Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Funding Rural Schools

I will be the first to say that rural schools are underfunded, but I would never say that rural schools deserve MORE than urban schools. This is NOT the discussion that we should be having – this discussion should be about how to make things better for ALL children! 

The Many Faces of NYSUT

I am really confused by NYSUT these days.

A letter was printed in the Albany Times Union by the TEACHER OF THE YEAR whose face graces the cover of NYSUT UNITED. You can read his letter using this link: http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Academic-excellence-to-the-core-4463752.php

But, wait……..isn’t NYSUT planning a RALLY on June 8? Why yes, indeed, Dick tells us : “It’s time to raise all our voices in unison to support public education. Educators, parents, students and community members will have the opportunity to speak as one.” 

So, NYSUT which is it? Do we LOVE the CCSS? Do we want parents, educators and students to support public education WITH the CCSS? Do we agree with Randi that there should simply be a moratorium on the testing? Do we think the CCSS were just “rolled out wrong?

What about the memo famously sent from Dick Iannuzzi telling teachers that we should be wary of discussing “opt out” with parents?

What about the news that was tweeted out of a listening tour that suddenly NYSUT’S crack legal team is looking into the confidentiality agreement that teachers had to sign before scoring tests?

What about Dick standing proudly with Andy when NYSUT agreed to the hell that is NY’s APPR?

What is NYSUT going to do about the impending destruction of completed tests – tests that will be used in that APPR to determine growth scores for its members?

Which face of NYSUT will we see tomorrow, the next day, the next week? Sorry, but this is NOT the way to instill confidence in your members, Dick!

Mixed Messages?

Today, my inbox had two very interesting bits of information.

1. Commissioner King’s “News and Notes” showed up telling me:

 “As you know, the Common Core will not just arrive in the mail in a shiny, new box. (The truth is, the CCSS show up at schools in brown cardboard boxes emblazened with PEARSON!) The Common Core is a comprehensive set of research-based and internationally-benchmarked standards that demands critical shifts in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Since the Board of Regents adopted the Common Core in 2010, the State Education Department has provided extensive and unprecedented resources and supports, including an abundance of instructional materials on EngageNY.org.”

Well, how very lucky for me – these are INTERNATIONALLY BENCHMARKED STANDARDS – and here I was becoming worried that they were national! Additionally, I am so lucky that EngageNY.org exists – because you know, I have no clue with my years of experience about how to read the standards and develop lessons. 

2. Randi Weingarten also sent me a lovely email telling me:

“We are committed to the success of getting the transition to Common Core right. To do that, we must help teachers and students master this new approach and not waste time punishing people for not doing something they haven’t yet been equipped to do. Can you imagine doctors being expected to perform a new medical procedure without being trained or provided the necessary instruments?That’s what is happening right now with the Common Core.”

What the what??? This is a NATIONAL UNION LEADER telling me that we need to get the “transition” to CCSS right. Hey, wait a minute – who even said that the CCSS are RIGHT? Where were the educators in developing these standards? Where is the ‘evidence’ that these standards are in some way better than the NYS Standards? Where is the PROOF that once we transition to them, reform will be done?? 

NYSUT, for their part, is FINALLY coming to the party and hosting a rally on June 8. I hope beyond hope that parents, students, and teachers show up and DEMAND TO BE HEARD! I hope that they shout “NO MORE!”

NO MORE HIGH STAKES TESTING! NO MORE CHILD ABUSE IN THE FORM OF HOURS UPON HOURS OF TESTING! NO MORE JUDGING STUDENTS, TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS AND SCHOOLS ON SECRET TESTS! NO MORE DECISIONS BEING MADE BY THOSE WHO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT EDUCATION!