A Teacher’s Message to President Obama: Teachers Not the Problem, Poverty Is

obama with school kids

Mark Naison: “For anyone who says teachers are to blame for our students failing, I have one thing to say: How DARE you? Teachers are heroes to a lot of children who have none!”

Save Our Schools From Creationism

creationism

Tina Dupuy: I was raised as a creationist. I’d come home from school with a brain full of evolution and an enthusiasm for T-Rex and my mother saw it as her mission to put an end to it.

Getting College Wrong: Pedagogy of the Depressed

online courses

Joseph Palermo: It’s as if the baby boomers, having gotten their own quality schooling for a fraction of the price students pay today, are kicking the ladder out from under their children and grandchildren and substituting it with a shoddy, privatized product to which they, in their youth, never would have succumbed.

Why School Test Resistance May Be About to Sweep the Nation

morna mcdermott

Mark Naison: As high-stakes tests have proliferated in our public schools, and are increasingly used as the basis of closing schools and firing teachers, more and more people despair of challenging policies that have bi-partisan support, are championed by the media, have the nation’s economic elite pressing for their implementation.

Pricing Working Class Kids Out of Higher Ed

latino students

Rudy Acuña: This rise in the cost of higher ed will have a disastrous impact on the lower half (income wise) of the Mexican American and Latino community. This is where the dropout numbers are concentrated. Over time, this trend will destroy all hope that si se puede, it can be done.

Public Schools, Private Agendas: Parent Revolution

parent revolution

Gary Cohn: At first glance, it is one of the nation’s hottest new education-reform movements. But a closer examination reveals that the “parent-trigger” movement is being heavily financed by the conservative Walton Family Foundation,

The Crumbling of Corporate School “Reform”

chicago teachers

Randy Shaw: As corporate interests spend billions attacking teachers unions, the real obstacles to a quality public education—poverty, overcrowded classes, and physically rundown schools—are ignored.

A Curious New York Times Article on Teacher Evaluations

teacher student

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: What is really curious is why The New York Times author was so quick to uncritically adopt the corporate perspective and jump on the bandwagon of attacking the teachers. Perhaps she was one of the few students who failed her critical thinking course.

School Daze: The Attack on Public Education Continues

chicago school closings

Vivian Rothstein: In the name of quality education, the business model reformers are working to contract out many of our public schools to private for-profit and non-profit charter schools which are largely excluded from the public decision-making processes.

Saving Schools: Research Backs Ward-Based Idea

school recess

Steve Hochstadt: The message from the proponents of at-large voting, at all the forums I have attended, is that the School Board has failed, but let’s do nothing. Let’s not change the voting system. And let’s not talk about anything else.

Why Tenure Matters

architecture professor

Mark Naison: Workers who approach their jobs with real autonomy and creativity are a threat to a system that thrives on intimidation and micromanagement as ways of extracting “productivity.” And in which productivity gains almost exclusively accrue to those at the top.

Westside Parents, Teachers Facing ‘Deasy’s Revenge’

john deasy

Sara Roos: “Deasy’s Revenge” is a maneuver of breathtaking vindictiveness. It disenfranchises the very spirit of the compromise language dictated by his own employers and our representatives, the LAUSD school board.

Housed Educators: Why Is LAUSD Scapegoating Teachers?

housed

David Lyell: Propelled by private foundation money, District leadership and several School Board members have lobbied state and national legislators to gut seniority laws and have been trying to overwhelm UTLA with cases to defend.

The School Reform Credo

school reformers

Mark Naison: We must also unleash the genius of the business world into the system by subcontracting test development and evaluation to corporations with the resources to do these well and have all school employees wages and salaries targeted to performance the way virtually all business do.

