Tag Archives: teachers

Teachers?…The House GOP tax bill would scrap your educator expense deduction…

Can GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine save this all by herself?

Now, the educator expense deduction has become a sticking point in the GOP tax debate, with the House and Senate taking it in two wildly different directions.

The House GOP tax bill would scrap that educator deduction entirely.

The Senate GOP tax plan would double it to $500.

“The tax deduction means a lot to teachers,” says Richardson, who is 36 and lives in Atlanta. “Everything we bring to the classroom, we are doing it for our students. We are doing it because education isn’t always properly funded on the state or local level.”

The education expense deduction is one of many differences between the House and Senate bills that still have to be ironed out before a tax plan can be sent to President Trump’s desk. The House has already passed its version of the bill. The Senate is aiming to vote on its legislation next week.

What politicians decide could greatly affect America’s 3.6 million teachers — and their students.

One of the biggest champions of the teacher deduction is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is considered a key swing vote on the tax bill. …

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Black student’s…Black Teachers…Black Student’s…White Teachers…

…from Brookings…..

Bottom line: black teachers are much less likely to find problems with black students than white teachers are with the same students. The difference is enormous, accounting for about half the black/white externalizing behavior gap. (Remember that the data does not tell us whether black teachers have different perceptions of black students or whether student/teacher race matching leads to objectively different behavior.) For black students, being matched with a black teacher matters.

Bottom line: black teachers are much less likely to find problems with black students than white teachers are with the same students.

How about white or Hispanic students being matched with white or Hispanic teachers, respectively? Nope, no discernable differences in externalizing behavior. (To be clear, black teachers rate white students about the same as do white teachers.) In other words, being race matched matters a lot for black students but not for others.

Wright* drills down further. First—and this is probably unsurprising—the effect of race matching is entirely due to the evaluations given to black boys. There isn’t a noticeable difference for black girls. Second, the effect of matching is limited to the year of the match. When Wright checked reports of black students when they were assigned to white teachers following a year with a black teacher he found no lingering effects of that year of being race-matched. This suggests that the findings reflect teacher perceptions rather than real behavioral differences since we might expect improvements in behavior to persist the following year—and that’s not what happens….

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*Adam Wright, “Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Disruptive Behavior: The Effect of Racial Congruence and Consequences for School Suspension,” documents 

Shortage of Teachers Some places nationwide…..

Not in the New York Metro area…..

But other places ?….Yea….

Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

At the same time, a growing number of English-language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.

Some are even asking prospective teachers to train on the job, hiring novices still studying for their teaching credentials, with little, if any, classroom experience.

Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I., are among the large urban school districts having trouble finding teachers, according to the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts. Just one month before the opening of classes, Charlotte, N.C., was desperately trying to fill 200 vacancies.

Nationwide, many teachers were laid off during the recession, but the situation was particularly acute in California, which lost 82,000 jobs in schools from 2008 to 2012,…

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Teacher spends two days as a student….

..from the Washington Post….

Do teachers really know what students go through? To find out, one teacher followed two students for two days  and was amazed at what she found. Her report is in  following post, which appeared on the blog of Grant Wiggins, the co-author of “Understanding by Design” and the author of “Educative Assessment” and numerous articles on education. A high school teacher for 14 years, he is now the president of Authentic Education,  in Hopewell, New Jersey, which provides professional development and other services to schools aimed at improving student learning.  You can read more about him and his work at the AE site.

Wiggins initially posted the piece without revealing the author. But the post became popular on his blog and he decided to write a followup piece revealing that the author was his daughter, Alexis Wiggins, a 15-year teaching veteran now working in  a private American International School overseas. Wiggins noted in his follow-up that his daughter’s experiences mirrored his own and aligned well with the the responses on surveys that his  organization gives to students.

By Alexis Wiggins

I have made a terrible mistake.

I waited 14 years to do something that I should have done my first year of teaching: shadow a student for a day. It was so eye-opening that I wish I could go back to every class of students I ever had right now and change a minimum of ten things – the layout, the lesson plan, the checks for understanding.

Most of it!

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Obama and his Education Chief incur the wrath of Teachers….

Barack H. Obama got his job with serious political help from teachers unions…..

In a sit-down with teachers…..

The President and Education Secretary Donavan have found their efforts at trying to change the American Education system aren’t making teachers better teachers…They have taken teaching time and natives AWAY from teachers…

On the political side of things?

Both mens efforts have made the teacher unions so made that they are openly in revolt against the President’s Federal Education programs and their anchor on extensive testing requirements for teachers and students….

