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from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

THE EDUCATION DIARIES 

Okay, it doesn't sound sexy like the Motorcycle diaries, and I sincerely doubt it will be turned into a movie, especially as I am not as appealing as a young Che Guevara.  Since I go by the name of Teacherken, I am expected (and often do) post on issues of education, here, at dailykos, and elsehwere. .  Periodically I provide a cumulative diary like this at dailykos, which will enable newcomers and/or interested parties to see all of what I have post in one annotated list.  Thus readers will have one link on which they can click to find anything I have written in diary form at dailykos about education since December 22, 2004.   Some of these diaries got lots of traffic, others did not.  You can decided on your own what if any value THIS diary offers you.   NOTE:  some of the imbedded links to publications may have expired.


HERE'S THE LIST.


what was your favorite subject in school reached #2 on the recommended list on Saturday July 30.  The primary focus is an article from the St. Petersburg (FL) Times (one of the great papers in the nation) about how electives are being eliminated or cut back in order to provide more time to prepare for mandatory tests in reading.  I offer a fair amount of commentary of my own.  The thread is mixed, with a lot of poster limiting themselves to the question in the title, but many choosing to explore the implications for them had they not had access to electives, and still more talking about the various policy implications caused by the testing requirements of NCLB and the need to ensure that all students can read.  There are 152 comments, many extended and thoughtful.


NCLB problems not solutions was a diary on July 26 that flew by with little comment or notice.  As I wrote at the time

First I will discuss the problem of high qualified teachers, a requirement under the Law.  Next I will refer to a somewhat related column about teacher compensation that appeared on the front page of the metro section of the July 26 Washington Post.  Finally I will discuss the issue of supplementary services (tutoring), focusing in particular on an article in the July 25 Baltimore Sun.  Throughout I will offer my own analysis and commentary.  



Some thoughts on testing and education is a July 21 piece on three different items about the topics in the title of the diary, two from Seattle and one a column by Bob Herbert of the NY Times.  As usual, I provide some selections from each of the pieces (while I encourage you to read the entire piece) and provide some additional commentary of my own.


Slashing Fed Support 4 Gifted Education, posted July 19, works off a story in the Washington Post on the slashing of funding for  the Javits Center for Gifted Education.  It is an example of the shortsightedness of this administration's approach to the funding of education, and something of the hypocrisy of NCLB.


Rothstein (NOT Rove) on Educational Equity was posted July 15, It focuses on a conversation with Richard Rothstein, who was for a number of years the educational columnist for the NY Times.  The conversation appeared in The Evaluation Exchange, a publication of the Harvard Family Research Project.


The Campaign for Educational Equity is a diary about a new approach being taken by Teachers College in NYC, led by its president Arthur Levine.  The diary focuses on a piece first published in Teachers College Record back in May.  The diary was posted on July 14.  I happen to think it was deserving of more attention than the five comments it received.  Take a look, and decide for yourself.


A Political Issue - Teacher Pay was the first of my pieces ever to be front-paged (on July 3 by Armando).  It uses an article that appeared in the Long Beach (CA) Journal (and apparently elsewhere) as the starting point for a discussion of the educational implications of teacher pay and an exploration of the political issues involved.  The diary parked a fascinating discussion of 255 comments.


HOW NCLB ENRICHES BUSH CRONIES AND OTHERS has a self-explanatory title.  It is based on a report written by Gerald bracey and put out by the school of education at Arizona State University.  It gives specifics of individuals and companies that are benefiting rom NCLB while showing their contacts with the Bush family and the President. I provide a link to download (PDF) the entire report.



BILL MOYERS:  "A MORAL TRANSACTION" is about Public television.  This is related since public tv started as educational tv -- our local station in DC is WETA, founded as  (Greater) Washington Educational Television  Association.  Moyers paid himself for a two page spread in the Washington Post to present his defense of the purposes of public education.  He was involved with the founding of public broadcasting, and has been a powerful advocate for its independence.



SOMETHING GOOD & EXCITING IN PHILADELPHIA is about a new charter high school  opening this Fall and dedicated to peace studies and conflict resolution.  It includes the organizers request for mentors for each of the students.  I wanted people aware of what good things could be done under charter school legislation, and to let those people close enough to get involved about the opportunity to participate.



Three Things TO THINK ABOUT put together information from three emails I had received from different lists in which I participate.   The first two items were clearly about education.  The first was about an article entitled "A Teacher Falls In Love, Over and over" and the second was about the "opt out" provision for parents to prevent the military recruiters from having personal information about their children.



AN EDUCATION LEADER ON NCLB will connect you with an interesting piece entitled "Zen and the Art of Bill's Philosophy" from District Administration, a professional journal for superintendents and the like.  It focuses on a many who has been regional superintendent in Vermont for 23 years.



GEORGE LUCAS -EDUCATION NOT STAR WARS introduces readers to Edutopia and the work of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (for which Edutopia is the primary informational outlet).  It  includes an extract from the latest issue to whet your appetites.  If you don't know about GLEF, this is your chance to find out and sign up for free.