Teacher Oral History Project to Document the Destructive Impact of School Reform

mark naison and students

Mark Naison: It is one thing to show, as a Met Life Survey has, that teacher satisfaction has plunged to the lowest level on record, dropping 25 percent since Barack Obama took office, it is another to describe in detail why this has taken place, and what the texture of teachers lives has been since policy makers have started evaluating schools and individual teachers on the basis of student test scores

Steve Zimmer Defeats the Billionaire Boys Club With a Cost-Effective Los Angeles School Board Campaign

steve zimmer

Peter Dreier: The Zimmer-Anderson school board race attracted national attention, including articles in the New York Times, because it was seen as a test of the effort by corporate power-brokers to run schools like businesses, a strategy that they and the media misleadingly call “school reform.”

School-to-Prison & White Post-Racial Privilege

jefferson high panel

Sikivu Hutchinson: Even as President Obama forges ahead with a more “liberal” second-term agenda, the administration’s robber baron race-to-the-bottom corporate education policy and its indifference to the scourge of mass incarceration underscore the lie of the American dream.

Who Are the Billionaires Trying to Defeat Steve Zimmer?

steve zimmer

Peter Dreier: The outcome of Tuesday’s LA School Board District 4 election has national implications in terms of the billionaires’ battle to reconstruct public education in the corporate mold.

America’s Culture Is Signing on the Dotted Line

signing an athlete

Walter Brasch: When you’re looking at a four-column picture of a smiling athlete at a signing ceremony, ask yourself why do we wring our hands, furrow our brows, and complain about low educational scores.

Why School Boards Love Temporary Teachers

young teacher

Mark Naison: Why any school district would want to bring in teachers who have been trained for five weeks and have no classroom experience to replace teachers with years of training, experience, and mentoring would seem to defy common sense unless one considers the budgetary considerations at stake.

The Making of an “Educational Saboteur”

obama school kids

Mark Naison: In the last five years, I have had to switch gears and devote large amounts of time to protecting my profession and the institutions I have built, against powerful forces seeking to reduce teaching and learning to quantifiable “outcomes.”

How Trying to Get Rid of Bad Teachers Has Demoralized Our Best

teacher and student

Mark Naison: When presidents, or governors, or mayors create educational policy or school reform commissions, they make sure that business leaders and foundation heads have the determining voice, with lifetime educators, especially teachers, often entirely excluded.

Public Schools as Community Centers

Basketball jump - dark silhouettes

Mark Naison: After school and night centers were a fixture of every public school in New York City until they were closed during the NYC fiscal crisis of the 1970’s.

Doubling Down on Grants to Low-Income Students

studewnt loan debt

Marian Wang: The government should make the funding for the Pell program an entitlement in the federal budget, shielding it from annual wrangling, and should boost the maximum amount of individual grants, the report says.

What Ails American Higher Education?

female prfoessor

Steve Hockstadt: In recent decades, three major problems have developed in American universities which threaten the whole system: exorbitant funding of athletics, replacement of full-time faculty with temporary part-time staff, and the growth of for-profit institutions.

Looming Crisis in Higher Education

Student Loans 400

Mark Naison: Too many college graduates are leaving college with huge debt and no realistic prospects of paying off the debt

Teachers as Collateral Damage

Mark Naison: Teachers have become “collateral damage” of an effort to transform public education from above, financed and implemented by people who regard teachers with contempt.

10 Education Reform Tactics That Hurt Students and Don’t Improve Education

black student

Mark Naison: Deluging schools with tests in every grade and every subject beginning with pre-kindergarten, to the point where little else goes on in school but preparing for tests.

Double Whammy: School Reform Amidst Austerity

basketball court

Mark Naison: the most tragic thing about this kind of austerity is that school districts have shown they are far more willing to use increasingly scarce funds on testing and evaluation rather than art, music, sports, gym, and school counselors and librarians.

My Vision for Revitalizing Public Education

Mark Naison: I think you begin with creating a child-friendly environment. That means sharply reducing the number of tests, leaving ample room for exercise and play, giving primacy to the arts, and having instructions in subject areas, when possible, incorporate hands-on learning and project based activity.

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