President Obama sat down this week for lunch at the White House with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and four teachers to talk about education, teaching and school reform. What the teachers said to Obama is explained in the following post by Justin Minkel, the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, a board member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, and a member of the Center for Teaching Quality’s Collaboratory….

The last thing in the piece ……

If we want students to innovate, collaborate, and solve real-world problems, we need to make it possible for teachers to do those same things.

The systems we create for teachers have a profound impact on the classrooms we design for students. Teachers have long been seen as consumers of policy, professional development, curriculum, and research, when we should be partners in creating it.

The working conditions that matter most to teachers in Generation X and Y have to do with intangibles like autonomy, collaboration time, and the potential for innovation. Scripted curricula, test prep, and micro-management are anathema to that kind of school culture, and they have a devastating effect on both teacher recruitment and retention.

The hopeful news is that we can create the conditions for excellence in lower-income schools. They exist where I teach: Jones Elementary, a school with 99% poverty and virtually 0 percent teacher turnover.

Every year, we receive students who come in angry, disrespectful, and ashamed of their struggle to learn. These same students become thoughtful scholars and compassionate human beings once their needs are met and their trust in teachers has been earned.

There’s nothing wrong with the kids. There is plenty wrong with the system—but none of it is inevitable…..

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Here’s the Union part…..

Teachers unions have turned on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration, creating a major divide in the Democratic Party coalition.

The largest teachers union in the country, the National Education Association (NEA), called for Duncan to resign at its convention on July 4, arguing his policies on testing have failed the nation’s schools.
Tensions between Duncan and the unions had been building for some time.

The administration’s Race to the Top program, which has provided $4.35 billion to states, incentivized changes that unions strongly oppose. One of the most controversial policies backed by Duncan is using students’ improvement on standardized tests to help evaluate teachers and make pay and tenure decisions.

“Our members are frustrated and angry,” said NEA president Dennis Van Roekel. “Number one is the toxic testing. There is too much.”

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Teacher Union’s ?

A Federal Appeals Court has throw out their tenure cause in California….

I don’t think its gonna stick….

But it has gotten people’s attention…..

As the two big national teachers unions prepare for their conventions this summer, they are struggling to navigate one of the most tumultuous moments in their history.

Long among the most powerful forces in American politics, the unions are contending with falling revenue and declining membership, damaging court cases, the defection of once-loyal Democratic allies — and a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign portraying them as greedy and selfish.

They took a big hit Tuesday when a California judge struck down five laws they had championed to protect teachers’ jobs. The Supreme Court could deliver more bad news as early as next week, in a case that could knock a huge hole in union budgets. On top of all that, several well-funded advocacy groups out to curb union influence are launching new efforts to mobilize parents to the cause.

Responding to all these challenges has proved difficult, analysts say, because both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are divided internally. There’s a faction urging conciliation and compromise. Another faction pushes confrontation. There’s even a militant splinter group, the Badass Teachers Association.

Leaders of both the NEA and AFT have sought to rally the public to their side by talking up their vision for improving public education: More arts classes and fewer standardized tests, more equitable funding and fewer school closures. Those are popular stances. But union leaders can’t spend all their time promoting them: They must also represent their members. And that’s meant publicly defending laws that strike even many liberals as wrong-headed, such as requiring districts to lay off their most junior teachers first, regardless of how effective they are in the classroom.
The result: an unprecedented erosion of both political and public support for unions. And no clear path for labor leaders to win it back.

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Note….

In 2008 Barack Obama won big with Union support….

In the six years since ?

The Republicans and Right have taken concerted actions to weaken union’s across the nation thru actions and media efforts….

Teachers protest gag order on Common Core tests…Daily Kos….

Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Laura Clawson
Earlier in the month, a Brooklyn school principal wrote a New York Times op-ed protesting the gag order that testing company Pearson has put on teachers and administrators to prevent them discussing the content of the company’s new Common Core tests. According to Elizabeth Phillips, the test does “a poor job of testing reading comprehension,” and:

In general terms, the tests were confusing, developmentally inappropriate and not well aligned with the Common Core standards. The questions were focused on small details in the passages, rather than on overall comprehension, and many were ambiguous. Children as young as 8 were asked several questions that required rereading four different paragraphs and then deciding which one of those paragraphs best connected to a fifth paragraph. There was a strong emphasis on questions addressing the structure rather than the meaning of the texts. There was also a striking lack of passages with an urban setting. And the tests were too long; none of us can figure out why we need to test for three days to determine how well a child reads and writes.

