Tuesday, March 2, 2010

74 Teachers fired in one day, from one school

A poor performing high school in Rhode Island has decided to fire all 93 educators that worked there - teachers, principals, psychologists, counselors.  The whole works.  Not a single one of them was spared.

This raises a whole bunch of questions:

Were all 93 of them that bad?  Certainly there must have been at least a few of them that were good enough to stay...?

Or did that not matter?  Collectively, as a team, were they so bad that they all deserved the same fate as a woefully underperforming unit in the for-profit world?

How would your opinion of this situation change if your kids went to this school?

Now what?  Its not easy finding great teachers and educators and now this school has to find 93 of them in one summer...in one of the poorest performing schools in the state.  Not too easy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"No Child Left Behind" Being Left Behind?

The New York Times has an interesting article about the Obama administration's attempt to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law.

No Child Left Behind is the comprehensive law that deals with the federal government's role in education. The NCLB law has been around in various forms, names and incarnations since President Johnson.  It has been rewritten, revised, retooled and re-everything a number of times since then.  Most educators and politicians agree that the most recent version (written in 2001 under President Bush) needs a comprehensive overhaul, but it doesn't seem to be a legislative priority for 2010.  Also, like most things in Washington, everyone has a hard time agreeing on what exactly needs to be fixed.

The Times article notes that former Senator Edward Kennedy had a huge role in pushing the 2001 revision through the congress. Working closely with President Bush, Kennedy was able to help craft a bipartisan bill that both sides of the aisle could agree on. Say what you will about Kennedy's liberal politics but it members of congress generally agreed that he was able to foster bipartisanship like few others. Without Senator Kennedy, it will be much more difficult to get all sides of the issue to agree and compromise. Following Kennedy's death of cancer in 2009, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) replaced him as the chairman of the Senate's education committee. According to the Times article, Harkin doesn't seem to be in a hurry to rewrite the bill.

What do think of the NCLB law?  The Tank would love to hear your thoughts - leave them in the Comments section.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

How far is Haiti from KIPP San Antonio?

I bet our 5th graders at KIPP Aspire Academy could tell you.

Here's a quick note I got from 5th Grade Reading Specialist, Judi Gibbons:

"Some Fifth Grade students along with Paula S. and Samantha B., put on a short program about Haiti last night for report card night. They collected money and [are going to] present it to the Red Cross."

Bill Gates just gave $10B to fight AIDs. I applaud him for giving out of his wealth, his gift is transformative.

Our 5th graders are raising as much as they can for their unseen friends in Haiti. They are giving out of their hearts. Their charity is also transformative.

How far is Haiti? It's not measured in miles or dollars. Haiti is as close as the impact you think you can have. Geography is circumscribed by the measure of your heart. "Topography displays no favorites."

Our 5th graders taught me that today.


The Map
by Elizabeth Bishop

Land lies in water; it is shadowed green.
Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges
showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges
where weeds hang to the simple blue from green.
Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under,
drawing it unperturbed around itself?
Along the fine tan sandy shelf
is the land tugging at the sea from under?

Mapped waters are more quiet than the land is,
lending the land their waves' own conformation:
Are they assigned, or can the countries pick their colors?
-What suits the character or the native waters best.
Topography displays no favorites; North's as near as West.
More delicate than the historians' are the map-makers' colors.