News Notes

Economist Eric Hanushek's research results in his position that good teachers are the key for improved student achievement, then unions should join in the movement to find ways to identify and reward good teachers while getting rid of poor teachers. (BC, 4/6)

The Center for American Progress writes that momentum is building for the congressional review and reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act, often referred to as No Child Left Behind Act. Reforms will be debated but an agreement is likely. Ed leaders will want to keep track of the debate and become politically active. (BC 4/6)

Sal Kahn started out creating short, tutoring videos for his nephew. He now has 2200 videos on You Tube and his project is being supported by Googel and Gates. This Huffington Post article asks "Can Sal Kahn revolutionize education in America?" (There is a link to his web site in this article.) (BC, 4/6)

President Obama's recent answer to a student's question about the role of standardized testing seems to contradict the very policies being advanced by his administration. This column in the Washington Post was written by Anthony Cody, a teacher leader of some standing.

Follow-up Post to "Why am I the Enemy?" Not quite as powerful as the first post (IMO) but still a good post to share. (TS) 3/30

Sixteen countries sent teams of educators to the USA for an international conference on the teaching profession. You'll be interested in what one observer saw as the commonalities among countries that have high PISA scores.

Ed week article provides overview of how "Unions Are Fighting Back." (3/28/11)

To what extent do you agree with the contention that by 2020 these 20 things will be gone from education. (The Daily Riff is a great web site for provocative, short essays and videos.)

Will Richardson gave this 14 minute presentation at a recent TED conference. Richardson, who taught HS English for 20 years, blogs at Weblogged and is the author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Tools for the Classroom and Personal Learning Networks. Here, he argues that we must redirect education from "better", defined as higher test scores, to "different", defined as preparing creative, problem-solving learners. (BC)

In case my e-mail didn't reach you, here is the blog written by a teacher who asks, "Why am I the enemy?"

The Director of The Center for Teaching Quality, Barnett Barry, and a group of teacher leaders, have published Teaching 2030. Now they have produced this four-minute, animated video that summarizes the main points of their book. (BC)

Alfie Kohn debunks the benefits of moving to a national curriculum and assessment. (BC)

The 3/13/11, 60 Minutes segment introduces us to a NY charter school that pays teachers $125,000 each. This link will allow you to view the 60 Minutes video, a followup interview with the principal and founder, as well as an interview about teacher tenure with AFT president, Randi Weingatner.

Bill Gates seems to be everywhere presenting his ideas about how to improve public education. Feb. 28 he had a commentary published in the Washington Post.

Big news about a non-partisan group of influential leaders that has signed-on to support expansion of the national core curriculum.

The Hoover Institute, an influential conservative think tank, has 13 presenters who present their thoughts on what American education might be like in 2030. You can access either print copies of their essays or view them on You Tube.

Room For Debate is a feature in the NY Times that brings together several debaters on a given issue. The issue in this debate is whether or not teachers deserve the criticism currently being put upon them. (BC)

We've talked quite a bit about Michelle Rhee, who fired over 200 teachers in D.C. She's speaking to some lawmakers in Lansing tomorrow (03/09/11). Interesting excerpts: “Rhee took important first steps to turn the D.C. schools around at a pivotal moment. We owe it to our students and teachers to learn from her experience in order to do the same in Michigan."...”Legislators will engage in a bipartisan exchange of ideas focusing on reforms such as teacher tenure, merit pay and school choice immediately following the hearing. (KCP) >>Mlive

New York Education had their own TED meeting, This is a must watch for anyone who is into technology and global learning. Alan November is a great speaker and a wealth of knowledge. It starts about 23 minutes into the link. Highly recommended. - (TS)
Link to Alan November

Bill Gates spoke about state budgets at the march, 2011 TED conference. Since education is the largest state expense, he includes some of his beliefs about public education. Given the influence of his foundation, ed leaders are wise to listen carefully.