But she can’t get more specific than that, because of the gag order. Now, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has written a letter to Pearson’s top executives protesting this lack of transparency and sent two top AFT staffers to London to attend Pearson’s annual shareholder meeting to underscore the point. She writes:

These gag orders and the lack of transparency are fueling the growing distrust and backlash among parents, students and educators in the United States about whether the current testing protocols and testing fixation is in the best interests of children. When parents aren’t allowed to know what is on their children’s tests, and when educators have no voice in how assessments are created and are forbidden from raising legitimate concerns about these assessments’ quality or talking to parents about these concerns, you not only increase distrust of testing but also deny children the rich learning experience they deserve. […]

If Pearson is going to remain competitive in the educational support and testing business, the company must listen to and respond to the concerns of educators like Elizabeth Phillips who report that the company has ignored extensive feedback.
Parents, students and teachers need assessments that accurately measure student performance through questions that are grade-appropriate and aligned with state standards—especially since standardized tests have increasingly life-altering consequences for students and teachers. By including gag orders in contracts, Pearson is silencing the very stakeholders the company needs to engage with. Poll after poll makes clear that parents overwhelmingly trust educators over all others to do what is best for their children; educators’ voices, concerns and input should be included in the creation and application of these assessments.

This is big business: Pearson has a $32 million contract with New York state alone.
Continue reading for more of the week’s education and labor news…..

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Common Core is NOT for Kids with Special Needs…

The program allows little if ANY time for teachers to vary from the program’s script to help those students who do NOT ‘get it’ the first time…

One size does NOT fit all…..

In a recent discussion board thread on reading comprehension challenges in autism, a special-education teacher commented that her students can’t understand the assigned reading passages. “When I complained, I was told that I could add extra support, but not actually change the passages,” she wrote. “It is truly sad to see my students’ frustration.”

Why must this teacher’s students contend with passages that are too complex for them to understand? She attributes this inflexibility to the Common Core, new standards—created in 2009 by a group of education professionals, none of them K-12 classroom teachers or special-education experts—that have been adopted by 45 states. Though most Common Core goals are abstract and schematic, collectively they constitute a one-size fits-all approach that, in practice, has severely straightjacketed America’s special-needs students.

The teacher I quoted above—one of the many special-ed instructors I
teach at the Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania
education schools—is hardly alone. She’s echoing the concerns of dozens of other special-education teachers I’ve spoken with, most of whom have already gotten the message from their supervisors or superiors that they must adhere to the standards and give all their students the designated grade-level assignments.

Precocious students, students with learning disabilities, precocious students with learning disabilities: How does the Common Core suit them?

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Some States are backing Out of Common Core because of the extensive testing required…

I am continuing to follow this story….

And the cracks are beginning to fall in the program….

State have begun to back out of the program even if costs them federal money…..

The testing could tax their servers and the extensive amount of time required for the program is causing parents, teachers and school administrators to complain to state education officials, who are coming under political pressure to back away from the program….

Could this all come to a ‘healthcare like’ political problem for the Federal Education Department?

The tests will be given on a massive scale: Roughly 4.2 million third through eighth graders will test the exams in math and English this spring, and 29 million students nationwide will use them starting next school year.

Last spring, Kentucky students taking digital end-of-course assessments designed by ACT had to switch to paper and pencil after slow and dropped connections complicated the testing. Alabama and Ohio students also had problems.

The Kentucky Department of Education wanted ACT to conduct a “stress test” in mid-November to see if the server could handle 20,000 students at one time. ACT was supposed to make software corrections and hardware fixes to improve the online system, but the testing company told the state those fixes wouldn’t be ready for the stress tests or next round of end-of-course exams. The stress test was ultimately canceled.

In addition, CTB/McGraw-Hill apologized last spring for interruptions after its digital testing service disrupted exams in Indiana and Oklahoma. About 3,000 students in Oklahoma lost their connections to the testing provider’s servers. And nearly 80,000 out of a half million Indiana students who took the company’s tests in the spring had their testing postponed and about 30,000 were kicked off of the testing platform on a single day of testing. One Indiana charter school has said the errors are to blame for its F grade from the state.

The company said the Indiana outage occurred because “our simulations did not fully anticipate the patterns of live student testing.” Members of the Indiana Board of Education called the situation “disastrous.”

Oklahoma dropped out of one of the groups developing Common Core tests in early July, citing technology challenges as one of its leading reasons.

Wyoming ditched its online testing system a few years ago, after network infrastructure buckled when 80,000 students tried to take state exams. The debacle cost the state superintendent his job.

Those problems and others have the potential to play out on a much larger, more public stage in the coming years.

