Archives for posts with tag: Education

CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard is on record saying both that CTU leadership is deciding whether or not to strike, and that “everyone knows that a strike would only hurt our kids.”

I just wanted to educate my boss a little on the history of Chicago, as he is relatively new to the area. Chicago is founded on the hard daily struggle of working people. It is the birth of the labor movement—not a movement just for wages and benefits, but a movement that stopped child labor so that each of the kids in CPS schools could attend school instead of working. It was a movement that stopped the practice of working conditions so unsafe that consumers were eating the actual workers who fell into the mix while they were making hot dogs. It was a movement that fought so that workers could have some tiny measure of time with our families rather than spending all waking hours working for the enrichment of their bosses.

But even more importantly, I wanted to educate Mr. Brizard about what it means to “help or hurt our kids”.
When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

When you close and turnaround schools disrupting thousands of kids’ lives and educations and often plunging them into violence and have no data to support your practice, that hurts our kids.

When you leave thousands of kids in classrooms with no teacher for weeks and months on end due to central office bureaucracy trumping basic needs of students, that not only hurts our kids, it basically ruins the whole idea of why we have a district at all.

When you, rather than bargain on any of this stuff set up fake school centers staffed by positively motived Central Office staff, many of whom are terribly pissed to be pressed into veritable scabitude when they know you are wrong, and you equip them with a manual that tells them things like, “communicate with words”, that not only hurts our kids, but it suggests you have no idea how to run a system with their welfare in mind.

When you do enough of this, it makes me wonder if you really see our students as “our kids” or “other people’s children”.
And at that moment, I am willing to sacrifice an awful lot to protect the students I serve every day. I am not hurting our kids by striking, I’m striking to restore some semblance of reasonable care for students to this system. I’m doing to tell you, “No, YOU are the one hurting our children, and you need to STOP because what you are doing is wrong, and you are robbing students of their educational opportunities.

I ask anyone who does remotely care about the kids we teach and learn from and triumph and cheer and cry and grow with., to stand with us and fight for a better future for our kids.

See you on the picket line, my friend.

UConn researchers, backed by a $3 million federal grant, are beginning an ambitious project aimed at understanding why some urban schools are excelling in science education, research that could ultimately change the way the subject is taught around the country.

The five-year School Organization and Science Achievement Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will examine science education not only in the classroom, but in terms of the entire educational environment.

John Settlage, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the Neag School of Education and the principal investigator, says the idea for the project came from studying elementary science test scores. What was surprising was that certain urban schools in Connecticut were outperforming not only their city peers, but also many suburban schools.

That prompted researchers to look beyond what happens in classrooms to learn how successful science performance arises from systems of relationships. This includes examining all stakeholders, from the school principal to the lead science teacher, and even parents and volunteers who partner with the school.

“We’re taking an ecological view of science education,” Settlage says. “How we teach science is obviously important, but we should not ignore the bigger picture. The interactions among people throughout the school, including with the surrounding community, all contribute to children’s science learning.”

Settlage and his fellow researchers know many outstanding teachers and administrators. But they say that beyond personal traits, institutional factors are also influential in shaping a school’s science program. Once those factors for success can be identified, the information can benefit other schools seeking to improve.

“This is a solvable problem,” he says. “The superhero teachers and administrators don’t come from other planets. They came up through the system.”

Science has moved to the forefront of the public conversation on education. President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, emphasized the need to hire thousands more science teachers over the coming decade. At the state level, the economic vitality of Connecticut requires developing scientific literacy beyond just future engineers and scientists. Otherwise, if uneven success in schools continues, it will translate into unequal access to college and career options for some students. Settlage’s study promises to shed light on improving the quality of all children’s science experiences.

A multidisciplinary project, UConn researchers joining Settlage are educational statistics specialist Betsy McCoach; educational leadership experts Morgaen Donaldson and Anysia Mayer; and post-doctoral fellow Regina Suriel. The researchers are currently working to firm up arrangements with school districts, including Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport. In total, the School Organization and Science Achievement Project will involve 150 schools in Connecticut and Florida, where researchers at the University of Central Florida are collaborating with the UConn team.

Ultimately, the goal is to craft a set of recommendations about school leadership and organization practices that can be used by educators around the country, to help provide the kinds of school environment where science teachers and science students can thrive. These efforts will also inform UConn’s science teacher and school administrator preparation programs.

“You can be the best science teacher in the world,” Settlage says, “but if you’re not in the right environment and there is not solid leadership, then those problems will show on the science test.”

