Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Dewey quote I love, well, rather hate but it is so blatant as to the status quo's intention in society and in education that I am happy to have found it.

“Independent self-reliant people would be a counterproductive anachronism in the collective society of the future where people will be defined by their associations.” - John Dewey, signer of the Humanist Manifesto, 1896

psychologists ruling over our kids

Ok. I am all against teen suicide, have witnessed depression and other mental disorders, bla bla. They are indeed a tragedy. BUT is it the place of schools to assess students in order to diagnose them with mental illness and suggest treatment?
Sure it is, I guess....I mean, then we can all have drugged up mindless robots. Perfect!

Disclaimer: I'm exhausted today so it is another cut and paste day. Sigh. Perhaps I'll return and actually write something up. But also in my defense, my works-5%-of-the-time laptop, which has all my research, is stored away and I don't feel like battling it for research and my own write-ups.
John Taylor Gatto, in The Underground History of American Education (my favorite book! My mentor!) said....
In 1928, a well-regarded volume called A Sociological Philosophy of Education claimed, "It is the business of teachers to run not merely schools but the world." A year later, the famous creator of educational psychology, Edward Thorndike of Columbia Teachers College, announced, "Academic subjects are of little value." William Kirkpatrick, his colleague at Teachers College, boasted in Education and the Social Crisis that the whole tradition of rearing the young was being made over by experts


the home altogether too often is unintelligent or neglectful in the handling of children, and not infrequently it has abdicated entirely and has turned over to the public school the whole matter of the training and education of the young.”

ok this post is dying on the vine. But my point here is.... A test to test children for psychological disorders, available in a school near you! And the executive director is, gasp, a Columbia graduate and follower of "bioethics" which, from my research, is science's way of validating and trying to resurrect the eugenics movement. "The TeenScreen Program is an extremely controversial mental health screening program developed by Columbia University’s Child Psychiatry Research Department. Their goal is to screen every school-aged child before graduation for suicide and "mental disorders" using a computer survey and then recommending those that are considered at risk for "treatment."

The "creator" of the exam, David Shaffer, has been a consultant to "big pharma" companies such as Hoffman La rouch, Wyeth, Glaxo Smith Kline, and Pfizer. And gasp, he too attended Columbia.

The director, Leslie Mcguire, has said, ""Getting the kids to buy in is such an essential thing because for the most part, you're distributing the consent forms to the kids to bring home to their parents and bring them back. So you have to get their buy in, you have to get them interested in it." When asked about "incentives", McGuire replied: "Hollywood Video coupons, you get that regardless. Even if the form says no, you still get the reward."

BRIBING our children into big pharma's hands, and mindless control (indoctrination perhaps) with promise of a nifty coupon. YES. This is real.

Just say no to drugs
My article on the teacher shortage is slow going.
# districts contacted this week: 61
# responded: 2 (one with info, one will get back to me)
# districts that send you that "mailer daemon" kickback email no matter what: 6. Including one I've worked for. Weird.

Anyways.... in the meantime PLEASE READ MY OTHER BLOG ARTICLES! :) many thanks!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

15 Things Students Want the Nation (And What They Get)

From I have the list and my cynical yet honest rebuttal, citing what they get instead. Time to make change!!!!

