Broward County, Florida, Will Require Teachers to Teach Six Classes to Save Money

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Roman Shtrakhman, a teacher of Advanced Placement history and International Baccalaureate classes in Florida, sent the following letter to members of the Broward County school board, the superintendent, and journalists across the state. Can a high school teacher be as effective teaching six classes as five. This teacher says no.

Dear colleagues, it has come to my attention that the School Board of Broward County and Superintendent Runcie are developing a Task Force to address High School teacher scheduling issues, with an emphasis on the 6th class they have all been made to teach. Please allow me to share my observations.

We all understand that this decision is essentially is a funding issue. When the voters of Florida overwhelmingly passed a Constitutional Amendment in 2002 to keep class sizes low they did not anticipate that the Legislature would refuse to fund it, thereby negating its very purpose. And they certainly…

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Content vs. Skills Again and Again (Part 2)

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

The either/or conundrum pops up again. Across science, math, English, and social studies, classroom teachers weigh in on whether they are content-driven or skills-driven in teaching. The dichotomy afflicts all academic subjects and it is, of course, a false one but one that generates far more emotional heat than clear-sighted light, nonetheless.

The last post describing Will Colglazier’s lesson on the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 (and a previous lesson on the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression) seemingly focused on the skills historians use in examining a primary source for bias and close reading of a document. Yet both lessons were chock-full of content. Thus, content vs. skills offers a false choice. The more appropriate question about teaching an academic subject like history is: where on a continuum of content at one pole and skills at the other pole, would you place yourself?

Some teachers would be smack in…

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Peter Greene: Why an All-Charter System Will Never Succeed

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Peter Greene explains why an all-charter district or state will never succeed. Charters, to the extent that they can get higher scores than public schools, do so by selecting the most desirable students, the ones who are least costly to educate. Charters that are open to all, as public schools are, get the same result. Many charters, even when they cherry pick students, nonetheless get low test scores, for various reasons, such as teacher churn, lack of experience among administrators and teachers, prioritizing profit over education, or incompetence

Greene looks at the issue of scalability and predicts that it will never happen and in fact has never happened. New Orleans, the closest thing to an all-charter district, is ranked 65th of 68 districts in Louisiana; most of the charters in the Recovery School District are rated by the state as D or F schools.

Greene cites the work of Jersey…

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November 21, 2014 – NATIONAL STUFFING DAY

Originally posted on National Day Calendar:

National Stuffing Day - November 21 Image Credit:

National Stuffing Day – November 21
Image Credit:


November 21 is the perfect day to celebrate National Stuffing Day as Thanksgiving day is right around the corner and we are already thinking about the delicious turkey stuffing that is a traditional part of Thanksgiving dinner.

While cooking (specifically for poultry), stuffing (also known as dressing or filling) is a mixture, often a starch, used to fill a cavity in another food item.  However, there are many foods that are prepared stuffed such as different meats, vegetables, eggs and etc.

The typical turkey stuffing consists of bread cubes or crumbs combined with onions, celery, salt and pepper along with spices and herbs such as summer savory, sage or poultry seasoning.  Other varieties include adding sausage, hamburger, tofu, oysters, egg, rice, apple, raisins or other dried fruits.

The first known documented stuffing recipes appeared in the Roman cookbook…

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The State of the World’s Children, 2015

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

UNICEF has released its annual report: The State of the World’s Children, 2015.

I was honored to be invited to contribute a chapter. My contribution is one of a large number of stories about how to improve the lives of the world’s children.

You might enjoy reading the report.

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Alert: Wall Street is Taking Iver America’s Pension Plans

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

If you are counting on your pension as retirement income, you must read this article.

Wall Street insiders, it says, pumped $300 million into the last election. In return, they get to invest your pension funds. Some of those investments are very risky.

“Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island all recently elected governors who were previously executives and directors at firms which managed investments on behalf of state pension funds. These firms are now, consequently, in position to obtain even more of these public funds. This alone represents a huge payoff on that $300M investment made by the financial industry, and is likely to result in more pension money going into investments which offer great benefits for Wall Street but do little for the broader economy.

“But Wall Street’s agenda goes beyond any one election cycle. It has been fighting to turn public pensions into private profits for quite some time…

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Education Bloggers’ Network Grows to 200

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Jonathan Pelto of Connecticut has done an amazing job of assembling a network of 200 bloggers and writers who support public education. That number is sure to grow as more parents and educators join the blogosphere.

Jon’s blog “Wait, What?” Is one of the most influential blogs in Connecticut.

Those who seek to privatize our public schools have vast amounts of money (the big foundations created their own blog, funded at $12 million), but we have bloggers and writers who are passionate and dedicated to the democratic role of public schools as a public good that belongs to the public, not corporations.

Jon Pelto writes:

Education Bloggers Network Hits 200 Members

The Education Bloggers Network is an informal confederation of more than 200 bloggers and commentators who are dedicated to supporting public education in the United States and pushing back the corporate education reform industry. While many have their own…

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