Miss-Spellings

As an update to a previous post, TeacherJay wanted to take a moment to point out Thursday’s NY Times article in which Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings seems less than enthusiastic about the drafts of the re-authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act being passed around in the House of Representatives. Ms. Spellings is quite a fan of “increased accountability”. TeacherJay still thinks it is a bad idea to punish, or penalize, schools for not making “sufficient progress” when that progress is ill-defined in the first place. Today’s post looks briefly at how the head of all education systems in the country might spell disaster for immigrant students. Read the rest of this entry »

Spellings Test

While searching for some funny clips of politicians, TeacherJay found something a bit unexpected… to date, the only (active) member of the Bush administration to appear on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart was Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, on May 22, 2007 (Wikipedia). Although she is one of the evil architects authors of the No Child Left Behind Act, TeacherJay was interested in the interview and in today’s post gives his reactions to the clip. 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 »

Center on Education Policy

In a recent New York Times article, a recent study by the Center on Education Policy would appear to show that a fewer number of schools have increased time in Reading and Math, the two subjects that the No Child Left Behind Act focuses on, than previously thought. Today’s post contains some of TeacherJay’s opinions on the CEP and NCLB.

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History Lessons

History is written by the victors. Ten people could witness the same event, and if you asked them all afterwards what happened, you would probably get eleven different versions. Much of what we read in history books is from the American perspective, and over the years the text has been trimmed to include only the most favorable parts. Today’s post looks first at the book, History Lessons: How Textbooks from Around the World Portray U.S. History, and then points out some of the problems plaguing the teaching of history and current events in the American school system and introduces the non-profit, Americans for Informed Democracy, that is aimed at reversing the trend of American isolationism. 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 »

Democrats Bash NCLB

Is Bush’s No Child Left Behind legislation going to serve as the same political fodder that the Iraq War has for Democratic candidates in the 2008 presidential election? Teacher Magazine, a publication of Education Week, reported that Democrats “came out swinging” on Monday’s annual convention of the National Education Association.

Just as they have done with the Iraq War it would seem that the Democrats already vying for a 2008 are doing whatever they can to distance themselves from the current Bush administration. In fact, in a strikingly similar parallel, the Democratic Party, which broadly supported the law 6 years ago, now disagrees with the way it is being carried out. Major changes are being sought in Congress in order to revise the law before it can be reauthorized later this year. TeacherJay’s question is: are these politicians sincere in their claims that they want to reform education in this country by reducing the pressure on teachers to have their students score well on a standardized test?, in order to achieve that goal many teachers find themselves having to take valuable teaching time away from other subjects, or are the candidates merely trying to curry favor with Bush-haters?

Of the top three Democratic candidates, Clinton is the only to even make mention of NCLB on her official website, Obama does not list as one of his top issues, and neither does Edwards although he has stated before that because he has school-aged children he is personally attached to the issue. Making the statement is nice, but let’s see some action from these candidates.