This Decade-Long Experiment In Teacher Evaluation Is An Unsurprising Failure
Hatched by economists, bureaucrats and politicians, the theory, back in the dawn Race To The Top era, was this: We would adopt standards nationally (Common Core) and then test those nationally accepted standards with tests that, if not national themselves, were at least nationally comparable. We could take high stakes testing from its existing use to evaluate buildings, and drill down to the classroom level. The test results would reveal which teachers were good and which teachers were bad. Schools would pay the good ones more and fire the bad ones; schools would improve, and student achievement would climb, lifting students out of poverty and strengthening the economy of the nation.
I hate to break it to you, but I was a terrible student.
Each day, I desperately waited for the final bell to ring so that I could be released from the confines of my stuffy, windowless classroom and run home to my guitar. It was no fault of the Fairfax County Public Schools system, mind you; it did the best it could. I was just stubbornly disengaged, impeded by a raging case of ADD and an insatiable desire to play music. Far from being a model student, I tried my best to maintain focus, but eventually left school halfway through 11th grade to follow my dreams of becoming a professional touring musician (not advised). I left behind countless missed opportunities. [CLICK HERE TO READ MORE]
Bumper stickers aren’t known for being the most trustworthy sources of historical fact, but the one that proclaims that weekends are “brought to you by the labor movement” gets it exactly right. If anything, it doesn’t go far enough.
Indeed, employers and elected leaders did not implement the five-day workweek out of the goodness of their hearts. Rather, workers and their unions agitated lobbied, organized, struck and voted for decades to achieve these gains. As Frederick Douglass, the legendary African American activist, once declared: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
The proliferation of devices in daily life has led to an international handwriting crisis. Teachers, parents, and politicians around the world are debating why they should bother spending time teaching what some say is a dated skill. Accustomed as we are to speedy, wifi-connected devices, we’ve come to prize the efficiency of typing and there seems to be no point to picking up a pen and scribbling on paper when keyboarding is so convenient, neat, and easy to copy-and-send.
Yet print and its squiggly cousin cursive are making a comeback in some US schools after scientific studies have proven their cognitive utility and because parents are clamoring for the preservation of the practical skill. For example, starting this fall in Louisiana, third to 12th graders will again study penmanship after a law was passed making it a requirement in 2016 (teachers got one year to prepare). Fourteen states in total are now including cursive in curricula after a decade where it seemed doomed to become an abandoned and outdated art.
Small raises, budget frustration and opportunities elsewhere persuade teachers and other public-education workers to move on Teachers and other public education employees, such as community-college faculty, school psychologists and janitors, are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate on record, government data shows. [READ MORE]
Employees at Amazon's New NYC Warehouse Launch Union Push
A committee of employees at Amazon’s recently opened Staten Island fulfillment center is going public with a unionization campaign, a fresh challenge to the e-commerce giant in a city where it plans to build a major new campus.
Labor unrest is the latest complication in Amazon’s plan to invest $2.5 billion and hire 25,000 people in the city over the next 15 years. Several New York City politicians who were shut out of negotiations handled by the governor and mayor have raised objections to a new office park in Queens that threatens to overload mass transit and drive up rents in an already expensive housing market.
Now workers in a another borough are saying the company treats them like robots and should be focused on improving conditions there rather than raking in tax breaks to build a new headquarters. READ MORE
The Yorktown Congress of Teachers bowled against the Carmel Teachers Association raising money for Yorktown Community Help
Arlene Rasulo and Seth Altman
braced the elements to Polar Plunge, raising money for the Special Olympics
The teacher pay gap is wider than ever
Teachers’ pay continues to fall further behind pay of comparable workers (Read More)
The YCT won the Rockland County Billiards Bonanza on November 8, 2018. All proceeds were donated toward United Hospice of Rockland County.
Why Teacher’s Aides Deserve Our Appreciation Every Single Day
Paraprofessional, Instructional Assistant, Teacher’s Aide, Educational Assistant… these wonderful people go by many names. When we read these titles, however, we may not really understand what their jobs entail. After almost 10 years in education, though, I think I can sum up a parapro’s job description in one word: superhero.
Every day, I watch these people do amazing things. I watch them stand and greet studentsas they enter our gym or cafeteria, providing smiles and hugs for each one. I see them follow schedules even more complicated than mine, moving between grade levels and never missing a beat. I watch them wrestle with copy machines and spend hours cutting out laminated items. I hear them out in the hallways, working with that one child who still can’t read sight words or add two-digit numbers. I even have watched them take verbal or physical assault from the student they have been assigned to help because music class is too much. They are vital to all of the education initiatives that we’ve come to embrace over the years, like “Title,” “Response to Intervention,” “Special Education.”
We ask these amazing people to do so much, to give so much of themselves. We ask them to jump through hoops like certification testing and after-hours trainings, and we expect them to do anything and everything within the buildings in which they work. If you think that teachers are underpaid (which, let’s be real, we are), let me tell you who is really underpaid: paraprofessionals. They make a fraction of what teachers do, yet they are asked to do so much more than they are paid for.
Oftentimes, only students recognize paraprofessionals for all that they do, but everyone should understand and appreciate how important paraprofessionals are in the field of education. These amazing men and women are some of the strongest connections our students with extensive needs make within the building. If you are involved in education in any way, as a parent, an employee or even a community member who cares, try to take a moment to thank a paraprofessional. They deserve our appreciation, not just one day a year, but every day.
The rejection of Proposition A effectively kills the right-to-work law passed Missouri's Republican Legislature in 2017.
Voters in Missouri have overwhelmingly rejected a right-to-work law passed by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature that would have banned compulsory union fees — a resounding victory for organized labor that spent millions of dollars to defeat the measure.
With about 98 percent of the precincts reporting, the "no" vote on Missouri's Proposition A, which supported the law, was running about 67 percent, with nearly 33 percent voting "yes."
In 2017, the right-to-work law passed Missouri's Republican Legislature and was signed by then-Gov. Eric Greitens. However, union organizers gathered enough signatures to keep it from going into effect pending the results of a statewide referendum. The rejection of Proposition A effectively kills the law.