Jia Lee Calls for “Teachers of Conscience” to Take a Stand

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“Remember that fear is natural, but there is greater fear in knowing what will happen if we don’t take a stand.”  

– Jia Lee 

Special Education teacher Jia Lee took some time out of her busy schedule last Saturday to talk to War Report about her experience testifying in front of the Senate Education Committee in DC on January 21, 2015. During her testimony, Lee called for her fellow teachers to be “teachers of conscience” and join her in refusing to administer detrimental high stakes tests to students. Lee’s bravery and dedication to her students is inspiring.

“As people start to awaken and see that we can no longer keep our heads down, I believe that people will force democratic decision making through a variety of means: opting out/refusal, legislatively and changing how we engage around issues of public education. Even if the federal government reauthorizes ESEA with the same or similar testing mandates, teachers, parents, students and concerned community members are learning that this can’t work. While we opt out and refuse compliance to the standardization of our communities, we will start to see people engaged in highlighting our vision for public education.”

What do you think of the stand taken by Jia Lee and other teachers of conscience?

Please read the full interview, share, and comment. Originally published on Living in Dialogue. 

http://www.livingindialogue.com/jia-lees-national-call-action-let-teachers-teachers-conscience/

Metro Nashville 911 Call to Action!

“Last night, the communications subcommittee of the MNPS school board discussed a policy that would give school board representatives the ability to use the district’s communication infrastructure (e.g., robocalls, etc.) to communicate directly and effectively with constituents. Three school board members–Elissa Kim, Tyese Hunter, & Sharon Gentry–inexplicably voiced opposition to this policy. (See below for a copy of the policy.) The only reasons I can see for them opposing this is they, 1) don’t believe elected officials should communicate with their constituents, and/or 2) don’t like the board member proposing the policy, so they are objecting for personal reasons. Whatever their reason/s for objecting, I find an elected official’s desire to limit communication with constituents very disturbing. I urge you to email these school board members and tell them you want your school board member to have access to every possible communication method so he/she can effectively communicate with her/his constituents. Their email addresses are as follows: tyese.hunter@mnps.org, elissa.kim@mnps.org, sharon.gentry@mnps.org. Their twitter handles are @hunter4schools and @kimfornashville. Please share this post on your page too. Thank you! (This policy will likely come up for a vote at the next board meeting.)”

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Schools of Higher Ed- WAKE UP!

Five Days left to make comments about the Fed Proposals to Higher Ed. Please click on the link below- you can comment in the document or you can click on the embedded links in the blog post.

http://thewire.k12newsnetwork.com/2015/01/27/value-added-teacher-preparation-regulations-changes-your-comments/

“Everything is such a nightmare – teacher prep programs being taken over by the feds; school counseling being privatized; GED being made impossible to pass; and it is just one thing after another – definitely DISRUPTION and DESTRUCTION at its peek—- and while it is all happening, the children are crying and tearing out their hair, and succombing to docility.” – Jo Lieb

#2105YearoftheStudent

#DoNoHarm

For Whom the Memphis Bell Tolls: Are Graduate Schools of Education Incubating Their Own Replacements?

By Wayne Jebian

It is a new educational experiment, an in-vivo implantation of a (purportedly) viable degree-granting institute into a mature host, an existing university-based graduate school of education. According to a post on the blog Schools Matter signed by the faculty of the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership at University of Memphis, the embryonic Master’s program will be run by New York-based Relay School of Education with the purpose of training and certifying teachers to work in urban charter schools.

The Relay School of Education has been operating under its current name in New York City since 2011, when it became the first independent graduate school of education to be newly credentialed in more than 80 years, according to company literature. Before that, it was called Teacher U, and operated out of the Hunter College Graduate School of Education. Teacher U was the creation of three major charter school companies in 2008: Uncommon Schools, Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), and Achievement First. Currently, Relay’s leadership includes Wall Street operator Larry Robbins, and at least two trustees associated with the “venture philanthropy” organization Robin Hood Foundation, David Saltzman and Norman Atkins.

According to Nancy Bailey’s Education Website, the implanted program has a second parent, one which will share the task of teacher training: The New Teacher Project (TNTP), founded by Michelle Rhee. It has been described by the New York Times as a spinoff of Teach for America, of which Rhee is an alumna. Nancy Bailey lists organizations donating to or investing in the new school as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, J.P. Morgan and the New Schools Venture Fund, among others. Chalkbeat.org states: “To support U of M’s program, $24 million in donations have been raised through commitments from philanthropists, who wish to remain anonymous. “

There are indications that there is much more at stake than just one southern university being invaded and victimized by northern insurgents while money changes hands. According to Nancy Bailey, University of Arkansas already has a program like this, motivated by the Walmart/Walton Family’s pro-reform zeal. The newsletter speculates:

I would say most university schools of education should watch for TNTP and Relay to come knocking on their doors. But don’t rest on the idea that this new teacher package will be just for the poor. While these alternative teaching programs may start out that way, experimenting around with hungry children, if you eventually dissolve teacher preparation as we know it, TNTP and Relay will wind up being the teacher programs for the way all teachers are made.

I truly believe this is the ultimate goal for today’s education reformers.

If this sounds like the same peril that public schools face from charter schools and their privatizing backers, educators affiliated with higher education programs may just have more to fear. While the push to transform k-12 education has been arguably characterized by far more hype than substance, opinion leaders in higher education have been quietly gathering a consensus that graduate schools of education are ripe for re-invention. Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, is as mainstream and influential in education policy analyst as they come, and his concerns are almost perfectly in sync with those of Nancy Bailey’s “be very afraid” alarm bells. He stated in the Hechinger Report in 2013:

“The point is this: University-based teacher-education programs are in trouble and could possibly lose their franchise. Can they be repaired, or must they be replaced?”

Do No Harm
Wayne Jebian is an independent education writer based in California’s Silicon Valley. His past reporting experience includes UNICEF’s BFHI News, the Crittenden Wall Street Mortgage Report and CTLatinoNews.com. His teaching experience includes University of Connecticut, University of Hartford and Capital Community College. He studied at Yale and Columbia as an undergraduate and holds Master’s degrees from Columbia and University of Connecticut. Wayne Jebian’s skeptical take on education comes from the following quote by J.D. Salinger:
“Strictly for the birds. They don’t do any damn more molding at Pencey than they do at any other school. And I didn’t know anybody there that was splendid and clear-thinking and all. Maybe two guys. If that many. And they probably came to Pencey that way.”

Biopic

The State and Fate of Public Education: Washington State in the Wake of War – Inside the War

WAR REPORT EXCLUSIVE – Sunday April 25th – tune in to The War Report on Public Education hosted by Dr. James Avington Miller Jr. with co-hosts Susan DuFresne and Julianna Dauble

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Honey Badger Blurbs

Hey Ya’ll-
Honey Badger blurbs are short, nasty, and to the point. Honey Badger reality consists of not giving a shit about much of anything except taking down the prey of choice- and when it comes to my students, my children, and my family- well- Corporate capitalist Rattlesnakes are my prey of choice. Be warned edu- Reformers- the Bad ole’ Honey Badger is coming for you!

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