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Resources for Women’s History Month on Pinterest

Being new to Pinterest, which advertises itself as “a tool for collecting and organizing things you love,” I was curious to see what it had to offer on women’s history month, the month that honors women and their accomplishments. Pinterest is an online pinboard, a visual take on the social bookmarking site. Unlike other social bookmarking sites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon, content shared on Pinterest is driven entirely by visuals. In fact, you can’t share something on Pinterest unless an image is involved. You will be amazed at the information you can find by searching through the boards. Here is a list of some of the best boards for women’s history month resources. Continue reading →

The Puppet Masters

ALEC, which stands for American Legislative Exchange Council, is the most influential corporate-funded political force operating in America today, one that has worked to dilute collective bargaining rights and privatize public education. Yet ALEC is more or less unknown in teacher circles. ALEC creates legislation for elected officials to introduce in their states as their own brainchildren. ALEC’s strategy: “spread the unions thin ‘by playing offense’ with decoy legislation.” Spreading the unions thin has resulted in radical changes to classroom teachers’ everyday lives. Continue reading →

Just Say No to More Vouchers

I am baffled as to why Governor Kasich is in favor of increasing private school vouchers for nearly half of our school children in Ohio. Under Kasich’s new budget, 45% of our 1.8 million students will qualify for $5000 vouchers to attend private schools, even if they are currently attending a public school that is rated as “excellent.” The state already spends more than $100 million a year on vouchers for more than 20,000 students. Not to mention that taxpayers already subsidize private schools by virtue of their nonprofit status. Kasich’s voucher expansion plan is money poorly spent, especially when our public schools continue to be underfunded in his proposed new budget. Continue reading →

SLOs, OTES, SGM, Value Added …

Who can keep it all straight? And yet, these acronyms represent things that will determine our teacher ratings and potentially our careers. When it came to determining how to implement these things, as it pertains to HB 555, there was no consultation with teachers. There was no “heads up” about the changes in this legislation. The only growth I can be sure will come from these changes is not student growth, but a growth of disenfranchisement from quality, hard-working teachers, who tried to get ahead of the changes coming in the fall, only to be tripped up by lawmakers. Continue reading →

Radical Rhee and the so-called education “reform” movement

The trend of blaming teachers for the problems in education probably won’t fall out of favor any time soon. During School Choice Week, so-called education “reformers” will do their best to scapegoat teachers instead of acknowledging the real systemic problems — such as school funding and poverty — that lead to poor performance and problems in education. For Rhee, and other so-called reformers, well-established facts confirming the correlation between poverty and the achievement gap don’t matter. Continue reading →

Stories from the Front: Working in a RTW State

Knowing how often things get sensationalized, I work hard to find reliable sources for information. With a RTW group petitioning to put a Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot, I need to find information I can trust, so I can form an educated opinion. What I’ve found is that the most reliable and meaningful information has come, not from newspaper articles or television shows, but from other educators. Listening to their stories about what it’s like to teacher in states with RTW laws has given me the insights I need to understand why these are harmful and what I can expect if they are enacted in Ohio. Continue reading →

Fifteen can’t miss educational apps

Nothing excites me more than an app that is beautifully designed, easy to use and cheap. Still I understand how educators who are just trying to keep up with the every day business of teaching can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of educational apps that are available and need help finding good ones for classroom use. Here are a few of my favorite apps that I can recommend wholeheartedly, many of which are free. Continue reading →

About RTW and Those Behind It

When I checked out the site for “Ohioans for Workplace Freedom,” the group supporting what OEA chooses to call the No Rights at Work Amendment, I thought about my students, and how confused and misled they would be if they accessed the page. The text of the website sounds logical and inoffensive. However, if people took a minute to delve deeper into those claims and into the individuals behind “Ohioans for Workplace Freedom,” the biased and misleading statements would quickly become readily apparent. Continue reading →

Right to Work Around the Union

“Right to Work Around the Union,” as Jon Stewart calls it, has so many ramifications beyond joining or not joining the union. Just put it next to Senate Bill 5, something that Ohioans are familiar with, to understand the huge implications. If SB5 and Right to Work were dogs, SB5 would the neighbor’s annoying poodle that barks in the middle of the night and wakes you up. Right to Work is a pit bull. Senate Bill 5 is “Right to Work Lite.” Although the provisions of the two pieces of legislation use different wording and different restrictions, they both serve to weaken unions and the ability for workers to collectively bargain. Continue reading →