Editoral by Diane Ravitch. Eduptopia (TS)
Diane Ravitch, formerly an Under-Secretary of Education in the GHW Bush administration and an NYU professor of ed history, has become the voice of many who oppose the current direction of American public education policy. She was interviewed very recently by John Stewart on the Daily Show. Also linked here is her recent blog (Bridging Differences) published by Ed Week. (BC)

Is it TIME to Show up?
Will the Wisconsin Democrats show up at congress today? Seems like they have too. How will this make the Democrats look if they don't show up and the Governor lay-offs 1,500 workers? (BJ)

Just how long does it traditionally take to fire a poor teacher? According to the chart published by Alexandar Russo, who blogs for Scholastic Administrator Magazine, it takes 27 steps. (BC)

(Note: KCP was adding this identical article to our wiki at the same time that I was. BC)
Conservative blogger and Education Director of the American Enterprise think tank, Rick Hess, explained in this recent Ed Week commentary "I Stand With Gov. Scott Walker". Of special interest is a link within his blog that will open an MEA publication "How To Hire Your Own Boss. (BC)

This 2/27/11 article from the Washington Post points out that both Republican & Democratic leaders have played roles leading to the crises in Wisconsin and beyond. Also, toward the end of the article the author acknowledges that some teacher unions have also contributed to the situation they now find themselves in.

Bill Gates addressed the National Governors' Conference this week on education. Given the power of his foundation, governors listen and so should we as ed leaders. (Listen doesn't imply agree. Listen implies learn, reflect, evaluate, etc.)

The National Journal has a blog titled Education Experts Blog. (I subscribe to its RSS feed to a gadget on my IGoogle page.) This particular blog has several "experts" sharing various views of the "Wisconsin and beyond" issues. (BC)

The Center for American Progress, a rather liberal think tank, has developed an interactive web site comparing the "Return on Investment" (ROI) of individual school districts in the USA. You can access Michigan and then find your district's ROI score. Interesting stuff! (BC)

Is Facebook going to replace teachers unions? Interesting article (TS)

A picture apparently is worth a 1000 words. Symbolic frame at work, eh? You may also want to read the article that is linked below in red. It is from the Center for American Progress. (BC)

More: Think Again: The Contours and Context of the Conservative Class War in Wisconsin
today's cartoon
today's cartoon

Newsweek has two short essays presenting opposing answers to the question: Do We Still Need Unions?

Video from the daily show about teachers greed. (TS)

Which word would you prefer to be associated with, "Reform" or "Status Quo" ? Are you part of the "Education Establishment"?
The words we use serve literally as symbols for the meaning we want to convey. Ed Week just published this very interesting article about the rhetoric being used in the ongoing and recently heated debate over public education.

2/26/11 Huffington Post article says the attack against public employee unions is a Republican political move aimed at impacting the 2012 Presidential election.

NY Times reports on a national poll supporting bargaining rights for public employees.

The NEA Today reports 80,000 rallied in Madison, Wisc. on 2/27, in support of public employee unions.

Wisc. Gov. Walker was interviewed on Meet The Press on Sun. 2/27/11.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

2/28/11 NY Times update on the Wisc. battle.

Education Week has published an article that provides an overview of the issues in Wisconsin & beyond. If you only have time to read one article, this should be it. (However, I encourage you to read enough to get a flavor of both sides of the current debate.) BC, 2/26

CNN article written by a U of Wisconsin Professor of Public Policy believes the governor is making a mistake.

This NY Times article is informative in that it discusses the removal of collective bargaining for state employees six years ago in Indiana. (BC)

Ed Week has a blog called State Ed Watch. Here the topic is Wisconsin and similar issues in other states.
PBS Ed reporter, John Merrow, shares his take on the Wisc. issue and beyond.
Flypaper is a blog out of the conservative think tank, Fordham Institute. The writer takes a conservative view of the Wisc, issues.
Bridging Differences is an Ed Week blog. Deborah Meier is one of the two bloggers along with Diane Radvitch. Deb is very pro teacher union and raises some excellent questions in this piece. Radvitch was recently interviewed by CNN and gave her take on why teachers are so angry.
Blogger, Joanne Jacobs, has a brief but very interesting post on the broader issue, the future of public education. Her piece contains several link to a variety of views.
The conservative American Enterprise Institute, Education Director, Rick Hess, has written this commentary in support of Wisc. gov. Walker.
You may not agree with Hess' reasoning but it is important to know his argument. Is the current movement to curtail the current and future costs of public employee contracts financially motivated and/or politically motivated?

Which states have collective bargaining for teachers?

Do you know who the Koch brothers are and what they have to do with the battle in Wisconsin?
today's cartoon
today's cartoon

This NY times article spells out who the Koch (pronounced Coke) brothers are and what their involvement is in Wisc. and beyond.

What is the truth about public sector workers' compensation as compared with private sector workers? Are public employees over compensated? The Economic Policy Institute has published recent comparisons that you will find interesting and informative.