What's wrong with Education??? is the text of a post to the Assessment reform network by George Sheridan, who gave me permission to post it on dailykos.   George is a teacher in California, and a union rep, who is quite articulate about the problems teachers and schools really face.


HIGH STANDARDS from Virginia was posted May 4.  It is also the result of a post on the Assessment reform network, this from a woman who is a former Virginia teacher of the year, but is posting in her capacity as parent of a middle school student.  it is well worth the read, even if I say so.


If you truly care about education was my attempt to provide a brief annotated list of some online resources about education.  Anyone with a serious interest in education policy should know these sites.


Responsibility, posted May 11, is my reaction to a posting on an educational listserv about the issue of affixing blame and responsibility.  I explain within the piece, which was my response back on list, why it is relevant to issues of education and of testing.


Testing Insanity gets even worse? is largely the text and background of a press release on a really absurd situation that occurred in Washington State.  Perhaps one can respond with a sardonic laugh or comment, but it is illustrative of what we doing destructively to our schools and our students.


Education -- You won't believe  -- or will you ?? has selections from four articles on education, the first from Texas about Sandy Kress, a major influence on Bush and the creation of No Child Left Behind, the other three being from a variety of Virginia publications.   All four articles are worth the read, and the diary will give you a sense of each.  You may have seen this one, since it made the recommended list.NOTED link has been corrected


being a teacher - some end of year good and bad are my personal reflections as I approached the end of this school year.  You may or may not find it relevant, but it will give you a sense of how I operate, and what matters to me.


And now ... reflections & questions is another personal reflection.  I drafted it as I begin this my 60th year, and posted it in the early hours of May 23, my 59th birthday.   Since my vocation is as a teacher, personal reflections are inevitably connected with my life at school.  THis piece is very personal.


Need a Tutor?  Call India was also posted on May 23.  It is about a phenomenon of outsourcing in education.  The implications are scary, given that one part of NCLB is the transfer of federal education funds to provide tutoring for students in schools that fail to meet Annual Yearly Progress.  This one is not all that long, and it is an issue about which we should be watchful.


PEN Public Education Network provided some selections from the weekly email from the Public Education Network, which is an invaluable source for anyone interested in education, providing not only links for news articles, but also things like sources of funding for teachers and schools, etc.  Take a look, and if you have any interest, I point you at how you too can sign up for this weekly Newsblast.


Finally, Memorable teacher(s) - whom do you remember?.  This was inspired by a visit yesterday to my alma mater, Haverford College, for a glee club reunion, where we were conducted by the long time 928 years) choral director at the College, Bill Reese, now 95 years old.  I give my memories of four teachers, one high school and three at Haverford, who had a huge influence on me, and I encourage others to offer their memories in the comments.   Some of those, such as that by Plutonium Page, are by themselves worth the read.  This was on the recommended list for several hours, and has over 90 comments, most of which I promise are not by me.



If you care about education, posted on April 16, gives an explanation of the Public Education Network, with some samples from that week's electronic newsletter.   This is a good resources for those that want an easy way of following major issues in educational policy.



Some education resources, posted April 18, contains some selections without comment from the newsletter of the Coalition for Essential Schools, and organization based on the work of Ted Sizer.



warning about a new "report" on teachers  was posted on April 19.  This is the diary in this group most likely to have been read, as it was on the recommended list for about 24 hours.  It addressed a report issued by the Progressive Policy Institute with which I found a number of problems, but which since it was getting some publicity was important to discuss.  I will note that for this diary the discussion in the comments is worth taking the time to read perhaps in its entirety.  WARNING  -- there are over 300 comments, and the thread stayed active for several days.



commercializing all of education? explores the decision of the US Department of Education to defund the work of the Eisenhower  National Clearing House for Mathematics and Science Education.  It is based on an email bulletin from Eschool News online  -  another valuable resource on educational issues, and was posted on April 20th.  This is a diary you may well not have seen.



Teachers and the law was also posted on April 20, and similarly scrolled by without much action.  It contains information from the Reach Every Child website of Alan Haskvitz, and contains information that may prove useful to some on this list



Don't let my critics in explores a conflict at George Mason University.  Posted on April 27, it includes selections from the online column the day before by Jay Mathews, principal education writer for the Washington Post.  It shows how even in education people on the right (in this case Checker Finn) are unwilling to have meetings where those who oppose their views (in this case Jerry Bracey) are even allowed to attend.



What does it mean to be a teacher? A reflection on what life as a teacher is like, from my perspective as a high school social studies teacher.  Posted March 20. As I note in the intro,

it will instead be a personal reflection, drawn from my experience in this time and place, inspired in part by the self-examination I am undergoing as part of preparing to submit my portfolio for certification by the National Board for Professional teaching Standards. It will also be influenced by the active role I have taken in writing about educational issues here at dailykos.




The least of the problems is a response on the issue of cheating on tests required by the Federal "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law.  It was an extended version of something I began as a comment on another thread, and includes a quotation from Walt Haney's magnificent analysis of how the so-called Texas Miracle in education was actually the result of cooking the books in other ways.  I believe this diary provides a good summary of some of the issues confronting public education, and I asked people what they were doing to help save public education.



