Archives › 2012 › September

Sep 26 2012

“Poverty Should Not Matter. Ever.”

I saw, today, a post on Pass The Chalk by 2010 NYC TFAer Jarell Lee called ‘Poverty Should Not Matter.  Ever’.  Jarell is living proof that ‘poverty is not destiny’ as he grew up very poor, yet went on to Harvard and then to Teach For America.  He is thankful that his own teachers, particularly…

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Sep 25 2012

New Orleans: Joke Of The Day

I almost feel bad for these guys.  My sense is that they so want to believe that their reforms are working that they view every score release through this lens and they don’t even realize how pathetic they are. In this latest press release they call their AP results a ‘surge’ because the number of…

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Sep 20 2012

Grasping at Straws in New Orleans

New Orleans was the home of a very important battle in The War of 1812.  Exactly two hundred years later, 2012, New Orleans is again the focus of another type of battle, one of how to best help our schools. About a year ago I analyzed a press release by TFA alum and then Recovery…

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The Chicago teacher strike is a huge moment in this modern education reform battle.  In recent years, particularly, teachers around the nation have been slandered, beaten down, displaced when their schools got shut down to make more space for charters, and fired.  It is fitting that the threat to public education, ironically called the ‘reform’…

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Sep 15 2012

Analyzing Released NYC Value-Added Data Part 6

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Less technical post about VAM:  What ‘value-added’ is and is not As if there weren’t enough already, I found yet another few flaws in ‘value-added,’ flaws which, I believe, makes it beyond salvation. ‘Value-Added’ is, once again, how much better or worse a…

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Sep 13 2012

What ‘value-added’ is and is not

Because of the Chicago teacher strike, more people than ever in this country are beginning to learn about some of the big issues in education reform.  The most important, in my estimation, is also, unfortunately, the trickiest to understand — that is, the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation. There are a lot…

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Sep 10 2012

I am not a bully

Let’s face it. is not the most happening place.  With 40,000 potential bloggers, all this site gets is an average of four or five posts a day.  I write most of the posts on this site and I get most of the hits.  This is too bad since there are a lot of great…

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Sep 10 2012

Strike One

From what I’m hearing, the Chicago Teachers will begin a strike tomorrow.  For those who haven’t been following the story, it starts a few years ago when Stand For Children ‘tricked’ the union into signing a contract that would make it ‘impossible’ to strike.  Jonah Edelman bragged about this trickery in Aspen last summer.  By…

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As the lights dimmed and the opening credits rolled during my preview of ‘Won’t Back Down,’ I got a little nervous.  Based on some of the commercials I had seen, I thought there was a chance that it was going to be a good ‘film.’  I do think that a good film could be made…

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Sep 04 2012

TFA-fication: Pass The Chalk roundup #3

There’s a slang term called ‘Disneyfication’ which describes when something has been ‘cleaned up’ to make it happier than it’s true nature.  The Disney version of the sometimes gruesome Grimm fairy tales in addition to their revisionist history of Pocahontas are examples. On Pass The Chalk, recently, they have started talking about some very complex…

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On the Democrats For Education Reform website last week they announced a letter by “a coalition of over 30 education reform organizations” (including Teach For America) in which they asked Duncan to hold teacher preparation programs ‘accountable’ — meaning that their funding and even existence should be based on the value-added scores of the teachers…

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The current ‘Room For Debate’ on The New York Times website is called ‘Is Teach For America Working?’  There were six debaters.  Two were negative, two were neutral, and two were positive. I was invited to submit to be one of the debaters, but mine was rejected since I was ‘outranked’ by a 1990 corps…

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One of the more disturbing posts I’ve seen recently on this site is one called ‘I CARE SO MUCH’  As some of the posts I’ve referred to recently have suddenly disappeared, here is the post: “Ms. Barnett, are you about to cry?” Yes, I was emotional yesterday. But no, it wasn’t because of management issues…

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Sep 03 2012

Is Bad Classroom Management Destiny?

My number one complaint about TFA for the past few years has been that the student teaching component of the institute is not long enough (12 to 18 days, one hour a day) with classes that are too small (often less than ten students).  It is not possible to learn how to manage a full…

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