Nearly 60 years after the 1954 landmark ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared public education is “a right which must be made available on equal terms,” racial inequities in school spending persist. Let’s look at some of the national numbers:

Across the country schools spent $334 more on every white student than on every nonwhite student
Mostly white schools (90 percent or more white) spent $733 more per student than mostly nonwhite schools (90 percent or more nonwhite)
The United States spends $293 less per year on students in mostly nonwhite schools than on students in all other schools. That’s 7 percent of the median per-pupil spending
Since fully 35 percent of the nation’s students of color attend school in either California or Texas, examining the relationship between the percent of students of color and dollars spent per student can bring the problem into sharper focus.

In California schools serving 90 percent or more nonwhite students, per-pupil spending is $191 less than at all other schools, and $4,380 less than at schools serving 90 percent or more white students
In Texas schools serving 90 percent or more nonwhite students, per-pupil spending is $514 less than at all other schools, and $911 less than at schools serving 90 percent or more white students
Just how big are these differences? In California the average high-minority school has 759 students. If an average-sized school got an extra $4,380 for every student, it would mean an extra $3.3 million a year. If that same school were to get a more modest boost of $191 per student to bring it in line with the majority of schools in the state, then it would get approximately $145,000 extra per year. Those extra dollars would pay the salaries of additional classroom teachers or buy any number of valuable educational inputs such as computers, guidance counselors, or teaching coaches.

In Texas the average high-minority school is 708 students; new teachers are paid $39,150 and veterans earn $47,100 annually. If an average high-minority school in the Lone Star state were to receive an extra $514 per-pupil funding—enough to bring it up to the level of spending the rest of the schools in the state enjoy—it would be able to pay the salaries of seven veteran teachers or nine new teachers.

One of the more sobering findings of our report is that as the number of students of color goes up at a school the amount of money spent on students goes down.

An increase of 10 percent in students of color is associated with a decrease in spending of $75 per student

Here you’l find a link to an academic article that highlight other dimensions than test scores in assessment

Abstract Around the world we hear considerable talk about creating world-class schools. Usually the term refers to schools whose students get very high scores on the international comparisons of student achievement such as PISA or TIMSS. The practice of restricting the meaning of exemplary schools to the narrow criterion of achievement scores is usually premised on the view that test scores are closely linked to the provision of a capable labour force and competitive economy. In fact, the measured relationships between test scores and earnings or productivity are modest and explain a relatively small share of the larger link between educational attainment and economic outcomes. What has been omitted from such narrow assessments are the effects that education has on the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and capabilities that affect the quality and productivity of the labour force. This article provides evidence on some of these relationships, on the degree to which the non-cognitive effects of schooling contribute to adult performance, and on the evidence that deliberate school interventions can influence non-cognitive outcomes. It concludes with the view that the quest for world-class schools must encompass a range of human development characteristics that extend considerably beyond test scores.

Yes, Mister Director 

A angústia existencial de muitos professores (os que ainda conservam o posto de trabalho) radica na situação de desencanto relativamente à política ou polícia educativa:   por um lado, há quem tente manter a sua missão em parâmetros científico-didácticos e de dignidade socioprofissional, defendendo a quadratura de diálogo; por outro lado, alguns agentes do Poder Central, da confiança do Poder e pelo Poder incentivados e resguardados, foram e vão usurpando espaço de representação e consenso. Assim, retomam as rédeas e os tiques de antigos reitores ou directores, marcando os que não se amoldem à Nova Ordem Escolar ou do Senhor Director, que desprovido de Autoridade Pedagógica e de Escrutínio da Comunidade se refugia e escuda em argumentos e procedimentos de Autoridade Policial. Já se apontam casos de montagem de câmaras de vigilância nas horas activas, por certo mais tecnologicamente avançadas e fiáveis do que os bufos.

Cântico de Régio 

Perante o estado de sítio imposto nalgumas escolas, tornadas lugares de humilhação e confronto, decepção e desconfiança, intriga e incerteza, factoreseducativos, a que se somam a sobrecarga de tarefas e o caos legislativo e regulamentar, assumir o regiano sei que não vou por aí redunda num preço de carreira e em danos de personalidade. Mas um não consciente e animoso supera um sim inconsciente e temeroso. Compreender-se-á, em sede lectiva, o cunho galhardo e camoniano da sentença. É que, efectuado um balanço (crítico e cívico) de séculos de esforço para ilustrar a Grei, eis o momento para uma petição on-line, a enviar ao n.º 107 da Avenida 5 de Outubro, Lisboa.


