The Fear Factor – & its antidote

Originally posted on Poetic Justice:

The Fear Factor
is so real —-

it is like teachers are suffering from anxiety, PTSD, Battered Wife Syndrome, and Stockholm Syndrome all at the same time.

And … we can trust no one … not our unions, not our bosses, not our district, not our politicians, not even our friends – our friends do not get it – our families do not get it.
so …. we take meds …. we drink … we use drugs … we are sick  – and we are dying.

The only antidote is unconditional love for our students.


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Eva Moskowitz Cannot Help Herself

Originally posted on Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

My grandfather had many folk wisdom expressions, but one that sticks with me is “When you are sitting 100 feet in the air, sawing furiously at the branch you are on, be sure to sit on the the TREE side of the cut.”  The meaning here is simple enough: perilous situations demand caution, and it is probably a good idea to check and double check what you are doing lest you end up like these guys:


I don’t think anyone has shared this advice with Eva Moskowitz.

The Success Academy charter school CEO just had a truly horrible October, in which her suspension policies were put into an uncomfortable spotlight, she retaliated by publishing the disciplinary records of a former student who is only ten years old and by demanding an apology from PBS, a complaint about Moskowitz’s violation of privacy laws was filed with federal DOE, and The…

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Physics Teacher Speaks Out on Technology (Alice Flarend)

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

“Alice Flarend is a National Board Certified Teacher and is the physics teacher at Bellwood-Antis High School in Pennsylvania.  She holds a B.S and M.S in Nuclear Engineering from University of Illinois and University of Michigan respectively. Alice caught the teaching bug while doing engineering doctoral work at the University of Michigan and has been teaching for over twenty years.  She is currently working part time on a Science Education Ph.D at Penn State.  She plans on remaining in her classroom to be a bridge between the worlds of higher education  and public K-12 schools.”

Technology will revolutionize the classroom! I have been hearing these promises for most of my 20 year physics teaching career and yet there is scant high quality evidence for it. Cyber schools show little learning ( The OECD found “no appreciable improvement in student achievement” with large scale investments in computer technology. (…

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Alabama Teacher of the Year Resigns: The Backstory, Part I

Originally posted on deutsch29:

On November 20, 2015, I drove from southern Louisiana to central Alabama in order to extensively interview Ann Marie Corgill, the 2014-15 Alabama Teacher of the Year who abruptly resigned on October 30, 2015.

The interview lasted over four hours. I decided to seek a face-to-face interview because I knew I would be asking some pointed questions, and I thought it best to do so in person.

Corgill has an intriguing story to tell, and in a series of posts, I intend to tell it, including information on Corgill’s professional history as a public school teacher in both Alabama and New York; her story about becoming Alabama’s Teacher of the Year, and the detailed circumstances surrounding her resignation, including the media attention.

For this first post, I focus on the how her story became national news.

Indeed, being the one to break the news of the sudden, unexpected departure of…

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How John White Will Use His Own Failures to Sink Governor Elect John Bel Edwards (If he stays on)

Originally posted on Crazy Crawfish:

I have been writing for years about the numerous ways John White has been lying about the “progress” his agenda has brought the state of Louisiana.  White has inflated the graduate rate, inflated the matriculation rate, depressed the dropout counts, flipped the LEAP and End of Course test scores to show Louisiana students are doing better,  while they are actually doing much worse, sheltered RSD and charter schools from investigations, wiped out the Special Education department and forced his employees to commit fraud to keep their jobs on a routine basis and violated federal laws and policies in regards to funding allocations, shared data illegally with third party vendors and researchers that only favor his agenda while withholding data from independent researchers (for years) costing the state many thousands of dollars in litigation fees.  These are just a few of the underhanded and unethical practices John White has engaged in on a…

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Who Was The Last “Education President”?

Originally posted on Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

On September 25th, 1988, Vice President George H.W. Bush, then the Republican nominee for President, was in a debate with his Democratic Party rival, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and declared that he wanted to be “The Education President.”

