July 2009 Archives

With the fall school term about to start, the superintendents of Long Beach and Pass Christian school districts are busy trying to find replacement classes for vocational students. “It’s a very good program and the community college did an outstanding job with it,” Long Beach Superintendent Carrolyn Hamilton said,” but we have budget problems and we have to balance our budget.…… That left us no choice but to cut the vocational classes. Running a vocational program is expensive…..” But not running a vocational program may be even more expensive in the long run. The vocational classes no longer funded ...

I was thrilled to hear from Catharine Bellinger, whose Washington Post article I critiqued last week. And this week I'd like to follow up on that with................... I INTERRUPT MY REGULARLY SCHEDULED BLOG FOR THIS BREAKING NEWS ITEM: As their colleagues on the ground signified the 40th anniversary of a man’s stepping onto the Moon’s surface, astronauts on the International Space Station tended to a more mundane task: fixing a toilet. Put an 'Out-of-Service' note on the WHC (waste and hygiene compartment)," Mission Control's Hal Getselman told a crewmember after a fruitless attempt at repairs. Station flight director ...

I couldn’t help but smile at his teacherly soul when Jay Mathews wrote: It has been a while since I had a guest columnist in this space. I have never before turned the blog over to one younger than my own children. So let me introduce Catharine Bellinger, a Princeton sophomore who has plans to start a campus journal on education policy. I suggested she practice with a topic provocative enough to get her in trouble, a good place for all writers to be. My question to her, inspired by her experiences in the D.C. schools, is: “Should ...

The teacher is the single most important factor in raising student achievement. “Yes!” we thought. “We knew it and now we are vindicated! We will get the respect that we so rightly deserve. They will let us do what we know how to do!” The research was solid and data driven. It wasn’t just a touching story about that single super teacher. At last policymakers and pundits would acknowledge the importance of our contribution. Our expertise would be valued and our input sought. We were thrilled! We were naïve! We never saw the spin coming: “Soooo,” said those ...

“So, I guess you’re enjoying summer vacation! It must be nice to have three months off every summer, huh?” they say--They being just about everyone I know who is not a teacher. “Well, I’m looking forward to it, but I’m not quite through yet. I'll finish up July 2nd,” I reply. “Oh, I didn’t know you taught summer school,” they respond. “ I don’t, but I’m an eleven month employee and so I put in another two weeks at the end of the year and then before other teachers return in August. So actually, I ...


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