At least four states have officially withdrawn from the testing consortia. Other states are teetering on the edge of their relationships with the federally funded groups devising the tests, decrying cost, federal overreach and the potential tech troubles. A shaky roll out could burn more bridges with those organizations and drive up the cost of testing for remaining states…..

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What Teachers get paid by State….

Averages….

How much do teachers across the United States get paid?

Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago. The data are for 2013 and represent the estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools. Boeckensted’s original map, here on the Higher Ed Data Stories blog, has information for earlier years, as well. You can find the NCES original data here.

salary map

salary alaskahawaii

salary list

Source…..

Teachers and their Unions are under siege ….

The effort against teachers as union members began with their support for President Obama’s election in 2008 and has continued with aggressive actions against them by Republican Governor’s like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Chris Christie, in New Jersey…..

The effort is gathering steam around the country…..

The National Education Association has lost 230,000 members, or 7 percent, since 2009, and it’s projecting another decline this year, which will likely drop it below 3 million members. Among the culprits: teacher layoffs, the rise of non-unionized charter schools and new laws in states such as Wisconsin and Michigan freeing teachers to opt out of the union.

The American Federation of Teachers has been able to grow slightly and now represents 1.5 million workers — but because many new members are retirees or part-timers who pay lower dues, union revenue actually fell last year, by nearly $6 million, federal records show.

Moreover, the membership of the NEA and AFT overlaps considerably; some 663,000 workers show up on both rolls because their locals maintain dual affiliations. That double counting inflates perceptions of the teacher lobby’s combined strength. Total union membership isn’t 4.5 million — it’s 3.8 million.

The unions and their affiliates still control huge resources. They collectively bring in more than $2 billion a year, most of it from member dues. Yet there are signs of financial strain. The NEA has cut spending by 12 percent in the last two years, in part by reducing its staff. And after years of posting surpluses, the AFT has been running deficits. It wrapped up the most recent fiscal year owing $3.7 million on its line of credit, up from $916,000 the previous year, according to records filed with the U.S. Department of Labor. (AFT officials point out that’s still just a fraction of the union’s $155 million general fund budget.)

The unions also face threats to their public image.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson expects to go to trial in California next month with an audacious lawsuit that aims to overturn teacher job protections, such as tenure, that unions helped muscle into state law.

His work in the courtroom will be paired with a broad PR campaign painting the teachers unions as obstructionists who protect their members at all costs.

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photo….blogs.ajc.com

The wave to get rid of Standardized Tests is forming…..Amen!

I hope my future grandkids won’t have to worry about their teachers ‘teaching to the test’…..

The concept of using tests as a ‘carrot and stick’ in education is psyching out kids, teachers, principals and Governors ….

They are all jumping thru hoops to record good test scores….

Not focus on learning….

I may lean Democratic….

But the Republican dim view of the US Education Department has a friend here…..

The dominant regime for the past decade or more has been what is sometimes called accountability-based reform or, by many of its critics, “corporate education reform.” The reforms consist of various initiatives aimed at (among other things): improving schools and educational outcomes by using standardized tests to measure what students are learning; holding schools and teachers accountable (through school closures and teacher pay cuts) when their students are “lagging” on those standardized assessments; controlling classroom instruction and increasing the rigor of school curricula by pushing all states to adopt the same challenging standards via a “Common Core;” and using market-like competitive pressures (through the spread of charter schools and educational voucher programs) to provide public schools with incentives to improve.

Critics of the contemporary reform regime argue that these initiatives, though seemingly sensible in their original framing, are motivated by interests other than educational improvement and are causing genuine harm to American students and public schools. Here are some of the criticisms: the reforms haveself-interest and profit motives, not educational improvement, as their basis; corporate interests are reaping huge benefits from these reform  initiatives andspending millions of dollars lobbying to keep those benefits flowing; three big foundations (Gates, Broad, and Walton Family) are funding much of the backing for the corporate reforms and are spending billions to market and sell reforms that don’t work; ancillary goals of these reforms are to bust teacher unions,disempower educators, and reduce spending on public schools; standardized testing is enormously expensive in terms both of public expenditures and the diversion of instruction time to test prep; over a third of charter schools deliver“significantly worse” results for students than the traditional public schools from which they were diverted; and, finally, that these reforms have produced few benefits and have actually caused harm, especially to kids in disadvantaged areas and communities of color. (On that last overall point, see this scathing new report from the Economic Policy Institute.)

Fueled in part by growing evidence of the reforms’ ill effects and of the reformers’ self-interested motives, the counter-movement is rapidly expanding.

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Note….

Instead of giving money to the testing companies for fancy new tests….

Give that money to schools for staff and programs….

And No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top money should be going for teaching…Not MORE testing….