September 14

LATE BREAKING NEWS:  The Chicago Tribune is reporting, as of 2:35 p.m. today, the existence of tentative agreement to the Chicago Teachers Strike.  You can read the latest developments and watch a short video (1:10 minutes) here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-teachers-strike-0914-20120914,0,5804860.story
    The LAUSD and its administrators union, AALA (Associated Administrators of Los Angeles), reached an agreement on Tuesday for a redesigned evaluation of schools administrators.  It includes the use of student test scores but to what degree will still have to be worked out.  The agreement is good for one year as reported in Wednesday’s L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lausd-eval-20120912,0,1737165.story
    Valerie Strauss checks in on the implications for Pres. Obama (and they are significant) regarding the Chicage teachers strike: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-shouldnt-chicago-teachers-ask-for-air–conditioned-schools/2012/09/12/85972b18-fb84-11e1-b2af-1f7d12fe907a_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet  In an additional blog, she criticizes Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and a Washington Post editorial for advocating strongly for the use of test scores in teachers’ evaluations: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-rahm-emanuel-and-the-new-york-times-are-wrong-about-teacher-evaluation/2012/09/12/d0c53044-fce7-11e1-a31e-804fccb658f9_blog.html?wprss=rss_answer-sheet   Karen Lewis, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, explains, at the outset, why her teachers are on strike: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/10   Thanks to Ron Oswald for sending along this article.  Ron notes that the author, investigative reporter Greg Palast was one of his students at Byrd Middle School in the ’60s.  The piece is titled “The Worst Teacher in Chicago” but it’s not what you think: http://www.nationofchange.org/worst-teacher-chicago-1347463241   Want some clarity regarding the issues surrounding the Chicago teachers’ strike?  Look no further than this Diane Ravitch blog for The New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/sep/12/two-visions-chicagos-schools/  NPR also takes a detailed look at the issues involved in the strike: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/13/161072479/whats-at-stake-for-u-s-teachers?ft=1&f=1013  The Friday UCLA IDEA “Themes in the News” provides an overview of the past week as it pertains to the strike: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=40770a674de4ce8427a9a621b&id=3fb107990e&e=f7d7cb8d5d
   Several California law enforcement leaders are claiming that school discipline policies are making the state less safe and need revising.  HealthyCal has all the details: http://www.healthycal.org/archives/9699  You can read the “News Release” from the group that created the report “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California” at this site: http://www.fightcrime.org/SchoolDisciplineReportCA The full report, titled “Classmates Not Cellmates,” (12 pages) is here: http://fightcrime.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/CA-School-Discipline-Report.pdf  NPR station KPCC describes a meeting yesterday between a team from an Atlanta suburb and the LAUSD.  The latter hopes to learn some of the successful holistic approaches to school discipline pioneered by the former in order to hopefully cut down on behavior problems and the issuance of citations by school and local police: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2012/09/13/9952/la-officials-bring-georgia-team-help-reform-studen/
     An English teacher and yearbook advisor at a high school in Tennessee was forced out of his position for supporting the free speech rights of  two students–one gay and one an atheist: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/09/11/819271/tennessee-teacher-pushed-out-for-supporting-free-speech-of-gay-and-atheist-students/?mobile=nc
   The board of the Inglewood Unified School District voted Wednesday night to cut employee pay by 15% in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy and a state takeover of the financially strapped district.  NPR station KPCC describes the situation: http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2012/09/13/9944/inglewood-unified-takes-drastic-measures-avoid-ban/
   The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) released a report on Tuesday titled “Education at a Glance 2012” that compares early childhood education, post K-12 funding and other factors among 34 industrialized countries.  The U.S. ranks poorly in most categories.  You can read a report summary with a list of key findings here.  It includes a short video (2:44 minutes): http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/educationspendingrisingbutaccesstohighereducationremainsunequalinmostcountriessaysoecd.htm  The entire report (570 pages!) is here: http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012%20(eng)–Ebook%20(FINAL%2011%2009%202012).pdf  The report highlights (at only 91 pages): http://www.oecd.org/edu/highlights.pdf  For country notes on the U.S. only (just 13 pages): http://www.oecd.org/edu/EAG2012%20-%20Country%20note%20-%20United%20States.pdf
   Many politicians at all levels of our government are demanding that standardized test results be used to evaluate the job being done by teachers.  What if the tables were reversed and voters used test results to judge the effectiveness of our elected officials?  Have some fun with this piece that looks at how that might work: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/299-190/13467-standardized-testing-for-elected-officials
   In her blog today, Diane Ravitch answers the question “Why do Conservatives Love High-Stakes Testing?” http://dianeravitch.net/2012/09/14/why-do-conservatives-love-high-stakes-testing/
   And finally, over the past two months, Anthony Cody, a strong advocate for the teaching profession, has been involved in a give-and-take with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over five key issues in education.  In his latest posting he reviews each issue and includes salient points from both sides along with links to the full responses: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/09/a_teacher_in_dialogue_with_the.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LivingInDialogue+%28Teacher+Magazine+Blog%3A+Living+in+Dialogue%29
Happy Friday!

Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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