  1. I have to critically think in college, but your tests don't teach me that. Those in power claim the tests assess critical thinking and that if a teacher effectively teaches the 132-some standards per subject, per year, built upon the prior teacher's effectiveness in the building blocks for this year, and preps students for exams, that they will learn to think critically. Real critical thinking like 21st century skills, Montessori, homeschool methods are treated as garbage, probably because they cannot be prescribed.
  2. I can't learn from you if you are not willing to connect with me.-Sure, a teacher that calls her students by their gang names, K-Dogg and all and not their birth name will indeed retain her job. But a teacher who pats a child on the back in sympathy because her father just passed will get sued for sexual exploitation. And teachers cannot play "hip" music or speak of anything the students might have interest in because it is NOT STANDARDS BASED.
  3. Teaching by the book is not teaching. It's just talking. - So, let's implement a Reading First 100% prescriptive/scripted curriculum in our most failing of at risk schools. Perhaps the top 100 schools in the nation, since they have API scores near 1000, can fudge a little and read novels and do projects and service learning and out of the box, out of the book lessons.
  4. Caring about each student is more important than teaching the class. - But if you treat your 100% poverty level classroom to enough pizza once a month to take slices home, and give them a small "winter" gift, you get fired. I mean, we're not here to care about the kids or anything.
  5. Every young person has a dream. Your job is to help bring us closer to our dreams. Of course, the scripted curriculum and test driven culture is droll and just makes gangs, selling drugs, and dropping out even more enticing (because if this is preparation for the real world as the teachers keep saying, who wants that?). As long as your dream fits into what your test scores tell us about you, and what your neighborhood and economics label you to be, great!
  6. Even if you don't want to be a teacher, you can offer a student an apprenticeship. But remember, the only good teachers are those who went to a teacher college, passed their tests, and received their credential in the subject they teach. The more years they've taught are 100% directly correlated to their greatness.
  7. Us youth love all the new technologies that come out. When you acknowledge this and use technology in your teaching it makes learning much more interesting. Enjoy trying this in districts with antiquated technology, one tech guru covering multiple schools, and a small window of time to actually use the stuff. Or you may get lucky and find a district with all the (very over-priced) new tech goodies but they gather dust because a)no one receives training b) no one is around to fix them when they have issues c) when do you implement them with all this stuff to teach? And remember, no social media allowed, no cell phones allowed, no movies, no tv, no music other than classical, no texting, no you tube allowed in the classroom! All but the district approved websites will be allowable content for the classroom.
  8. You should be trained not just in teaching but also in counseling. But don't EVER give students advice, pat them on the back to feel better, counsel them away from the view of every single person, or contact them outside of school to see how they're doing. Don't mention any religion, or any of your own experiences, stories, feelings. That is best left to... well, no one, but if they want to talk, refer them to the one counselor that works at five different schools. Surely they will be a priority case.
  9. Tell me something good that I'm doing so that I can keep growing in that. Heck, everyone is a winner and you don't want to marginalize a student so praise everyone for everything.
  10. Our teachers have too many students to enable them to connect with us in they way we need them to. Not only must you be the parent, friend, mentor, pastor, idol, teacher, social service provider of each child, but now let's cut teaching jobs and increase class size. 50 kids to a class worked in the la-la days of the 1800s, right? And studies prove that test scores don't increase when class sizes decrease. And those tests are gold, folks. They paint a very detailed photo of every child. Contrary to popular belief, they're not a snapshot of a fraction of knowledge. Nope. So send in the clowns, I mean children, a per-class fifty is really nifty.
  11. Bring the electives that we are actually interested in back to school. Things like drama, art, cooking, music. Well, ok, maybe offer them only to the top students with 4.0 gpa, who have passed the exit exam, aced the SAT, been the great-score anomaly on the state assessment, Threaten the failing and most disengaged students that if they fail one more thing, the only class keeping them in school (fin hands on electives) will be replaced with drill and kill test prep. Then ask why they hate school so much and lack motivation. When enough complain they don't get interesting electives, explain that due to budget cuts, the arts programs have been cut, and with declining test scores, students need to take more core classes.
  12. Education leaders, teachers, funders, and policy makers need to start listening to student voice in all areas including teacher evaluations. And then throw out anything they say because what do students know? They're NOT the education experts. Did they attend 6 years of college learning pedagogy and educational philosophy? I think not.
  13. You need to use tools in the classroom that we use in the real world like Facebook, email, and other tools we use to connect and communicate. Refer to # 7 please. Heck, even try and police kids outside of school via social networking if you can.
  14. You need to love a student before you can teach a student. But treat them like automaton.
  15. We do tests to make teachers look good and the school look good, but we know they don't help us to learn what's important to us. What? These tests are important, they test the standards, essential knowledge for adulthood! But recall, the holocaust isn't a standard so it is not taught and neither are current events, as who needs to know about that? And besides, experts decided what the standards are, thus what is important and assessed. Don't doubt their expertise please.
Sorry if this is becoming a snivel spot, but I am quite tired of job application nasty grams. Declined. Fail. Sorry.
I don't want to brag but I have 3 count them 3 credentials (Multiple Subjects, Secondary English, Administration, all with the ELL authorization) and a handful of years experience in varied places, positions, age groups, etc. I also have a MA degree, education-related.

