I would be hard pressed to find someone in Chicago who isn't relieved that the teacher strike ended on Tuesday night. After months of contentious negotiations and a seven-day walk-out, the spirit of old fashioned compromise finally set in. The Chicago Public Schools got a few reforms it wanted and the Chicago Teachers Union got a few policies it championed. Still, the process was hard for kids to comprehend, like watching angry parents fight. What happens when the fight's over? Even after the mom and dad have kissed and made up, the memory of the trauma and disruption often remains ...


For the past three days my morning drive to work has become a bit awkward at two stop signs. As I inch closer to the intersections near two different schools, I am beckoned by a throng of teachers in red shirts holding picket signs, chanting, and banging on the metal guard rails that line the sidewalk. They peer into my vehicle, smiling, asking me to honk if I support a teachers strike. I don't smile. I don't honk. I don't support. At first, my children on the second row of the minivan were startled. What's going on? Who are these ...


After months of negotiations and threats, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced that teachers will be striking on Monday. Lewis stated at a 10 p.m. press conference tonight that numerous unresolved issues led to the union's decision to walk out of contract negotiations. Among them, Lewis stated, were the need for "wrap-around services" that include more social workers in schools, a distrust of the new teacher evaluation system that uses student standardized test results, and the demand that laid- off teachers get priority placement into open positions within the school district. She said all of the union demands ...


I did it. Yesterday I publicly revealed my blog to my students. I set up the LCD projector and taught the Smiley-Face Trick of "Repetition for Effect" using my post about my second-grade Ms. White, who wrote me off. All four of my writing classes applauded at the end of the lesson. It was the greatest joy to share my writing as mentor text for my students. Before I could start, however, a student from each class advised me to revise my bio because I'm no longer a science teacher. They also told me to get rid of my outdated ...


In August 2011, shortly after I had written my first blog, I was asked to do a radio interview on teacher voice. Rae Pica of the BAM! Network, an online radio station devoted to education, contacted me saying she loved my post and thought I could offer listeners a valuable perspective on teachers speaking up in their schools. I thought, I've written one good blog—does that make me an expert on teacher voice? Pica was persistent with her praise, so I slowly agreed. Then she told me that I would be one of four commentators, including author and education...


Most lovers of children's literature know the tear-jerking, classic teacher-student memoir by Patricia Polacco entitled Thank You, Mr. Falker. It's tells of Polacco's battle with low self-esteem because at age nine she still could not read, and the persistent teacher who diagnosed her dyslexia. Thank you, Mr. Falker. Just look at your little Patricia now! If I were to write a children's book, I'd have my own teacher to thank, though the story line would be more bitter than sweet. Unlike Mr. Falker, my second grade teacher, Mrs. White, told me that I was dumb. She yelled at me—at all...


I probably look like a terrible teacher. I took three days off work on the first week of school (for teachers) to go on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Not to mention, I left my husband and two children at home. It helps to know that one of my student's parents is sponsoring the trip. The trip was actually her gift to me. She told me during the final parent conference of last school year that she would be attending a corporate meeting in Cancun, which came with an all-expense trip for a guest. And guess who she asked to join ...


I recently read a Salon article by Michael Lind stating that the failure of the American public school system is just a myth perpetrated by education reformers to justify school vouchers and charter schools. I laughed—before realizing he was serious. The article asserts that white suburban children actually score the highest on the international assessments—rivaling the coveted student achievement of Finland and South Korea. The article blames 35 percent of our student population—poor blacks and Latinos—for pulling down our otherwise stellar scores, making America's ranking plummet. Lind writes: "If you look at the facts, then,...


Today marks my 50th blog and my one-year anniversary as a writer for Education Week Teacher. Though I'm new to the blogosphere, I'm not untested. I've seen my share of hate mail; had three different men live with me on my page (guest bloggers); and I've even been accused of having "fans." Life is strange. This time last year, I was a cyber-shy, ultra-private teacher. I had practically begged my editor at Ed Week not to make me post my picture on the blog. Although I've used the same photo for the past 50 blogs, that headshot now has Facebook ...


Color-ado, a color of red Red for the senseless blood that was shed Red for the rage of a twisted mind So lost So dark So cruel, unkind Color this state in all shades of red For the critically injured mom unaware her child is dead For the young handsome lovers So young So brave Shielding their women though seeing their grave Color-ado, a mountainous red Tears thick like blood, no words to be said Hearts beat heavy as stones Questions Nightmares Won't leave survivors alone Color Colorado red Then stripe it white, wrap it blue United in a blanket ...


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