014

Adam Bessie: Retiring the "Bad Teacher" Boogeyman

In essence, the "bad teacher" is a not just a basic strawman, but a hologram, an insubstantial projection of whoever you want him to be, whatever you - or your child - perceives him to be.

June 14, 2014

Vergara Decision Feeds Testing and Teacher Turnover

The Vergara decision feeds into our societal obsession with test scores, and propels us towards schools with even less stability, and higher turnover.

March 14, 2014

San Diego Charter Teachers: Bullying Contributed to Death of Colleague

At a San Diego school board meeting on Tuesday, dramatic testimony from teachers and parents uncovered serious questions about the way their charter school has been run.

February 02, 2014

John Thompson: As Due Process for Teachers is Removed, Secret Files and Blacklists Return

Mutual consent began as a part of the assault on seniority and it requires teachers who, through no fault of their own, had to transfer to another school to get approval from the receiving school's principal in order to transfer.

January 26, 2014

California Lawsuit Attacks Teacher Rights

California's voters may be overruled by the courts, if reformers Eli Broad and David Welch have their way. These billionaires have funded a new non-profit called Students Matter to fight the battle. The lawsuit claims that students are harmed when their teachers have due process and seniority protections.

May 28, 2013

Alice Mercer: Veteran Teachers Not a Priority in High Priority Schools

The salient point is that in addition to making these schools a priority, the staffing at these schools underwent a change that now has created swiss-cheese-like holes in our teaching contracts. You see, the schools are allowed to hire teachers outside the district surplus process, and only have to take surplus teachers they want. Open positions at "priority schools" are not on the district's list of available positions at the surplus meeting. They've made a practice of picking up the least senior teachers, and even brand-new hires from outside the district. This has occurred while elementary teachers with up to 7 years of seniority are still out of work. In addition, they are exploiting a little-used provision of the State Education Code saying these teachers have "specialized training" that other teachers lack, and should be "skipped" in layoffs. That has exacerbated the entire lay-off process as teachers at priority schools with less than 5 years of seniority have never gotten a pink-slip, while teachers with up to 8 years of seniority have, and those with seven never returned

May 16, 2013

Dystopia: A Possible Future of Teacher Evaluation

This is a future I believe is possible given the systems and structures being promoted by technocrats like Gates. This is NOT the way the system has been described by Bill Gates or any of his representatives. They tend to use the language of feedback and collaboration. But as I have been asking, if collaboration is the goal, why must this be embedded in an evaluation process, which has the goal of determining who ought to be fired?

November 21, 2012

Teachers and Parents: Natural Allies in Defending Our Schools

Wherever the "reformers" are working to divide us, we need counter campaigns aimed at strengthening our unity. We need to make sure less experienced teachers understand the value of due process, and the reasons we object to "data-driven" evaluations and pay systems. We need to develop social and educational activities that bring generations of teachers together, so they recognize how much they have to learn from one another, and how much better they can be when they support one another and work together. We need serious outreach efforts to communicate with parents, both urban and suburban. Our public schools are community treasures, and they must be guarded by all of us working together.

November 15, 2012

John Thompson: Baseball Analogies Prone to Errors

Guest post by John Thompson. Chad Alderman's "If the Yankees Used 'First-In, Last-Out'..." is much too typical of the contemporary school "reform" movement. Like so many accountability hawks, Alderman loves to expound on topics that he knows well, but he reveals very little understanding of real l...

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