"If you’re putting together a list of ‘the greatest books,’ you’ll want to do two things: (1) out of kindness, avoid anyone working on a novel; and (2) decide what the word ‘great’ means. The first part is easy, but how about the second? A short list of possible definitions of ‘greatness’ might look like this:
1. ‘Great’ means ‘books that have been greatest for me.’
2. ‘Great’ means ‘books that would be considered great by the most people over time.’
3. ‘Great’ has nothing to do with you or me—or people at all. It involves transcendental concepts like God or the Sublime.
A restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee refused to serve state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R), the man who sponsored the state’s “don’t say gay” bill, compared homosexuality to bestiality, and most recently told Michelangelo Signorile that it’s virtually impossible to spread HIV/AIDS through heterosexual sex. “I hope that Stacy Campfield now knows what if feels like to be unfairly discriminated against,” the Bistro at the Bijou wrote on its Facebook wall on Sunday. The restaurant has received an overwhelmingly positive response.
What if we indeed held doctors and other professionals to the same bloat and condescension that we currently hold teachers? I can predict some of the responses that physicians might make: “We can’t control what our patients do or eat outside of our offices to maintain minimum levels of health. Also, these variables — BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure — are limited and don’t adequately measure a healthy person. And one other thing, you can’t expect us to be evaluated based on all patients equally, regardless of family history, poverty, and other complications.” As an educator, my sentiments exactly!
In a world that is so worried about fitting in we many times don’t think about how dangerous it is to join the crowd. The essence of conformity is just that, joining the crowd. The reason this is so dangerous is that this is truly the root of many common evils in this world. If your child, or brother, or maybe even you are bullied at school or work or anywhere really, it is 99% of the time because they aren’t conforming. So you would think the easy way would be to conform, but think about it.
If you have ever read 1984, it is all in essence the epitome of a dystopia the reason all of it happens is because of the fact everyone is conforming…Conformity is the root of the Holocaust, the Salem witch trials, and the Red Scare. This was all aimed at people who were different, or who they accused of being different and everyone went along with it. Nobody learns from the past.
Get away from the crowd. Be a leader. I have recently let go of nearly every idea of conformity I was holding to. I have never been happier.
-B.D., one of my 8th grade students
This is an excerpt from a blog he writes on his own to frequently highlight lessons he has learned and values. In my class, we studied 1984 and The Crucible, which seems to have inspired this particular post. Stumbling upon things like this is what really makes my job remarkable.
“Higher education is not a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.”—President Obama speaking in Michigan today about his plans to make college more affordable (via barackobama)
ONLY 21 states require students to attend high school until they graduate or turn 18. The proposal President Obamaannounced on Tuesday night in his State of the Union address — to make such attendance compulsory in every state — is a step in the right direction, but it would not go far enough to reduce a dropout rate that imposes a heavy cost on the entire economy, not just on those who fail to obtain a diploma.
"Learning, knowledge, reading … all of that tends to be frowned upon by the kids we’re trying to reach (and, sadly, by many of the adults in their lives)," writes Stanley by email. "At best, it’s ‘nerdy,’ at worst, it’s ‘selling out.’ We’re playing off a teen’s inherent sense of rebellion. The same teen who would never think to read The Great Gatsby because it was named the best book of the 20th century might be turned on to the book that was challenged for its ‘language and sexual references’…Pushing banned/challenged books provides those kids with a shield to use against that pressure. Instead of reading a great work of literature, they’re breaking the rules and discovering what they (parents, adults, the establishment, etc.) don’t want them to know.”
And creationism should be taught beside (or in place of) evolution, according to some conservative science teachers I know. Absurd.
"These results were not a complete surprise," said Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research at Pew, in an interview with the Huffington Post. He said they can be mostly attributed to "the difference between Democratic and Republican parties with respect to issues."
The wide ideological and partisan gap among scientists may have been exacerbated by the Bush administration, which often disputed broad scientific consensus on topics such as evolution and climate change.
“The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is, and I mean this seriously, the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been.”—Fidel Castro Calls Republican Field a ‘Competition of Idiocy’ - NYTimes (via brooklynmutt)
Although it is unclear whether a court could force a sitting president to appear in a court case, Georgia Deputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi has denied a motion by the president’s lawyer to quash a subpoena that requires Obama to show up.
A Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in the March presidential primary.
This week I let my principal know that I am looking for work outside public education. I am heartbroken and will miss my students dearly, but I realize that I can neither teach them properly nor fight for their education while trapped in silent submission.
“I used to think that technology could help education… But I’ve had to come to the inevitable conclusion that the problem is not one that technology can hope to solve. What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology. No amount of technology will make a dent. It’s a political problem.”—Steve Jobs | 1996 interview with Wired.com (via courtenaybird)
Handing our kids’ education to distant companies, over which local school boards have little or no control, is not the answer for struggling schools.
This is a dangerous experiment, and our children are the guinea pigs. There is no evidence cyber classes are superior to or even as good as traditional classroom instruction. A study at Western Michigan University found that only a third of cyber schools achieved adequate yearly progress. There is no evidence, moreover, that school districts actually save money.
“…Studying requires the development of rigorous discipline, which we must consciously forge in ourselves. No one can bestow or impose such discipline on someone else; the attempt implies a total lack of knowledge about the educator’s role in the development of discipline.”—Paulo Freire from Teachers as Cultural Workers (via educatedtodeath)
"[Since issuing] a dropout challenge to [Detroit] school districts in June 2009, about 1,300 schools and 190 districts have signed up, agreeing to identify 10-15 students at risk of dropping out and intervening in their lives.”
Apparently, a slate of “tea party” candidates ran for the school board in Plymouth last November, and two of the four candidates that were endorsed and financed by the Congressional District Republican Committee were successful. One of the unsuccessful candidates, Matt Dame, recently complained that Graham Swift’s “Waterland” and Pulitzer-prize winning author Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” were sexually explicit. That prompted the superintendent, Jeremy Hughes, to remove the books from the district’s AP English classrooms for review.
Did not expect this to be happening in my hometown.
A great teacher is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to each year’s students, just in the extra income they will earn…Conversely, a very poor teacher has the same effect as a pupil missing 40 percent of the school year.
Our faltering education system may be the most important long-term threat to America’s economy and national well-being, so it’s frustrating that the presidential campaign is mostly ignoring the issue. Candidates are bloviating about all kinds of imaginary or exaggerated threats, while ignoring the most crucial one…
Some Republicans worry that a federal role in education smacks of socialism. On the contrary, schools represent a tough-minded business investment in our economic future. And, increasingly, we’re getting solid evidence of what reforms may help: teacher evaluations based on student performance, higher pay and prestige for good teachers, dismissals for weak teachers.
That, and not most of the fireworks that passes for politics these days, is the debate we should be having on a national stage.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved.”—Charles Darwin (via lmaoatheist)
By 2014, the law said, 100 percent of public schools would have students proficient in math and reading.
But as the sweeping education law reaches its 10th anniversary this Sunday, the jury is still out on NCLB’s effects. While the law did shine a light on underperforming minority groups, scores on national standardized tests have seen little improvement and are still low, especially whencompared to other countries.
"I have decided that because of your collaboration with TFA, it would not be wise for me or for Matt to be nominated for the Friend of Education Award," Carlsson-Paige writes in her letter. "I regret this turn of events."
Carlsson-Paige writes to Van Roekel in her Wednesday letter:
I am a life long teacher educator. I believe that one of the first things we must do to improve our nation’s schools is to extend, strengthen, and support teacher preparation. I am very familiar with TFA and believe that its short-term, minimal training of teachers undermines teacher quality and harms children who too often get an inadequate education with its teachers.
In your letter to Matt in August, you wrote about a first-grade teacher who was retiring because she wouldn’t teach to a script. You said that teaching to the test strips teachers of their professionalism. Yet it is the best-trained, most knowledgeable teachers who can offer the most meaningful, excellent education in this test-driven climate. It’s the under-prepared teachers who are most often teaching to tests and using scripts because they don’t have the knowledge base to do otherwise.
New Year’s doesn’t mark the start of the school calendar for teachers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an opportunity for them to set new professional goals. But going at it alone can be tough. A new collaborative effort, The 30 Goals Challenge, invites educators to become part of a virtual community designed to help them change the way they view their classrooms and students.
Although teachers are invited to join the challenge at any point, the formal kickoff will happen in early February.
WASHINGTON — Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new studythat tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years.