Finally. Something That Makes Sense!

Did you see the news?

The Los Angeles Times published an analysis of teacher effectiveness in the Los Angeles School District.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Monday that parents have a right to know if their children’s teachers are effective, endorsing the public release of information about how well individual teachers fare at raising their students’ test scores.

“What’s there to hide?” Duncan said in an interview one day after The Times published an analysis of teacher effectiveness in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest school system. “In education, we’ve been scared to talk about success.”

Parents support the idea. People everywhere support the idea. The teacher’s union doesn’t.

The Los Angeles teachers union urged a boycott of the paper to protest the public disclosure of the data, and other labor leaders also objected.

“Publishing the database … is irresponsible and disrespectful to the hard-working teachers of Los Angeles,” David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Assn., said in a statement.

Oh no! How could they let this happen? How could someone release information about the performance of public school teachers to the … public? Holding public educators accountable to the public. Imagine the thought.

Finally, something that makes sense!

Kudos to the Los Angeles Times on this one.

Whackos, Wanna Be’s, Writings, And Wisdom

I started my day today with a quick and easy project. Well, it was supposed to be quick and easy. It ended up taking 14 hours, but it’s done. I won’t go into details because I know some of you get bored if I talk in code.

It’s late, so I am going to put several smaller thoughts together again.

Thought #1

The first story I read today caught me off-guard. This is what happens when I open my news reader before I’ve had my first cup in the morning.

It seems a woman in Michigan who lives in front of a bus stop watches some children for less than an hour each day until the bus arrives. She helps out the parents of said children by keeping an eye on them (at the parent’s request) so they get off to school each day. The problem is, the state of Michigan has decided she’s doing so against the law.

A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors’ children.

Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.

The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors’ kids, or face the consequences.

When a neighbor cannot help a neighbor without being threatened by some over-zealous idiot, there’s a problem. So much for the village, huh?

Thought #2

President Obama thinks your children do not spend enough time in school.

President Barack Obama is among those making the case that American kids aren’t spending enough time in school.

The president says that puts them at a disadvantage compared to other students around the globe. He’s pushing for schools to add time to classes, to stay open later and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

While it’s true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it’s not true they all spend more time in school. In fact, U.S. kids spend more hours in school than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests.

For all I know, this thought might be related to the next one.

Thought #3

Increasing the time children spend in the classroom would allow more time for the proper indoctrination of children, would it not?

If videos like this surfaced of children being taught to praise George W. Bush, heads would be spinning and the lamestream media would be covering it 24/7. Tell the truth now, have you seen any of these indoctrination videos on any mainstream media station?

Just imagine what can be done by increasing the length of the school year. Can we see a pattern here? YES WE CAN.

Thought #4

Whoa. Talk about making heads spin. Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue: An American Life” will hit the bookstore shelves on November 17th.

I’m sure the mere mention of her name on my blog has reassured some readers (and some family members) that I am a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy they (and former President Bill Clinton) are so vehement in believing actually exists. Uhoh. I just linked to CNN. Now my head is spinning.

Thought #5

Did you know it’s former President George W. Bush’s fault that current President Barack Obama cannot close our facility at Guantanamo Bay?

Hope, change, and no semblance of accountability whatsoever.

And now, the final thought for the night, presented by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI).

Just Wondering

It’s a sad day when a headline like this doesn’t even garner a second glance from most readers.

Food Bank answers school bell

Why is it so easy to ignore this story? Do people see the words “Food Bank” and figure it’s just a story about poor people, so why bother? Are we so insensitive about the well-being of other people that we no longer have time to care about their situation?

But, this story isn’t just about poor people, or the Food Bank. It’s about the teachers that are trying to change the lives of the children in their classrooms.

It’s tough trying to teach a child when his stomach’s growling. Or when she can’t afford notebooks or pens or backpacks.

With school starting as early as next week in the metro area, Griffin and Ross were among 40 metro Atlanta teachers stocking up on hundreds of dollars of free school supplies at the food bank’s downtown Atlanta warehouse.

Teachers were given a clipboard, a shopping cart and 30 minutes in what can only be described as the ultimate teacher’s supply closet. Shelves were stacked with copy paper and lined filler papers – coveted items among teachers. Barrels of pens. Notebooks. Rubber bands. Glue sticks. Bins full of small decorative letters. CD cases.

In the end, most hauled away nearly $800 each in free school supplies from the food bank’s Kids in Need program.

Every year I read stories about teachers spending hundreds of dollars on extra supplies and snacks for the kids in their classrooms. Every year I hear about organizations that step up and try to help bridge some of the gap between the funds the state makes available and the actual cost of running a classroom. Every year I hear about “how generous” our governor is for giving teachers a $100 gift card to help with their expenses. Don’t even get me started on the fact that teachers can only write off $250 in supply costs on their income taxes.

It’s time something was done about this. When the food bank has to step up and dole out almost $800 per teacher, it’s well past time to look at the system and start making these school districts accountable for the money they spend. They sure aren’t spending it on the students.

We all know the public school system is in trouble. The evidence is in the test scores year after year. Just imagine what would happen if school districts were forced to start spending money on educating students, instead of lining the pockets of the very administrators who are responsible for the problem in the first place.

Imagine what they could do if they actually spent the money on making an effort to teach the children.

What would happen if they stopped overlooking the obvious? Just wondering.