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Friday, November 21, 2008

An Interesting Speech

Hello

I subscribe to the Public Education Newsblast and here is an article I received today:

In her first speech since being elected president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten signaled her openness to a number of school reform ideas that have been unpopular with teacher unions. Speaking at the National Press Club, Weingarten stated: "With the exception of vouchers, which siphon scarce resources from public schools, no issue should be off the table, provided it is good for children and fair to teachers." Weingarten urged that all stakeholders in public education -- parents, teachers, school administrators, business leaders, and elected officials -- take responsibility for public education and work to find common ground on divisive issues like differentiated pay, tenure, and teacher assignment. She also took exception to what she considers the widespread scapegoating of teachers and teacher unions for low student achievement, and called the No Child Left Behind Act "a stand-in for real discussions at the state and national levels about a robust education policy that prepares our children for the 21st century."

Here is the link:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jaw70rM4p8LIMz4KilYt-ZyWjLHQD94H0ENG3

7 comments:

Roy Smith said...

Off topic, but possibly of interest to readers of this blog:

Ingraham HS Stages Pep Rally to Cut Down Trees

Quoting from the post: The Principal at Ingraham stated that he made a concerted effort to turn out students and parents and teachers to support the project. With his encouragement the students basically staged a pep rally for the project. This was not unexpected considering what they have had to put up with in a substandard learning environment.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would agree with the quote about NCLB. So much energy, time and resources have been devoted to one single thing when there is so much more to talk about in education today. I noticed in interviews with Superintendent Bergeson and Randy Dorn that all they got asked about was WASL and Randy Dorn kept saying there were other things to talk about.

I give Ms. Weingarten credit for being open-minded and looking to a different paradigm for teachers.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that post, Roy. That was interesting reading. I've met Principal Floe and think he's a pretty good principal but no principal should be telling students what to say (and probably not teachers but I don't know the logistics of the relationship between teacher and principal).

dan dempsey said...

In regard to Roy's link:

" At least one teacher was told to stop any efforts to get students to oppose cutting down the trees because that was political and not education. The teacher felt threatened and that her job was at stake."

The law is fairly clear in regard to public school teachers ... This teacher certainly could have publically opposed the cutting of the trees without fear of job loss or retaliation (under the law).

In the reality of the SPS, she likely would have been placed on administrative leave for something enitrely unrelated to this action (had she opposed the cutting of the trees).

Steve Codling a teacher at West Seattle opposed the move to a six period day and has been drawing a salary on administrative leave since December of 2007.

When thinking about what the law allows .... teachers also need to think about the central administration in this district and their disregard for School Board policies as well as federal and state laws.

The question may come down to teaching or being paid to be on administrative leave.

Roy Smith said...

For me, the relevant issue is not the trees (I live less than a mile from IHS, but I really have no opinion one way or the other about the trees), but the abuse of power and disregard for open, legal process.

SP said...

Roy, I totally agree about the issue being the abuse of power & disregard by the district for an open, legal process.

Of course students (and by extension, parents) are easily intimidated by the administration when their school carreer can be affected. In schools mant times there is a "silent majority" which does not want to risk the fall-out of speaking up.

As far as the closed-door process, this issue is very evident with the High School Steering Committee and the closed-door policy with their meetings. We hear about the sub-committees being formed & meeting (for: attendance, discipline, grading & graduation requirements), but the district will not release any meeting notes and denies that any sub-committes have been formed!

As evidence, have all of you received the parent's green Grading Survey packet from your school? It is titled, "Steering Committee for High School Reform School Board Policies D46.01 and C15.01 Regarding GRADING Recommended Changes"?

It was distributed to all schools two weeks ago to be distributed to all students, teachers and parents and is due back to the district by Dec. 1st. The schools are not given extra postage to mail it out to families, and students have yet been given the chance to see the survey either and discuss it with their families.

The survey is a direct result of findings from within the closed-door Steering Committee meetings, and yet the public is given a limited choice (yes/no) on issues with no previous input. New 11-point grading system, 2.0 GPA Graduation requirement, 2.0 GPA eligibility for athletics, high school credit for some middle school classes, weighted grading for IB/AP and Honors classes are the proposed chnages on the survey.

I have spoken to many parents from atleast five different high schools who have not received this survey, yet this is the only way the public is being advised of potential changes which will seriously impact each of our students.

I would like to see a separate entry on this Grading Policy survey so the public can discuss these issues befre the Dec. 1st due date.

Thank you!

SolvayGirl said...

I'll have a daughter entering HS in Fall 2009 and I would definitely like to see and respond to this survey. I would think this applies to most, if not all, parents of middle-schoolers. I am also certain there are parents of elementary school children who would like to weigh in as well. It's not like the current group of high-schoolers are the only ones with a stake in any changes to policy!