Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stuff for Today

The UFT web site is down. Eva sabotage?

Stop the Squeeze!
I'm heading up to Brandeis HS for a press conference at 5. I can't stay for the meeting at 6 because I have a ticket to see the movie about teachers narrated by Matt Damon, who is an anti-ed deformer. One of the teachers who we've worked with over the years is in it - elem teacher from Brooklyn. See below for the info for the Brandeis event from Noah Gotbaum in case you're in the area. Eva will be making political use of young children and their parents again. Call it a twofer for today.

Is quasi Ed Deformer John Merrow beginning to get it:

This week at Taking Note, John Merrow looks at the international education divide.

"Is it possible that the US has been heading in the wrong direction for most of the 30 years it has been focused on school reform? That's the conclusion a reader of "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" would be hard pressed not to draw. The paper, written largely by Marc Tucker of the National Center for Education and the Economy, contrasts the approaches taken by five high performing (but quite different) entities -- Toronto, Japan, Norway, Shanghai and Singapore -- with what we have been doing here.
The essential message: those places aren't doing any of the stuff we have focused on -- charter schools, alternate certification, small classes and pay for performance, to name a few of our 'magic bullets.' Instead, they have developed comprehensive systems: their teachers are drawn from the top of the class, are trained carefully and, if hired, are paid like other professionals." KEEP READING

But then again there's this:

ATTEND LIVE: Get your tickets to see John Merrow and Wendy Kopp in person

Is Wendy Kopp really a person? I thought she was some kind of wind-up doll.

From Diane Ravitch: 
please distribute: Newark youth speak out

Comment on Our film:
Native New Yorker now 20 years into my Public Education career, the last 15 here in North Carolina.  Things are horrible for teachers everywhere these days, especially in the NO UNION south!  They aren't just trying to screw with what we've always had like they do to you up there.  We've never had any of the positives that you are trying to hold onto.  We are now looking at our fourth consecutive year with literally no salary change (cost of living? Ha!) and reduction in benefits.  Four years!  By next year we will be back to 46th nationally in teacher pay.  (We actually made it into the middle of the pack under progressive governors in the 90's)And the layoffs are well underway, likely to the tune of 20,000 state teachers/education employees this summer in a state with a rapidly GROWING student population.  The move to dismantle public education as we know it is well-underway here, courtesy of our new "Tea-flavored Kool-Aid Party" legislative majority.  Because, of course,
"business knows how to do it better!"  Our long-standing cap on charter schools is likely to disappear, or be greatly increased. Morale is nearly on "E".
Our whole profession is under attack, and we can only overcome this if ALL of us get together- union and non-union, Northeast, Midwest, West and South alike!  Please let me know if there is any thought so far in your group of expanding to the national level. If so, I am ready to roll up my sleeves for GEM. And thanks for what you are all doing to change hearts and minds there.  My nephews are NYC public schools students and my parents were graduates. Just try to remember what I tell my friends and family there constantly as we talk about almost any topic that is national in nature-You live in NYC, which means that you don't really live in "america". The tone and generalized stupidity is nearly incomprehensible out here.  But without creating understanding all across this country, you will never see the change you hope for in your own unique environment.  Keep up the good work!!

From John Beam

Some folks on this list know or at least follow the commentary of Lance Hill, a long time New Orleans activist; Tulane faculty member; and, most recently the chronicler, analyst, and public scourge of the post-Katrina privatization of the Crescent City's public schools.  JMB   

Subject: Rap Blasts TFA on HBO's "Treme" Series
Date: Thu, 26 May 2011 12:02:42 -0500
From: "Hill, Lance" <>
To: "Hill, Lance" <>

I don’t watch this series since in the first season it somehow managed to virtually ignore the school take-over and the infamous “greenspace” plan that proposed demolishing 80% of the black community (and was editorially supported by the local daily media).   But a few friends who are fans dutifully report parts that they think would interest me and this excerpt did. 

What I have found ironic is that, unlike the rap artist who allows that TFA teachers did not know that they were taking jobs from qualified veteran teachers, I talked to many TFA candidates before they enlisted and they understood exactly what the consequences of their actions were for teachers who were Katrina victims.  The TFA teachers’ intentions were both good and bad: good that they wanted to help; bad that they did not respect the rights of the black community and veteran teachers, nor respect the professional standards of teaching.  Nonetheless, are we not morally responsible for both our intentions and for the unintended consequences of our well-intended behavior?  It is important that we understand the rationalizations and psychic defense mechanisms that  people use to fulfill their emotional needs and ambitions at the expense of another person.

From a Rap Song on the last Treme Episode:

Four years at Radcliffe, that's all you know
A desire to do good and a four point oh

You're here to save us from our plight
You got the answer 'cause you're rich and white
On a two-year sojourn here to stay
Teach for America all the way
Got no idea what you're facin'
No clue just who you're displacin'
Old lady taught fathers, old lady taught sons
Old lady bought books for the little ones
Old lady put in 30 years
Sweat and toil, time and tears
Was that really your sad intention?
Help the state of Louisiana deny her pension

Lance Hill, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Southern Institute for Education and Research
Tulane University
M.R. Box 1692
31 McAlister Dr.
New Orleans, LA 70118 

“It is quite certain that in the process of trying to save our world or some part of it from its present confusion we run the risk of planning it into the likeness of hell.”
Aldous Huxley


NEW YORK, NY 10007



WHAT: Rally and Press Conference in Support of Community Public Schools; Against the Success Charter Network Co-Locations in District 3 Public School Spaces

WHO: Congressman Nadler, Congressman Rangel, State Senator Perkins, State Senator Duane, Senator Espaillat, Assemblymember O'Donnell, Assemblymember Rosenthal, Assemblymember Wright, Council Member Brewer, Council Member Dickens, Council Member Jackson, Council Member Mark-Viverito, Community District Education Council 3, D3 President's Council, Parents and Students from the Brandeis High School Campus Schools, 25 D3 School Parent Associations, and Community Board 7

WHEN: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 5pm

WHERE: Brandeis High School Campus: 145 West 84 Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, Manhattan

Elected officials, parents, students, educators, and community leaders are rallying tomorrow in support of District 3 schools and against the proposed co-location of charter schools in public school spaces.  The rally, dubbed “Stop the Squeeze!” and organized by Community District Education Council 3 will precede a public hearing before the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York (on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York) on the co-location of Upper West Success Academy Charter School at the Brandeis High School Campus.

An unprecedented $22 million dollars in City capital investment, and thousands of hours of work by the Department of Education and the school and parent community has given the Brandeis High School Campus young adults a chance to grow minds and bodies in a renewed, diverse, and harmonious setting.  The co-location threatens to squeeze out and eliminate sorely needed high school spaces and programs largely dedicated to English Language Learners (ELL) and students with special needs. The community is also alarmed at the wasteful spending of millions in taxpayer funds during a major budget shortfall on behalf of an unwanted and inappropriate elementary charter school, and the Success Charter Network’s extravagant marketing and opaque recruitment and enrollment policies which disadvantage district schools and diminish real choice throughout the district.

Shula Warren (Brewer) 347-563-1295 
Noah Gotbaum (CEC3) 917-658-3213 

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