A partir da recepção desta carta, sufragada por mais de 100 mil professores e milhões de portugueses, queira Esse Ministério, que tem em marcha acelerada um Plano Anti-Escola Pública (economicista, elitista, dirigista e centralista), mudar o nome da instituição, de forma a harmonizar a cara com a careta, aclarando, com objectividade e frontalidade, o ponto a que chegou o estado da Educação e a educação do Estado. Para tal, fomos buscar inspiração ao ano de 1870, data do Primeiro Ministério e marco desalentador da Geração de 70 ou dos Vencidos da Vida. Não divisamos nome mais ajustado e avisado do que o acima proposto.

Nova Geração de 70

No arranque do Novo Ano Lectivo e em defesa da Comunidade Escolar (submetida a pressões e a depressões) e realmente A Bem da Nação (ainda não vencida, mas enfraquecida), o Grupo dos 11, de novo, se reuniu, num estabelecimento da capital, desta vez, para mais do que jantar e fazer a digestão, verdadeiramente indignado com os rumos da Pátria e os roubos dos apátridas, francamente desiludido com o Rey e o Seu Governo, decididamente apostado em repor os Ideais da Geração de 70 do Séc. XX ou da Revolução de 25 de Abril, tomando por exemplo a Revolução de Avis. Aqui e deste modo se firma e reafirma a vontade de contribuir para a Reposição da Democracia da Inteligência e da Decência, no dia em que também quisemos assinalar o levantamento do Cerco de Lisboa pelos castelhanos, vencidos pela tenacidade dos sitiados e convencidos pela peste negra. Como se lembrará, corria e decorria o três de Setembro de mil e trezentos e oitenta e quatro, conforme as Crónicas de Fernão. Entretanto, soubemos de várias fontes que os castelhanos também mudaram de nome, agora se intitulando de troikanos, mas o assédio é idêntico, vendo-se até, entre as hostes do inimigo, como na antiga luta pela independência e pela soberania, quem deveria acautelar as muralhas. Todos nos levantamos do chão sepulcral, a fim de ajudar a repelir o cerco dos homens da pasta negra. Então, o Mestre apunhalou o conde Andeiro e o povo defenestrou o bispo Martinho. Para que se divulgue nas Portas de Cidade e conste no seio da arraia-miúda:

António Cândido
Carlos Lobo de Ávila
Carlos Mayer
Conde de Arnoso
Conde de Ficalho
Conde de Sabugosa
Eça de Queirós
Guerra Junqueiro
Marquês de Soveral
Oliveira Martins
Ramalho Ortigão

Hotel Braganza, 03/09/2012.


If the national movement to “reform” public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of “virtual schools” — charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet — as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits.

But as recently as last year, the radical change envisioned by school reformers still seemed far off, even there. With some of the movement’s cherished ideas on the table, Florida Republicans, once known for championing extreme education laws, seemed to recoil from the fight. SB 2262, a bill to allow the creation of private virtual charters, vastly expanding the Florida Virtual School program, languished and died in committee. Charlie Crist, then the Republican governor, vetoed a bill to eliminate teacher tenure. The move, seen as a political offering to the teachers unions, disheartened privatization reform advocates. At one point, the GOP’s budget proposal even suggested a cut for state aid going to virtual school programs

Lamenting this series of defeats, Patricia Levesque, a top adviser to former Governor Jeb Bush, spoke to fellow reformers at a retreat in October 2010. Levesque noted that reform efforts had failed because the opposition had time to organize. Next year, Levesque advised, reformers should “spread” the unions thin “by playing offense” with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, “even if it doesn’t pass…to keep them busy on that front.” She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly “under the radar.”

If Levesque’s blunt advice sounds like that of a veteran lobbyist, that’s because she is one. Levesque runs a Tallahassee-based firm called Meridian Strategies LLC, which lobbies on behalf of a number of education-technology companies. She is a leader of a coalition of government officials, academics and virtual school sector companies pushing new education laws that could benefit them.

But Levesque wasn’t delivering her hardball advice to her lobbying clients. She was giving it to a group of education philanthropists at a conference sponsored by notable charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Indeed, Levesque serves at the helm of two education charities, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national organization, and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a state-specific nonprofit, both of which are chaired by Jeb Bush. A press release from her national group says that it fights to “advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment.”

Despite the clear conflict of interest between her lobbying clients and her philanthropic goals, Levesque and her team have led a quiet but astonishing national transformation. Lobbyists like Levesque have made 2011 the year of virtual education reform, at last achieving sweeping legislative success by combining the financial firepower of their corporate clients with the seeming legitimacy of privatization-minded school-reform think tanks and foundations. Thanks to this synergistic pairing, policies designed to boost the bottom lines of education-technology companies are cast as mere attempts to improve education through technological enhancements, prompting little public debate or opposition. In addition to Florida, twelve states have expanded virtual school programs or online course requirements this year. This legislative juggernaut has coincided with a gold rush of investors clamoring to get a piece of the K-12 education market. It’s big business, and getting bigger: One study estimated that revenues from the K-12 online learning industry will grow by 43 percent between 2010 and 2015, with revenues reaching $24.4 billion.

and it goes on. Read!

