attack on public education

Teach For America's true colors show during strike

Just another cog in the school privatization machine:

The tensions came to a head this week when hundreds of Teach for America alumni criticized the educator placement program for suggesting corps members who strike in Oakland would lose thousands of dollars promised to them at the end of their two-year service commitment.

Teach for America said there was a misunderstanding on the guidance it provided about the strike that could start next week. It said it gave the same message to other members facing recent strikes, including in Los Angeles.

I have a very good friend who took the TFA route several years ago, after receiving her Bachelor's in Communication. Don't know all the details, but she is no longer teaching. Two years in an inner-city school burned her out like a short candle. Their five week "boot camp" doesn't even come close to preparing TFA members for that particular high-stress job, but it looks like that is not their goal anyway. Creating a teacher pool for charter schools has become their main function:

LA teachers score victory after short strike

teachersinred.jpg

Could this be a template for North Carolina teachers?

Preliminary numbers show that a "vast supermajority" of union members in Los Angeles have voted to approve a deal with the city's school district — ending the six-day teachers strike. The decision means teachers will head back to class on Wednesday.

Some teachers expressed frustration, saying the deal didn't go far enough, while others said they were relieved. "I'm pretty excited," said Jennifer Liebe-Zelazny, a fourth-grade teacher at Alta Loma Elementary School. "Nobody got everything, but everybody got something."

Before you say, "That's one county, not the whole state," LA County has a bigger population (over 10 million) than North Carolina. A more relevant argument against the comparison would be the difference between a genuine union and an association, because a direct action of this magnitude here would have varying consequences depending on where you teach. But when you look at what they achieved in just six days, it might be worth the risk:

My recent letter to Sen. Burr ref Sec Ed nominee DeVos

I just sent this email to one of my senators .....

Senator,
Recently you stated that Betsy DeVos has an unmatched "... commitment to improving education and expanding opportunity for our students ..."

Really. I am curious as to what facts in her background demonstrated her "unmatched commitment to improving education...".

The archetype of bad McCrory hires: Todd Chasteen for state Board of Education

Protégé of Franklin Graham is the last person who should be nominated:

“We should reject Governor McCrory’s recent nomination of Wataugan J. Todd Chasteen to the North Carolina Board of Education,” said Appalachian State University English professor Craig Fischer at a public forum at the university earlier this week, objecting to Chasteen’s lack of experience in public education.

“Chasteen sided with would-be censors during last year’s battle over keeping Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits in the sophomore English Honors curriculum at Watauga High,” Fischer added. “He spoke on behalf of banning the book at a February 10, 2014 school board local forum about the controversy, claiming–inaccurately–that Allende’s book is full of ‘deviancy’ and child pornography.”

I'm not sure how deeply the (state) Board of Education is involved in setting curricula or reading materials for schools state-wide, but this guy has no business making any of those choices. What little experience he has is steeped in religious doctrine:

The Koch brothers teach history

Welcome to history class, boys and girls! Today's lesson -- in fact, every day's lesson -- will be taught by the Koch brothers.

State high school social studies teachers would be encouraged to use curriculum materials prepared by an institute funded by the conservative Koch family, under a proposal the Department of Public Instruction presented Wednesday.

Did someone put loony juice in the water over at DPI?

Rep. Mike Stone: Gambling with the Truth

The Rant has busted Rep. Mike Stone lying in print. Last week, ProgressNC held an event calling for Mike Stone to donate the $4000 campaign contribution he received from Chase Burns (something other politicians, like Pat McCrory have done) to education-related causes. In response, Stone told The Sanford Herald that he was instructed to “hold onto this money and not touch it.”

The Rant knew better and contacted the State Board of Elections. We’ll let The Rant take it from here:

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