Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Author: Valerie Strauss
Friday, September 25, 2015 Washington Post
Seattle teachers went on strike for a week this month with a list of goals for a new contract. By the time the strike officially ended this week, teachers had won some of the usual stuff of contract negotiations — for example, the first cost-of-living raises in six years — but also less standard objectives.
For one thing, teachers demanded, and won, guaranteed daily recess for all elementary school students — 30 minutes each day. In an era when recess for many students has become limited or non-existent despite the known benefits of physical activity, this is a big deal, and something parents had sought.
What’s more, the union and school officials agreed to create committees at 30 schools to look at equity issues, including disciplinary measures that disproportionately affect minorities. Several days after the end of the strike, the Seattle School Board voted for a one-year ban on out-of-school suspensions of elementary students who commit specific nonviolent offenses, and called for a plan that could eliminate all elementary school suspensions.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Robert D. Putnam.
Review by Duane Campbell
This new book is an insightful and well researched analysis of on the achievement gap, which Robert Putnam correctly calls an opportunity gap for the current generation of young people. I was drawn to the book by respect for his prior writing, Bowling Alone . This new work is of equal value in synthesizing social science research. Perhaps it is of more value since we have major institutions-schools- in positions , that could contribute to the rebirth of equal, democratic opportunity.
In Our Kids, Putnam describes major developments in our schools and our communities - the growing inequality of opportunity for the working class and the poor.
Educational writers have long chronicled several of the key concepts, the role of tracking, of concentrations of poverty and of race. This work excels because it is a very well informed outsiders sociological viewpoint of these issues. Putnam and research associate Jen Sliva bring together extensive social science data and research to support the many interpretive suggestions.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
September 14, 2015
Moyers & Company
Trump’s announced intention to deport 11 million “illegals” while building a wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico at no cost — details conveniently not provided — is simultaneously savage and ludicrous. Even more disturbing is the sluggishness of the response from Republican and Democratic opinion makers. Where is the outrage? Why is the counterattack left largely to Hispanic organizations?
It has so far annoyed but not really surprised me that Donald Trump, despite being an obnoxious bully, has defied expectations with a steady rise in the public opinion polls. It may be that his buffoonery and megalomania are simply more attractive to some early voters than rival candidates, with their solemn professions that what pushes them into the grind of campaigning is their dedication to promoting the public welfare.
But I am considerably more than annoyed when Trump puts himself at the head of the armies of the new nativism by using his bullhorn to echo the warnings of the movement’s Cassandras against the supposed “hordes” of undocumented immigrants pouring through our “open southern border.” His point of attack is the so-called “anchor babies” — children of pregnant mothers who supposedly sneak into the United States so that their children will be born here and automatically become citizens.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
TEACHERS FILE FRIEDRICHS BRIEF: A group of California teachers filed the first salvo in a Supreme Court case that could impose right-to-work rules on government employees nationwide. Lawyers for Rebecca Friedrichs and several other teachers asked the high court to overrule its 1977 Abood precedent and prohibit unions from collecting non-member agency fees to cover bargaining costs. The plaintiffs say that unions such as the California Teachers Association "administer the largest regime of compelled political speech in the nation," according to the Sept. 4 brief.
"California law makes these payments mandatory for every teacher working in an agency-shop school - which is virtually every teacher. This multi-hundred-million-dollar regime of compelled political speech is irreconcilable with this court's decisions in every related First Amendment context, as well as its recent recognition of 'the critical First Amendment rights at stake' in such arrangements," they said.
Read the full brief, courtesy of On Labor:
Reposted from Politico, Morning Edition
Tuesday, September 08, 2015
English-Only to the Core
What the Common Core means for emergent bilingual youth
BY JEFF BALE
Among bilingual educators, there has been much debate about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Some of the most respected scholars of bilingual education have endorsed the Common Core and are working hard to make it relevant for English learners. Others have been more suspicious. Not only do the standards focus on English-only, critics note, but they were bankrolled by the Gates Foundation, pushed on states in a way that amounts to bribery by the Obama administration, and promise to worsen the impact of high-stakes standardized testing.
In fact, the genesis of the Common Core stands in direct contrast to how bilingual education programs were won, namely through grassroots, explicitly anti-racist organizing by students, parents, teachers, and community allies. The standards thus raise a key question: Given the history of bilingual education programs in the United States, is it possible to expand social justice for emergent bilingual youth through the Common Core?
Addressing that question has been challenging, given the inconsistent responses of professional and civil rights organizations to the standards. The National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) issued a position statement in January 2013 with mixed messages. Although NABE’s membership passed a resolution opposing the Common Core, the statement explains that the group is “working collaboratively with policymakers, school administrators, and teachers” to ensure that implementing the Common Core does not negatively impact English learners. The TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association issued a policy brief endorsing the standards.
Saturday, September 05, 2015
Thursday, September 03, 2015
When Chris Christie said that our union deserves “a punch in the face,” I was appalled but not surprised. When Scott Walker compared union members in Wisconsin to members of the terrorist organization ISIS, I was disappointed but not shocked.
It’s no secret there is a well-funded operation out there whose only mission is to destroy unions and strip workers of our rights and dignity. Over-the-top comments from politicians are just more examples of how brutal it’s gotten.
But our unions aren’t faceless buildings. Unions are our members—our brothers and sisters who are out there every day working to improve our communities and provide for their families. That's how this country prospered after World War II, building a middle class through strong unions. And today, as our country wrestles with stagnant wages and growing inequality, Americans’ approval of labor unions is the highest it has been since 2008, according to a new Gallup poll. No wonder conservative politicians—who simply want the status quo—try to score political points by attacking us.
This Labor Day, let’s show the people who want to tear workers down the faces of the hard-working Americans they’re attacking.