Among the current, education profession structures being questioned is teacher tenure. Randy Weingarten, AFT President, has just proposed to shorten the process by which a tenured teacher rated unsatisfactory by the principal could be fired after a one-year opportunity to improve. This report on her proposal appeared in the NY Times. Be sure to read the reactions to her proposal. What do you think?(BC)

This article from the Grand Rapids Press asks if there is a "simmering rage among teachers". Read it and let's hear your opinion. Are you experiencing signs of a "simmering rage"? Do you hear talk among teachers that they feel under attack? In Wisconsin state employees, mainly teachers, have staged a sit in at the capitol for a full week over the new governor's proposal to limit the scope of collective bargaining. Battles between governors and public employee unions are underway in NJ, Fla., and other states. In Michigan, the new governor is calling for an additional cut in per pupil aid as part of his fiscal reform package. He recommends that school districts make up for this loss by negotiating increased deductibles in health care insurance benefits. (BC , 2/21)

Here is a follow up article from the Grand Rapids Press (see above). It contains feedback from teachers. (BC 2/23)

Here is another update I found from Reuters...
I do think there is a “simmering rage”, but just like Evans says in Chapter 5, teachers typically tend to avoid conflict. That alone is a good reason to have unions doing the work for them. (2/25 JH)

Here is an interesting commentary providing an alternative view of why young teachers should be outraged.(BC 2/26)

What is going to happen to the education of children in Detroit? Does it matter to us as ed leaders who live and work miles away? Should we care? What should happen for the education of the children in Detroit?
Read this article from MiLive and the the Detroit News article by Nolan Finley that is linked within.

Another sign that the role of technology in education will continue increasing exponentially. President Obama wants to create a new agency within the Dept. of Ed for technology.

Movie: Race to Nowhere to be showing in Ann Arbor, MI. Here is an email which was forwarded from my principal to our staff:
"Greenhills School is going to have a screening of the provocative film "Race to Nowhere" on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:00 in our Campbell Center for the Performing Arts. While we know that there were previous viewings at Grosse Pointe Academy and Emerson School, perhaps there are still members of your faculties and families who have not seen the film and would like to do so. You are all invited to join us. This event is free though you are requested to register so we can keep track of seating. Attached please find a poster you can put up in your schools and a press release with more details. Information is available also on the Greenhills School website We would appreciate your making this information known to your community. Thank you, Orelia Dann Orelia Sparrow Dann Paulus Faculty Growth & Learning Program Coordinator
History Department Teacher 734-769-4010 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 734-769-4010 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (KCP)

In case you missed the Fox News, O'Reily interview of President Obama, here it is for your viewing pleasure. See if you think O'Reily did a good and proper job of interviewing, and if the President answered his questions and in general handled the interview well.

I made the Oakland Press, above the fold, and there's a video. (KCP)

China vs the USA has been in the news due to this visit by the Chinese Premier. However, the publication of a book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by a Chinese-American mother has also stirred up an interesting debate about the differences between American & Asian parenting philosophy. Time magazine has this controversy as its cover story, 1/31/11. Within this story, Time touches upon the educational aspect of the USA vs China debate.
Newsweek (1/24) covered the Premier's visit and included The China Threat: How Afraid Should We Be?
One of the leading experts on Chinese ed vs American ed is MSU professor Yong Zhao. He is the author of the best-selling ASCD book, Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization.

The Center for American Progress published a report that attempts to quantify the Return on Investment (i.e. Productivity) of every school district in the country. (BC)

- Yong Zhao writes and open letter to "Tiger Mom". I saw this while on ASCD this afternoon and thought I would post here to share.

Should teachers grade parents? A Bill has been drafted in Florida. Here is a CNN article.

During his State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to join with him in replacing NCLB with legislation modeled after his Race to the Top competition-based model of public school reform. The NY Times asked some ed leaders to react to this approach.(BC)

What is the internet anyway? A video from 1994 on the Today show. From (TS)

Shorten, Share, and Track your Links - (KCP)
I found this site when I was working on my website. When you are adding addresses to emails, websites, etc., you may consider using to shorten your webpage address in order to make it easier to include in documents and hyperlink.

Sharing Widget. Use this site to ad a "share this" button to your website. Visitors to your website will be able to say "share this" on Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media outlets. Actual address: (KCP)


Yong Zhao (video above) has indeed moved to OR from MSU, as was pointed out in class 1/31/11. His fame continues to spread as evidenced by the Washington Post publishing his recent blog which spells out why President Obama's education policies, as shared in the State of the Union address, "make no sense". I highly recommend this reading. (BC)

Leadership Theories - Eight Major Leadership Theories and Take your leadership style QUIZ (KCP)

NYC, PS 22, 5th graders and their music teacher will be appearing on The Oscars 2/27/11. The following video tells a bit of the PS 22 story. There are numerous additional You Tube videos featuring kids from PS 22 singing their hearts out.

