Louisiana Research: When Tenure Ends, Teachers Leave.

Reblogged from deutsch29 Mercedes Schneider’s EduBlog

In 2012, the Louisiana legislature passed Act 1, commonly known as the “teacher tenure law.” Moreover, the Louisiana State Department of Education (LDOE) has translated Act 1 into an evaluation system whereby 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation is connected to “student learning”– the bottom line of which is student test score outcomes.

Act 1 began in 2012 as House Bill 974. The reason it is called Act 1 is that the 2012 Louisiana legislature rammed it though as the first act, with calculated speed, amid an atmosphere dripping with then-Governor Bobby Jindal’s business-and-industry-backed intention to bring “accountability” in the evaluating of the state’s teachers.

Once 2012 hit, Louisiana teachers began considering how and when to leave the profession. And each year beginning with 2012, Louisiana’s teacher workforce has experienced a noticeable exit of many experienced, seasoned teachers who otherwise would not have likely chosen to leave the profession so soon.

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February 22 Labeling Teachers as Terrorists

On this day in labor history, the year was 2004. That was the day Secretary of Education, Rod Paige stated he considered the National Education Association to be a terrorist organization. He made the remarks during a meeting with governors who were visiting the White House. His apology a few hours later was just as inflammatory. There he expressed his frustration at the “obstructionist scare tactics the NEA’s Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind’s historic reforms.” Representing almost three million educators, the NEA had been fighting many aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act, passed by Congress in 2001. The teachers’ unions had initially supported the measure. But they came to realize that the act was designed to undermine public education in favor of charter, private and religious schools. ‘No Child Left Behind’ mandated regular, standardized testing of students. It also threatened financial penalties and school closures. Governors on board with the goals of the Act soon grew frustrated. The Bush administration reneged on federal funding necessary for its implementation. The union movement was outraged at Paige’s smear. John Sweeney, then president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said, ”The Bush administration would like to label all those who disagree with it as terrorists in order to cover up its policies, which are harmful to working families, and to divert attention from its inability to create good jobs.” By 2015, the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ had received so much criticism from every corner, that the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ replaced it. This Act retains Common Core standards but transfers school accountability to the states. It is now pending review under President Trump’s regulatory freeze directive.

Source: February 22 Labeling Teachers as Terrorists

Unaccountable Things

Reblogged from Dog with a Bone

If you don’t count undeserving people in high places or a burgeoning education reform industry of paid tweeters, bloggers and think tank thinkers, high stakes testing, known ironically as accountability,  is currently among the most unaccountable of unaccountable things in American education today.  It is unaccountable in the very thing that it purports to account for: the measurement and evaluation of learning,  teachers and schools.  It does none of these things well.

The most obvious reason for this is that staked testing shifts the priority from what will help a child to what will help the adults that teach her. High stakes advocates will argue that a high stake is the best way to insure that adult and child concerns are identical.  But, in practice,  this turns out to be untrue.  A high stake explicitly reduces the child to evidence of adult performance. Students aren’t first; scores are first.

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Educating Betsy DeVos


Betsy DeVos does not understand what it is like to teach in any school let alone poor public schools. She does not understand what the lives of real teachers and students are like.

She does not understand the problems facing many of America’s children. These problems won’t be solved with a voucher. They also won’t be fixed by substandard charter schools run by those who know little about children.

I do not believe she should be barred from public schools. Public schools are supposed to be open to everyone.

I think she should face parents and teachers who disagree with her platform within those schools–not sit and politely talk with those who agree with her at a photo op with President Trump. Neither one of them know anything about public schools.

Betsy DeVos should spend time with the many moms of students with disabilities who homeschool not because they want to, but because schools have cut special education services partly due to the message that Individual Education Plans are less important than Common Core State Standards.

This is a post I wrote about Bill and Melinda Gates, but it is just as significant for Betsy DeVos or any other billionaire who thinks they understand school reform and the problems found in our public schools. I changed the words a bit.

Here’s what’s hard. I have added a few new points:

  • Watching your school district throw money at unproven technology when basic needs are your students not met.
  • Being dismissed as a teacher, when you are the only professional in the room who understands children and how they learn.
  • Being dismissed as a parent, when you understand your child best.
  • Being an over tested kindergartner, not getting any recess, and being made to feel you are a failure before you get started in your schooling.

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I Am Not Hostile To Change


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke today to a gathering of Magnet School folks, and opened up by suggesting that “some people” are “hostile” to change.
I just want to be clear. I am not hostile to change. In fact, there are some changes that I would love to see.

I would love to see a change in the rhetoric about failing schools. Instead of declaring that we will “rescue” students from failing schools and offering lifeboats for a handful of students, I’d like to change to a declaration that where we find struggling and failing schools, we will get them the support and resources that they need to become great.

I would love to see a change in how we approach the communities where those schools are located. Instead of pushing local leaders aside so that outsiders who “know what’s best” for them can swoop in and impose decisions for them instead of letting them have control of their own community.

I would love to see a change in how teachers are treated. Instead of trying to bust their unions, smother their pay, ignore their voices , and treat them as easily-replaced widgets, I would like to see teacher voices elevated, listened to, respected, and given the support and resources that would lift them up. I would like to see them treated as part of the solution instead of the source of all problems.

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Imagine that…