So I'd say I'm quite qualified, but....

Your application for the recently advertised position of xxxxxxx was received and has been considered along with the numerous other applications submitted for this position.

The quality of the applicant pool was exceptional, and the application screening portion for this position was very competitive. Consequently, only those applications that demonstrated the closest match to the needs of the position will move forward to the next phase of the recruitment process. Unfortunately, your application was not selected for continuance.

We wish you the best in your career search, and hope that you will feel free to apply for future openings in the District that are of interest to you.

Sincerely, xxxx


The "Teacher Shortage Crisis" Fallacy

I am currently doing research on the "teacher shortage crisis" fallacy in my own part of the nation, but as I impatiently await correspondence from districts, I have to write something, as this issue is really in my mind right now. Therefore, through some internet research, I decided to write down the facts of this ahem "teacher shortage crisis" from what any layman can find by "googling". Therefore, a disclaimer is, that this will not be a polished blog article but merely just a bunch of facts and details, with citations, to not-so-professionally uncover this fallacy. And ignore my sloppy cut and paste annoyances of formatting. My "local edition" article I plan to write will have correct formatting.

Here goes, with the appoximate # applicants per position, and location by state. All articles are less than a year old.

1. 100+, Florida. "For example, one elementary school position was posted on June 3, said spokeswoman Jackie Johnson. By June 6, more than 100 external applications were received.

And that's typical, Lyons said."

2. 100+, Michigan.

"For example, Chippewa Valley School District accepted 2,211 applications for 21 potential jobs it recently posted, according to Diane Blain, the district’s spokeswoman."

3. 100+ Massachusetts "very few teachers have reported they voluntarily left the Lexington schools due
to working conditions. For most classroom positions, we receive more than 100 applicants per job. "

4. 1,000+ Illinois, (not a citation I would use in a paper as it is hearsay and not a published news article...) In Illinois, there are at least 1000 applicants per job. So I found a great way to make myself stand out.

So.....where IS this "teacher shortage"? Sure, these numbers are vague and could be for elementary regular ed positions, of which qualified applicants are a dime a dozen. Perhaps there IS a shortage in math, science, and special ed. This is what I'm trying to get my own local numbers and facts on, because I believe that those jobs are tough to "get" as well. More on that once I get more than two districts' worth of research.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

you just may be unemployed for life, my dears

To go with my previous post..... many companies are NOT hiring UNEMPLOYED. Read it and weep. I did.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saving Money via Disposable Teachers

I'd previously posted about LIFO or Last In First Out, the (union) practice that non-tenured teachers, regardless of certification, quality, etc. But to summarize in case you are not well versed,

LIFO in short is a layoff policy of the vast majority of unionized teaching districts. Once a teacher receives tenure (years of service vary by location) it protects their job, making them hard to fire/lay off. That means the probationary, non-tenured teachers lack this protection and are thus expendable. This is thought of as fair practice, and that more experience = more quality. Therefore, during budget cuts, the first jobs to be tossed are the "newest" teachers, last in is first out.

LIFO means the job market is full of many LIFO victims.

Many jobs require certain years of experience but how can one get experience with LIFO intact?

Add to this, some schools will only hire if you are CURRENTLY employed. I recently applied to teach overseas (the organization shall remain anonymous) and they quite rudely said (paraprasing here), "sorry, we only accept candidates who are currently employed as full-time teachers and we see you haven't been employed since 2010 so we cannot make an exception for you. Apply elsewhere." So, how can one get a job if you must have a job to get hired?

