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July 17, 2012

"Can We Please, Just Once, Have A Real Teacher?"

Glory to The Onion, long may she reign. My Year Volunteering As A Teacher Helped Educate A New Generation Of Underprivileged Kids vs. Can We Please, Just Once, Have A Real Teacher | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
You've got to be kidding me. How does this keep happening? I realize that as a fourth-grader I probably don't have the best handle on the financial situation of my school district, but dealing with a new fresh-faced college graduate who doesn't know what he or she is doing year after year is growing just a little bit tiresome. Seriously, can we get an actual teacher in here sometime in the next decade, please? That would be terrific. Just once, it would be nice to walk into a classroom and see a teacher who has a real, honest-to-God degree in education and not a twentysomething English graduate trying to bolster a middling GPA and a sparse law school application. I don't think it's too much to ask for a qualified educator who has experience standing up in front of a classroom and isn't desperately trying to prove to herself that she's a good person. I'm not some sort of stepping stone to a larger career, okay? I'm an actual child with a single working mother, and I need to be educated by someone who actually wants to be a teacher, actually comprehends the mechanics of teaching, and won't get completely eaten alive by a classroom full of 10-year-olds within the first two months on the job. How about a person who can actually teach me math for a change? Boy, wouldn't that be a novel concept! I fully understand that our nation is currently facing an extreme shortage of teachers and that we all have to make do with what we can get. But does that really mean we have to be stuck with some privileged college grad who completed a five-week training program and now wants to document every single moment of her life-changing year on a Tumblr? For crying out loud, we're not adopted puppies you can show off to your friends. . . .

July 14, 2012

Detroit schools emergency manager to increase class size to 61 for high school

61! That is so many kids! This is all about money and nothing about making school better for these kids. Disgrace in Detroit -- Diane Ravitch's blog
The city of Detroit is a city with high levels of poverty. The Detroit public school system has an emergency manager who has imposed a new contract. This contract will allow class sizes in the upper grades (6-12) to rise to as many as 61. In grades 4-5, class size might go as high as 46 before officials step in. In K-3, class size might balloon to 41. Remember, folks, this is called “education reform.” I can think of better words to describe what is happening in Detroit. It’s not about the children. And it’s not about education.

July 12, 2012

ACLU sues Michigan town over a students right to read at their grade level

Highland Park is one of the poorest cities in Michigan and was recently taken into receivership. One of the ways the town's emergency manager (appointed by the Republican governor) plans to save money is by closing all of their schools and letting charter schools take up the slack. And charter schools exist outside of this regulatory framework, as far as I know. ACLU sues on behalf of Highland Park Schools students' 'right to read' | Michigan Radio
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing on behalf of more than 950 Highland Park Public Schools students and their parents, claiming children aren't receiving an adequate reading education. ACLU of Michigan Executive Director Kary Moss told reporters at a news conference Thursday the lawsuit is about the "right of children to read." The suit against the state and others seeks class-action status. In a press release from ACLU of Michigan released today, Moss said, “This is a first-of-its-kind lawsuit asserting a child’s fundamental right to read. The capacity to learn is deeply rooted in the ability to achieve literacy. A child who cannot read will be disenfranchised in our society and economy for a lifetime. Highland Park students want to be educated. However, their hopes and dreams for a future are being destroyed by an ineffective system that does not adequately prepare them for life beyond school.” The ACLU says that the Highland Park Schools are violating a 1993 state law that ensures students the right to learn to read at grade level. The law says, excluding those with special needs, students who do not score proficiently on their fourth or seventh grade Michigan educational assessment program (MEAP) reading test shall be provided special assistance reasonably expected to enable the pupil to bring his or her reading skills to grade level within 12 months. According to the ACLU press release, an independent evaluation of the school district found that many students' reading proficiencies tested between four and eight grades below their current grade level.