(This is a google.translator work)

Thousands of teachers needed in schools will be unemployed this year by the government’s decision.

This is an immediate consequence of the measures imposed by the MEC (ministry of Education), highlighting the creation of over 150 mega-clusters, the revision of the curriculum of primary and secondary education, increasing the maximum number of students per class and closure of more schools 1. cylce.

Adding to the unemployment in which thousands of hired teachers fall, victims of the largest collective dismissal  ever held in Portugal, is also an immediate consequence of those measures to create a huge bag of cadres of teachers with “zero-time”, which will then become the at the mercy of appetites to future government.

Aug. 31 (Friday) should leave the lists of placing teachers for hire (contract renewals and annual), starting then to know whether the size of the unemployment problem in 2012/2013.

It is recalled that, according to the INE (National Institute of Statistic), unemployment of teachers doubled between July 2011 and July 2012, according to figures released by the MEC, the hiring of teachers in September 2011 compared to September 2010 decreased 26.2 %: renewals fell from 9998 to 7915 and annual contracts (complete and incomplete schedules) from 7277 to 4832! Are expected by now, the numbers of September 2012, which will be known as early as next Friday.

, dia 31.

Ministry of Education leaves in the unemployment more than 40% of hired teachers

MEC deixa no desemprego mais 40 por cento de professores contratados

Só as colocações em 31 de agosto (anuais) tiveram, em 2 anos, uma redução de 56,1%, correspondendo a 9.699 professores. Esta redução tem ainda maior dimensão quando considerados os docentes contratados, por “oferta de escola” para os TEIP, escolas com contrato de autonomia e outras escolas e agrupamentos, nos termos da lei.

Entretanto, vem aí a chamada BR1 que em 2011 colocou 2.712 professores. Em 2011 esta BR 1 teve lugar em 12 de setembro. Segundo informação do MEC, até à BR5 (em 10 de outubro de 2011), foram colocados 22.399 docentes quando, em 2010, tinham sido colocados 32.330. Houve uma redução de 9.931 (-30,7%), quase 1/3. Em 2011 houve 13 BR, a última das quais em 28 de dezembro.

A FENPROF mantém expetativa negativa de, até esse momento, haver redução de cerca de 18.000 docentes contratados.

O que aconteceu este ano foi propositado, como se referiu. O primeiro momento da estratégia foi o OE para 2012 (a FENPROF, em CI que promoveu em novembro de 2011, denunciou aquela intenção, tendo em conta a redução orçamental prevista). Depois vieram as medidas concretas: 150 mega-agrupamentos; revisão da estrutura curricular; mais alunos por turma; extinção de projetos; encerramento de escolas…
Chegam agora as consequências:

  • Desemprego, em primeiro lugar! Maiores dificuldades à organização e ao funcionamento das escolas! Menos qualidade de ensino!

Neste quadro tão complexo e difícil, a FENPROF promove as seguintes iniciativas:

  • Funcionamento em todas as sedes e delegações dos Sindicatos da FENPROF de Gabinetes de Apoio aos Professores e Educadores Desempregados e Contratados.
  • Dia 3, segunda, presença nos Centros de Emprego. Apoio aos docentes desempregados aí presentes e denúncia junto da população.
  • Na próxima semana, será requerida a abertura de um processo negocial, nos termos da lei, paraconcretização do regime de vinculação de professores que Nuno Crato anunciou na Assembleia da República em 19 de julho. A FENPROF apresentará proposta concreta e exige que, independentemente dos requisitos que forem fixados, sejam abrangidos os docentes que, deliberadamente, o MEC deixou agora sem colocação e à data do despedimento, reuniam esses requisitos. Se MEC não avançar com este processo de vinculação, Nuno Crato deverá demitir-se e pedir desculpas públicas por ter mentido em sessão parlamentar.

A FENPROF irá ainda requerer a elaboração de uma listagem de atividades concretas que sejam consideradasatividade letiva”, nos termos previstos no ECD, para garantir que professores sem turma atribuída, mas com trabalho direto com os alunos, não se encontram em situação de “horário-zero”. São milhares que estão nesta situação.

Por fim, o Secretariado Nacional da FENPROF reunirá a 6 e 7 (quinta e sexta da próxima semana) e, entre outras ações, estará em cima da mesa a decisão sobre a marcação de uma grande manifestação de professores para 5 de outubro, Dia Mundial dos Professores.

