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About me…

School_Pic2012-2013031I am a teacher in a mid-size Southern California school district.  I have taught both special education and general education classes thus far in my career.  In my capacity as a special education teacher I have co-taught 8th grade English, taught 6th grade English in a Special Day Class (SDC), run the Resource Room as a Resource Specialist (RSP) for a K-5 elementary school, and presently teach a Learning Center for a K-6 elementary school.  I have experience teaching a fourth grade general education class as well – so I have seen education in a unique light, as both a special educator and a general educator.

I am concerned about powerful and deep-pocketed forces who are lining up to harm public education.  I work with fantastic teachers and we all really care about our kids.  My hope with this blog is to post information that is timely and informative.  As the name reflects, I want this site to be somewhat of a Clearing House for educators to view with regard to staying informed of the challenges that public education is now facing.

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12 Comments
  1. Definitely notify via email. Thanks for consolidating the information that is out there.

  2. I’m a veteran teacher (finishing my 35th year) of classes for Emotionally Handicapped, Emotionally Disturbed, Emotionally Disabled, and Severely Emotionally/Behaviorally Disabled students (wait for it…wait for it…they’ll change the name again) in high schools and middle schools in Central Florida and the Bronx.

    I’ve been moderating passing notes, a discussion board for the members of my local for some years now (http://passingnotes.net/). Posts to the public folder of passing notes feed into a Facebook page with the same name (https://www.facebook.com/passingnotes).

    Many times over the years I’ve felt like a wolf howling at the moon, not knowing to what extent my posts were being read, but, if nothing else, passing notes provides an archive of items covering the battle for public education here in the Sunshine [sic] State over that period of time.

    Keep up the good work. I’ve subscribed to notifications of new posts via email.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for subscribing. How do you feel about your Governor? Should I ask? His approval ratings are at a whopping 29%. I can’t imagine a smart college grad in the field of education EVER choosing to teach in FL after the new “no tenure” law has passed.

      • Polite words can’t express how I feel about Governor Scott and the legislators of the majority party that control Tallahassee.

        The Florida Education Association, our state affiliate association, has filed three lawsuits contesting legislation that passed in the previous session and were signed by Scott – a three percent self-contribution to the Florida Retirement System (Florida’s first income tax levied on public sector workers in the state), a measure that would permit public tax dollars going to religious entities (a voucher-friendly measure), and components of SB 736 (the teacher performance bill) to which you alluded.

        Smart college grads in the field of education had better do their homework before they consider working in Florida.

        http://www.passingnotes.net/index.php?showforum=4
        https://www.facebook.com/passingnotes

      • I can’t imagine how frustrated that a person in Florida’s higher education system who is studying to become a teacher must be at this moment. I would leave Florida after completing my degree, if I were a teacher with less than 5 years experience, I would leave as well. Florida is gutting its public education system, I have good friends in the Port St. Lucie area who are so disgusted that they are considering leaving. Hopefully voters in your state will learn the lesson of voting for Trojan horse candidates like Rick Scott.

  3. Here’s a relevant MSM print piece that includes two polls that I hope people will take.

    Merits of SB 736 pit Collier teachers vs. officials as Florida lawsuit awaits hearing – POLLS
    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/oct/01/teacher-merit-pay-SB-736-lawsuit-Florida-Education/

  4. Thanks for the link, I read the article, took the pole and Voted: NO

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks for establishing this site and it’s links, I am a 69 year-old retired public school teacher who was also an adjunct history and government professor for two local community colleges for over 20 years. In 2003 my district offered to purchase an annuity certain equal to one years salary to buy out our tenure for those of us with over the 30 years experience. After the NCLB act was passed and we were forced to shift from teaching critical thinking and other skills related to our subject areas and shifted to teaching the students how to take standardized tests and how to write essays to a matrix (which is how essays on standardized tests are graded) which is simple and any child can do because they don’t discount their scores because of syntax, grammar, spelling, etc. All you do is have the students once a week write a short essay (in the history section of the social studies tests there are five items on the matrix) starting each sentence with words that match the matrix. For example our test had them read an essay presenting a problem related to social studies and the first item on the matrix (printed right on the test) said “Take a position of the subject of the reading” so my students would write their first sentence beginning “My position on this issue is ….” and then the similar single sentences for each of the matrix points. This style of essay doesn’t reflect any actual knowledge or creative thinking and we have now turned out a generation that accepts what corporate power brokers say as being the truth and willingly becoming peasants or surfs for these corporate owners! I felt I was failing my students and gladly took their money and ran. I would never suggest to any of my students that they go into the profession today, we are blamed for the states running out of funds (after the Republicans repeatedly cut taxes for themselves and their wealthy friends and their businesses), for the fact our students don’t pass these high stakes tests that the students view is irreverent, and now are tying teacher’s pay to these test results! They also sold the people a pile of sh*t that all public schools are failing schools and the only schools that give their children a good education are the corporate owned, for profit, charter schools (which actually are selective as to which students they allow to attend and nearly all actually score lower on the same state tests that they use to call regular public school “failing schools”).

    • You are welcome, I try to post something daily. I am far away from retirement and I can understand why you retired. Music…gone, art…gone…woodshop, metal-shop, graphic arts…gone – all casualties of a testing mindset that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. I hope you are enjoying your retirement, I am in the trenches teaching and trying to fight for what is right. Welcome…

  6. Anonymous permalink

    Hi, and thanks for calling my attention to, “When Religious Leaders Attack Jindal’s Plan – You Know it is Nuts!” Because I am convinced that MANY factors –particularly political corruption & nonprofit fraud are associated with education revamp, I am speaking up. Below is what I posted about Jindal’s alarming agenda of placing education with preachers / pastors. [ This illustrates what I mean: http://cenlamar.com/2012/08/07/shocking-bobby-jindals-vouchers-will-provide-over-600000-per-year-to-school-led-by-prophet-apostle/ ].

    Commented on Washington Post:

    Our family are lifetime Louisiana residents. For many reasons, Gov. Jindal’s school voucher program is alarming! Even people who do not have school aged children, and people who don’t work for school boards should be concerned dangerous potential of placing education into hands of some church leaders who are not what they profess to be –as well as likelihood of furthering political corruption and social oppression (via religion). Too many preachers & pastors (not all of them!) have more regard for politics and cronies, than ministry for God. Some are dangerously deluded, and should simply resign and cease abusing 501 (c) statuses. Sadly, the title of “pastor” doesn’t mean the same as bygone times when religious values truly mattered to all of the people who wore those religious titles. Furthermore, there is the appalling problem of CHARITY NONPROFIT FRAUD, and victimization as it pertains to awarding employment! *See more about preachers, politics, and nonprofits @ http://www.lawgrace.org/2012/08/11/nonprofit-charities-and-a-news-story-and-religion/

  7. http://www.geauxteacher.net/2012/12/no-value-in-value-added.html?m=1

    You may be interested in this post about an analysis of Louisiana’s teacher evaluation system written into law. Dr. Schneider has also written pieces on test score bias and school performance score manipulation by our dept. of education and a PowerPt that can be understood even by our legislators. I suspect that man of the problems with our VAM can be found in others.

  8. It ‘s hard to fight against this tide of “reformers” in Colorado. The literacy team in our State Department has roots in Reading First and have managed to serve so many people whatever they are drinking that we now have lots of $ going to Wireless Generation, Sopris West, and other for profit companies that produce programs to help kids that have low scores on one minute tests of “reading” (google “billions spent on an inside game”). Guess what group the State Department is consulting – Jeb Bush’s Education for Excellence and guess what “national reading expert ” is helping “us” out – Louisa Moats!

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