Steven Singer: You Cancel Our Contracts, We Cancel Your Tests!

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Steven Singer, teacher, describes the accumulating series of insults and indignities heaped upon teachers by the federal and state governments and by politicians who wouldn’t last five minutes in a classroom.

He writes, in indignation and fury:

“You can’t do that.

“All the fear, frustration and mounting rage of public school teachers amounts to that short declarative sentence.

“You can’t take away our autonomy in the classroom.

“You can’t take away our input into academic decisions.

“You can’t take away our job protections and collective bargaining rights.

“You can’t do that.

“But the state and federal government has repeatedly replied in the affirmative – oh, yes, we can.

“For at least two decades, federal and state education policy has been a sometimes slow and incremental chipping away at teachers’ power and authority – or at others a blitzkrieg wiping away decades of long-standing best practices.

“The latest and greatest of…

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School Leaders as Marathoners, not Sprinters*

Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Most urban superintendents serve between four to six years and move on. I call them sprinters. Think Michelle Rhee in Washington,D.C. (2007-2010) and John Deasy in Los Angeles Unified School District (2011-2014). A precious few serve a decade or more. Why are there so few long distance runners among urban superintendents?

Boston’s former superintendent Thomas W. Payzant, Carl Cohn of the Long Beach, Calif., school district, and Laura Schwalm of California’s Garden Grove Unified School District served a decade or longer. To be sure, these long-serving chiefs were beset with problems that went unsolved and criticism that stung but all of them remained quietly and steadily effective. They sought incremental changes moving carefully and slowly toward their goals.  Two story lines, one popular and one true, explain Sprinters nad Marathoners. Consider each explanation.

The Superintendent as Superman or Wonder Woman

These schools chiefs are rare; they are extraordinary individuals. They…

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Originally posted on National Day Calendar:

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day


Acknowledged each year on the third Monday in October, National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day nudges everyone to think back to when their computer was new and the desktop was clean and organized,  then to take time to clean it out and straighten it up.


National clean Your Virtual Desktop Day, an “unofficial” national holiday, was created by The Personal Computer Museum located in Brantford, Ontario Canada.


National Brandies Fruit Day


Sweet fruit that is soaked in brandy and sugar then many times used as a topping on pies, cake or ice cream get it’s own day of celebration each year on
National Brandied Fruit Day.

“Brandy, as it is known today, began to appear in the 12th century and became generally popular in the 14th century.”

 To celebrate…

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Dr. Jim Arnold: If You Believe in Choice, Let Parents Choose to Opt Out of Standardized Testing

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Dr. Jim Arnold is a music educator, a band director, a principal, and most recently, superintendent of schools in Pelham City, Georgia. In this post, he tells the truth: Thirteen years of test, test, test, test have failed.

Our kids are no better off then they were before the passage of No Child Left Behind and the siren song of Race to the Top. Test-based accountability has failed, and it is hurting children and undermining education. What is called “reform” is not working. It is actually harmful and bad for education.

He writes:

Supporters of the accountability movement in public education have had 13 years of test driven “reform” to prove their point. It should be obvious now that 13 years of accountibalism have produced no positive results. If you believe that test scores accurately reflect teaching and learning in our public schools then you also must accept those…

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Originally posted on National Day Calendar:



For all seafood lovers, a food holiday celebrated each year on October 19 is National Seafood Bisque Day.

Seafood bisque is a smooth and creamy, highly seasoned soup which is of French origin.   Based on a strained broth of crustaceans, it is made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish.

It is believed that the name “Bisque” derived from Biscay, as in Bay of Biscay, however the crustaceans are certainly bis cuites, meaning “twice cooked”, as they are first sauteed lightly in their shells, then simmered in wine and aromatic ingredients before being strained.

To celebrate National Seafood Bisque Day, try one of the following “tried and true” Seafood Bisque recipes and have a Happy National Seafood Bisque Day.


Within our research, we were unable to find the creator of National Seafood Bisque Day, an “unofficial” national holiday.

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Common Core Reading – What You See is What You’ll Likely Get

Originally posted on Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, is concerned about reading instruction in the Common Core State Standards.  More specifically, he is concerned that the standards will be perceived as demanding exclusivity of close reading in the classroom which will lead  to damage both to the standards and to reading achievement.  Mr. Pondiscio does not seem to hold the criticisms of the standards in much esteem, but he is sensitive to the potential for close reading to be overused in classrooms trying to align themselves with the CCSS English Language Arts standards.  Teachers who try to use the standards to stamp out students’ prior knowledge, experiences and preferences are on a fool’s errand.  Mr Pondiscio writes:

In a recent piece on RealClearEducation, University of Virginia cognitive scientist Dan Willingham rightly takes exception to a common interpretation of close reading. “We will read the text as though…

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Frank Breslin: The Gates, Broad, Walton, and Koch Foundations Vs. America’s Public Schools

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Frank Breslin, a retired high school teacher of history and world languages, has written an eloquent article about the corporate assault on public education and explains why this assault endangers democracy and the American dream of equal opportunity.

He begins in this way:

A specter is haunting America – the privatization of its public schools, and Big Money has entered into an unholy alliance to aid and abet it. Multi-billionaire philanthropists, newspaper moguls, governors, legislators, private investors, hedge fund managers, testing and computer companies are making common cause to hasten the destruction of public schools.

This assault also targets the moral and social vision that inspired the creation of public schools – the belief in a free and inclusive democratic society that unites all of us in a common destiny as we struggle together toward a just society and a better life for ourselves and our children.

Public schools were…

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