The legislation nullifies a Sept. 27 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that California illegally classified thousands of teachers in training as "highly qualified" in violation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Under that law, all students are supposed to be taught by "highly qualified" teachers who have earned state teaching credentials, but a 2004 Bush administration policy allowed states to give that status to interns working toward certification.
The San Francisco-based appeals court struck down that policy, siding with low-income families in Richmond, Hayward and Los Angeles that claimed that a disproportionate number of uncredentialed teachers were teaching in their schools.
That 2-1 ruling would have required districts to distribute teaching interns more evenly across schools and to notify parents when their child is not taught by a fully credentialed teacher, but the new legislation temporarily allows teachers in training to keep the "highly qualified" status.
Huck Finn sanitized for your safety is another story.
In its place, 219 times throughout the book, is the word "slave," a substitution that was made by NewSouth Books, a publisher based in Alabama, which plans to release the edition in February.
Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery, approached the publisher with the idea in July. Gribben said Tuesday that he had been teaching Mark Twain for decades and always hesitated before reading aloud the common racial epithet, which is used liberally throughout the book, a reflection of social attitudes in the mid-19th century.
And people thought wanting to have professional development around Brave New World was a problem. But altering a book is wrong. Either use it as is with context and sensitivity or don't use it at all.
Since the publisher discussed plans for the book this week with Publishers Weekly, it has been "assaulted" with negative e-mails and phone calls, said Suzanne La Rosa, the co-founder and publisher of NewSouth Books.
"We didn't undertake this lightly," La Rosa said. "If our publication fosters good discussion about how language affects learning and certainly the nature of censorship, then difficult as it is likely to be, it's a good thing."
From Crosscut (and an alert reader here), a piece "How I Became an Anti-Union Democrat" by Adam Vogt about, well, unions. This line was particularly telling:
In recent years, as I’ve watched labor unions, particularly those representing teachers, reflexively fight against reforms that would increase accountability and limit benefits, I’ve found myself aghast at the unwillingness of so many public employees to sacrifice during lean budget times. Add to that my recurring experience as a government employee at the state and federal level witnessing the many "retirement" parties for government employees who look entirely too young to retire, all the while knowing that such an option likely won’t exist for workers of my generation.
Unwillingness of teachers to sacrifice? Look, except for those teachers in Wisconsin that wanted Viagra in their medical benefits, I don't see many teachers who haven't sacrificed. And who is this guy to decide when someone should "look" old enough to retire? A lot will change for the next generation but isn't all about workers who didn't sacrifice enough.
And a big thank you to another reader who sent me this great story from the WashingtonPost blog, The Answer Sheet. (I don't ID readers unless I know it's okay to use their first or last names as I know some people are sensitive to names being released but please know I appreciate the links).
It seems that 14 students from two NYC schools wrote a play about school reform during the time of Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg based on the play "Antigone". They had written it, produced it and were ready to go when boom! their principals said no. From the blog:
The play, titled “Declassified: Struggle for Existence (We Used to Eat Lunch Together,” was banned.
According to a teacher who was working on the project with the students, the principals sent word that they were uncomfortable with criticism of Klein and Bloomberg, and they would not allow the Dec. 17 scheduled performance to go on in the Jamaica High auditorium.
The blog thread has the complete play and here's a telling part:
Tireseus: You took away 30% of the school’s teaching staff which increased class sizes, and you gave half the space in the building away to new smaller schools. Would you call that fair treatment?
Chancellor: We can’t continue to invest in failing schools.
Tireseus: Do you really think closing schools is the answer?
Chancellor: The school is failing.
Tireseus: Or maybe you are failing the school. Why not give them what they need to succeed?
Chancellor: But schools must be held accountable.
Tireseus: And what about you, Chancellor? Who’s holding you accountable? The gods have given us the use of reason, but do we use it right? Do I? Do you?
Chancellor: Why am I standing out here like a target? Why is every arrow aimed at me.
Tireseus: Isn’t it your policy that is upsetting so many students and teachers?
Chancellor: Who’s got you in their pocket? Are you working for the teachers union now?
Tireseus: Honest advice is not a thing you buy.
Chancellor: All of you so-called seers: you have your price.
Tireseus: Rulers too have a name for being corrupt.
Chancellor: The decisions I take are not up for sale.
Tireseus: Are you so sure about that?
Chancellor: Get out of my office.
Tireseus: Fine, but know this: where you are standing now is a cliff edge, and there’s a cold wind blowing.
Yes, a cold wind IS blowing (and maybe a lot of hot air).