Monday, January 3, 2011

Seeing red on Tuesday

If you see a lot of red clothes in schools tomorrow, that's probably because it's "Wear Red for Public Ed" day. Local educators are putting the word out on Facebook.

The sponsor is a group called Save Our Schools Million Teacher March.

I can't tell much about this group from the Web site, but founder Chris Janotta is an education blogger and language arts teacher in suburban Chicago. Plans for a 2010 Million Teacher March apparently fell through, but there's a move afoot to try again this year, along with smaller, easier efforts to rally support for teachers who feel besieged by budget cuts and reform efforts.

I know -- this isn't the meatiest blog post to kick off the new year. Trust me, there will be plenty of news bubbling up this month, as the state legislature and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board delve into 2011 budgets. Plus Mecklenburg Ministries and the Levine Museum of the New South have big pushes coming to support and discuss public education in Charlotte.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone enjoyed a little holiday breather. When I wasn't covering airport news (during the holidays, everyone's a general assignment reporter), I used the slow time to read an advance copy of Wendy Kopp's "A Chance to Make History" (more about that to come).

Next up on my reading list: Gene Maeroff's "School Boards in America: A Flawed Exercise in Democracy." Not only did he do some of his research in Charlotte, he's a former education reporter who is now president of the school board in Edison, N.J. Now that's a journey I'm curious to learn about!


Anonymous said...

Anne: much of the conversation about public education has neglected to include a very important component: the teachers.

My English teacher husband teaches 150 students. In order to adequately teach his courses, his students must WRITE. Therefore, he must read and comment on up to 150/3-6 page papers every week. This is done outside of class. Anyone doing the math (minimum of 15 minutes a paper=over 37 hours of grading) can see that's a huge amount of personal time being spent on school work. This does not include the time he spends on administrative duties, meetings with parents and other other outside-of-school-hours faculty functions he must attend.

Both he and his students suffer from his classrooms being filled to capacity because he simply does not have the time available to devote to "bare minimum" teaching.

I will wear red tomorrow. But I have been seeing red for over 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Ann, as you know, this is a right to work state and no teacher will do anything to jeopardize employment at this time, much less take time off to march or display ribbons of displeasure with Pete's Gestapo tactics. Student cell phones are active and waiting to record anything to relieve teachers of their employment. Ask any high school teacher.

Jay Whipple said...

See and learn more about the Levine Museum of the New South and over 75 other sites on the Charlotte Black/African-American Heritage Tour presented by Queen City Tours and Travel!

Anonymous said...

Cool, you're back.

Read "The Gatekeepers" over the holiday - a fascinating look into the admissions process at a premier college (Wesleyan University in CT). It was written by a NY Times education reporter. Good book.

How about adding the TeacherInsight Network Gallup Poll on your "to do" list? CMS is using it as an evaluation tool to gauge teacher effectiveness in their hiring process. New teachers coming into the system are required to take an online psychological test that Gallup claims can measure things that can't be taught in a college classroom. The test is being used to differentiate effective and ineffective teachers. A prospective hire is not allowed to see or obtain a copy of their results from Gallup or CMS. Big mystery here.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45, does this also apply to the TFA temporaries?
Theoretically this might be useful to give some right brainers a chance. However, after witnessing a Pay for Performance presentation, much of the analysis is seat of the pants, smoke and mirrors, Voodoo or vendor evaluation. Looks like more data for data's sake. If the economy ever slightly improves the newbies are gone and Pete will be on the skins side with Arne.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Gallup Poll is fascinating. Hadn't heard about that. Will see what I can find out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ann,
I took the Teacher Insight test not realizing school districts are using it to weed out teacher applicants. I am not allowed to find out how I scored. You need a special participating school code to take the test which CMS provides only after completing its new online teacher application.

When I took the test, my initial inclination was to answer "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" to most questions (part 2). About halfway through the test I started to outthink it because the test taker is only given a certain number of seconds to answer each question. I thought answering the questions "strongly agree" or "strongly disagree" might be viewed as too extreme at which point I started to answer some questions "neutral".

Later, I searched online to try and find some information about the test. A few posters suggested answering "strongly agree" and "strongly disagree" is the key to passing the test. Again, it's impossible to find out how a test taker scores because Gallup will only releases the results of this test directly to potential employers.

I'd also be curious to find out if TFA teachers are required to take the Teacher Insight test also.

Anonymous said...

oops, double "also".

Anonymous said...

How about a Gallup School Board Insight test, a Principal Insight test, a Human Resources Insight test and a School Superintendent Insight test?

CMS's Insightful Student Placement Office shouldn't undergo any type of testing since facts are stubborn and statistics more pliable.

Anonymous said...

How TeacherInsight works:
1. Candidates answer multiple-choice and open-ended questions online using a 5-point Likert scale.
Questions focus on three areas:
• Teaching philosophy - To what extent is there a mission to teach, to what extent is teaching not a job,
but a mission, a calling?
• Relationships - How does the candidate create relationships with colleagues, students and parents?
• Instructional approaches - Does the candidate see a class or a group of individuals?

2. Candidates’ answers are compared to Gallup’s pool of 400 high-quality teachers, identified nationally by teachers, principals and parents and a percentile ranking (0-99) is calculated based on his/her predicted potential for teaching success.

3. Candidates’ scores are reported directly to the district’s central office databases where they are available to principals and Employee Services staff, but not to candidates or anyone else in the district.