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September 07, 2015

Ideas for Tackling the Teacher Shortage

A mid-western farmer's daughter raised me, and she had a proverb for everything. But my personal favorite, and one that she repeated to me time and time again when I became a teacher is, "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar." In other words we all respond better to praise than we do criticism. I think the same thing can be said when looking at a looming teacher shortage.

August 04, 2015

Another Argument for Acting Like Finland

Perhaps if we were to give teachers the training and the autonomy like Finnish teachers get, we would see less of a need for standardized testing and more authentic assessment happening.

July 14, 2015

Death, Taxes, and Union Dues: We All Have to Pay Our Due

If a state chooses to have public employees represented through a collective bargaining process doesn't this automatically justify the necessity for public employee unions in the interest of the public good.

June 29, 2015

Reason #3 Why CTA Needs to Reimagine Tenure NOW

Before I move on to reason number three for why the California's Teacher Association (CTA) needs to reimagine tenure now, let me recap reasons number one and two. Reason number one is to restore faith in our public school system. Reason number two is because we need to ensure that our most vulnerable students are with our best teachers. Reason number three: Teachers want it.

April 08, 2015

The Atlanta Cheating Scandal and Motivation Theory

I know educators around the country empathize with Atlanta (we understood what drove them) but I hope we have learned from Atlanta as well. Tying pay raises and job evaluations to one yearly, standardized test makes no sense at all. We don't give our students an A or an F because of one test. Why is it okay to do this to teachers and schools?

March 31, 2015

Open Letter to UTLA President and LAUSD Superintendent

It's time to take advantage of a lapsed contract, a reorganization of district administration, and the mediation process to create something new in the Los Angeles Unified School District, hybrid positions. A hybrid position would be where administrators would support schools by spending part of every work day actually teaching and the other part of the day would be devoted to administrative tasks of supporting students and schools.

March 23, 2015

Leveraging Teacher Evaluations in Los Angeles

The opportunity is there to negotiate for their priorities - smaller class-sizes, fully staffed schools, and a pay raise - if they are willing to accept three levels of performance in teacher evaluations. I think the three levels are worth it, if it means better conditions for teachers and students.

March 03, 2015

Vergara Part 3: Reimagining Tenure

In my 20-plus years of teaching one thing I have learned is teachers need the protection of tenure to effectively advocate for their students. I joined the most recent Educators 4 Excellence-Los Angeles (E4E-Los Angeles) policy team out of a strong desire to preserve tenure, along with collective bargaining rights and our unions. Here are some of the big takeaways of our recommendations for creating tenure for teachers in California.

February 23, 2015

Vergara Part 2: Tenure Is a Misnomer

Permanent status, that's what I have earned as a second grade teacher in the state of California. I didn't even notice that my pay-stub had changed from the words "Probationary" to "Permanent." I didn't get a letter of congratulations from the superintendent, nor from my principal. It was just another ordinary day. The term tenure in California is used strictly with higher education faculty members.

February 19, 2015

Vergara Part 1: March 15, 2008

For me this lawsuit, Reed v. State of California, which was won but then turned-over on appeal, lingers large in the backdrop of Vergara; it's the white elephant in the room every time I talk about teacher evaluations or effective teachers.

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