Check out The Freep's Mike Thompson's latest cartoon. Nice commentary on this issue.


The real truth is that there is some validity that many teachers are mediocre at best. I am not sure where all of you have taught, but I have spent some time in some bad schools. Getting rid of collective bargaining is not the answer, however teacher tenure laws are not really benefiting student learning. (Double D)

An interesting quick read my Father-in-Law sent me regarding social security...check it out here. (JH)

Our union is really good about keeping us informed with what's happening in Wisconsin. On average we get at least two e-mails a day with updates. Below are several links that you might want to check out. Some might be redundant but worth a quick read. (SP)

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Issues Layoff Notices to Unions Amid Budget Standoff

Michigan Governor Tells Cities to Tighten Their Belts

Show WI Your Support

From an educator in Wisconsin @ ground zero of the protests...

There was a study done specifically about WI that tells a different story than the WSJ article comparing public v. private costs.

More importantly, I would encourage everyone to take a minute and find out ALL the issues surrounding the budget repair bill. The national media wants to simplify the protests and depending on the source skew coverage to their audience MSNBC union perspective v. FOX/WSJ budget perspective.
Wisconsin media sources have bias as well: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (center) Wisconsin State Journal (right) Capital Times (left)

A little background on how WI got to this point, in the two months Scott Walker has been governor he has exempted business from paying taxes for the next two years and signed a law that requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature to raise sales or income taxes, which has led to his declaring the state "broke" and the need for a budget repair bill.

Along with financial concessions and the end of collective bargaining the "budget repair bill" contains the ability of WI government to sell state owned assets in no-bid contracts

Finally, the fight for collective bargaining is not solely a teacher or public sector battle. Governor Walker has already won financial concessions on public sector benefits but the devastating impact of this bill will be felt throughout communities. That's why many people protesting are from the private sector and exempted public sector unions. The influence of corporate money in politics seems to be a factor and so the battle for collective bargaining is one for continuing a strong middle class built upon the work of unions in WI.

In two weeks time, public education in Wisconsin has entered a state of uncertainty and fear. I wish I could say the worse is over but the 2011-13 budget being released Tues. contains more grim news for public education in WI. On a bright note, Governor Walker declared, "Wisconsin is Open for Business" as our new state slogan which appears on all his official letterhead & communication. Can't wait for all those high paying jobs to start rolling in....I may need one. (SP)

Here are my ramblings...

Use public schools the way the government and public are asking…test factories…cut students’ time there back to just the essentials, use brain-based research and make class time the appropriate length and focus on testing what is being asked
Morning is when most have clear minds and can learn most
Public funds can be used to continue healthy lunch programs (and breakfast)
Afternoon would be reserved for activities, enrichment, arts, everything non-test-related and there could be no time limit, except that imposed by the families
Teams are more important than the individual so ind. may leave as they need, competition (per society) can be focused on only in the afternoon and team teaching and student achievement will be the focus and students may go at their own pace according to their level of ability, not age or status.
Chapter 3--Conflict and Intentional Conversations
Here are a few things I learned at a conference I went to this year. It was really helpful! I am working on what I learned with the task force. We are challenging each other to have meaningful conversations with other teachers in out buildings. I hope you find the following links useful. If you plan to use them with your school pelase let me know so that I can site the source. I created these handout and powerpoint, but I did not come up with the content on my own. (SP)

Teacher Blogs--a great resource for teachers (if you ahve anymore, pelase add them to the list!) (SSP)

Always Learning–Kim Cofino (International School of Bangkok)
Two Writing Teachers (Resources for writing workshop)
A Year of Reading (Book reviews and many other resources)
It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages (A teacher venting blog)
Scholastic Teacher Blogs (Teachers at various levels blogging)
Learning is Messy (4/5/6 grade teacher blog with a focus on technology)
A Difference (A math teacher’s blog)
The Book Chook (Children’s book reviews from a former teacher in Australia)
Dream Leader (A principal’s blog-her teachers have wonderful blogs, too)
Stenhouse Publishers Blog (Blog posts from awesome Stenhouse authors like Tony Stead, Debbie Miller, and Kelly Gallagher)
Bits n’ Bytes (An Instructional Technology Specialist’s blog from CT)
Edublogs Awards (Check out award-winning blogs and other nominees)