I want to be the education President, because I want to see us do better. We’re putting more money per child into education, and we are not performing as we should. […] And I would like to urge the school superintendents and the others around the country to stand up now and keep us moving forward on a path towards real excellence.

Eventually, the Republican nominee would become President George H.W. Bush, and his education agenda was a continuation of the path forged under Ronald Reagan that led to the era of test-based accountability.  Presidents and Presidential aspirants have all set their sights on making an impact on our nation’s education…

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La. Gov.-Elect John Bel Edwards Wants a New State Superintendent.

Originally posted on deutsch29:

One of Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards’ desires is to rid Louisiana of education superintendent John White.

Even though Governor Bobby Jindal promoted and endorsed White as state superintendent, technically it is the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) that hires the superintendent and the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee that confirms BESE’s hire.

And technically, it is BESE that would vote to fire him– which some see as an impossibility since most of those seated on the incoming BESE appear to be on White’s side.

However, there are ways to rid Louisiana of John White, ways that go beyond mere BESE configuration. As governor, John Bel Edwards is well leveraged to pressure White to either resign or to prompt BESE to vote him out.

On November 22, 2015, I spoke with Louisiana Representative Brett Geymann (Lake Charles) regarding the leverage that Edwards has in fulfilling his preference for a…

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The New More ‘Transparent’ ASD

Originally posted on Gary Rubinstein's Blog:

TFA leaders have been dropping like flies.  First there was Michelle Rhee ‘resigning’ as chancellor in DC and then, more recently, ‘stepping down’ as CEO of StudentsFirst.  Wendy Kopp resigned her post as CEO of TFA to lead the international Teach For All.  Then there was Kevin Huffman in Tennessee, Cami Anderson in Newark.  Now that there is a new Governor in Louisiana I am certain that John White will soon be ‘opting to spend more time with his family’ and then that will be it for the first generation TFA system leaders.

Of all the fallen TFA leaders, however, the one who I have spent the most time covering is the Tennessee Achievement School District’s (ASD) superintendent Chris Barbic.  I suppose this is partly because I was, at one time, fairly good friends with him and still have a cordial relationship with him.  Of all the reformer leaders, I’ve…

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How Small a Part Research Plays in Making and Implementing Educational Policy

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

Beliefs, opinions, and politics matter more in making policy decisions than applying research findings to schools and classrooms. A recent Canadian study (1905-8719-1-PB ) confirmed what amounts to a fact in U.S. policymaking. Candadian researchers looked at provincial policy elites (in U.S., they would be state-level decision-makers) and district officials (school board members and superintendents) and found across Canada what is very evident in U.S. districts as well: politics and beliefs trump use of research in adopting policies aimed at improving practice (see here and here).

As one would expect in academic circles, the language of applying research findings to educational policies has expanded. Canadian researchers Gerald Galway and Bruce Sheppard note that new phrases have entered the vocabulary: “knowledge transfer, evidence-informed policy, data-driven decision-making and knowledge brokering, to name a few. Knowledge mobilization (KM) has been touted as a useful all-encompassing term because it conveys the notion…

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Implementation is part of the program

Originally posted on @ THE CHALKFACE:

In an effort to increase test scores in math and reading in so-called “struggling” schools, numerous intervention programs are purchased on our behalf. So many programs are layered on top of each other that it becomes nearly impossible to carefully consider them all.

Although relatively expensive, the cheapest and most efficient interventions tend to be school licenses for personalized learning software. Use of these programs make leadership think they’re actually doing something. Additionally, usage and performance data, accessible from any computer, can give central office personal an easy way to track schools, and something on which to hold them accountable when they fail.

When my students’ usage for a particular software program is not up to snuff, I hear about it. Then, if my students do not meet certain benchmarks, it can be easily attributed to the low number of minutes using the software. If only I could use the…

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