The disconnect between the seriousness of our angst and the silliness of our politics — between how big our problems are and how hopeless or just plain stuck the people who are supposed to address them seem — defies belief.
On Wednesday, President Obamaintroduced two changes to the federal student loan program that could affect several million borrowers. The broad outlines of his plans to encourage loanconsolidation and assist people who are struggling financially are reasonably clear.
The champions of Alabama’s far-reaching immigration law have said that it is intended to drive illegal immigrants from the state by making every aspect of their life difficult. But they have taken a very different tone when it comes to the part of the law concerning schools.
The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”
Legislation rewriting the No Child Left Behind education law finally gained traction this week, and the Senate Democrat whose committee passed the bill said on Friday that progress became possible because lawmakers were irritated by the Obama administration’s offering states waivers to the law’s key provisions.
Giving validation to Occupy Wall Street protests over the increasing burdens of student debt, a new report indicates that the total amount of outstanding student loans this year will exceed $1 trillion for the first time.
In addition, the amount of student loans taken out last year was greater than $100 billion, another new record, according to USA Today, citing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Letters to Wendy: Preservice Teachers React to Teach for America
Huffington Post March 7 , 2011
In the face of prevailing education reforms, is what I do important? Seriously. As a teacher educator, pre-service teachers spend their entire senior year with me. In addition to classes, they do two full days in an elementary school in the fall and then transition to five days, essentially full time, in another elementary school in the spring. They get roughly six official weeks of full-time teacher experience over the course of nine months. Schools of education throughout the country prepare teachers in a similar fashion, albeit with slight variations.
My students and I recently discussed Teach for America (TFA), the alternative darling of the mainstream education reform movement. My personal views of the program are conflicted. On the one hand, it kind of makes what we do in so-called “traditional” teacher preparation look foolish. How do extensive and time-consuming clinical experiences stack up against much briefer trainings in pedagogy and immediate employment in extremely difficult settings, redolent of TFA…
For many in more elite circles, education is not considered a serious major. What is more, despite teacher bashing, which is our new national pastime, TFA members appear to be insulated from the same criticism, as if they’re taking one for good old Team USA. I could be wrong, but I have not heard much defense of the profession that TFA members apparently love for 24 months.
[Young teachers] are working extremely hard to enter a profession that is reaching a nadir of negative public scrutiny. Then we have the TFA folks who are viewed as heroes in all of this, supposedly doing what run-of-the-mill teachers can’t or won’t. I’ll admit as I did above that TFA is a notable stopgap measure in high-needs schools. But I won’t join in valorizing corps members at the expense of dedicated educators who plan to make a career out of teaching.
Nothing has changed! The written word—the love of it and the power of the written word—it hasn’t changed. It’s a matter of fostering it, fertilizing it, not giving up on it, and having faith. Don’t get down.
Since it’s back-to-school season across the country, I wanted to celebrate a group that is often maligned: teachers. Like so many others, it was a teacher who changed the direction of my life, and to whom I’m forever indebted.
(CNN) — Like the spokesmen for Arab dictators feigning bewilderment over protesters’ demands, mainstream television news reporters finally training their attention on the growing Occupy Wall Street protest movement seem determined to cast it as the random, silly blather of an ungrateful and lazy generation of weirdos. They couldn’t be more wrong and, as time will tell, may eventually be forced to accept the inevitability of their own obsolescence.