But wait! There's more! There is a myth out there that I'd discussed a little in past posts, that there is a "teacher shortage/crisis" which is a bunch of bull feces. To add to this, teachers from overseas are hired via visa, to work in these hard-to-fill positions. I recall a few years back I applied to district X because they had published in the local newspaper, the need to fill positions in this terrible teacher shortage crisis. I instantly applied and received the usual nasty gram " thanks but no thanks, you met our qualifications but we're seeking other candidates".

A week or so later, the same newspaper contained an article on how District X could not find enough qualified teachers to staff their needed positions so they had to seek candidates in the Phillipines, which were thus hired.

I wrote a letter to the editor and everything about this ludicrous lie they were perpetuating just to save a buck.

And this issue reared its ugly head again just yesterday, as I browsed HuffPo. I found some older articles on the abuse of the foreign teachers at and to name a few.... there are plenty more out there.

Shortage my arse. I recently interviewed District Y and found they had approximately 95 qualified applicants per special education position.

Apparently, 95 qualified applicants constitutes a "shortage" and a newsworthy "crisis" as well as the need to ignore AMERICAN workers in AMERICA and hire teachers from ANOTHER COUNTRY to fill the positions since, well, there is a shortage after all.

So let me get this straight. We keep the tenured expensive teachers since they have stronger than superglue union clout. We rid of non-tenured cheap teachers through LIFO. Some schools even refuse to hire unemployed teachers, while many I've interviewed for question those with "a year here, two years there" on their resume, evidence of their LIFO victimization. Then districts save even more money by hiring foreigners on visas and paying them even less than a beginning American teacher. And they (the districts) have the audacity to ask tax payers for more money!

I do see one iota of "fairness" in this practice though. Districts treat both LIFO teachers and tiehr cheaper foreign replacements like complete trash.
then whine, complain, and get outright militantly demanding about needing more money.

I'm fuming with anger. Such indignation!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gloablization of Clothing, Where are you Wearing?

Globalization of clothing....WHERE are you wearing?

I decided to catalog my family of three's clothing for a week. Ok, we often wear more but we were on vacation, down to one suitcase so the numbers are a little low. No worries- we did laundry!

Here is the map of our clothing's "made in" tags;

Red = 1-2 tags
Orange = 3-4 tags
Yellow = 5-6 tags
Green = 7-8 tags
Blue= 9-10 tags
Purple = 11 or more tags
and a count of the places....

14 China

3 India

2 Thailand

1 Jordan

2 Cambodia

6 Bangladesh

1 Indonesia

4 Mexico

2 Egypt

2 Pakistan

1 Guatemala.

Worthy of note, afterwards I went through ALL of my infant son's clothing and EVERY piece, all different brands, is made in China. Bummer.

The (non-existant) Teaching Job Market and the Push for Lies

Stated at, Teachers are still needed, teacher shortage, crisis blah blah blah feed me more lies. Ok, to be more professional here, I'll provide an excerpt;

"While many districts have laid off teachers, opportunity remains in inner cities, says Ryan. Cities such as Memphis are hiring teachers ($45,914) with just a six-week bootcamp training. You need a bachelor's degree to qualify for such programs, she notes.

"You used to need to get a teaching certificate in most states," she says. "Now, you can find a teaching job without one."

Ok, sorry, my professionalism must go out the door as rage steps in. In what freaking world? I have applied to at least 50 jobs in my home state plus a handful in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Illinois to name a few. I have three education credentials, a Master's, and experience (and not just in say, 3rd grade, but all grades, all types of schools.) I have had ONE count it ONE interview and no job offers. I applied to a V. Principal/ A. Principal job and was told they had over 200 QUALIFIED applicants. That means a MA, Teaching credential, Admin Credential, 3-5 years teaching experience and at least one year Admin experience.

I am quite convinced the "powers that be" or at the very least, teaching colleges, are perpetuating this "teacher shortage crisis" so that more people enroll in their teacher colleges and thus the colleges profit. DO NOT BELIEVE THEIR LIES!

Ok, you may say, there are teaching shortages, I mean special ed is one, right? Wrong. Yes there are quite a few postings but the job market is tight there too. I have a friend with a credential for mild-moderate special ed and moderate to severe, plus a MA, and 8 years experience. She is well liked in her district. She was considering moving and applied to many many positions and had only one interview and no job offer.

