A Not So Graceful Exit: Why I Left Teaching

The exodus of teachers is a warning for all. For every teacher who makes a public statement when leaving, more leave without making one. Even more teachers want to leave but cannot.

What if all spoke out at once. Would they be heard. The least the rest of us can do is amplify that message (like an Occupy general assembly)

karareevesblog

Yesterday, I quit.  In the middle of the school year, I quit.  After fourteen years in education, I quit.  I.  Quit.  Quitting isn’t something I do, particularly when children are involved, so this is still quite difficult to think or talk about.  It might seem an abrupt decision to some, but for those that know me well, you know this is something I have flirted with for a few years now.  I think it started about five years ago…

I was teaching in an inner-city school in Memphis.  I loved my principal.  I loved my kids.  I loved teaching.  Now, of course, there were issues.  Too much paperwork.  Not enough hours in the day.  Uninvolved parents.  Disobedient children.  District mandates that made no sense.  Still, overall, I was happy being a teacher.  I knew that I would either drop dead teaching or they would have to roll me out in…

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In Blog Series, Bruce Baker Explores Issues at the Intersection of Money and Reform

a promising series #EdBlogNet blogger Jan Resseger on following the money in corporate-driven education “reform”

janresseger

Bruce Baker, professor of education finance and education policy and law at Rutgers University, is also the author if the Education Law Center’s annual review of school funding adequacy and equity across the states:Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. In his blog, School Finance 101, Baker explores issues of school funding fairness as well as other matters he is investigating for academic research.  At the end of October to launch a connected series of posts, At the Intersection of Money and Reform, he declared, “At times, this blog serves as a palette for testing/sharing ideas.  So… in this, and a rapid fire sequence of follow-up posts, I will share some excerpts of forthcoming, and early stage, in-progess work.”  What makes this series  so interesting is not only Baker’s summary of the history of the current state of school policy but also his dive into the…

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EDUCAUSE 2015: my sessions and some observations

Better understanding of and knowing more about tech driven and other changes are key to reclaiming public education. If you are not at then we will be on the menu. Denial is not an efficacious coping strategy

Bryan Alexander

EDUCAUSE 2015 annual conference logoLast week I participated in the EDUCAUSE annual conference in the midwestern American city of Indianapolis.  By “participated” I mean gave four and a half hours of presentations, helped with three hours of online presentations, and was interviewed once or twice.  Plus taking in more than a dozen sessions and holding who knows how many meetings and calls.  And made friends, while reconnecting with a great number of others.

Here I wanted to share what I did, and some of what I learned.

Tuesday morning was my preconference seminar on “Building an Emerging Technology and Futures Capacity in Your Organization”.  The goal here wasn’t to present on future trends for education and technology, but rather to help campus information professionals figure out how to better think about the future themselves.

Bryan broods under an overhead; photo by Raechelle Clemmons I brood under notes. Photo by the excellent Raechelle Clemmons.

It was a methods session, in other words, and…

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“Gen Eds” Missing the Mark

A Fulbright and Post-University Adventure

John Oliver

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/09/09/438672718/john-oliver-says-u-s-students-learn-virtually-nothing-about-africa

In the past, John Oliver has discussed several downright depressing aspects of the American education system, while maintaining a comedic air.  During these segments, I often found myself laughing at his jokes while my lower lip quivered with frustration.  Is it so funny that myself and all other recent students and graduates are leaving public schools with mortgage-sized loan debt and massive holes in our education?  Of course, I can’t blame John Oliver for calling attention to this issue because it seems the public will only consider difficult topics and news coverage under the guise of comedy.  However, the public needs to consider these crucial social issues and John Oliver provides a great springboard to some more difficult conversations.

One of the greatest oversights in the public university system is the role of general education courses and requirements.  The intention of these courses is to provide a well-rounded education as well as…

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48,000+ students refused the testocracy in Washington State by opting out. This isn’t an anomaly, it’s an uprising

Seattle Education

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 9.59.48 AM

How many students opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in Washington State?  Short answer: More than you probably imagined.

Now that the final numbers are out, let’s dig in and see what happened.

11th Grade

We knew the opt out numbers were going to be huge. Last week’s OSPI report confirmed that. Across the state, the opt out rate for 11th grade was 49.3% for ELA and 52.9% for Math. This translates into:

37,112 students opted out of the English Language Arts (ELA)

39,444 students opted out of Math

11th_grade_big

(Opt outs are reported as “No Score”. Click image to enlarge.)

Now let’s do a quick run down on the other grades. Although the numbers lack the dramatic impact of the 11th grade, these figures are higher than what was reported by OSPI in July.

3rd Grade

1,590 opted out of the ELA

1,680 for Math

3rd_grade_large

4th Grade

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Arne Duncan, Accreditation, and “Barking Watchdogs”

ACADEME BLOG

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered a “major” address on higher education.  As Inside Higher Ed’s account put it, his call for “a greater focus on student outcomes at colleges was an effort to pivot away from discussions that he said are focused too narrowly on the burden of student loan debt.”  Duncan argues: “Student debt is a burden for too many students, but most ultimately repay their loans, and for those who get their degree, college is an excellent investment. By some estimates, a bachelor’s degree increases lifetime earnings on average by about a million dollars.  The degree students truly can’t afford is the one they don’t complete, or that employers don’t value.”

In essence, Duncan’s remarks represent both a callous dismissal of the skyrocketing cost of higher education for students, especially minority and working class students, whose debt sometimes approaches a new kind of indentured servitude, as…

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