Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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I am a proud union teacher


I stand with my unionized sisters and brothers, especially in Wisconsin, but everywhere where teachers and unions are under attack.

I am the lead union representative for more than 100 teachers in my school.

Today, all across the country, teachers are blogging their support for our unionized sisters and brothers in Wisconsin, and you can follow some of the results of that at EDUSolidarity

Today I want to tell you why I am proud to be a union member as well as a teacher.

I teach my students one period a day.  We have 9, since some students take a zero period at 7:15 in the morning to squeeze in an extra course.  Most of my students are sophomores, with at least 6 courses besides mine.  I am only one of those responsible for helping them learn.

A Saturday morning pause

in the transition to the school year.  Students will arrive on Monday.  I now have 192 on my roles for 6 classes, that number being held down because one is a special program with only 21.  The numbers in order read 21-30-37-38-38-28.  I have 39 desks, and it is possible all will be filled in some classes.

The biggest story in education is the LA Times on value-added scores of LA school teachers, the paper publishing names & picture of teachers with the scores  I have been asked by several people to write on the subject here, but since I am not myself a psychometrician and there are real technical issues, I have been attempting to leave it to other people.  And there is a wealth of commentary on the subject in the last few days, too much for me to have absorbed.  

Perhaps I will write about that issue, or other issues that concern me.  I am never unconcerned about matters affecting schools, teachers and most of all students.  But this morning my reflection is also on broader issues.  

So I invite you to continue reading as I offer my morning mental meanderings in the brief period before I again become fully immersed in school and students.

Somebody Explain This to Me

The title is from George Wood, author of this blog post After telling you about the school he has run for the past 18 years in a rural area of Ohio, and the success they have had in increasing graduation and college going rates, improving student engagement, etc.  he offers the following words:  
But reading the popular press, and listening to the chatter from Washington, I have just found out that we are not part of the movement to 'reform' schools.

You see we did not do all the stuff that the new 'reformers' think is vital to improve our schools.  We did not fire the staff, eliminate tenure, or go to pay based on test scores.  We did not become a charter school.  We did not take away control from a locally elected school board and give it to a mayor.  We did not bring in a bunch of two-year short-term teachers.

Nope, we did not do any of these things.  Because we knew they would not work.

Let me explore his post a bit more, and offer a few additional thoughts of my own.

The end of the school year – the good, the bad...

crossposted from the Great Orange Satan at the request of KathyinBlacksburg

Our last day with students was Wednesday, for teachers Thursday.  Our report back day is August 16, which happens to be one of the days for which we are furloughed to save the district money - which also means many teachers may refuse to report because they are not being paid.  I will cross that bridge later.

Today I will travel to Westtown school in Pennsylvania to honor David Mallery, an extraordinary educator well-known in independent school circles who got me to participate in his amazing Westtown seminar, which empowered me to rethink my own approach to teaching.  

Before I travel North from Virginia, allow me to ruminate online.  As I do, you can imagine the music from Ennio Morricone in the background.  In fact, I promise to share it with you at the beginning of the jump, just to set the tone!.  

I invite you to continue reading.

A group of remarkable teachers . . .

originally posted at Daily Kos on May 11

Tonight I was one of 21 teachers honored at the Washington Post for our winning Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Awards, one from each of the 19 public school districts, one for private and parochial schools, and one from DC Charter Schools.  I was very much honored to be in the company of the 20 others, about whom I will offer more.   Among the guests were people with whom I had prior contact, or with whom I share people in common.  It was a remarkable evening.

It begins with the Washington Post Company.  Donald Graham, chair of the board of the company, established these awards almost 3 decades ago, inspired by someone working for him who had previously been DC Superintendent, and in memory of his grandmother, for whom the awards are named. The level of commitment to this by the Post is commendable - besides a reception and dinner for each of the 21, up to 12 guests for each winner, and officials from the school districts, we teachers each received a crystal apple purchased from Tiffany and an award of $3,000. Graham was joined on the dais by his niece, Post publisher Katherine Weymouth, and Post company vice-chair Bo Jones.  

Please join me as I tell a bit about the evening, starting with my fellow teachers.