Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Teacher Shortage is No Accident

In These Times · http://www.inthesetimes.com

BY Kevin Prosen

Like much else in the national education debate, panics about teacher shortages seem to be a perennial event. In a widely discussed article for the New York Times earlier this month, Motoko Rich called attention to sharp drops in enrollment in teacher training programs in California and documented that many districts are relaxing licensure requirements as a result, pushing more and more people into the classroom without full certification or proper training.

“It’s a sad, alarming state of affairs, and it proves that for all our lip service about improving the education of America’s children, we’ve failed to make teaching the draw that it should be, the honor that it must be,” mused Times columnist Frank Bruni.

That Bruni would bemoan such a state of affairs is ironic, as he has used his column over the years to repeatedly argue that teaching is too easy a profession to enter and too easy to keep, and amplified the voice of reformers who want to want to make the profession more precarious. But the reality is that speaking of a “shortage” at all is a kind of ideological dodge; the word calls to mind some accident of nature or the market, when what is actually happening is the logical (if not necessarily intended) result of education reform policies.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Group of Teachers Challenge Sanders to Change His Vote

Many of us, public school teachers and parents, have enthusiastically supported Senator Sanders for President. We were encouraged by his opposition to NCLB, but disappointed when he voted for the Murphy Amendment, which would have imposed many of the conditions we’ve consistently opposed. Our students have been through more than enough of this already. Therefore we’ve written the following:
Dear Senator Sanders,
We are educators and supporters of yours, from across the country. Many of your positions on the issues that are the most significant facing the American populace resonate with us, inclusive of but not limited to economic inequality and the plutocratic maldistribution of political power.
In addition to being supporters and organizers for your campaign and the issues above, we are also some of the educators who are fighting against the privatization of public education and the test and punish philosophy that has become pervasive with far too many politicians. We champion this fight because our students, our profession, and the future of this country depend upon our changing the conditions that exist today under the failed No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies.
We are disappointed with your recent votes in the senate that contain provisions which perpetuate quantitatively based measures of education. Your Tennessee senatorial colleague Lamar Alexander correctly stated that what you just recently voted for, “Instead of fixing No Child Left Behind, it keeps the worst parts of it.”

Thursday, August 20, 2015



6 Back-to-School Tips for 
Social Justice Educators


Start your school year off by inviting students' lives into the classroom through poetry. Download this free lesson from our newest book,  Rhythm and Resistance

Where I'm From

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Like Trump: Seven Republican Candidates Want to Re...

antiracismdsa: Like Trump: Seven Republican Candidates Want to Re...: A Good Chunk Of GOP Field Wants To Repeal The 14th Amendment Seven candidates now support re-examining birthright citizenship. Sam S...

Another Republican Candidate Attacks Public Education and Teachers

Jeff Bryant
Some Very Serious People have decided Governor John Kasich of Ohio is the latest personality to emerge from the field of presidential candidates in the Republican Party as a genuine bona fide consideration.
According to a round up of political pundits and campaign strategists compiled by Politico, Kasich – along with Hewlett-Packard ex-CEO Carly Fiorina – put in a superior performance in the recent televised Republican presidential debate on Fox News. Folks at The Hill have christened Kasich a “sleeper candidate” who is “getting buzz because his message resonates more with the beltway crowd.” And analysts at Real Clear Politics, as of this writing, have Kasich edging ever so close to Jeb Bush who trails only Donald Trump in polling for the New Hampshire Republican primary.
Yet in all this horse-race analysis there is very little scrutiny of what Kasich’s track record actually is in the state he governed for the past four years – a consideration that should matter a lot in order to be recognized as a candidate in the first rank.
On the economic policy front, Kasich has very little to brag about. According to a recent op ed by Dale Butland of Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank in that state, Kasich makes a case for his economic prowess based on an increase in jobs in his state since the Great Recession. But compared to other states, Ohio has “led the nation in lost jobs” and “is still about 140,000 jobs short of where we were in 2007 before the downturn began.” Job creation in the Buckeye state has “lagged the national average for 20 straight months” and kept its rank mired at 41st.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Julian Bond- A Life Well Lived

Julian Bond

In a companion feature to its obituary, The Washington Post on Monday August 17, shared a story from Pamela Horowtiz, Julian Bond's widow. As she was  leaving the intensive care unit where her husband had died, a nurse stopped to offer condolences, the first person to extend sympathy:
“She told me, ‘I want you to know it was a privilege to take care of him,’ ” recalls Horowitz, voice wavering. “She said, ‘As a gay American, I thought he was a hero.’ And for her to say that, for her to be the last person who was with him, I thought it was a nice way to end."

For many of us in the struggles for social justice, Julian Bond was a hero and a role model.
Known first for his civil rights activism, Bond won national attention in 1966 when the Georgia state legislature voted to deny him the seat to which he was elected.  The rationale was that he was a disloyal American for opposing the war in Vietnam.  The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the legislature had denied Bond his free speech rights and ordered that he be seated. 
Throughout his life, Julian Bond remained a champion for racial justice, and he personified the effort to broaden the social justice struggle to include everyone. Besides the  lesbian nurse who  saw him as a hero, there were  workers who welcomed him to their picket lines and rallies and peace activists who could always count him among their ranks.

Monday, August 17, 2015

antiracismdsa: Saying Goodbye to Julian Bond

Saying Goodbye to Julian Bond: http://billfletcherjr.com/2015/saying-good-bye-and-thank-you-to-julian-bond/ I did not expect to awaken this morning ...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Why I Can No Longer Teach in Michigan Public Education

What happens to teachers and teaching  when Republican austerity extremists gain control of a state ?

Stephanie Keiles

 I am sitting here in my lovely little backyard on a beautiful Michigan summer day, drinking a Fat Tire Amber Ale, and crying. I am in tears because today I made one of the hardest decisions of my life: I resigned from my job as a public school teacher. A job I didn't want to leave -- but I had to.
A little background. I didn't figure out that I wanted to be a math teacher until I was 28. As a kid I was always told I was "too smart" to be a teacher, so I went to business school instead. I lasted one year in the financial world before I knew it was not for me. I read a quote from Millicent Fenwick, the (moderate) Republican Congresswoman from my home state of New Jersey, where she said that the secret to happiness was doing something you enjoyed so much that what was in your pay envelope was incidental.
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