TIME Covers Tenure

TIME Covers Tenure

By popular request, let’s talk about that TIME magazine cover story about efforts to rein in teacher tenure (currently being litigated in CA and NY), starting with a pair of opposing posts  by Ray Salazar and Second City Teacher.  In other news, the Waukegan strike is dragging on, and there’s a new documentary about the CPS school closings of 2013. Nationally, teachers unions have put $7M into the CA race for state superintendent and $450K into the New Orleans school board elections.


5 reasons why Time Magazine’s Rotten Apples cover is right about education  Ray Salazar: White non-educators started caring about public education, this person told me, in 1987 (during my sophomore year at a Southwest side Chicago public high school) when Secretary of Education William Bennett called Chicago Public Schools the worst in the …

Time Rips Teachers! Second City Teacher: Calling out Time Magazine for its latest article on teacher bashing would be like calling out Pravda for lauding the Soviet state once again, or calling Hitler out for stripping more Jews of their due process rights.


Grassroots Group’s Seminars Aim to Delay New CPS Tests DNAinfo: But in the latest battle, they’ve found an ally in CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who last week pushed for a delay in the tests implementation across the district and to limit the number of schools involved in it, the Sun-Times reported.

Ben Joravsky and Jesse Sharkey: Another Chicago is Still Possible CORE: Karen Lewis may not be running for mayor, but the movement she helped inspire is still going strong. Join us for a discussion of what it will take to make our schools and our city work for ALL Chicagoans. It’s more important than ever for parents, teachers, students and community leaders to continue the..


Waukegan school board meeting shut down after crowd grows unruly WGN:  Contract negotiations between the board and the teachers’ union are showing promise. Both sides said they made progress Tuesday.

Weariness grows in Waukegan amid teacher strike Chicago Tribune: In that time, Waukegan community groups have tried to fill several voids left by the strike, including feeding low-income students who depend on schools for their nutrition and opening gyms where children can spend their free hours.

Waukegan teachers hanging tough Klonsky: At last night’s board meeting, Waukegan board member Victoria Torres blows it. Tells angry striking teachers and parent supporters, “Sit down and shut up!” Probably not the best way for elected official to open dialogue. Meeting up for grabs. Quickly adjourned. At 10 p.m. teachers union releases a statement calling Torres’ behavior “abhorrent” and calling for her immediate resignation. Statewide support is building for teachers who are in 4th week of strike for a decent contract.


The School Project launches with film, website and event Chicago Sun-Times: Some of the biggest names in the Chicago documentary film community have come together to take a comprehensive look at the Chicago public school system, including Kartemquin Films, Media Process Group, Free Spirit Media, the Kindling Group and …

‘Worst in the nation?’ Project looks at issues in Chicago schools Chicago Sun-Times: The idea for The School Project came to Jacobs and Siskel/Jacobs co-founder Jon Siskel in spring 2013 when Chicago Public Schools announced it planned to close 50 neighborhood schools.

National Summit On Urban Education Held In Response To School Closings Progress IL: The Journey for Justice Alliance is a national coalition of 36 community organizations focused on education justice. The summit, which is focused on community-driven school improvement strategies, follows a “rash of school closings in Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, Chicago and many other cities.” These school actions, according to the Journey for Justice Alliance, “are having an adverse affect on neighborhood climates.”


Pritzker School Lowers Grade Scale After Push by Parents DNA Info: New scale puts school in line with most CPS elementaries setting “A” mark at 90 percent, principal said.

Apple hops on board Obama program to wire up schools Chicago Tribune: The iPhone maker has long highlighted the use of Macs and iPads in schools, and the growth opportunities they present. It has partnered with educational publishers such as Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as cellular and Wi-Fi networks .


UFT asks court to toss lawsuit challenging teacher tenure ChalkbeatNY: The union also claims that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the lawsuit. Only one of the parents participating in the suit says her child has had an ineffective teacher, and the suit does not argue that the state’s laws protected that teacher, the union notes.

Cuomo’s vow on teacher evals prompts flip-flop charge ChalkbeatNY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent statements that he wants to toughen up the state’s teacher evaluation system prompted confusion and anger from his critics on Tuesday.

New Jersey schools promise to correct racial disparities Washington Post: A school district serving two suburban communities in New Jersey has agreed to expand access to Advanced Placement classes and other higher learning opportunities to African American students, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some St. Louis Teachers Address Ferguson With Lessons On Race NPR: Educators in St. Louis are using events in Ferguson to spark discussions about race and class in a deeply segregated region. Others have found approaching the subject a difficult task.


