July 2007 Archives

Update 8/3/07: Dear Readers: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. What a tricky issue this is. As readers' remarks made me think about this even more closely, I had to revise my words to clarify my ideas. While the original discussion revolved around public and private schools, what I hadn't explicitly written was that I solely meant low-performing public schools. So really, the discussion is about, when having a choice, if parents would send their children to local low-performing schools or high-performing schools elsewhere. The changes are marked in italics. Thanks for the comments-- keep them coming! So ...

I admit, I do have a few interests beyond education. I'm an avid writer, an eager traveler, and a shameless karaoke singer... But as I enter my first presidential election after joining the world of education, I can't help but obsess over the ed bits in news... Which is why, from an educator's perspective, Monday night's CNN/YouTube Democratic Presidential Debates was lame. Clearly, I'm biased (and not entirely telling the truth-- there were other parts of the debate I found more interesting). But why weren't there more meaningful questions on education? Anderson Cooper asked the candidates three questions contributed ...

It gets a little depressing around this time of year when teachers talk about the last day to turn in resignation letters, when principals fret over having way too many openings, and the news media keeps up the chatter about why teachers quit. (This blog included.) But as a fairly fresh newcomer to the education field, brimming with hope and optimism (although tempered with a taste of what teaching is really like), what I want to know is: Why do teachers stay? And what can schools really do to encourage teachers to stay? My new-teacher friends and I have our ...

My name is Jessica and I am part of the problem. Sort of. I am part of the teacher retention problem that think tanks, news articles and educators grapple with. After two years of teaching sixth through eighth grade special education at my school in New Mexico, I have left my classroom and the community. I am part of the “upwards of 40 percent” of new teachers who leave the profession, and therefore leave communities, colleagues, and most importantly, students. I am part of the multi-billion dollar tab racked up by teacher turnover. I am part of the 19 to ...

I rarely finish reading a news article smiling, especially when it has to do with students with special needs. So I wanted to post this Washington Post piece on a girl with visual impairments who went to France for four days to learn the art of perfume making. The school in Provence was established by the founder of French cosmetic company L'Occitane after she realized that people shouldn't be limited by their disabilities. Rather, they should have the chance to maximize the abilities they do have. "But the best part was being with other visually impaired teenagers who face challenges ...

Thirty years ago, as a nurse in Taiwan, my mother taught women how to use condoms and other forms of birth control. However that didn't help her initiate an open dialogue with me about sex, contraception or STDs. Everything I knew about reproduction and STDs until I was 13 was from the middle school gym teacher. And while 13 is young, I knew what gonorrhea was and that I didn't want it. The federal government just funded a campaign to encourage parents to speak to their children about sex education. What a great step. We all know that education starts ...


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