Tag Archive: public education

What’s Your Trump Era Top 5?

Forrest2

I’ve been thinking about that scene in Forrest Gump when he runs back and forth across the country for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. He gains a following. People find purpose in what he’s doing. He’s peppered with questions…
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Camden’s Public School Parents Deserve Vote and Voice in School Closures

Camden heating up. Promoted by Rosi. Cross-posted from the Local Knowledge Blog .

How many signatures would it take to stop a school closure? 

How many parents coming to meetings would it take to stop a school closure? 

How many parental votes would it take to stop a school closure?


 

There are no answers to these questions because the Camden School District has steadfastly refused to be accountable in any concrete manner to the parents it claims to serve. But based off of this video from a meeting held at a school being taken over, we do know two things: 1) We know that in Camden, as in Newark, Philadelphia and New Orleans before it, local institutions, teachers and schools are deeply valued by their communities and 2) we have concrete evidence that Camden’s state-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard is incapable of reaching out and being accountable to parents in the schools he is closing.  Here’s the video:

An open letter to Rowan University President, Dr. Ali A. Houshmand

Cross-posted from Marie’s blog. Promoted by Rosi.

I understand that you have invited Gov. Chris Christie to be the keynote speaker at next month’s commencement ceremonies and that you are bestowing an honorary degree on him. Why?

As you well know, Rowan University started out as a teachers college, and in fact in 1937, the school’s name was changed to New Jersey State Teachers College at Glassboro. Your school’s own website describes it thus:


“The college gained a national reputation as a leader in the field of reading education and physical therapy when it opened a clinic for children with reading disabilities in 1935… The college was one of the first in the country to recognize these needs and was in the forefront of the special education movement.” (emphasis mine)

Correct me if I am wrong, but no other New Jersey governor has treated public education, students and teachers with such vile contempt as Gov. Christie. No other New Jersey governor that I know of has denigrated, demonized and tried to destroy one of the best public education systems in the country the way Gov. Christie has. He has cut billions from education funding, which has resulted in 10,000 educators losing their jobs. He has contributed to and expanded the racial and socioeconomic segregation of our urban school districts with policies like One Newark. He has accused teachers of being ‘greedy, selfish and disgraceful’ and using our students as ‘drug mules’. If you need more proof, here it is, and as blogger, TeacherBiz said in her post on this issue, if that’s not enough, just Google it.

Note to Christie: Those who live by the accountability sword will die by the accountability sword.

Promoted by Rosi

From the moment he was sworn in four years ago, Gov. Christie has been on a personal jihad against public education, unions and teachers. Labeling us “greedy” and “selfish”, and our apartheid schools in high-poverty districts as “failure factories”, he’s done everything possible to brainwash the general public into thinking our schools are overrun with bad teachers who must be held accountable.

He succeeded in getting a new evaluation system passed (my district uses Danielson)* that now tracks every pencil stroke of a student against their teacher. No stone is left unturned as administrators evaluate everything from how a teacher greets her students at the door, to whether students are able to solve their own social problems. And forget about expecting to be found ‘highly effective’ (a score of 4 on a 1-4 scale). Every teacher in New Jersey has been spoon-fed the mantra, “live in 3; vacation in 4”. To be highly effective, students pretty much have to teach themselves and solve their own problems. So, if you are a highly effective teacher, you essentially teach yourself into obsolescence. And yea, that’s totally reasonable, especially with kindergarteners.

Ras Baraka: The Cake Boss of Public Education

Ras Baraka Blueprint for Education - Newark

My daughter is a foodie. She’s only 14 but she loves to watch cooking shows. Two of her favorites are:

Chopped where “four chefs compete before a panel of expert judges and turn baskets of mystery ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal. Course by course, the chefs will be ‘chopped’ from the competition until only one winner remains. They have seconds to plan, and 30 minutes to cook an amazing course with the basket of mystery ingredients given to them moments before the clock starts ticking.”

And…

Cutthroat Kitchen, which “hands four chefs each $25,000 and the opportunity to spend that money on helping themselves or sabotaging their competitors. Ingredients will be thieved, utensils destroyed and valuable time on the clock lost when the chefs compete to cook delicious dishes while also having to out-plot the competition. Nothing is out of bounds when money changes hands and we see just how far chefs will go to ensure they have the winning dish.”

My favorite is Jersey’s own Cake Boss about a big, loving, Italian family that, along with a dedicated staff, creates amazing edible works of art. Fourth generation owner, Buddy Valastro, has carried on the family’s tradition of excellence and expanded Carlo’s Bakery from its flagship store in Hoboken to a state-of-the-art production facility and satellite stores throughout the Garden State. Watching the show, it’s clear that Buddy cares deeply about the people he employs, the products he sells and his customers. He strives for excellence, trains and treats all his staff like family and makes the necessary investments to ensure they have the best ingredients and equipment with which to work their culinary magic.

When I attended Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka’s education policy press conference on Presidents Day, visions of these three shows danced in my head. You see, the good, the bad and the ugly of teaching and education ‘reform’ are found in all three.  

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

promoted by Rosi

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.

5 Myths about the NJ Department of Education

promoted by Rosi

For anyone who heard, or read about (in the ever excellent blogging of Jersey Jazzman) the remarkable speech given by Commissioner Cerf at the NJEA convention in Atlantic City this week, I offer my own list of myths.

Myth 1: The Department of Education is committed to accountability and transparency

Nothing comes out of this DOE without OPRA requests, usually delayed by extension requests. Commissioner Cerf says he considers the ELC a bother for the quantity of OPRA requests they file. That is clearly a bother of his own making. Likewise, reaching people with information by phone at the NJDOE is nearly impossible for the general public. 

 

Why Newark Students Are Boycotting School to Protest Christie

Post is by Trina Scordo, Executive Director, NJ Communities United

The Newark Students Union have organized a massive student boycott of Newark Public Schools today because many of them are too young to take their vote to the polls – but they are not too young to exercise their first amendment rights to protest and expose Chris Christie’s real record on public education.

On a daily basis these young people experience the consequences of Chris Christie’s intentional underfunding of public schools, his refusal to follow the funding formula and his total lack of concern for local control of our public schools.

For Christie this is really about his agenda for co-opting community resources; not the actual needs of the community.  If that wasn’t already obvious based on the fact that he’s cut funding to Newark Public Schools by $56 million dollars, then it should be even more glaring after his infamous statement to the press a few months ago claiming that he doesn’t, “care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them.”  

This wasn’t just another episode of Christie’s public bravado. This remains his clearest statement yet on his opinion of public schools in general and Newark Public Schools in particular. His rigid ideological opposition to proper funding, community participation and fixing our schools’ broken infrastructure is designed to destabilize public education in New Jersey and replace it with a for-profit charter school model controlled by investors, corporations and the economic elite, instead of the parents, students and communities who have a vested interested in our children’s future.