Union power on the ballot Politico: Interest groups have poured nearly $25 million into the race for California schools superintendent. The California Teachers Association alone has put more than $7 million behind Torlakson.

National teachers union pours $450,000 into Jefferson Parish School Board election NOLA.com: The American Federation of Teachers has spent almost $450,000 on the Jefferson Parish School Board elections, recent campaign finance reports show. That’s more than all individual candidate contributions combined. It had no such presence in Jefferson Parish in 2010, when a business-backed slate of candidates ousted four union-friendly incumbents and took control of the School Board.

Sharp policy divide in schools chief race Politico: The candidates for California superintendent of public instruction are both Democrats. But they have plenty of substantive policy differences.

Teachers on the Common Core: Familiarity Breeds Approval Teacher Beat: Teachers are about evenly split on whether they approve or disapprove of the common core; elementary teachers and those with the most experience implementing them view them the most favorably.

Many schools lack Internet capacity for tests EdSource Today: California officials have identified many schools that will have difficulty offering online statewide tests scheduled in the spring unless their Internet capacity is improved. State technology experts winnowed down the initial list of eligible schools from more than 600 to 304.

How Well Did Schools Implement School Improvement Grants? PK12: The most interesting finding: None of the schools participating in the survey that used the most common turnaround models available under the Obama administration’s SIG program—”turnaround”, which calls for getting rid of the principal and half the staff; and “transformation” which calls for a broad basket of strategies, including extended learning time and performance pay for educators—did absolutely everything they were encouraged to do.

Coalition of Ed. Groups, Unions Calls For New Accountability System PK12: A coalition of groups, with support from the two national teachers’ unions, is calling for a different take on school accountability–one that reduces annual testing and includes a broader mix of school outcomes.  Supporters include AASA, the School Superintendents’ Association; the American Youth Policy Forum, and the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign.

50 Great Teachers: Socrates, The Ancient World’s Teaching Superstar NPR Education: It’s been 2,400 years since he taught his last class, but the teaching method Socrates created, and that bears his name, lives on today.


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  • No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top albeit credible in theory, have resulted in killing our teachers figuratively and now literally. Before we can have true education reform in this country, we must focus on what the REAL issue is instead of diverting attention away from it with erroneous information formulated for the purpose of debasing the teaching profession. John and Shari Thorson, the parents of an Illinois teacher who committed suicide on Thanksgiving Day, 2011 by standing in front of an oncoming semi-truck, said it best, “There are plenty of GOOD teachers! But how can we complain that they don’t exist when we keep throwing them out of the schools?” In my opinion, the better question is: Why are we causing good teachers to commit suicide?

    I completed a documentary based upon the horrific chain of events which led to the death of the Thorson’s only daughter. The film, DYING TO TEACH: The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, “Educators Who Bully” was requested by the Save Our Schools organization for its conference in Washington, D.C. in August of 2012. I learned from doing research for the film that teachers all over the country are killing themselves. They're being bullied by other educators/administrators and it's happening in the presence of the students…our children, during classroom hours. Teachers are committing suicide and this matter isn't being broached with the fervor it warrants. They are miscarrying their unborn children, taking powerful anti-depressant drugs, confined to "Rubber Rooms" where they do nothing but busy work because they're not allowed to interact with the students, terminated from their positions, falsely accused of committing crimes which they're innocent of, forced to commit highly unethical acts within the institution for the sake of continued funding, and in horrible cases, teachers are harming themselves out of hopelessness and despair.

    I receive emails from teachers on a regular basis imploring me to help them. When children began complaining of being bullied by their peers it wasn't taken seriously until they started to take their own lives over it. Now, the same thing is happening to teachers. We can't have BULLY FREE ZONES in place in our schools if the administrators are also bullies. Teachers want to make the world aware that this is happening. They’ve been reduced to silence, hiding, and death. The first step in keeping persons from harm is in letting the world know that the harm is taking place. It’s beyond comprehension that this topic isn’t being discussed, as it will inevitably touch the lives of most families in this country…either directly or indirectly.

    When I was a child we gave teachers shiny, red apples wrapped in pretty cloth as a gesture of gratitude and love. Now, students must attend the funerals of their favorite teachers. I have devoted the rest of my life to exposing what has seemingly reached epidemic proportions. One teacher’s death is a travesty. Another teacher’s death represents a shameful display of apathy. I am providing a link to the documentary which can be downloaded for the convenience of any person in need of it. There is no charge to watch the film. I hope it will enlighten the public.


    Introduction of film at Save Our Schools conference in Washington, DC

    MARY EVE THORSON SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Please nominate a special 8th grade student for this important award. The 1st recipient will be selected in April, 2015.

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