Author Archive: Helios

I’m a teacher, not a priest.

Pulling this up top again for the evening. GOP Sen. Joe Kyrillos’ criticism that course material in Advance Placement U.S. History lacks the kind of unthinking, surface-patriotic American exceptionalism that conservatives feel most comfortable with (my description) gets a solid answer here from Helios, who actually teaches AP U.S. History. – Rosi

NJ State Senator Joe Kyrillos has introduced SR 128 – a non-binding resolution that urges the College Board to revise its framework for the Advanced Placement United States History course. Kyrillos criticizes the framework, claiming that

“…there is an inordinate emphasis on political correctness and so-called balance…”

and

“the AP test doesn’t properly portray our history, the beginnings of our country, its values and its unique role in the world, past and present.”

As an educator for over 25 years  (an AP US History teacher for 8 of them), I am concerned that Kyrillos’ actions and those of his ilk represent an attack on critical thinking and true learning for our nation’s young people. What has become clear to me is that the people attacking the AP curriculum do not really understand it, but even more troubling, they don’t understand what teaching is and what happens in an effective history classroom.

My Testimony on Marriage Equality on behalf of NJEA

Yesterday, many people noted that representatives of religious faiths, on both sides, gave quite a lot of the testimony before Senate Judiciary, while a long list of marriage equality supporters didn’t get the opportunity to speak. Sean DiGiovanna was one, and his testimony was noted this morning in Jersey Jazzman’s post on NJEA’s support for marriage equality. This is the testimony Sean was prepared to give; I asked him to post it. And I should tell you two things: Sean is a long time member of the Blue Jersey community, as is his husband. And I attended their wedding, which was wonderful. – Rosi

NJEA has endorsed the marriage equality bill that passed today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. As an NJEA member and acting head of the NJEA LGBT and Allies caucus, I was asked to testify today. Although I was not called upon to testify, I thought I would share it with you here. I’m also quoted in NJEA’s news story on their endorsement here.  

Stop Demonizing New Jersey’s Teachers!

Sometimes diaries here are like firecrackers that set off a crackling downpour of challenging comments. This diary definitely does – thanks, Helios. The convo started yesterday, and comments are still flying. What’s your opinion? – Promoted by Rosi

As a teacher in New Jersey, I’ve been quite disturbed at the venom and hate-mongering that has been reported (and I would argue promoted) by the NJ press.

In the latest attack, published today, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Member Kevin Manahan blasts New Jersey teachers for not embracing a proposed merit pay system.

I responded with a letter to the editor, but I thought I’d post a longer, more detailed response here.

Kevin Manahan’s “Good teachers should speak up for merit pay”, is an ill-informed screed against New Jersey’s teachers and our association the NJEA.

Manahan blasts the NJEA (and by extension all teachers in NJ) for not embracing the merit pay scheme hastily concocted in the state’s poorly thought out “Race to the Top” funding application. While there is little to no evidence that merit pay actually works to improve student outcomes, NJEA’s detractors completely ignore the hard work our union does every day to improve the quality of teaching in New Jersey by supporting strategies that have been proven to get results.

Stop Demonizing New Jersey’s Teachers!

As a teacher in New Jersey, I’ve been quite disturbed at the venom and hate-mongering that has been reported (and I would argue promoted) by the NJ press.

In the latest attack, published today, Star-Ledger Editorial Board Member Kevin Manahan blasts New Jersey teachers for not embracing a proposed merit pay system.

http://blog.nj.com/njv_kevin_m…

I responded with a letter to the editor, but I thought I’d post a longer, more detailed response here.

Kevin Manahan’s “Good teachers should speak up for merit pay”, is an ill-informed screed against New Jersey’s teachers and our association the NJEA.

Manahan blasts the NJEA (and by extension all teachers in NJ) for not embracing the merit pay scheme hastily concocted in the state’s poorly thought out “Race to the Top” funding application. While there is little to no evidence that merit pay actually works to improve student outcomes, NJEA’s detractors completely ignore the hard work our union does every day to improve the quality of teaching in New Jersey by supporting strategies that have been proven to get results.