Posts from September 14th, 2012
September 14, 2012
- “The logjam has broken” in Chicago and the union is set to vote on a new contract Sunday. (Catalyst)
- Opposition to the strike is strongest among white and wealthy parents. (American Prospect via Russo)
- Here’s another realization that Democrats have revised their education policy outlook. (Daily Beast)
- A Park Sloper from a union family explains why her teachers union thoughts evolved. (Business Insider)
- Confused about whether to apostrophize “teachers unions”? Here’s some help. (Chicago Reader)
- TFA founder Wendy Kopp tells Brits that Chicago symbolizes America’s education ills. (Financial Times)
- And an NYC union activist exhorted teachers at his school to support the strike. (GS Community)
- The leader of a team of tutors explains how she wound up doing “high-dose tutoring.” (Blue Engine)
- Helen Rosenthal, a City Council candidate, says StudentsFirst uses nice but empty rhetorics. (NYPress)
- A fourth-year city teacher says the start of school has him finally overcoming his first year. (BNiche)
- A city teacher describes the annual game of waiting for the next big thing he’ll have to do. (SchoolBook)
- Two special education advocates say the city needs to put its resources where its mouth is. (City Limits)
- Looking for the right college has extra considerations for students with disabilities. (The Choice)
- Mitt Romney’s campaign has announced a new group of backers: Educators for Romney. (Politics K-12)
September 14, 2012
As the city settled into for its first full school week of the 2012-2013 school year, heads were turned westward toward a simmering dispute that boiled over on Sunday night. In Chicago, the teachers union announced that it was striking after negotiations broke down over terms for a new contract.
T Williams criticized both sides of the strike, blaming the conflict on a clash of personalities more than a fight over the interests of students or families:
The two groups that are most directly affected by the teachers strike are on the sidelines with no role or opportunity to play a role in helping decide the outcomes. Those two groups are the students and their parents/guardians. Far too much of what passes for educational reform is top down. Far too often approaches to resolving labor conflict is adversarial when it should be more collaborative. In Chicago the teachers have drawn their line in the sand and the Mayor and School Board have their lines in the sand and neither line seems to have been drawn with what is in the best interest of public school students. This strike will be a boom to charter school education in Chicago and elsewhere in the country depending upon the final outcome. There will be no winners.
Norm compared the union dynamics in Chicago to the one in New York:
One aspect of this strike is that [it] is also a referendum on the Randi Weingarten/Mulgrew/ Leo Casey “you have to collaborate due to climate of the times” unionism which has dug such a hole here in NYC. But we are still many years behind the impact of ed deform which began in Chicago in 1994-5. CORE/CTU which has already won some minor concessions that the UFT would have jumped at and sold to the members as the best we could get. Note how class size, which the UFT has refused to put on the table since c. 1970 is a real issue. (more…)
September 14, 2012
The lights dimmed and the screen lit up with the face of an 8-year-old girl staring at a chalkboard and struggling to read the sentence written upon it. The camera flashed to the teacher sitting at her desk, texting on her cellphone and shopping for shoes on the computer.
“Try again,” the teacher said.
“I can’t,” she answered, and the scene ended.
The scene opens “Won’t Back Down,” a new film by Walden Media, the same company that produced the 2010 documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” which extolled charter schools. The advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence held a private advance screening of the movie for its members, all city teachers, Wednesday night at the Regal Cinemas in Union Square.
“Won’t Back Down” riffs off real-life parents’ efforts to turn a struggling California school into a non-unionized charter school.
The drama has come under scrutiny as it approaches its Sept. 28 release because of its harsh, and sometimes inaccurate, treatment of teachers unions. “This fictional portrayal, which makes the unions the culprit for all of the problems facing our schools, is divisive and demoralizes millions of great teachers,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten in a statement last month.
“We cannot pretend there’s not a debate around this movie,” said E4E’s New York Executive Director Jonathan Schleifer to the crowd before the movie began. “That’s why you’re here – you want to be informed.”
Sydney Morris, E4E’s co-founder and chief executive director, warned the crowd that the story told in the movie didn’t accurately mirror real events.
“It’s not in any way a perfect depiction of reality,” she said. “But it is a bold depiction of teachers as change agents — it shows what teacher empowerment and parent involvement could and should look like.” (more…)
September 14, 2012
A year after starting to rotate teachers without permanent positions into different empty slots weekly, the Department of Education has settled on a way to evaluate them.
But the plan, hiring administrators to observe and coach the teachers in multiple placements, could be stymied if the department cannot find enough available evaluators who are up to the task.
Last year, when the city launched the rotation system for members of the Absent Teacher Reserve, it left up in the air the question of who would be responsible for evaluating them. Previously, ATRs were typically assigned to one school for the entire year, so principals could rate them as they did any other teacher on staff.
For almost all of the roughly 830 teachers in the pool at the end of last year, district superintendents ended up issuing the annual ratings with input from potentially dozens of principals who supervised each teacher — in most cases, without conducting the formal observations that teachers are required to receive each year.
But in Brooklyn, which had about 250 ATRs last year, the city took a different approach. It interviewed and selected five administrators who had also lost their positions to budget cuts or school closures to visit the teachers in their classrooms and give them feedback about their performance. (more…)
September 14, 2012
- The week will end with Chicago teachers still on strike. (Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Times, HuffPo)
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is under pressure to settle because of the presidential election. (HuffPo)
- With their own contract negotiations underway, Newark teachers are eying the Second City. (WSJ)
- An 800-pound gorilla in the Chicago negotiating room is the prospect of more charter schools. (Times)
- After two years of more observations, the city says teachers are getting better. (GothamSchools)
- A 4-year-old whose cancer is in remission isn’t getting bus services he is legally entitled to. (NY1)
- Donors have allowed most students at one high school in Michigan go to college for free. (Times Mag)
- The state released a roadmap for Common Core-aligned social studies instruction. (GothamSchools)
- The city is trying to save money on sports equipment for schools by seeking sponsorship deals. (Post)
- The light fixtures at a school with a PCB leak could take years to be replaced. (Daily News)