Do you REALLY want to read THIS diary?, posted March 31, was my reflection on the process of National Board certification for teachers, written just after I had completed my last part, the Assessment Center Testing.  Like many of my diaries, it is very much of a personal reflection and analysis, but perhaps may give some insight into the process.



Saving Public Education - Saving Democracy largely consists of a statement posted with permission by five researchers in education, E. Wayne Ross, Kathleen Kesson, David Gabbard, Sandra Mathison, & Kevin D. Vinson.  I felt it was very much on point as to what is really at stake in some of the battles currently going on in the field of public education policy.



Education and "The Mighty Wurlitzer"  is the title I place on a piece by well known education writer Gerald Bracey, who gave me permission to post a piece he had written on how the right manipulates public discourse on education.



F for Assessment - today's education diary was posted on April 3.  It contains selections and analysis by me of an article by Jim Popham, noted expert and former president of AERA, on how our current program of assessment is badly flawed.



Cheapskate Conservatives Cheat Students, posted April 4, takes you through a few selections of an article by that title written by Richard Rothstein, who used to write the education column in the NY Times.



Teacher quality and NBPTS certification posted April 5, takes the reader through an article by Andy Rotherham originally published in Education Week .  As one who had been undergoing the NBPTS process, I thought it worthwhile to consider his points and offer a brief response of my own.



More than an exit exam? offers selections from a report strongly recommending the use of multiple measures to determine high school graduation, with as usual a few personal comments by me.  The piece itself comes from the School Reform network based at Stanford, and the best-known of the authors is Linda Darling-Hammond.



The loss of hope? , written on April 10 as I sat in a Starbucks with my wife, is only partially about education.  It is an explanation of why I keep teaching even as I can hold out little hope that anything I do will make any kind of difference on big picture issues. Perhaps as much as anything, it is a self-exploration shared with the community.



Fed Educ Law Causes Cheating? discusses a new report done by Nichols and Berliner on behalf of the Great Lakes Center.  Includes executive summary of report.



Bush Proposed Education Cuts relying  on an analysis originally prepared by National School Boards Association, the information passed on by Fairtest provides a detailed look at what Bush's budget would do to Federal support of education



Among School Children, Class Size Does Matter an op ed I wrote a number of years ago that appeared in a now-defunct chain of suburban DC papers, in their Montgomery and PG editions.  This piece was also picked up by a number of email services.  it represents my musings on how the issue of class size can be explained.



A Teacher's View - the Real Battleground This includes some musings on my own teaching, which serves as the basis for my concern that the kind of teaching I can do now is under real threat, and ultimately challenges readers  -- what will they do to support public education?  This diary stayed on the recommended list for the better part of 24 hours.



EDUCATION: If you oppose NCLB, read this is based on an item enclosed in a email I received from an educational listserv.  I had the author's permission to post the email, which describes a forum of progressive educators that "agenda of promoting a progressive, democratic vision of public education that supports the good work many schools are doing while pushing the public policy agenda in a direction counter to the current prevailing wisdom."   The organization is funded in part by Soros.  I encourage people to explore it.



So who knows what something means? starts with a tale about how the author of a piece used in a standardized test who discusses real problems with the questions used  and the answers accepted.  I then go into an extended set of remarks of my own about the problems with the kinds of testing we are now doing.



What is a good teacher? offers for your reading the text of a piece of that title by Alan Haskvitz, an award-winning teacher (his cv blew me away) .  I was glad to see that many of the traits he discusses others find in me.



IMPORTANT - 3 Articles on Education  describes 3 important commentary pieces, by Nel Noddings, Ronald S. Byrnes, and John Merrow, that appeared in a single issue of Education Week .  I provide extracts from each article, a wee bit of my own commentary and background on the authors, and encourage others to go read the pieces.



But is it SCIENTIFIC? discusses in detail a symposium on educational research,  that were available on line,  from Teachers College Record .  The symposium was framed around a set of questions, which I provided in a blockquote in the diary, and which I do so here:


What constitutes scientifically based research in education? How should it be defined? Who should definite it? Should it be privileged over other forms of educational research? Should it be defined at all? What role should qualitative or interpretive methods play in educational research? What are the consequences of different answers to these questions?



.  This was actually my second diary on the same subject, because the first one, an important TCR for educational issues, scrolled by so quickly.  



on the finances of public school education was actually originally written as a comment way down on another diary.  I offer some details about systems I know here in Washington, and invited others to participate in a dialog, which ultimately got 23 comments.



How the Right will kill Public Education used a story in the Charlotte Observer about the possibility of granting tuition tax credits for attendance at public schools.   This diary provoked a lengthy discussion, with 233 comments.



Thoughts on a teacher's week was cross-posted from my own blog because I wanted some feedback, and I don't get many comments on my own blog.  It uses some of the events from a week in my classroom to talk about teaching, but also about more.



so how many kossacks are teachers? included a poll, and got a number of us to offer some information about our own roles in the world of education



I hope this diary has been of use to at least some readers.
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