É bom de referir que o problema que está a ser vivido, se enquadra na política geral do atual governo de ataque aos serviços públicos e às funções sociais do Estado, que pretendem privatizar ou concessionar.

Quando ouvimos falar dos problemas na Educação, ou no Serviço Nacional de Saúde, com o ataque que é feito a médicos e enfermeiros, ou na Segurança Social com a ameaça de acabar com as reformas e pensões do sistema público ou, mais recentemente, o ataque ao serviço público de rádio e televisão, estamos a falar da mesma coisa: da política do governo do PSD de Passos Coelho e do CDS de Paulo Portas, que querem destruir o Estado Social no nosso país. Os portugueses terão de se mobilizar cada vez mais para pôr travão a este caminho. Se o não fizerem, eles não deixarão pedra sobre pedra.

Are American schools the best in the world? The answer is a resounding maybe — which is good news indeed for this back-to-school season.

Beating up on public education is practically our national sport. I often do it myself. But overlooked in the ongoing assault is strong evidence that U.S. schools actually are worldbeaters — except for the problem of poverty.

When it comes to reading, in fact, our schools may well be the best in the world. As Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond points out, U.S. 15-year olds in schools with fewer than 10 percent of kids eligible for free or cut-rate lunch “score first in the world in reading, outperforming even the famously excellent Finns.”

Polarization has come to public education, big time. If it persists, at the end of the day we all are going to lose.

While the fact that quite a few countries outscore our children on international tests is reason for genuine concern, I think we ought to be even more disturbed about some other numbers, such as:

  • Half our kids get no early education;
  • 22% of our children live in poverty, and
  • 25% have a chronic health condition like asthma oobesity.r 

These numbers and more are from The Center for American Progress report, “The Competition that Really Matters,” about American, Chinese and Indian investments in education.

A second report, this one from Share our Strength, documents the extent of, and damage done by, childhood hunger. It found that 60% of K-8th grade teachers say that their students “regularly come to school hungry because they aren’t getting enough to eat at home.” If you’ve ever taught, you know that is impossible to get through to children whose stomachs are growling or who are energy-deprived.

How are we polarized about education? Let me count the ways, seven in all.

1. We are polarized about accountability. We have gone from an excess of trust of teachers to an obsessive concern with verification. Right now the verifiers are in the saddle, and test scores rule. One consequence of the mania over test results has been widespread cheating by adults, who are breaking the rules (and no doubt their own moral code) to try to save their jobs. How did we get to such a position, where our leaders mistrust teachers? We need balance when it comes to holding teachers accountable: “Trust but Verify.”

Lost in all this is student accountability. We ought to be concerned about assessing student learning, and not just by simple bubble tests. That’s the discussion we are not having, perhaps because we are so polarized.

2. We are polarized about achievement. The achievement gap is real. In some places a gap of three years in achievement between whites and (wait for it) Asian-American students. We must do something about this. Why don’t we eliminate recess for white kids and replace it with drill and practice and test-prep? That’s what we do for (to) black and brown kids, isn’t it?

3. We are polarized about how schools should be run. The argument is between freedom (charter schools) versus what is called “command and control,” top down management. As I have learned from spending a lot of time in New Orleans since Katrina and the flooding, even an all-charter district has to have a serious system of oversight in place to make sure that charter schools don’t play fast and loose with the system (turning away special needs children or suspending tough-to-educate kids just before the state tests are given). Washington, DC, has embraced charter schools but has also expanded its central office by adding people whose job it is to watch and evaluate teachers. Is that working? That argument is raging.

4. We are polarized about the power of school/the limits of school. Some regularly attack schools for overreaching and for failure, while others expect schools to feed, clothe and attend to health issues (such as eye exams). Is it a school’s job to solve social problems, problems that the larger society doesn’t seem willing to tackle?

And when teachers step up to the plate, why do we reward them with vicious attacks?

5. We seem to be polarized about the role of technology. In my experience, educators generally use technology to manage data and people. That is, for control. A much smaller number uses it to invite kids to create, to let kids soar (or move at a slower pace, if that’s appropriate). Some use it for control; some for learning.

Kids may be digital natives, but that does not mean they are digital citizens. Helping them become citizens is an adult function, and we ought to be able to come to agreement on that point.

6. We are polarized about the job of teaching. In “The Influence of Teachers,” I write about how some are saying we can solve education’s problems by recruiting better people into our classrooms, while others say we must make teaching a better job. On the ‘better people’ side are Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and some big foundations, and their attacks on tenure and seniority have been successful in changing policies in more than a handful of cities and states.