Archives › 2012 › July

teachforus.org has been very quiet lately.  For whatever reason out of 10,000 1st and 2nd year CMs there is only about a post or two a day.  I’m surprised it isn’t more.  I’m sure that many of the CMs have thought about writing a book about their experience and writing a blog is a great…

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Jul 31 2012

New TFA alumni magazine has ‘some’ balance

I received my latest issue of ‘One Day,’ the TFA alumni magazine.  No, I have not asked TFA to remove me from their mailing list.  I have great hopes that TFA will ‘one day’ will become, again, an organization that I can be proud of being a part of. I’ve been writing recently about how…

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Jul 28 2012

What does ‘StudentsFirst’ mean?

StudentsFirst was formed by Michelle Rhee in 2010 after resigning as chancellor of D.C. schools.  The name ‘StudentsFirst’ implies that they have a mission to oppose those who put students second, third, or even last.  In very clear terms, they say that it is the teacher’s unions who are putting the needs of the adults…

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Jul 25 2012

TFA and Social Media

Today there was a post on ‘Pass The Chalk’ by a TFA staffer, Bex Young, entitled ‘6 Things You Need to Know About TFA and Social Media‘.  Bex, according to her Twitter profile, manages social media marketing for TFA. The post begins with a good self-deprecating joke about how this is the place to ‘toe…

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Jul 24 2012

School Of One

When used appropriately, technology can really make things better.  It can also be a big waste of money.  In my math class, I have incorporated an incredible computer program called ‘The Geometer’s Sketchpad’ which first came out in the early 1990s.  With this program, which only costs about $10 per student, I’ve developed activities that…

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I think it is an understatement to say that Michelle Rhee is not known for her humor.  Sure, she got a lot of chuckles when she recounted the time she taped her students’ mouths shut with masking tape and the pain (and blood) that resulted when the tape was removed.  (I also did plenty that…

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Jul 20 2012

Revenge of the Seth

One goal TFA’s new ‘Pass The Chalk’ blog is intended to demonstrate that they are not afraid to show the world that the 40+ thousand people who make up the alumni and current corps are not in agreement on all issues.  Though this is common knowledge based on much of what you read on my…

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They really ought to pay me a consultant fee. Some of the better decisions that TFA made over the past year were anticipated by me on this blog. Whether or not TFA reads this blog and if it makes them think about these ideas, consciously or subconsciously, I don’t know. It’s not like anyone ever…

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Jul 16 2012

My radio discussion with John Koczorek on MPR

Last month I was interviewed on NPR about my critique of TFA.  As a result, the  Minnesota local NPR, MPR, invited me on for a 40 minute ‘live’ discussion with another TFA alum, John Kaczorek, who has become a charter school principal. I felt that the interview last month didn’t go very well, so this time…

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Jul 13 2012

Her Royal Majesty

There was an amazing development yesterday in the continuing saga of the incredible, and incredibly surprising, speech Dr. Camika Royal delivered to incoming 2012 corps members at the Philadelphia institute. For those who have not been following this, I discovered the video on YouTube, blogged about how I agreed with the message, then the video…

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Today I received (actually I am making this up) an email from one of the directors of communication at the TFA national office about the controversy I’ve sparked by writing about a YouTube video (now deleted) where TFA staffer and alum Dr. Camika Royal made comments that I called ‘anti-reform.’  (Again, this is a parody…

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On Wednesday July 11th at 10:00 PM EST, I will be hosting another live show on Spreecast, with guest Roxanna Elden. Roxanna is TFA alum, a current teacher, and the author of ‘See Me After Class’ and recently did a presentation entitled ‘The Myth Of The Superteacher’. To watch the show go here Wednesday July…

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In the past year, I have done only three shows of my internet talk show.  You can see them on my spreecast page here.  Except for the most recent one, which was me responding to questions that people typed in since nobody really wanted to be on camera, it has generally not been me talking…

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Jul 08 2012

The man who saved TFA

One day, that is what I’ll be known as because of this post. But, you’re thinking, aren’t you the guy whose life purpose is to destroy TFA?  Are you not The Joker to their Batman?  No, my purpose is to fix, not to destroy TFA.  My concern is that the way things are going TFA…

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Not that she needs my approval, or even reads this blog, most likely, but on T.V. here in New York I saw a recent interview with TFA founder Wendy Kopp which I actually liked.  This is newsworthy because I have been disappointed with Wendy, recently, for three different things: 1)  I did not like her…

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Jul 07 2012

Royal-ly Screwed

One of the more bizarre things happened today.  Earlier today I came across a video on YouTube from the opening ceremony of the recent Philadelphia institute.  One of the speakers was Dr. Camika Royal, a 1999 Baltimore alum who now has a P.hD in Urban Education.  She is a Philadelphia native and studied for her…

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[Updated] I have spent a lot of time, over the past year, criticizing TFA alums who have gone on to become education ‘reformers.’  These are the people who after two or three years of teaching have entered the leadership pipeline and have now become heads of districts, states, or started their own ‘advocacy’ organizations. TFA…

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Jul 06 2012

Classroom Management? How about Anger Management?

For eight years starting in the summer of 1995 and ending with the summer of 2003, I presented a workshop at TFA institutes.  Back then I described it as a ‘classroom management’ workshop since the last half of it had advice on that.  In 1995 I was invited to do it.  In 1996, I was…

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Jul 03 2012

Ms. Lora’s Tall Tale

[Updated version] For the past 10 years, new TFAers have been inspired by the lengthy reading entitled ‘Ms. Lora’s Story,’ about a Houston ’00 corps member who worked miracles in her first year at Blair Elementary School in Houston, getting her 4th grade class to be the first to ever have 100% passing the state…

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Jul 02 2012

Sugar Bugs

Last week I wrote a post entitled ‘The power of negative thinking’ in which I analyzed a video created by a corps member participating in the 2012 Mississippi Delta institute.  I explained in the post that my intention was not to pick on the corps members featured in the video, but to use the video…

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About this Blog

By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

Region
Houston
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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