Category: Teachers

The Politics of Teacher Walkouts Make Mike & Randi Uneasy Bedmates

The Politics of Teacher Walkouts Make Mike & Randi Uneasy Bedmates

A recent editorial in USA Today (“We can expect more from teachers when we pay them like pros: Bloomberg and Weingarten”) presents an object lesson in how the politics surrounding the recent wave of teacher walkouts is creating some very troubling alliances in the nexus between business and education. Under the guise of presenting a “unified front”, former NYC mayor Mike […]

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An “Achievement School District” Primer, Or Why Charterizing Your School District is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

An “Achievement School District” Primer, Or Why Charterizing Your School District is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Idea

“Achievement School Districts” are a recent phenomenon in the corporate education reform movement. These “school districts” are designed to guarantee “rapid improvement in the state’s low performing schools”, although specific methods, techniques and strategies to accomplish this goal are rarely mentioned. ASDs have sprung up all across the nation, under various names and guises, from the “Education Achievement Authority” in […]

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How Trump’s tax scam fuels the red state education revolts

How Trump’s tax scam fuels the red state education revolts

If we can afford to give the Kochs $1 billion a year, maybe your kid’s teacher shouldn’t have to drive an Uber at night Around 125 teachers and their supporters marched from Oklahoma City to Tulsa this week to demand the state restore funds to the state’s starved schools. The Guardian’s Mike Elk reported that the marchers were met with […]

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Betsy DeVos says charter schools are the Uber or Lyft of “school choice”–and that’s not a good thing

Betsy DeVos says charter schools are the Uber or Lyft of “school choice”–and that’s not a good thing

Secretary of Education and Saturday Night Live fixture Betsy DeVos is fond of saying that picking a school should be as easy as choosing an Uber or a Lyft. She bases this belief on the economic theories that buttress much of the neo-liberal and conservative approach to education reform: As economist Milton Friedman had theorized decades earlier, Ohio legislators believed […]

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James O’Keefe’s group busted infiltrating school union in Michigan to set up fake sting, judge issues restraining order

James O’Keefe’s group busted infiltrating school union in Michigan to set up fake sting, judge issues restraining order

James O’Keefe, the “film” producer who spends his life trying to take down any organization valued by progressives with heavily-edited videos of “stings” he orchestrates has been spending time in Michigan this year trying to bring down the American Federation of Teachers. Fortunately, a combination of an O’Keefe operative’s stupidity and the intelligence of the AFT’s staff resulted O’Keefe’s crew […]

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The predictable result of demonizing teachers: Detroit schools face massive teacher shortage

The predictable result of demonizing teachers: Detroit schools face massive teacher shortage

If you’ve been watching the ever-increasing demonization of teachers in Michigan over the past decade, you probably have asked yourself at one time or another, “Why the hell would ANYONE want to be a teacher in Michigan?” It’s a fair question. Republicans in our state legislature have cut their benefits, based their advancement on student progress when much of what […]

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Who suffers when charter schools fail? (HINT: It’s not the banks or the authorizers)

Who suffers when charter schools fail? (HINT: It’s not the banks or the authorizers)

It’s becoming an all too familiar news story in Michigan these days: A “failing” public school system faces “competition” from a charter school that sucks even more resources and students away from the traditional schools and then, when they can’t make enough money, the charter school closes and things are worse off than they were before. For example, it happened […]

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Some unpopular thoughts on teacher evaluation

Some unpopular thoughts on teacher evaluation

I’ve been working on teacher evaluation for most of my career as a teacher, administrator, and teacher educator; first being evaluated, then doing the evaluation as an assistant principal and subject area coordinator, then helping design a state-wide beginning teacher evaluation initiative. After nearly 40 years in education, all I can say is that the current system is the worst […]

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What you need to know about accountability, tests, and music

What you need to know about accountability, tests, and music

In the past couple of days I’ve seen a number of troubling statements about education and policy-related issues, like standardized testing, from a variety of political leaders. And I keep coming back to the same word to describe how I feel after reading their ideas about the state of public education. Disappointed. One of these statements was from a hopeful […]

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The biggest loss in education is the loss of teachers’ voices

The biggest loss in education is the loss of teachers’ voices

I received the note below from a former student who is now a teacher. For obvious reasons, I won’t identify her or where she teaches, but–shockingly–her story is becoming all too common… We had a union meeting yesterday where they warned us that the governor is going after the certificates of teachers that opted out their kids (of the state […]

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Teachers and the “social contract”: A parable

Teachers and the “social contract”: A parable

My son asked me today on the ride home from his after school jazz band practice if it ever bothered me that persons with less education than I had made more money–a lot more money–than I did. “That’s an easy one,” I told him. “No. Because how much money someone makes has nothing to do with their value in this […]

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