Safety Text Message

This afternoon a student entered the Queens campus of St. John’s University in New York City with a rifle in his bag. In order to alert staff, faculty and students of the dangerous situation campus officials used text messages. Inspired by the events at Virginia Tech this past Spring, the school implemented the program just this month. TeacherJay wanted to recognize the efforts of the institution for their progressive thinking and putting a common technology to a good use… and for that they receive a gold star.

School Breakfast

Coming to school and sitting in class with an empty stomach makes learning difficult. Many school districts around the country serve breakfast, and often it is free or at a reduced price for students who already receive free or reduced lunch. So why are many students not partaking of this offer and still going hungry in class? Notoriously bad cafeteria food may have something to do with it, but some recent reports and this recent NY Times article may also shed some light on the issue. Today’s post looks at some of the reasons this may be happening and also introduces the beginnings of a plan to correct the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Paying for An Education

Don’t be confused, this post is not about the differences between private and public schooling… TeacherJay has already put forth his opinions on that over at Karl Frank Jr.’s blog. This post is however about pilot programs that are paying students for good grades and test scores, as well as the high test scores on economics that are showing up nationwide. In a school near you, students may soon be paid actual cash just for coming to school and doing what they are supposed to be doing… learning. Is this an innovative method of getting kids interested in going to school or just a ploy to turn them into capitalist drones? Read the rest of this entry »

Failing Schools Pass Students

A recent NY Times article, shows the conflict that exists in the NYC public school system between what a good education should be and the desire to raise graduation rates. The unfortunate consequence is that although many students are receiving diplomas, they are not prepared for college or any world outside of high school. What was, perhaps, designed to be a benefit to students is actually a great disservice. Today’s post looks at some of the effects of such policies and makes some recommendations about what should be done in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

How Hard Can It Be?

David Herszenhorn has been covering the Education beat for the New York Times for over four years. He has spoken to many veteran teachers, and many administrators that can all attest to the fact that teaching is difficult work. In an article appearing on July 11, Herszenhorn recounts an event in which mayor Bloomberg gave a group of 7-year-olds a set of four directions all at once, and out of sequence. TeacherJay chuckled at the way a man who built himself a multi-billionaire dollar empire and speaks about how important education is to our children did not recognize how to give age-appropriate directions. The reason for the story was not to embarrass the mayor, but rather to point out that a teacher’s job is more than just going through the motions of a lesson and keeping a classroom orderly. Read the rest of this entry »

Is NCLB Helping or Hijacking?

Following TeacherJay’s comments that while the No Child Left Behind Act is certainly not the magic cure for America’s ailing schools, from a previous post, some of his comments appeared on fellow blogger Rick Branscomb’s site. Branscomb is the author of Deducation and seems to believe that a major goal of NCLB legislation is to prove that the public schools in this country are failing in order to turn school funding over to private enterprise. An excerpt from an earlier entry includes, “Our educational system is being killed: it’s almost dead. Deducation, I call it. Mind-numbing, teaching to invalid tests, memorization of facts that won’t be facts tomorrow, stifling all ability to think critically, taking all teaching decisions out of the hands of teachers” in his plea to have NCLB repealed. Read the rest of this entry »

The Shame of the Nation

Jonathan Kozol‘s 2005 book, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, looks at the issue of racial integration in the nation’s schools. Over 50 years after the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and forcing the immediate integration of America’s schools, we have not yet achieved that goal. Kozol uses the passionate voices of teachers and students, mostly from urban New York City schools and the suburban areas of Long Island, to tell how the nation has been failing a large portion of its children and, in fact, creating a system of apartheid by withholding a proper education from so many children. Read the rest of this entry »