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Making Schools Safe Again

gun-violence While the anniversary of the Newtown shooting massacre quickly approaches, two teachers in two states were killed at school days apart, each allegedly by a student. Still, lawmakers refuse to pass sensible gun laws and do little to make our schools the safe zones they should be. Teachers and students are being attacked more than ever. What we can do to keep our children and ourselves safe? Continue reading →

Kid bullies often turn into adult bullies

adult-bully Kid bullies often turn into adult bullies, and, like kid bullies, adult bullies focus on gaining power and dominance over others. For some reason, after kid bullies reach adulthood, our society stops calling them what they really are, bullies, and begins referring to them as “people who suffer from a lack of civility in their interactions with others.” Continue reading →

The Other “F” Word

f-word A word was said in jest, but is now calling into question a man’s dignity. It is a word that devastates character and makes the rest of the class point and howl in laughter. As an educator, what is your response? Do you start to take attendance and ask the class to go to their seats? Do you glibly utter, “Save the drama for your mama,” in hopes of diffusing the situation? Do you drop your eyes, or roll them, because this is just one more thing you do not want to deal with today? If you choose to ignore the situation, you may think that you are in the majority. You are not. Continue reading →

“Right to Work” and Other Creatively Worded Catchphrases

used-car Whenever I hear phrases such as “right to work’ repeated loudly and frequently, I know that organizations are trying to convince me to react rather than think. However, the use of other catchphrases has made me very skeptical. From the automobile marketing arena, I have often marveled at the transformation of “used cars” to “pre-owned cars.” “Right to Work,” I think, is the same kind of sugarcoated misnomer. Continue reading →

It Takes a Village: Working Together for Public Education

NWOFPE3 Our first community event was an education piece about school finance, because so many of the issues impacting schools, high stakes testing, unfunded mandates and vouchers have a financial component tied to them. For example, Jeff Fouke, Treasurer for Washington Local Schools, explained that his district receives $2,969 per student from the state, but pays $6,876 to a charter school when a child transfers out of Washington Local. This means that close to $4,000 in local taxes are diverted from public schools per child. Despite the depressing statistics, I left the evening full of hope, because the event itself was a success. Continue reading →

Right to Work: Overworked and Underpaid

rtw-kennedy There is a fair amount of discussion regarding the “Right to Work” initiative that is being debated in many states. In short, I have experienced this “right” firsthand. Before I taught science in Columbus City Schools, I was employed at a private, non-parochial school in Columbus, Ohio. There was no union. Continue reading →

Tao of the Sockless Floor

TaoSockslessFloor High stakes testing is like saying to your child, “I want you to clean your room. But, at the very least, I want you to pick up your socks.” For twenty years we’ve been teaching kids to pick up their socks. Our entire system is designed around that minimal level of achievement: our discipline policies, our attendance policies, our curriculum maps, our basic understanding of how schools operate. Everything is designed to get our kids to do the minimum. Continue reading →

Is Our Population Standard Enough for Standardized Testing

test-bias We all wonder whether high-stakes standardized tests are “fair” to our students. Our students are unique individuals, yet on testing day with pencil in hand they are suddenly all the same. Whether they differ ethnically, racially, socioeconomically, no one seems to care. As an instructor in an urban school district, I see some of my students struggle greatly with terms and concepts on standardized tests that are not always directly related to the curriculum. Continue reading →

Quitting is for Quitters

Quitting-blog Veteran teachers are resigning in the face of overwhelming opposition to what it is they hold most dear and they’re getting out while their integrity is still intact. It’s all very poignant, powerful, and I don’t want to see any more of them. Research says it’s better to get fired than quit. Plus, if they’re going to chuck it all anyway, why not go out in style or at least go down swinging. They should fight for the profession instead. They’ll have a better time doing it and may end up helping to save public schooling. Continue reading →
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