Tag Archive: parents

NJ parents say #PARCC stinks like #CCRAP!

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Which stinks more?

Our garbage dumps or the PARCC Test? Credit: NJ Spotlight

Four years ago I attended the very first Parents Across America meeting in New York City where I heard Diane Ravitch, Leonie Haimson, Karran Harper Royal, Andrea Merida, Rita Solnet, Julie Woestehoff, Mark Mishler and several other passionate and dedicated parents from all across the country speak about what was then a young but rapidly growing movement. At the time, Gov. Christie was at the height of teacher bashing, and many educators were wandering around like deer in the headlights. I remember Diane saying that ultimately nothing would change unless and until parents led the charge.

And she was right.

I expected it to happen over night. The destruction of public education was completely obvious not only to me, but rank-and-file education professionals all across the country, not to mention education researchers and scholars. Surely if parents could just see…

Ah, but change doesn’t happen in a New York minute even if you live right next door. Steering this suburban ship away from the rhetoric and privatization schemes of education ‘reform’ required a lot more than teacher voices.

It required parents to stop, look and listen:  

.@pasi_sahlberg & David Hespe: A Tale of Two Education Leaders

Cross-posted with Marie CorfieldPromoted by Rosi.

il_fullxfull.263661385Lest anyone think I was a fat-cat, lazy teacher, raking in the chips at a high-rollers roulette table at the Borgata, last week I attended the NJEA Convention-the largest professional development convention for educators in the United States.

There are no coincidences

I don’t believe in coincidence. Too many things have happened in my life for that word to be relevant. Case in point: here’s what happened last week:

  • I read an article in the Star Ledger about why Dutch children are happier than ours

  • I listened to Pasi Sahlberg’s keynote address at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City-a town whose economic fortunes seem to change like the tides that wash its shores every day, and right now, the tide is out

  • I attended the meeting with Acting NJ Education Commissioner, David Hespe, also at the Convention

  • I read this post on Wallet Hub ranking the best and worst school systems in the country.

    Please excuse me while I puff up my chest with pride… Lookie who’s #1:

  • UPDATE: The real story behind Lily’s trip to Camden

    Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.

    Promoted by Rosi.

    LilyCamden1Two weeks ago NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia visited New Jersey as part of her 50-state Back to School Tour. I wrote about her visit and meeting with NJ ed bloggers here, here and here.

    One of her stops was Pyne Poynt Middle School in Camden which is also home to the co-located Mastery Charter School. While the NJ state assembly passed an amendment to the Urban Hope Act today which gives charter schools greater ability to expand in take over public education in Camden, I had a conversation with someone who was in close proximity to Lily’s visit. This person asked not to be identified. Here is their story (my comments are in red):

    The entire time Lily was visiting Pyne Poynt she was followed around by two of Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard’s “people”.

    Video Recap of #NJEdMarch27

    Pulling this back up top again. Two reasons: It went up late yesterday after sensible people had already closed their computers. Also, it’s just that good. – REE

    There’s something happening here …

    On Thursday of this week, there was a statewide rally in support of public education in Trenton at the Statehouse. There were student activists, parents, community members, teachers … and some of our NJ legislators stepped out of the statehouse to join. Here’s a video recap. Please share this on Facebook and your social networks. Thanks much.

    #NJEdMarch27 from Ronen Kauffman on Vimeo.

    Fight Back Against the Assault on Public Education: Dec. 9 Day of Action

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    National Day of ActionThe assault on public education isn’t confined to Newark or Montclair or Highland Park or Camden. Not confined to Chris Christie’s New Jersey. It’s a national phenomenon and countering it will take a national pushback. The beginning of that pushback just could be Dec. 9 when a national coalition of educational, parent, community and civic groups launch “A National Day to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.”

    At a teleconference yesterday, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, outlined plans for a coordinated “day of action” in cities and towns throughout the country, most of them aimed at enlisting parents and community members in the fight against the corporate takeover of public education.

    “We’re reclaiming the collaboration we have always had with parents in support of all public school students,” Weingarten said. She added the National Education Association also is a partner in the effort that she hopes will be followed up by sustained efforts to keep public education well-funded and out of private control.

    New Jersey organizations in the coalition include the Newark Teachers Union (NTU), the Education Law Center, and New Jersey Communities United.

    ICYMI: Watch What Montclair Teachers Did When Union President Was Cut-Off

    Until last night’s meeting, Montclair teachers had a place in the city’s Board of Education meetings with a regular part on meeting agendas for Montclair Education Assn., the local teachers’ union. But as of last night, the teachers are off the agenda, relegated to the public comment period – with a 3-minute maximum time limit. To the union, the rule represents a break down in inclusion of the nearly 1,000 educators responsible for the kids during the bulk of their day, and the loss of diverse opinions and the collaboration that can come of them. “How many of us,” she asked, “would not be here today” if it were not for the dissension expressed during Montclair schools desegregation?  But MEA president Gayl Shepard was unable to say all she prepared to say. She was cut off at 3 minutes.

    So a parent at the podium picked up Shepard’s remarks where she left off, and the rest of the speech was read aloud by the audience. Montclair Patch got video:

    Watch What Montclair Teachers Did When Union President Was Cut-Off 2013-09-24
    Click to watch Montclair Patch’s video.

    Read the full statement of MEA President Gayl Shepard.

    Gays in teh Burbs

    Over the weekend, AP (via The Record) had an interesting article about 2010 census figures showing a 3-% rise over the past decade in NJ households headed by same-sex partners. Many are couples raising kids.

    John and Michael Galluccio are the folks behind my currently favorite tee shirt in all of Jerseyland – WTFNJ? (a chunk of the profits fund Garden State Equality). That name sound familiar? The Galluccios won a landmark 1997 court case to become the first gay couple in NJ to jointly adopt a child – Adam, now 15.

    Michael Galluccio’s on his local school board. Nearly 25% of North Jersey households headed by male couples and almost a third headed by lesbian couples have related kids. Gay couples come in all flavors the same way straight couples do, but once you look up and find gay-headed families in the ‘burbs, place of worship, school board, and in every job, and town in New Jersey, you get how the NJ Senate blew it big-time representing Jersey on this issue.

    Disclosure: I’m on the GSE board (it’s big). I’d be writing this, even if I wasn’t. GSE ranked 83 NJ munis by how many GSE members (who are both gay & straight) each has. Whoa, my little town of Flemington (pop. 4500) has more GSE members than Hawthorne (pop. 18,000)? Bite me, Jeff Gardner, is my little town in crimson red Hunterdon gay-friendlier than yours?  

    Want to see the list? It’s after the jump.