Education News for 12-14-2012

State Education News

  • Tax exemption annoys Upper Arlington school chiefs (Columbus Dispatch)
  • A property-tax exemption for Tree of Life Christian Schools would have been challenged had Upper Arlington schools known about it, school district Treasurer Andrew Geistfeld said…Read more...

  • Veteran awarded diploma posthumously (Lima News)
  • The Lima school board approved a high school diploma Thursday for World War II veteran Ralph G. Washam. Ohio Senate Bill 75 allows schools to grant diplomas to World War II veterans who left school to serve during the war…Read more...

  • Districts turn to fees to pay for activities (Springfield News-Sun)
  • More local school districts have implemented or increased pay-to-participate fees as budgets tighten and voters have said no to property tax requests…Read more...

  • Academic commission takes over Youngstown school district (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • The city schools Academic Distress Commission is taking over budget authority for the school district because of a projected $1.5 million deficit this school year…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Harmony talk turns divisive (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Talk of harmony among racial groups devolved into accusations of communism, racism and McCarthyism at the Olentangy school-board meeting yesterday evening…Read more...

  • Panel starts discussing fix for schools (Columbus Dispatch)
  • With so many members they at first couldn’t all fit at the table in the largest meeting room in City Hall, Mayor Michael B. Coleman kicked off his new “education commission” to examine Columbus City Schools…Read more...

  • Computer error throws off schools’ math competition results (Dayton Daily News)
  • A computer glitch miscalculated the scores at Dayton Public Schools’ Math-O-Lympics competition Saturday, leading some of the wrong teams to get trophies…Read more...


  • Think big for best use of windfall (Warren Tribune Chronicle)
  • As Vienna trustees discuss what to do with a $3.9 million windfall, they should engage their residents and think big. Really big…Read more...

A narrative path forward for teachers

One of the best responses to the corporate education reformers we've read in a long time.

In every country in the world, poverty impedes educational success. Our biggest education problem is that more of our kids are in poverty than any other developed nation. When America's public school teachers get kids who are well-fed and healthy and live in stable homes with parents who have good jobs, those kids do better in school than any other children in the world.

But a group of people who do not teach (or taught for a short while and not very well) have decided to blame teachers - teachers! - for all the problems in our country. They say that "choice" will save our schools, but the "choice" they offer is between underfunded, crumbling public schools and corporatized, autocratic charter schools that they admit they will never serve all children. These schools cherry-pick their students and then falsely claim they have the secret for success. Their inability to educate all students proves that public schools are not the problem - poverty is. 

Why do these people sell this snake oil? Three reasons:

1) Many of them are looking to make money - a lot of money - off of education. They want to do to our schools what they did to our military, turning them into a bunch of Haliburton Highs.

2) They want to finally and completely break the unions. Once the teachers fall, it's all over for the middle class.

3) They need a scapegoat. Teachers didn't create these problems: the corporate titans of Wall Street did. These plutocrats are now paying a gang of carnival barkers a big bunch of money to blame teachers - teachers! - for the problems they themselves made.

Education News for 08-31-2012

State Education News

  • Program eyes link between students, Chillicothe community (Chillicothe Gazette
  • Chillicothe City Schools is enlisting the help of community members this fall to bolster student performance at Mount Logan and Tiffin elementary schools…Read more...

  • High-calorie drinks limited in schools (Dayton Daily News)
  • Beverage companies decreased drink calories offered in schools by 90 percent between 2004 and 2010, according to a recent study, a strategy industry and school officials…Read more...

Local Education News

  • Stow school board member sues peers, district treasurer (Akron Beacon Journal)
  • A Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education member has sued the rest of the board and the district’s treasurer…Read more...

  • Perry classroom addresses needs of children with autism (Canton Repository)
  • Elementary school is all about exploration. It’s about discovering the world and its shapes, colors, sounds and numbers…Read more...

  • Being bullied is no joke, students told (Findlay Courier)
  • The message was clear: Something you may find funny may forever damage another person's view of themselves…Read more...


  • Planned budget cuts harm at-risk youth (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • There is a lot of talk in our nation’s capital about the pending sequestration of nondefense discretionary programs…Read more...

Teachers Around the World No Longer “Asking For Permission”

In conversations about Finland’s stunning success over the past decade, many education leaders look at what makes the system work so well – the high bar for entry into the teaching profession, the absence of standardized tests, the embedded professional development and support systems, to name just a few – and ask “Why can’t we do this in my country?” But what makes Finland even more unique is that education policy is largely free of politics. Whether it’s the status and prestige of teachers or the problem of educational inequity, these are matters on which politicians on the right and left agree.

But that’s Finland. Where does that leave so many other countries, including the United States, whose national conversation over education is tarnished by divisive, partisan politics and competing interests? How can public education advocates cut through the noise of grandstanding politicians and bad research and lead in transforming the teaching profession?

It’s time for the public to stop listening to those who have never been in front of a classroom and who espouse ideas that undermine public education, says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

“You have to remember that many people who are talking about reform are not really talking about education, as in what’s really works for teachers and their students. Their interest is something else – privatization, for example. We know what works and we need to be out front.”

“The status quo is not acceptable,” Van Roekel said. “And we can change it. But the idea now is for educators to stop asking for permission.”

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Let's Say You're a Teacher

So--let's say you're a teacher.

Not "just a teacher," but one of those special teachers we hear about in news and policy discussions-- the supposedly rare educator who has passionate disciplinary expertise, a toolbag full of teaching strategies and genuine caring for their students. You're in education because you want to make a difference, change the world, raise the bar. You actually love teaching, finding it endlessly variable and challenging. You plan to spend a long time in the classroom.

So you begin pursuing a graduate degree in education. You notice that getting a masters degree in education is scorned in policy world as having little impact on student learning. A few of your classes are tedious. But some of them are genuinely interesting and valuable, pushing you to think more deeply about the work you do and increasing your content knowledge. Even though pundits declare your advanced degree does not correlate with increased student achievement, you press on. You're enjoying the intellectual stimulation and--let's face it-- accruing credits is another way to increase your salary and you need the money.

You're fascinated by new instructional strategies and curriculum ideas. You're eager to learn. But your district--which just replaced all its computers in the past two years--has no money for professional development. So you burn two of your business days, pay your own registration fee and mileage, and travel with three colleagues to a conference across the state, where--being a teacher type--you attend every single session and collect tons of free stuff to take back to your classroom in a canvas bag (which you will later give to a student as a reward for reading 25 books). The four of you share the $200 hotel room, and split a pizza. The high life.

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