I was reading the local newspaper, the letters to the editor part and encountered this,
"Take it from a former teacher laid off due to circumstances beyond my own control. The 99 weeks is pure agony...and on top of it was unable to find another teaching position due to the current status of our economy and school district problems.

I looked for work every day I was able, to no avail. "

Well, at least I am not alone here. I am actually thinking of contacting districts to ask them how many qualified applicants they get, especially for teaching because few have Admin. credentials but many have solely a teaching credential so, are the numbers in the thousands? I'm sure the districts won't tell me but I hope they do. I'd love to dispel this myth and uncover the truth of a very tough job market once and for all.

On a side note, my mother brought to light the fact that my speaking up about this, LIFO, etc can cost me jobs. Yes. But well behaved people rarely make the history books. We teachers have been silent far too long and someone must take the torch, sacrifice all, for the good of mankind. I have the torch in hand.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I've been a victim of LIFO, twice.

I received my Multiple Subject Credential in 2003 from a prestigious university and spent my first year out of school substitute teaching and job hunting. A year later, I landed my first position in an elementary classroom, in a Title-1, Program Improvement, Reading First school with a high population of English learners.

I loved my job and recall treating my students to a pizza party once a month, creating an incentive system with rewards such as mechanical pencils and cute erasers, I enjoyed finding creative ways to help my struggling students grasp the curriculum by implementing learning modalities, choice, and scaffolding into my lessons. My first observation had some pointers for improvement as it may for any new teacher, but it was not a scathing review by any means. However, I recall in about November, I was called into the office and told I was not effectively teaching the Language Arts program. I was actually asked, "where did you learn to teach?" in regards to my "inability" to follow the scripted curriculum to the "t"; didn't my scripted curriculum training teach me anything? I asked, "what training?" and they immediately signed me up for the next training in late January.

In early January I had my second observation and received a teacher improvement plan to help me improve in the classroom. Might I reitterate, this was before my training. I attended the training, continued to teach, and yet odd things began to occur. I had my teacher's aide sub in my class while I was at training and my supervisor called me in training to yell at me that my sub had yet to show up. I was also written up once for asking a sub to kindly make a few copies of something for my students; I had left the previus day early with a migraine so bad my husband had to drive me home so I was unable to make copies. I saw district personnel frequently in my classroom, and was written up for a crooked spelling word on my word wall, and for having my students help make posters in my room with one stating "co-operate" instead of the American English version, "cooperate". It seemed they were building a case against me.

I was "pink slipped" for sure, due to declining student enrollment, in May.

Two years later, I was finishing my Secondary English credential while working in another elementary classroom, my first year at that district. I had good reviews until my final review around March, even though my student's benchmark scores were comparable to the other classes in my grade level. I received a warning about the possibiltiy of a pink slip, and did indeed receive it in May. Our school had four new teachers that year and two of us were pink slipped, and we both were shocked because we had good reviews until the final one when things began to change and we began to be treated differently- not enough that we exactly noticed but in retrospect, yes, things began to change.

It seems it is a common mosconception that pink slips are an empty threat and that all teachers are re-employed the next year. I know for sure that both times I was obviously not re-employed by the district and the other woman who was pink slipped at my second school did not return either.

Not every beginning teacher is perfect and the same applies for master teachers with decades of experience. A LIFO analogy could be this- choose 100 people ages 10 - 100 and teach them about piano philosophy, and then have them perform in concert. You just might get some Beethovens at age ten, and some 100 year olds who are not musically inclined and cannot even play a simple tune. LIFO would rid of all piano players under age 20 and state that the 100 year old is the best pianist because, well, he is oldest and thus the master pianist. Ridiculous!

Experience does play into teacher effectiveness- I will say I am a better teacher now than my first day on the job, but experience is not and should not be the only determining factor in teacher effectiveness. New teachers bring with them a joie de vivre and new research and methods. New teachers most often are employed with the at-risk student population, and ridding of the newest staff via LIFO means a lack of continuity for our at risk students. New teachers did not enter the field to be replaced like reusable batteries year after year.